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Empress Hotel
Ranked #48 of 393 Hotels in Chiang Mai
Reviewed January 15, 2013

We recently came back from 6 nights at the Empress on a two week trip to Thailand. With a family of four (two small children) and not knowing for sure about the size and state of the rooms (its far away from the US), we booked two adjacent rooms instead of risking that the beds would be too small. Turned out that we didn't need to even though the cost of two rooms in Chiang Mai is still cheaper than the cost of a 3 star hotel room in the US. The hotel is centrally located within a 15-20 minute walk to the Night Bizaar and Old City, or 5 minutes by Tuk Tuk. The morning buffet is nice to start the day, but wait a little and head straight into the Old City for authentic Northern Thai food and you'll be rewarded. Don't worry, even about the street food. Everybody eats out, things are usually very clean, and there is daily turnover of meals. We're happy with this choice of hotel for our stay in Chiang Mai.

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled with family
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Thank accidentaltourist1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed January 15, 2013 via mobile

We spent Christmas in the Empress Hotel and absolutey loved it.

Our ninth floor room was brilliant - the bed was huge, the bathroom was lovely and the staff put chocolates on the bed every night.

We didn't know what to really expect with this place when booking. It's similar to a Hilton / Marriott in terms of rooms, although the service is better. And this place is cheaper.

The hotel itself is outside Chiang Mai's city walls but it is still in a busy area and right near the excellent night market. The tuk tuks in the city are cheaper than anywhere else we have visited in Thailand, so it is easy to get about.

We spent a lot of time relaxing by the third floor pool which is lovely - and seems to be underused. We also booked two activities - a day out at an elephant camp and a cooking course - both were excellent.

Breakfast was a buffet and there was something for everyone. Included within our six-night booking was a free buffet dinner in the restaurant which we had on Christmas Day. This was quite incredible - the staff brought us two starters and a dessert (even though it was a buffet). They also presented the girlfriend with a rose, gave us a whiskey each and chocolates. The staff were over the top smiley and helpful, we loved it.

There are just a couple of negatives. Although some things in the hotel are very reasonably priced - such as the minibar and the poolside food - others are not. Drinks by the pool were absurdly overpriced and the laundry service was similarly extortionate. Fortunately there are places right outside the hotel who will do your washing for much less.

The Internet is also a bit rubbish - each room is given just one log on. That was fine in 2006 - but with phones, Kindles, laptops and tablets that all go online it is ridiculous. Sure, you can use the log on with all your devices, but only one can be online at a time. Unnecessary.

Finally, we were also short-changed when paying. We had booked our stay several months in advance online via an agent, paying when we got there. Although we had an agreed rate, with the dodgy currency conversion they did on reception I had to pay around 5% more. I am sure this was just due to their own incompetence using the credit card machine rather than to screw a few more pounds out of us. It may not be a lot, but it left a sour taste in the mouth.

If you're thinking seriously about booking this place, ignore my criticisms. They're all relatively minor things and didn't detract from our stay. We had a very happy Christmas here. Great hotel.

  • Stayed: December 2012
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1  Thank AnInspectorCalls_Rob
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 13, 2013

We stayed at the Empress for 3 nights over New Year's recently, one of 3 hotels during a Thailand trip. As other reviewers have mentioned, it is an old property where some attempts have been made at upgrades, not all successful.

For example, we had booked connecting rooms and the bathrooms in the two rooms had substantially different fittings. The doors to the hallway fit only loosely so that sound intruded and the hallways and elevators had a musty smell to them. The furniture is near antique looking and I don't mean that in a god way.

On the other hand, our rooms were on the top floor and we had a great view of the city. This was particularly appreciated when the skies were full of fireworks and floating lighted lanterns to ring in the New Year.

The breakfast area was a bit of a disappointment and felt like Circus Circus in Las Vegas for those of you that have been there. The selections were not all that bad but tea/coffee service at the table was almost non-existent. Every day, we had to flag down wait staff to get us beverages.

Most of the staff did not speak English which was surprising when it included most of the people at the Front Desk. On the other hand, we did not encounter the non-smiling staff that other reviewers have mentioned.

They make a big deal about their proximity to the Night Market when it is a bit of a walk through some iffy sections where we had to step off the sidewalk and walk on the streets. Also, they had a high proportion of tour groups staying and this cause bottlenecks for service.

The highlight was that they leave you good quality chocolates when they turn down the beds every night.

Room Tip: Try to get something on the upper floors for the view.
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  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled with family
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Thank BayAreaGuySanJose_CA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 10, 2013

Just spent 6 nights at the Empress and was very disappointed- worst hotel of my trip to Thailand. From the outside the hotel looks fine but once you get inside...terrible service on the front desk from young unsmiling personnel. My requested non smoking Room wasnt ready - "come back in an hour or two" !! Once i got the room ..at 1600..I had been 'upgraded' to a deluxe - I'd hate to see the standard room. Dark decoration and furnishings, old fashioned bathroom, horrible old carpets. No in-room safe, you have to use a safety box in reception!!!You had to pay for wi-fi internet - 5£ for two hours on a pre-paid card which worked badly. Once I had bought the card, suddenly wi-fi internet became free for guests (a New Years gift?? the front desk couldnt explain why!!). Breakfast was OK but very busy, full of tour groups, plenty of choice but not great quality. Pool ok but nothing great. Location OK - a 10min walk into town, good local thai restaurants on the main road outside. Tip: dont take a taxi/tuk tuk from the hotel, walk 2 mins to the main road and get one for half the price! After the great choice of hotels in Bangkok, the standard of hotels in Chiang Mai is a shock - but you can surely do better than stay at the Empress (Shang-ri-la down the road for example). I dont often give bad reviews to hotels - but the Empress is definitely one to avoid.


not ready ..come bacyou are transported back to the 1970s...

Room Tip: Higher floor poolside
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  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank PGRBrussels
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 5, 2013

The hotel is in a convenient location to walk to night market, spa's, restaurants. We booked through expedia and had a good room rate. We booked two non smoking rooms with king beds. When we arrived they had us in smoking rooms, one with twin beds, and one a king. It took two nights before we had both rooms as booked. We had booked several months in advance so we were not happy that they did not provide the rooms as confirmed. The smoking rooms are not pleasant for non smokers. The breakfast buffet is good and has a large variety of foods. There is a station for eggs to be cooked fresh and also waffles. The room decor is tired and outdated however the rooms are clean, comfortable amenities are fine, nice turndown service with flowers and chocolates. The lobby area is nice. The outdated room decor did not affect our comfort and the extra service touches were nice. If the hotel had not messed up our room bookings, which also happened to another couple we met at the reception counter with the same problem, we would have given them a better rating.

Room Tip: Be careful about ending up with smoking rooms. Smell is terrible!
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  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled with family
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Thank Kimberly29
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 2, 2013

I stayed at The Empress Hotel over New Years 2012/13. The most disturbing thing was the condition of the bedroom (928). Everything...and I mean everything was very old, shabby, well used and abused. The bedsheets and towels were off white - yellow. The mattress was brick hard and pillows. The bathroom was very small and the door was constantly shutting on me as I stood at the sink. The whole hotel is in a state of bad repair and requires more than just a lick of paint and a good clean. I would not stay there again.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled solo
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Thank QueenofCarlisle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 1, 2013

Stayed here for 7 nights over Christmas. Found it very average. The staff are helpful and efficient but seem weary of a constant stream of package tours and vast groups of people. Our room was not the cheapest but was poor, clean but stained carpet, scratched walls and frayed towels. After much negotiation we discovered that the top floor (17) was much better and approx. £20 more a night. Breakfast was okay with a reasonable choice but the herds eating made the staff rushed and the dining room very crowded. Dinner was again very ordinary avoid the club sandwiches which are dire. The dinner buffet was very very ordinary and there are much much better places to eat. Swimming pool was okay but there is no sun until mid morning. I think there are a lot of better places to stay which are less impersonal.

Room Tip: ask to see the top floor rooms they are less used and in much better condition.
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  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled with family
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Thank pondcreeper
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Empress Hotel

Address: 199/42 Chang Klan Rd, Chiang Mai 50100, Thailand
Location: Thailand > Chiang Mai Province > Chiang Mai
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#14 Business Hotel in Chiang Mai
#33 Family Hotel in Chiang Mai
#34 Luxury Hotel in Chiang Mai
Price Range: $58 - $140 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Empress Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 375
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Empress Chiang Mai

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