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“Six stars? Not even close!”

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The Empire Hotel & Country Club
Certificate of Excellence
Level 3 Contributor
15 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“Six stars? Not even close!”
Reviewed February 14, 2013

This was my second stay. The first time I loved it and this time it was truly awful. I stayed only for two night. Arrived very late during CNY so knew it would be busy but had sent a request to be allocated a room on a high floor away from the lifts. The room was given was a Waterfall room on the 6th floor next to the service elevator. The lights didn't work anyway so I had to go back and ask for another room. This is a major pain at the Empire because going back to Reception means a few minutes ride on a golf cart as the hotel complex is huge! I was viewed as possiblt mad when I asked for another room and was told it was full anyway. But I stood my ground and basically demanded another room. I was given a room on the 5th floor of Lagoon. The worst room I was ever given anywhere. I was paying £140 plus tax per night, room only! Mould on the walls and around the sockets and switches, open access to the pipes and electric cabinet in the "hall" and shattered, cracked lampshades throughout. No where near a six star. No where near a two star. But it was late and I was tired so I stayed and moved the next day to an ocean view room which was much, much better despite the wireless router that didn't work, the empty, dirty minibar, the appalling food throughout the hotel and the general lack of care and attention that the staff lavish on you. The best part was when I showed the receptionist my photos of the mould and dirt she asked "anything else?". There is little else to chose from in Brunei and the views and location are unbeatable but I bet once a decent hotel opens the Empire will need to up its game dramatically.

Room Tip: Ocean view is best
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled on business
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
6 Thank David T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TheEmpireHotel, Manager at The Empire Hotel & Country Club, responded to this review, February 26, 2013
Dear davidT,

Thank you for your comments made about your recent stay at our hotel. Although it is not exactly how we hoped it would it be, as clearly the condition of your room was utterly unacceptable and disappointing.

Rest assured that all comments are being shared with the departments concern, and we strive to improve our quality service for a much memorable stay for our guests.

Thank you

Best Regards,
The Management
The Empire Hotel & Country Club
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Warfield, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
24 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 73 helpful votes
Reviewed February 13, 2013 via mobile

What was once the jewelled hotel of the country, now stands a deteriorating complex with rooms that are losing its appeal and staff unable to cope professionally.
With tourism a steady decline in the country, Empire offers golden packages at cheap rates for locals to stay over the weekend or over a holiday period. There are hardly any tourists compared to the locals who fill the common areas wearing flip flops and sitting unceremoniously on every surface imaginable. You have to understand that I could appreciate that in 2 or 3 star hotels but not 6 stars the Empire claims to be. In my view if you pay incredulous rates, you would expect a level of class. But this is impossible if you are a Brunei national getting 75% off rack rates.

I booked a family of four stating clearly my children were 14 and 13. Therefore I expected staff to designate an appropriate room with appropriate beds. When we arrived after a 17 hour flight, I checked in and was warned that if I didn't like the room, then they are happy to change it! I was also told I couldn't change rooms until the day after because they were full. It was Christmas Day and therefore hotel was at full capacity with locals who paid 'mates rates'!

The staff did not do well to welcome us to the hotel. When we got to the room, lo and behold, we were given 2 queen size beds. After numerous phone calls and umpteen hours, we were offered 2 extra rollaway beds. The cheek of the receptionist to tell me they would do me a favour and not charge me. We'd just come off a long haul flight, were really tired and needed a good sleep. At the very least, we should have those rollaway beds for free! When I booked and stated my children's ages, I fully expect rollaway beds or at least 1 king size bed plus a queen.

The state of the room was less than you would expect of a 4 star. The lamps hanging off the wall had shades that had been stamped on and kicked around. The shower door was covered in months old, if not years old water marks and the bath had slight brown stains. The balcony was unswept and you wouldn't sit outside due to the lack of care of the area. It looked old and tired. There was a miserly amount of coffee, tea and milk and I had to make several requests to replenish. There were only toiletries enough for 2 of us to shower. There were only 2 bath towels and no hand towels. There were no room slippers either. The amount of times I had to call on our first night almost led me to tears.

Room service was horrid! Be wary of what is offered in black and white because you will get missing items. We ordered breakfast that included pastries and toast as is stated in the menu. However, the toast was missing and when we called to ask for it, we were told it was a choice. We couldn't have two slices of toast and a pastry, only one or the other. This is not clear in the menu and we argued the issue and finally they brought toast. 1 piece of broken toast! 1 piece, broken! It was incredulous! It was obvious , they were making a point! What a thing to argue about especially as I was paying a charge for room service.

Breakfast in the restaurant was varied and had a very good selection of Asian food. It was busy and therefore there weren't too many pleasantries from the staff.

Watched movies at the Empire cinema. Note to wear warm clothing because the air conditioning is blasting you from Brunei to the North Pole. The counter staff were so disinterested it was comical. After keeping me waiting at the counter, I had to interrupt their Facebook and texting to ask if could buy a ticket? I later had to ask three times for a buggy back to the main hotel? The looks of disgust they gave me was icing on the cake.

Have I got anything nice to say about this hotel? Have I got anything nice to say about the staff? No. No and I have stayed here 3 times before and it's lost it's soul. Having worked in the hotel industry previously myself, I am shocked at the lack of kindness, customer service and professionalism in most departments especially for a 6 star hotel? The hotel itself is beautiful to look at but once inside a room, it's a different story. Although i was told, the rooms were better in the main building but i'd have to fork out quite a bit more a night. We were in the Ocean View building.

Having been a local once, I am aware of the absence of respect and ignorance towards certain types of tourists and favouring top ranking locals and the odd star that walks through the hotel! Note a gallery of photographs dedicated to previous well appointed and famous guests that stayed at the hotel paid for by the sultanate. More fuss than necessary.

You must travel to Brunei if you are looking to seek a virgin rainforest, beautiful in its untouched nature. Take a long trip down the river to see monkeys in original habitat, see villages built on stilts and opulent mosques and palaces. But i would not recommend staying in the Empire. You will be paying over the odds for the same rooms locals are being offered (we're talking anything from £60 a night rate compared to our charge of £400 per night upwards!)

Never again!

Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
Helpful?
13 Thank Fussytraveller75
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TheEmpireHotel, Manager at The Empire Hotel & Country Club, responded to this review, February 26, 2013
Dear fussytraveller75,

Warm Greetings from The Empire Hotel & Country Club, Brunei! Thank you for your feedback and we appreciate every comment received as this will indeed help us to improve our service, quality and enhance every guest’s experience.

Evidently your recent experience left much to be desired, and we are truly sorry that you had such a disappointing stay. Our goal is to ensure all our guests leave us with an enjoyable and memorable stay and therefore we have shared this with the department concern to improve these glitches immediately.

However we hope that we are still able to get the opportunity to welcome you back and assure you that we can deliver a better and memorable for your future stay.

Thank you

Best Regards,
The Management
The Empire Hotel & Country Club
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Level 3 Contributor
9 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed February 11, 2013

Here 2 rooms for in-laws and ourselves. Waited 2 hrs for room to be ready, no linen apparently. Then room was filled with smoke odour. Complained and after another 2 hrs got upgraded to adjoing rooms in the main building. This is great, but still struggling to get a light lunch, or decent dinner for the kids. Pool bar takes only cash(!) - sorry nowhere to put it in my trunks! Referred to as the banana bar, but no bananas there today for banana themed drinks.

In the restaurants tables everywhere are reserved, but no-one in them. Facilities all wonderful, decently looked after, staff (even management) are woeful! Especially considering that a night here is not cheap.

Simon

Room Tip: Complain - get an upgrade.
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank dgl3sjm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TheEmpireHotel, Manager at The Empire Hotel & Country Club, responded to this review, February 26, 2013
Dear dgl3sjm,

Greetings from The Empire Hotel and Country Club! Thank you very much for your review and comments about our property in 'The Abode of Peace'- it is exactly this that helps us to continuously improve and do better and we thoroughly appreciate your role in this!

We regret to hear some of your disappointing encounters during your arrival. Our team are dedicated in delivering memorable stay for all guests and therefore, it is important to us that we share your comments made, particularly about the smoke odor, the selection of food at restaurants for kids and the pool bar area; to the departments concern.

Nevertheless, we hope that you can still consider staying with us in the future.

Thank you

Best Regards,
The Management
The Empire Hotel & Country Club
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Quezon City, Philippines
Level 5 Contributor
70 reviews
69 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 91 helpful votes
Reviewed February 8, 2013

Empire Hotel is without a doubt the best hotel in Brunei. From its palatial rooms, lobby (basically everything) right down to the Asprey-branded silverware and wide selection of activities, the Empire Hotel is a true jewel,

Location-wise, it is in Jerudong which is about a 20 minute drive from the center of BSB. It overlooks the sea which is a great setting for those looking for an escape from the madness of the city.

I entered the lobby and was awed by their floor to ceiling windows that must have been 4-floors high.

We were booked in their ocean double room which was located in another building. The room itself is very spacious, at 65 sq meters. The bathroom came with a tub and two sinks. Oddly enough, the room TV was still the tube type though this was not an issue. Generally speaking, the room did not wow us over like the lobby, but it was above average.

The hotel's buffer breakfast consisted of a large spread. All the standard breakfast items are there including sausages, pastries, fruits, salads, even dimsum as well as a selection of local breakfast items. It was held in one of the floors that overlooked the several-floor-high-windows in the main hall.

For me, the main highlight of the hotel though was not the room nor the breakfast buffet. It was rather the facilities. I stayed for one night so I wasn't able to explore everything. But what I saw was enough to impress. There are a couple of swimming pools, artificial lagoons where guests can do a bit of kayaking, classes which guests could take, bowling alleys, tennis/badminton courts and so much more. The "resort" area was so large that we didn't manage to cover the entire area during our stay. One of the oddities was a pool bar specially adapted to the Islamic rules in Brunei that served only juices, coffee or tea.

All this added up to a wonderful stay. My only regret is that I did not stay a bit longer. My suggestion is to stay here when in Brunei when you have at least 2 nights to spare,

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank ACChua
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TheEmpireHotel, Manager at The Empire Hotel & Country Club, responded to this review, February 26, 2013
Dear ACCHua,

Greetings from The Empire Hotel & Country Club and thank you for your kind comments about our hotel! The architecture of our hotel is indeed one of a kind and one surely needs to see it, to believe it.

We are pleased to hear that you enjoyed your room and breakfast and the overall stay, although we hope that you will plan a longer stay with us in the future to experience other facilities and activities we have for our guests.

Thank you again and see you soon!

Best Regards,
The Management
The Empire Hotel & Country Club
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Singapore
Level 6 Contributor
100 reviews
78 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 109 helpful votes
Reviewed February 4, 2013

This has got to be the best possible hotel in Brunei.

Grand lobby, perfect facing for everyday sunset. If money's not a problem, go for the main building rooms, it's walking distance to the perfect swimming pool. Otherwise, if you happen to be staying at the Lagoon / Seaview buildings, then you can catch the buggy ride but sometimes you've got to wait for some 5-15mins. Could be the same time as walking over as well.

Breakfast used to be better but I find the fare to be a little less impressive nowadays.

Room Tip: Main building is the best.
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank SporeSamSeng
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TheEmpireHotel, Manager at The Empire Hotel & Country Club, responded to this review, February 11, 2013
Dear SporeSamseng,

Warm Greetings from Brunei! Thank you and we are pleased to hear your comments about our hotel.

The scale of this resort is indeed massive and it does take a while to go from one place to another. We take note on the comment made about our breakfast, as we continuously strive to improve our food quality.

Thank you again for your comments and we do hope to see you stay with us again.

The Management
The Empire Hotel & Country Club
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney
Level 4 Contributor
25 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
Reviewed February 2, 2013

Probably the best place to stay in Brunei. It's a real indulgence in glitz; built to demonstrate some of the opulence of Brunei.
It seems eerily empty at times, and you can walk the corridors without seeing a soul.
Note that apart from the on-site restaurants and a couple of boutique shops, there are absolutely no places to buy snacks, non-restaurant food, fruit, toiletries etc. The closest place is a 2.5km walk to the Jerudong village. There are however, some interesting walks along the shore and through parkland in the hotel grounds.
Apart from that, it has a restful, luxury vibe, and the rooms are huge and well-equipped - making for a guaranteed relaxing stay.

Room Tip: Make sure that you ask for a room with a sea view (the 'lake view' rooms don't provide t...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Linus101
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TheEmpireHotel, Manager at The Empire Hotel & Country Club, responded to this review, February 11, 2013
Dear Linus101,

Greetings from The Empire Hotel and Country Club! Thank you very much for your review and comments about our property in 'The Abode of Peace'- it is exactly this that helps us to continuously improve and do better and we thoroughly appreciate your role in this!

We are located a tad far from the town but you can take a ride from the public bus that comes around every day which is only B$1 per trip and stop points are mainly the commercial centers with supermarkets available.

We hope to see you come back and stay with us again.

Thank you
The Management
The Empire Hotel & Country Club
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
melbourne
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed January 31, 2013

This resort has the 'wow' factor. They don't build buildings like this anymore. We stayed here for 5 nights and and were more than happy. Rooms are large- 9ft ceilings & bathroom nearly the same size as main with separate shower room & toilet&bidet room, fullsized bath & double basins/vanity all in marble. The bed was king sized & quite comfortable. There are about 4 different room categories, this is how I would rate them - 1.west atrium, 2. east atrium, 3. seaveiw, 4. waterfall, 5. Nth&Sth Lagoon. Being in the Lagoon building, we had a small 51inch T.V and the fridge was not cold enough but other than that I cant't complain. Breakfast was very good with lots to choose from and the Chinese restaurant was enjoyable. The pools are great, but the Riverpool & Kids pools were not in use due to renovations. As mentioned by others, the resort did seem empty at times and I think this is due to the fact that it caters more for conferences/functions rather than tourists which is a shame. In the Country club all activities have a fee, even table tennis! This is a very expensive resort i.e.coke $6.00 but if you have your own snacks/drinks, its manageable. We just enjoyed going for walks around the resort & the kids loved exploring the beach. Would recommend this hotel as it s just so unique/majestic.

Room Tip: The high tea is worth every cent.
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank 747travel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TheEmpireHotel, Manager at The Empire Hotel & Country Club, responded to this review, February 11, 2013
Dear 747travel,

Thank you very much for your kind words about our property, we think it's a spectacular hotel and the surroundings are really quite unlike any other! We are glad to hear that you had enjoyed your stay with us, and you and your family were particularly pleased with our breakfast and Li Gong Chinese restaurant.

We take note of your comment made about the fridge in the Lagoon building and will ensure this matter will be looked into. As for the TV, we are gradually revamping each room categories at the hotel. We had completed renovation with Deluxe, Suites and Villas earlier last year and will move forward to Ocean and Superior rooms very soon.

Thank you for recommending our hotel and we hope to see you stay with us again.

Thank you
The Management
The Empire Hotel & Country Club
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Empire Hotel & Country Club

Property: The Empire Hotel & Country Club
Address: Kampong Jerudong BG3122, Brunei Darussalam
Phone Number:
Location: Brunei Darussalam > Brunei-Muara District > Kampong Jerudong
Amenities:
Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 5 Hotels in Kampong Jerudong
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:5 star — The Empire Hotel & Country Club 5*
Number of rooms: 518
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located on the north eastern tip of Borneo on the doorstep of one of Asia's oldest rainforests, The Empire Hotel & Country Club is Brunei’s most prestigious beach resort offering unsurpassed 5-star luxury.This palatial resort hotel, which astounds visitors with its spectacular 12 storey marble and gold lobby, is set in its own private 180-hectare (445 acres) estate of manicured gardens and an 18-hole, floodlit Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course and Country Club. Each of the hotel’s 522 opulently appointed guest rooms, suites and private villas has a view of the ocean, lagoon, gardens or golf course, while standard throughout the hotel are Imperial king-sized beds made with the finest linens, and over-sized marble bathrooms with walk-in shower, deep soaking tub with gold taps and luxury amenities. The Empire Hotel & Country Club also extends the kingdom’s regal hospitality with an impressive range of international restaurants, spa, world-class golf and sporting activities, and international meeting facilities for top level MICE gatherings, making it a resort ideal for family, romantic or business vacations. The Empire Hotel & Country Club is a member of WORLDHOTELS and recipient of numerous prestigious international awards. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Empire Hotel And Country Club
Empire Hotel Brunei

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