Living in Brunei and constantly having friends and family visit, we've just about exhausted all the amenities and types of rooms in the Empire Hotel apart from the Golf course.
The Lobby is grand, with so many intricate details, down to the last tile of the beautiful mosaic floors. Unfortunately, for a lot of our stays, it stopped there. We have had stays when the reception made us feel like we were checking in a cheap hotel (unwelcoming, silly mistakes in rooms, at times inefficient), our room was dirty (i.e. used toothpicks/cotton swabs on the floor and bad linen smell), and amenities that were not well maintained, e.g. one of the stagnant pools gathered bacteria on the sides. We were also often disappointed with the food, whether in the restos or in-room. One night, we dressed nicely for a last night with visiting family, walking to a resto suggested by the front desk, which was listed as fine dining (and required smart casual dressing)... only to be extremely disappointed when we saw that most of the people were wearing slippers and shorts. It felt awkward, and it didn't help that the food tasted like ordinary canteen servings.
We realised after a few other stays that in order to feel the grandeur of the Hotel throughout our stay, we had to splurge. With a little bit of good timing, we stayed in some of the Main Building rooms and villas, which are amazingly huge, almost as grand as the lobby, less worn out and fresher. The beds are extremely comfortable. The villa that we rented was superbly clean, spacious, and had a nice view. One time, we were thrilled to be welcomed with a handwritten note from the manager and a beautiful box of chocolates. The reception and in room service for these rooms are, surprisingly (?), better.
The spa is good to try, the beach can be skipped, pick a good pool (out of the 9) that's clean, and it will be enjoyable. Overall, worth a try, but be prepared to pay a bit more to get the 4/5.
- 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