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“If I could give more than 5 stars I would!”

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The Empire Hotel & Country Club
Certificate of Excellence
Perth
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“If I could give more than 5 stars I would!”
Reviewed June 19, 2008

Absolutely Brilliant! By far the best hotel/resort I have had the pleasure to stay in.

The staff were extremely friendly in all areas from the groundskeepers to the management. They are all very proud of the hotel and rightly so. Unlike some other comments on this site, I didn't find the rooms dated at all, the coffee was fine and the plates at the atrium restuarant (breakfast) were cleared as soon as we returned to the buffet for another helping. On that note, the buffer breakfast choices were vast, catering to all tastes.

We had an unfortunate incident the first morning we were there, with our son hitting his head in the room. The staff were helpful in their always relaxed manner. We ended up at Jerudong Hospital about 5 minutes down the road. Couldnt fault the hospital either. From registration to seeing a paediatrician took about 5 minutes at a cost of $60 Brunein dollars (about $40 Aussie). He was of Indian descent and the entire medical team were friendly and professional. The hospital was extremeley clean.

There isn't a great deal to do in Bandar (the city). The mosques are worthwhile - need to cover up if only wearing shorts - they provide neck-to-toe black robes. Shopping is average - lots of dodgy DVDs and CDs available. But the must - do is taking a boat tour of the water village. You can find a boat from the edge of the river (they will find you! - we had a choice of 10 men on motor boats yelling out their best price to us!) It cost us $20 for the hour - we didnt bargain them down, so you could probably do better.

Back to the hotel - as others have commented it is huge. The lobby is SO big that you find yourself distracted when checking in and out.
Our only small gripe is the lack of a shuttle bus to the city. There is however a public bus that leaves every couple of hours. It costs only ONE Brunei dollar. Apart from saving a few dollars by not taking the hotel car ($35 each way), it gave us a great opportunity to see some of the back roads and countryside. It will take about 40 mins to 1 hour to get to the city. You can catch the bus back to the hotel as well - it is the number 57.

We took the family 'fun' package which included bowling, movie theatre and use of the country club (except golf). Exceptional value for an outstanding hotel.

Highly recommended!

  • Liked — BIG everything, friendly staff
  • Disliked — No shuttle bus to city
  • Stayed June 2008, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank biglunchbox
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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London
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed June 2, 2008

All I can say is thank goodness for the Empire.

Its just a fantastic hotel. Excellent views, food is amazing, service is wonderful. Plus we played golf, went to the cinema, did bowling, played basketball, squash and swimming all on site.

If you're going to Bandar Seri Begawan, make sure you stay at the empire.

There is very little to do in downtown Bandar Seri Begawan. All the sites can be seen in a day. And unless you've got time to go explore Borneo, you'll get bored pretty quickly... unless of course you're at the Empire.

  • Stayed June 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Check in / front desk
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    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank AK_Lombard
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Perth, Australia
1 review
Reviewed May 30, 2008

My trip to the Empire was for only one night which was the single disappointing thing about our stay.

Check-in was taking some time but just as I was starting to get annoyed with the delay I was told that there had been a mix up with the booking and had been upgraded to a suite.

The suite is lovely and spacious with everything you could possibly need. From electric curtains, to a very large bath, king size bed and enormous balcony over looking both the beach and pool area, it was all there! Yes, the décor is a little dated but it’s still in good condition and is what I expect from this part of Asia.

The service was excellent with a porter to carry luggage to and from your room. The staff were very polite and friendly. However, it would’ve been helpful to have been told of a few details such as where breakfast was and check out time. FYI checkout is at 12…ahhh.

We dined at the Italian restaurant and had delicious food, bread & oil, a wood fired margarita, huge fresh salad and blue cheese gnocchi, which was to die for. Including two hot chocolates this all came to just over B$50, great value.

The place is amazing to see and it’s set in a beautiful location on the beach and surrounded by lush green manicured gardens. Not to mention the incredible architecture and splendour - truly breathtaking. The hotel has plenty to do (except drink) and see.

We booked on asiatravel.com & paid US$125 for the night (this included breakfast for 2). Excellent value for a 5 star hotel.

I wouldn’t necessarily recommend Brunei as a holiday destination but this hotel is definitely worth a stay if you find yourself in the area!

  • Liked — The setting and the views
  • Disliked — No free transfers from the airport (as expected of a 5 star hotel)
  • Stayed May 2008, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank PerthLabuan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brunei Darussalam
Level 5 Contributor
80 reviews
51 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 83 helpful votes
Reviewed May 15, 2008

We've stayed at the Empire twice this year, once as a family, and once for our anniversary. The lobby is absolutely stunning. It looks more like a palace than anyplace I've ever been, save Versailles. It deserves a visit, especially at night just to see the place. The buffet food was above average, though we ate at the chinese restaurant one evening and were very, very dissapointed. The rooms were very tired, though well-appointed. I love the enormous bathrooms, but the carpet is worn, and everything feels a little old. The sandy-bottom freshwater pool is a lot of fun, and the kids had a grand time in all the pools. We also did some water sports, though the beach in and of itself is pretty lousy with dirty sand and lots of flotsam. Stay by the pools for a more luxurious experience. This place is a "gotta see it once" experience, and by far the best place to stay in the entire country. Though the next time we need a night away, we're going to try to Miri, Marriott.

  • Stayed May 2008, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank eriktera
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Auckland
Level 3 Contributor
16 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
Reviewed May 5, 2008

Just back from a very relaxing and enjoyable stay at The Empire. As many other reviewers have stated this place is enormous. Set on 180 hectares with its own golf course (pricey at US$125 I felt though), movie theatre complex (open to the public however and it is popular so make sure you book for newly released movies), bowling alley (~US$6pp per game), 9 pools and the list goes on. Its a very impressive hotel to look at.

The pluses, my wife and I had very good experiences with the staff. We found them courteous and efficient. The sports/recreation facilities are impressive - lots of options (badminton, squash, table tennis, tennis) and the gym is perfectly acceptable, not huge, but has most of the equipment you will need for a decent work out.

The rooms are BIG. Every room has a balcony - nice for those bring your own (and dont forget to bring it either because there is absolutely NO WHERE in Brunei to buy your alcohol) sundowners! If you DO forget you can take a run to the Malaysia/Brunei border to stock up. It wont be cheap getting there though.

The beds are comfy - although we found the pillows a bit soft - and the shower pressure is good.

The negatives, not too many really, but why my review gives the hotel 4 stars rather than 5.

Firstly the food - its really just average, absolutely nothing special about it at all. Breakfast was ok and we found them slow to replenish the finished plates. Remember to get coffee from the machine NOT the drip pour stuff!

We tried all the restaurants in the complex and I would strongly recommend you stay away from the Chinese one. For US$18pp you get to pick from a choice of 30 items for unlimited food. Sounds quite good but the food tasted like those bad bay marie style takeaway places where you attempt to cram in as much food into your plastic container as possible! You know you do it! ;-)

The Italian place is probably the pick of the bunch, generally nice ambience (one exception noted below) and good attentive service. Food again not spectacular and it didnt help that we were placed by the door to the kitchen and we could hear - in perfect clarity - the head chef berating AT LENGTH and at top volume his staff. Nice one! We also tried the seafood buffet at Pantai restaurant (US$33pp) and found it to be a very meagre looking spread. For a country that prides itself on seafood I think its more accurate to say they pride themselves on how many different ways they can cook prawns!

Finally our only other gripe was that there is no longer a free shuttle into town - as they have advertised in their hotel literature. The only way in is to utilise the hotels own cars at US$21 each way. We were not overly impressed by the town - the mall was caught in some terrible 80's time warp and the big mosque was run down and shabby so I actually suggest you save your cash and go for a National Park tour or just laze about the pool some more!

So, in conclusion we had a great time - very relaxing and great facilities and would definitely stay there again and recommend it to our friends if visiting Brunei.

Stayed May 2008
Helpful?
1 Thank edleycabs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney00
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed May 4, 2008

My second stay at the Empire in two years. Brunei breaks up the long journey for my mum. First time we were there, the place had an amazing WOW factor...... i honestly believed this place was the happiest on earth.... Everyone and I mean Everyone was Happy...... The place is pretty quiet, but adds to a certain mystique of the Hotel.. The Manager (a fine women) gave me her card and asked me to contact her personally if we had any problems.. (Our huge Mercedes was a bit late) the Reception manager gave me his personal number.... even the chef stopped and apologised for our delay and said he would honoured to prepare a dinner anywhere we like...... So this time my expectations were high..... no Mercedes, but my Nissan (or Toyota) was not even there... when it came, my car back home is "more 5 star" when we checked in the room was dirty... apparently they forgot to clean it! can that happen. it was like a new era or new military Junta took over.... everyone seemed sad and quiet.. I asked for "my friend" the manager, only to be told she had left.... and the New manager was extremely busy...... not too sure about busy..... the hotel was very quiet. We ordered Rooms service....... One hour later.. it arrived cold, i left it in the corridor. I asked for "my friend" the Chef... he had also left.... my god maybe Brunei had been taken over!! The hotel is truly still amazing and one must see it... but don't expect it to be a 5 star experience...more like three. I played Golf again here, the course looked shabby and tired, not like before when it was pristine. Dinner in the hotels fine dining Bistro was an experience... one not to be repeated.. Overall very sad to see such a beautiful hotel go to waste, I asked who I could write to..... head office or similar.. they gave me the Managers card..... Is he not too busy. So in Future my yearly trip home will be Via another part of the world.......... Such a shame.

  • Liked — Amazing rooms
  • Disliked — Room was Dirty.
  • Stayed April 2008, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank SydneyJools
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chalgrove, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
145 reviews
60 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 128 helpful votes
Reviewed May 2, 2008

Where can you start with this hotel...the only word is Opulent! Sumptuous would be a close second...

Even the hotel admits that the amount of Italian marble used was scandalous - huge amounts of marble, chandeliers dripping with Swarovski crystal, gold leaf, more marble, and balustrades highlighted with huge pieces of tiger-eye - everywhere you go, the place is full of wonders. The good thing is, even having arrived from a beach resort in shorts and t-shirts, although we felt a little under-dressed, the staff were gracious, coureous, and polite at all times.

Ordered by the Sultan and built by his brother, The Empire has its own cinema and theatre, plus a golf clubhouse and full size course - it's almost a small town in its own right!

You can relax, though - there is a huge lagoon pool, several beaches (although the sand is not as soft or fine as it is in Kuching or Kota Kinabalu), plus a large swimming pool, hot tub, swim up bar, and all the other things you need to relax. Rooms are huge and very well appointed; bathrooms are massive!

The food was good there as well; we ate in the on-site Chinese restaurant, and also at the Pantai restaurant.

The only thing to be aware of is that Brunei is a dry country, so you cannot purchase any alcohol there. You are permitted to bring it in duty free, and if you speak with the restaurants in advance, they will serve you wine that you have brought in with you, but apart from that, there is no alcohol anywhere.

  • Liked — The overall feel of the place - a touch of luxury!
  • Disliked — No beer!
  • Stayed April 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank soulsease
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member 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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