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“Great Hotel but Needs Improvement in Other Things”

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The Empire Hotel & Country Club
Certificate of Excellence
Singapore, Singapore
Level 4 Contributor
36 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
“Great Hotel but Needs Improvement in Other Things”
Reviewed January 6, 2014

Empire Hotel and Country Club is the best place to stay in Brunei. Although it's a long way from BSB, just staying in the hotel and using its facilities would justify your visit to the country state.

The hotel rooms are luxurious and huge. The bed itself is enough reason not to get up as it's one of the comfiest I've slept on. The bathroom is lavish. We have a great view of the ocean (we're on the seaview building) and everything is just so peaceful and quiet.

However, the hotel lacks simple touches that would have made the stay extra special. We've also discovered some minor things that are probably overlooked by the management. The WiFi in our room didn't work and we were told that we can use the next door's connection. The kettle in our room is broken. The drain in our shower is blocked and we had to wait a while for the water to subside to continue showering.

As mentioned, simple touches would have been better being a 5 star hotel. Like, say, some additional stuff in the bathroom like bubble bath (as they do have nice tub), cotton buds and the likes (they only provide you with toothbrush and paste), etc.

Breakfast was good, nothing exceptional, and did its job in making us full. We haven't used any of the facilities but the pool and it was alright.

Despite all these 'comments', it's still a good experience staying at The Empire.

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank IamJoyceee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TheEmpireHotel, General Manager at The Empire Hotel & Country Club, responded to this review, January 12, 2014
Dear Guest,

Thank you for your detailed report, which I have taken careful note of.

I apologise for the inconvenience which you should not have experienced with the WIFI, shower drain and kettle not working, all of which have been addressed.

If you should you wish to elaborate further on your recent stay, I would be pleased to correspond with you directly, at the email address below.

Sincerely,

Nigel Badminton
General Manager
nigel.badminton@theempirehotel.com
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
  • Location
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
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Chicago, Illinois
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviewed January 2, 2014

This lavish hotel was built by the Sultan's brother as part of an ambitious development plan to modernize Brunei. The grounds and room are excellent, albeit, not my style. Lavish is the word, with an excellent, if never used beach, superb pool and excellent spa and fitness center. Golf course is short, but very playable and challenging (recently hosted professional tournament). Service is excellent, top notch. The food could and should be better for a hotel of this stature, but consistent - and usually in buffet style. Expensive, but as one would expect. There is not drinking, as most places in Brunei. Good business center.

Room Tip: Try to get room in main hotel building, but all good.
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Steven I
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TheEmpireHotel, General Manager at The Empire Hotel & Country Club, responded to this review, January 12, 2014
Dear Steven,

Thank you for posting your constructive review on TripAdvisor and your comment concerning the food is noted.

We are constantly working to improve our food and I hope you will find an improvement on your next visit.

Sincerely,

Nigel Badminton
General Manager
gm.ehcc@gmail.com
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed December 28, 2013

This is a beautiful property that is right on the waterfront, with hectares of greens, numerous swimming pools, golf course, restaurants, water sports, bowling alley, badminton courts, pool tables, ping pong, bicycle rentals. The decoration is elegant, facilities are modern, with extremely spacious everything! Some nice touches include lights in the bathroom are motion sensitive, lots of pagodas and day beds around the pool area, golf buggies that take you around.

Unfortunately, the service only deserve 3 stars because of the lack of training on the staff. There is not enough staff for such a huge hotel. They are very pleasant and courteous, but not knowledgeable. 1. It took 2 people 15 minutes to find out which restaurant is open for lunch on Friday at 2 pm. 2. My room was never made up. On my first night, I had to call housekeeping to come and clean up my room. On the second night, same thing happened, I had to call housekeeping again, but this time nobody picked up the phone! 3. I was enquiring about the city tours, and it took the concierge 30 min. to get back to me. Coming from a big city, 30 minutes is a long wait to get the information I need, but for the people in Brunei, it's probably normal!?

Room Tip: Get a room in the main building or close to the main building unless you don't mind waiting for...
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  • Stayed December 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Canucks1234
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TheEmpireHotel, General Manager at The Empire Hotel & Country Club, responded to this review, December 30, 2013
Dear Guest,

I was sorry to read of your most disappointing experience, for which I apologise.

Your feedback is much appreciated and I have followed this up with those responsible, in order to improve on the consistency of our service.

I do hope this does not deter you from returning, as we would be pleased to make amends on your next visit.

Sincerely,
Nigel Badminton
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dachau, Germany
Level 5 Contributor
58 reviews
30 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed December 27, 2013 via mobile

Insgesamt gut man mß aber weite Wege gehen oder mit Cart fahren lassen
Lamm in Restaurant war excellent
Lage am Meer ist gut wenn man Zimmer mit Meerblick hat
In total good however long distances to walk or use cart services
Lamb in restaurant was excellent

Stayed December 2013, traveled on business
Helpful?
1 Thank Harry W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TheEmpireHotel, General Manager at The Empire Hotel & Country Club, responded to this review, December 30, 2013
Dear Guest,

Thank you for your review, which I was pleased to see.

Indeed this is a large property, with spacious accommodation in four buildings, and I can appreciate your comment. Perhaps I could suggest that you reserve a Deluxe bedroom in the Atrium for your future visits?

I'm glad that you enjoyed the lamb and I hope you have the chance to try our other restaurants on your next stay.

Sincerely,
Nigel Badminton
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Basingstoke, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
67 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
Reviewed December 27, 2013

I was at the Empire Hotel for a business trip and the local office had booked us all in the Empire Hotel which has been used by us before.

The hotel is certainly grand looking, the main lobby enjoys spectacular views over a vast atrium and out to the South |China Sea. The décor however proves that money does not always equal taste, there was more than a passing touch of "Trafford Centre" about some areas!! Checking in was a little rough, I was told that my room was not ready and that I would have to wait, this despite arriving at nearly 6pm! In the end, the only issue was the lack of pillowcases!

My room was 3419 and was a Deluxe room located on the fourth floor of the main building's West Wing, with access to the E-club lounge on the 6th.

The room was nice, large with a small, separated dressing area and a huge bathroom with large walk-in shower cubicle and toilet cubicle. The bath itself looked small though. The room had a balcony but rather than the Ocean View I had been expecting, I looked out onto a small bay. The room was comfortable and well appointed, an unusual touch being the all-in-one control panel by the bed that contained a clock, alarm, world-time and control buttons for the air-conditioning, curtains, lights and do-not-disturb sign. Be warned though, the alarm clock sounds like a smoke alarm when it goes off! The air conditioning, despite the control panel, had one setting "Very Cold" and I frequently had to switch it off at night or ensure it was on the lowest setting. The bed was firm and comfortable. The TV was a huge new Samsung Smart TV, but was not connected so none of the on-line features worked. In room Wi-Fi was reasonably good.

The hotel itself is very, very large, so be prepared to walk! It has very nice grounds around the seafront and beach areas.

I ate a few times in the hotel, for dinner I ate twice in the Atrium Cafe and once in the Pantai seafood restaurant. The former was OK but nothing spectacular, the latter was good once we had got past the staff at the entrance who seemed determined to dissuade us from eating there! They fed us tales of having to wait for ages as they were attending to a private function and that they were really busy. In reality the restaurant was nearly empty and the food arrived very quickly.

The E-Club on the 6th Floor was a great facility though. Relatively small, but they provided good breakfasts and delicious (if a little haphazard) afternoon teas. Special praise is reserved for Dennis and Jesus, two of the staff up there who could not do enough to make you feel welcome and help out. Most of the lounge is in dining set up, though there is a small area which is a converted guest bedroom which has sofa seating and a desk & computer for internet access if needed.

However, it all went wrong at check-out time. I had ordered a late check-out, but made plans with a colleague to go shopping before we both flew hope. When the time came for my colleague to check-out, reception was bedlam, absolutely overwhelmed with new guests and the staff could not cope at all. The plan had been for my colleague to check-out, us to go shopping and I would return later to check-out and leave. The chaos in reception led me to change my plans. The girl behind reception checking us out appears to have had no training whatsoever and was constantly asking other staff for help, adding even more delay. In the end, it took almost an hour!!!!! I have never, ever, ever experienced a delay like this in all my life, even at the lowliest Travelodge!! It, frankly, soured the whole experience.

Overall, a good hotel trying to be a fantastic one. It manages in parts and fails in others.

Room Tip: Ask for an ocean view room, high up.
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  • Stayed November 2013, traveled on business
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank JDH2007
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TheEmpireHotel, General Manager at The Empire Hotel & Country Club, responded to this review, December 30, 2013
Dear Guest,

Thank you for your detailed report, which I have taken careful note of.

I apologise for the unacceptable shortcomings you experienced, particularly the delays on check-in and check-out.

We will strive to improve on these and I do hope you will return in the future, when a noticeable improvement should be evident.

Sincerely,
Nigel Badminton
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed December 26, 2013

I stay for a night of 2 rooms. Check in 23/12. The check in was late. Actually was 2pm, but room still not available at that time. They had to change to other rooms because room allocated was not ready? Can you believe it, even after 2pm. At night around 2300hrs, the aircon motor was faulty. Had to change our room. How well do they maintain? So had to pack and unpack again. Overall was satisfactory.

  • Stayed December 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank AndrinRashid
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TheEmpireHotel, General Manager at The Empire Hotel & Country Club, responded to this review, December 30, 2013
Dear Mr. Rashid,

I am so sorry you had a delayed check-in and were inconvenienced by having to change your bedroom at 11pm.

Your comments have been taken seriously and I have taken them up with the respective department heads, to make the necessary improvements.

I hope you will return, when a warm welcome awaits you.

Sincerely,
Nigel Badminton
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Singapore
Level 5 Contributor
69 reviews
68 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 90 helpful votes
Reviewed December 24, 2013

The hotel is only a 15-20 min fixed price taxi from the airport and about the same into BSB.
If you like massive new build hotels with lots of marble and gold paint then this is right up your street. For us it was quite gaudy, lacking any real charm.
The room and bathroom were both a good size, the bed comfortable and when we arrived late at night we appreciated the filled ice bucket, a nice touch. The issues are really all outside the room and are a symptom of the scale.
The beach and gardens are nice but very sculpted and a little lacking in charm, particularly when facing the hotel which is huge and quite ugly.
The service ranged from excellent to ridiculous with the latter again a symptom of size and a lack of internal coordination. Having been told (rather rudely) the restaurant we wanted was full we went along to find it was practically empty and remained so whilst we were there. As it happens the food we had then was excellent although it was a guest chef. Other meals were pleasant without really wowing us. This service experience contrasted heavily with the excellent greeting we got when arriving in the early hours of the morning.
Our main recommendation would be to organise a driver for a few hours, get away from the hotel and go visit the city. The boat trip up the river and back for 1.5 hrs was fun and we got to see proboscis monkeys. It's not quite comparable with the kinabatangan river elsewhere on Borneo but it gives you a good taste of it. The city, village on the river and the mosques are interesting and impressive too.
If we could we'd give the hotel 3.5, but considering it's not that pretty combined with mixed service we felt rounding down was more appropriate.

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Club_Street
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TheEmpireHotel, General Manager at The Empire Hotel & Country Club, responded to this review, December 30, 2013
Dear Guest,

Thank you for your constructive review and I will certainly take your observations on the decor into consideration for the future.

I apologise for the inconvenience you were caused by the poor internal coordination and we are working to improve on this.

Sincerely,
Nigel Badminton
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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