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“Wonderful old lady”

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The Fairmont Empress
Ranked #19 of 49 Hotels in Victoria
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersGold level
Perth, Australia
Level Contributor
23 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Wonderful old lady”
Reviewed 6 March 2012

Lovely old hotel right in the centre of Victoria, only a short walk to the Parliament building, the Museum, shops, and right on the waterfront. Room was very comfortable, but unfortunately didn't have much of a view. if you're only here for a day or two you've just got to stay at the Empress! Naturally we also had to try their Afternoon Tea - tearoom itself is lovely, but although good, the afternnon tes didn't match the surroundings.

  • Stayed May 2011, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank westozscot
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Denver, Colorado
Level Contributor
10 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 March 2012

Vancouver (the city) and all its surrounding islands and areas is a "not to be missed" area in North America. Luckily, my in-laws live in the vicinity of White Rock in the southern suburbs of Vancouver.

So, a must in a "must-see" place is one night at the Empress. We got a great package last summer that included one night at the hotel, high tea and admission to the Provence's museum.

My daughter is a teenager and she LOVED high tea, so did I, my 4-year-old (at the time) light the hot dog cart on the harbor and the local street performers.

So, if you're on the island, and you like history, especially a bit of Victoriana, you'll love the Empress.

Drawback: the room was a bit small, the bathroom a little small too - yet it didn't really take away from the stay.

I'd LOVE to come back without the kids for a romantic weekend - but not this year!

Room Tip: If you're coming from the U.S. or anywhere else in Canada, just ask for a harbor-view room, and...
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  • Stayed July 2011, travelled with family
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Helpful?
Thank rcmcaree
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Colleen B, Executive Office at The Fairmont Empress, responded to this review, 7 March 2012
Dear Valued Guest from Denver,
Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback on Tripadvisor! I am delighted to hear that everyone had a great time, and that your teenage daughter liked Afternoon Tea so much. You’re absolutely right – staying here is great for both a family trip or a romantic getaway. Hopefully you will be able to join us again when you’re back visiting your in-laws in the Vancouver area.

Colleen Bezeau
Executive Office
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
22 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 March 2012

I am a big fan of Fairmont Hotels and so was looking forward to staying at the Fairmont Empress. I don't think it is my favorite Fairmont (that honor would either go to Jasper Park Lodge or the Kea Lani on Maui) but it's a good hotel to hunker down in when visiting Victoria. It's well located on Victoria Harbor and the staff are perfectly lovely and very helpful. Although friends urged forgoing the Empress high tea for one somewhere else and perhaps a bit cheaper, I would advise that it is not to be missed. Not so much for the greatness of the food (it's a B at best and the scone is a C+) but because of the ambiance. It's in the old lobby of the Empress and if you pause, you can see how it would be when the tea was served in the midst of the comings and goings in days gone by. It's sad that they've moved the lobby in favor of something more modern -- you could be going into any hotel, anywhere because you certainly don't feel the history of the Empress in the new lobby. Overall, I wouldn't give the Empress an A+ -- it seems a bit worn around the edges and I"m not a big fan of the convention center next door. It's a perfectly good choice for spending a few days in Victoria and enjoying what this small city by the sea has to offer. In Victoria Melange (see http://theworldawaitsme.blogspot.com/2012/02/victoria-melange.html), I've noted some of the things that we did during our stay that you might find of interest.

  • Stayed February 2012, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank Nancy L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Carmel, CA
Level Contributor
34 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 March 2012

We stayed at the lovely Empress Hotel in Victoria. We upgraded to the Gold Level, which gave us free breakfast, hors d'oeuvres and pots of tea 24 hours a day. The food was available in a room that had a view of the harbor, which was a good thing because at $423 per night, our window looked out on roofs. We never saw a car, a road or a person on the street. We had to go to the Gold Level room to see if it was raining and if we needed an umbrella.

Room Tip: Ask for a room with a view of a street
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  • Stayed February 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Wmjordan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Seattle, Washington, United States
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 February 2012

We are actually still in our room right now. I've been sick for about a week with a nasty cold, but our plans due to an outside party could not be changed. When we arrived they had our room ready for us 4 hours ahead of time. I was able to sleep in the most comfortable bed with such fantastic pillows! My boyfriend was able to experience much of Victoria's beauty while I rested he said there were several parks that I would have adored. The staff at the Empress have been wonderfully accommodating! They brought me tea, chicken noodle soup and a grilled cheese sandwich which was not on the menu, but I think they could tell by the sound of my voice that I wasn't doing well. Our ferry is scheduled to leave at 4 p.m. and they extended our check out a few hours so I could rest some more. I would recommend the Empress to anyone and I hope to come again one day when I'm feeling well. I think the service you receive when you are at your worst speaks volumes and The Empress has definitely treated us like family.

Room Tip: All of the rooms are beautiful and have grand views you can't go wrong. Yesterday we saw snow an...
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  • Stayed February 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Jen S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Colleen B, Executive Office at The Fairmont Empress, responded to this review, 7 March 2012
Dear Valued Guest from Seattle,
Thank you for taking the time to write such a wonderful review, particularly when you weren’t feeling well! It can be hard to be away from home when you don’t feel great and it is so lovely to hear that you felt like family while staying with us. Hopefully you will be able to come back to visit us again when you are able to enjoy all that Victoria has to offer.

Colleen Bezeau
Executive Office
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
52 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 February 2012

I spent the night in Victoria a couple of weeks ago and decided I would stay at the Empress.

I was pretty tired when I checked in, so I had my vehicle valet parked and just spent the evening working in my room. The first thing I noticed was just how loud it actually was. I don't think that I've ever spent a night in a hotel that loud. There was a conference going on and every 10-15 minutes the people talking down the hallway was crazy. Ding! The elevator went and then all I hear like it was right beside me was blah, blah, blah...with the occasional "I"m so drunk"... The funny thing was I was probably 10 rooms down the hall from the elevators, but I could hear them plain as day. The next morning, I found out that my room faced the loading area, trucks and people talking at 7:30 am and on.
Now, I'm sure you're thinking "geez, just put some ear plugs in"... Well, I sleep with ear plugs all the time, so I could only imagine what it would have been like.

If you're wanting to stay in a piece of BC History, this is the place to stay. Right on the Water, beside the Legislature and walking distance to all that Victoria has to offer. For a piece of Empress charm, have high tea... you gotta do it once.

Would I stay again? Yes, but I would ask for a room not facing the loading area.

Room Tip: Make sure your room isn't facing the loading area.
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  • Stayed February 2012, travelled on business
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Helpful?
2 Thank Julio P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Colleen B, Executive Office at The Fairmont Empress, responded to this review, 7 March 2012
Dear Valued Guest from Vancouver,
Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback. I am sorry to hear that your stay was not as restful as you would have liked. Indeed, please do not hesitate to request a quiet area on an upper floor when you stay with us again. We are always happy to find a way to accommodate your needs and ensure that you are as comfortable as possible. Thank you again for sharing the feedback; I am happy to hear you were able to enjoy the experience of Afternoon Tea!

Colleen Bezeau
Executive Office
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Montreal, Canada
2 reviews
Reviewed 24 February 2012

My stay at the Fairmont Empress was amazing! I felt like a princess in her castle! Overlooking the harbour and Parliament, its location is superb. Inside the hotel, you feel like royalty because of the look and feel of all its facilities. Even more important, and what distinguishes the Empress from other hotels is its staff. Everyone I met where extremely welcoming, warm, and attentive to my needs and made sure my stay would be a memorable one. Having worked in the service industry for 20 years, I can assure you that service like this can only be possible when the people serving you are genuinely nice and caring which the case with everyone was I encountered. Dillon is the assistant manager of the Fairmont Gold and his service was without flaw. Kind, caring, interested… You could truly tell he love his work to a point where it wasn’t work to him. He made me feel right at home, while I was away from home. Niyazi and Catherine both maid my dining experience at The Bengal Lounge remarkable. I did not want to leave! And what a privilege was it to have met Martin Leclerc, General Manager of the Fairmont Empress. He seemed very close to his guests and his team. Leading by example and being all about outstanding customer service, you could tell that everyone on staff have the utmost respect for him. Smiles all around, warmth, magnificent facilities, impeccable service … The Fairmont Empress.

  • Stayed February 2012, travelled on business
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Helpful?
Thank Rousse_Freckles
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about The Fairmont Empress

Property: The Fairmont Empress
Address: 721 Government Street, Victoria, British Columbia V8W 1W5, Canada
Phone Number:
Region: Canada > British Columbia > Vancouver Island > Victoria Capital Regional District > Victoria
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#2 Green Hotel in Victoria
#7 Spa Hotel in Victoria
#9 Luxury Hotel in Victoria
#13 Business Hotel in Victoria
#16 Romantic Hotel in Victoria
#17 Family Hotel in Victoria
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4 star — The Fairmont Empress 4*
Number of rooms: 477
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Fairmont Empress sits majestically at the cornerstone of Victoria's sparkling Inner Harbour. This landmark hotel features turn of the century architecture, classic beauty and an unrivaled location on the water. It features the highly acclaimed Willow Stream Spa regarded as one of the best spas in Canada. Food lovers can sample the English ritual of Afternoon Tea, savour the famous curry buffet in The Bengal Lounge or sample award-winning food and wine in The Empress Room. The Fairmont Empress offers wireless internet access in all guestrooms, and it is complimentary for our Fairmont President's Club members, free to join. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Fairmont Empress Hotel Victoria
Fairmont Hotel Victoria
Fairmont Hotel Empress
Empress Hotel Victoria
Fairmont Victoria
Victoria Fairmont
Fairmont Empress Hotel

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