The Fairmont Empress Hotel

, Victoria, Canada
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The Fairmont Empress Hotel

, Victoria
4 star

Rooms: 477

721 Government Street - Victoria - British Columbia - V8W 1W5 - Canada | 250 384 8111
751 Traveller

Reviews - The Fairmont Empress Hotel

Historical Traveller Reviews of The Fairmont Empress Hotel

The Empress was great

from ShilsholeGirl
The Empress is beautiful. Our harbor view room was lovely, the staff friendly and professional, and we had a super comfortable mattress. The Tea was a bit spendy, but very tasty and we thought of it as more an experience rather than just another meal. The only thing that bugged me was the type of lightbulbs. The compact fluorescent bulbs clashed with the beautiful, historic surroundings. I know hotels need to conserve energy like anyone else, but perhaps they can use incandescent bulbs in some lamps, especially in guest rooms. Otherwise, our stay was wonderful and we'd stay there again. And the classic photos throughout the building were just great.

We were treated like royalty

from A TripAdvisor Member
We couldn't believe the excellent internet deal we had gotten on a room for 4 at the Empress, and were expecting something very small but accomodating. When we arrived in the late evening we were told the hotel was full and our reservation had been changed. My heart sank, as I know how tiny some of the rooms can be. We soon learned we had been moved to a Fairmont Gold room which turned out to be a two room suite (No change in price)! This also entitled us access to the Gold Conceirge (very helpful) and free breakfast and open bar each day. This saved us over $40 a day in meals, plus all the free pop a teenager could manage. The view of the inner harbor, from both rooms, was the best part of the stay. The ambience was so comfortable that I wish we had had more time to spend relaxing there.

Grande Dame

from A TripAdvisor Member
We returned to the Empress after a lapse of 35 years. We found that it has kept up its status, although certain areas have become a bit dated.
One thing that hasn't changed is their service. It remains warm and very competent. The Empress continues to be worth the visit.

It was . . . interesting

from A TripAdvisor Member
Me and my wife visited Victoria this summer ( 2003). We picked up brochures, all complimenting the Empress as having " Olde world charm" and being " The best hotel on Vancouver Island". These reviews were rue but went a bit extreme. When me and my wife arrived, the Empress staff explained, very...cordially, that our room was being renovated. We had booked 2 months in advance but we were transfered to another room like ours. The room had all you would expect in a decent hotel, but the bathroom had mildue on the ceiling. We complained, and the Empress transferred us again to another room. This room was the same, excluding the mildue. The room had a great advantage though. We got a noisy view of busloads of tourists on the front lawn of the hotel. Me and my wife also had " High tea" in the Empress. VERY overated and expensive.
Basically, we got served plain old tea and plain old biscuits. I WARN YOU, the Empress is good, but it certainly ain't great.

Not bad for an old gal, but you can do better...

from A TripAdvisor Member
This is a great old hotel to walk through, or to have tea or a cold one in, but for my money, I would stay at the Grand Pacific. Only a two blocks further from downtown, their service is every bit as good as you'll find, and the rooms are beautiful...

incredible hotel!!

from A TripAdvisor Member
This is absolutely the finest hotel I've ever stayed in. The customer service is impeccable, the rooms were beautifully appointed, and the attention to detail was awesome! I would not even consider staying in another hotel in Victoria -- the Empress is simply the best.

This place sucks!

from A TripAdvisor Member
My boyfriend and I stayed at the Empress, and we were both very, very disappointed. The room we were originally given was very large and comfortable, unfortunately we could not sleep because the heating unit was extremely noisy. We asked that we be moved to a different room, and the one they put us in was TINY with a lovely (HA!) view of prostitutes working the streets on the back side of the hotel. We cancelled our second night and instead stayed at the Days Inn... Half the price and TWICE the hotel. Never have I had a worse experience with a hotel until the Empress.... Rude staff, smelly rooms, and an all together bad experience.

Privacy not included!

from A TripAdvisor Member
We arrived with trepidation, hving had poor experiences at two previous Fairmont hotels in Quebec and Toronto. We were equally as disappointed here.The first room we were shown to had scaffolding outside of the window and men working, with not even a net curtain. When we made a comment to the bell boy who had taken us to the room, saying that we would like privacy, he suggested that we closed the curtains! We suggest that Fairmont close rooms that are affected by necessary renovation work!The second room we were offered was like a jumble sale of fabrics and furnishings. Anything left over at the end of the sale had landed up in this room!We had booked the famous Empress tea. On the menu it clearly states that dietary requirements can be catered for. It does not state that in order for this to happen you have to know that the menu is going to say this before you go, and that if you ask for anything other than the standard tea the responses will be, a) the chef has gone home and there is nobody here able to prepare anything, and b) the statement is simply "paying lip service!" The fine dining room however was excellent. The food and service was superb, and definitely five star, which is what we are used to.

Lacking grandeur

from A TripAdvisor Member
Its the main tourist attraction in this city and is impressive looking however they have moved the main lobby and entrance from old grand lobby to a new check in place that is nice but thats it. The grandeur of the classic old grande dame is not eveident unless you take the detour to the main old lobby which is used now for afternoon tea so otherwise its empty and forlorn.

Oh, So Average

from snow1234
My husband and I recently stayed at the Fairmont Empress Hotel and we were amazed at how average this place is. The service at reception was so impersonal, unfriendly and they screwed up our reservation. They quickly fixed their error and sent us marching to our Harbor View room.
Harbor view! Are they joking! The tiny window that contained our Harbor View was 2 feet wide and 3 feet tall. You had to stick your head out of the window to try to get a peek at the harbor but that wasn't even possible because they only let you open the window about 3 inches. Oh, there is no A/C in the hotel either so you can imagine what the ventilation is like. The hallways and cooridors of this hotel were dark, narrow, worn and made you feel like you were in the movie the Shining. We spoke with the conceirge to try to choose a restaurant for dinner and when we asked aboout dress code for a certain restaurant we got two drastically different answers. One said you need a coat and tie. The other said jeans and a nice shirt are fine. Big difference, so finally we just called the restaurant and got an answer ourselves. This hotel would be ok if you were spending about $150/night. The hotel was huge and everything about it made you feel processed, insignificant and just like another one of the thousands of tour bus travellers that are cattle herded through this place. After travelling the world and enjoying all kinds of hotels this is by far one of the worst experiences I have ever had. It is AWFUL!

Top Local Tips for Victoria

No Car Needed If you are visiting Victoria for a day or a two-three day weekend, leave the car at home or on the dock. Take a ferry from Port Angeles or Seattle and they will deliver you to the Inner Harbour which is basically downtown and close to @ 20 fine hotels. Public transportation is available as is pedicaps, horse drawn caps, Greyline tours, and shopping is all right downtown. Great place to visit on foot or by bike.

Seaplane Consider traveling during the warm months by seaplane.

Whale watching in a high speed zodiac Do the whale watching - it was great and the boat driver was superb - so helpful and caring.

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Other names for The Fairmont Empress Hotel

  • victoria fairmont
  • fairmont victoria
  • fairmont hotel victoria
  • fairmont hotel empress
  • fairmont empress hotel
  • empress hotel victoria
  • Address: 721 Government Street - Victoria - British Columbia - V8W 1W5 - Canada
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