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The Fairmont Empress

8.2 | Very Good | #30 out of 49 hotels in Victoria
MAP

Highly praised Victoria harbourfront hotel with elegant decor, indoor pool & fine dining 

Pros
  • Free amenities for members only: Wi-Fi and bicycle rentals
  • Rooms were clean and well-appointed with comfortable beds
  • Location was ideal and an easy walk to everything downtown
  • Staff were helpful and full of information
  • Many enjoyed beautiful views of the harbour from their rooms
  • Some guests were very pleased with the hotel's afternoon tea
  • Public spaces were impressive as were the manicured grounds surrounding the hotel
  • Guests enjoyed excellent dining on site
Cons
  • Wi-Fi for non-members is $14.65 per day
  • Self and valet parking is $32 per night
  • No air conditioning in some rooms a disappointment for guests on warmer nights
  • Noise transferred from the street, elevator, slamming doors and neighbouring rooms
  • Some said rooms were dated in parts and had small bathrooms
  • Some felt the hotel was too expensive
  • No elevator to lobby from level 2 parking an inconvenience for some
Editor's Review
Updated Aug 4, 2017
Overview
About the hotel: This hotel offers a luxury stay right on the harbour, a 4-minute walk to the Inner Harbour Centre and to the shops and restaurants of Government Street.

The hotel has 464 smoke-free rooms on 9 floors with elevator access.

All rooms include Wi-Fi ($14.65 to non-members), a flat screen TV with cable and pay movies, a Keurig coffeemaker, a tea kettle, a mini-fridge, an iron and ironing board, a safe, bathrobes, a hair dryer, windows that open and ceiling fan.

Some rooms include a sofabed, 1 or 2 separate bedrooms, a living room, a decorative fireplace, a parlour with piano, a kitchen, a Nespresso coffeemaker, a dining table, 2 or 3 bathrooms, air conditioning and city, garden and harbour views. Accessible rooms are available.

Rooms are furnished with 2 double beds, 1 or 2 queen beds or 1 king bed.

Parking:
Secure underground parking with a clearance of 6’2” and valet parking both cost $32 per night. This includes unlimited access until 4 pm on check-out day. Overheight vehicle parking is available in the neighbourhood. Electric vehicle charging is free on site.

Guests should note: Level 2 parking requires a flight of stairs to reach the elevator that goes to the hotel lobby. (Guests are advised to drop off luggage before parking.) Parking is locked overnight and guests will need to reach the front desk to gain entry.

Pets are welcome (dogs/cats) for $25 per pet, per night.

Restaurants on site:
Q at the Empress is open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Q Bar is open for lunch, and serves dinner until 11 pm. Open till midnight, it features live music weekends (daily in the summer) with local craft beers, wine and cocktails.
Lobby Lounge offers afternoon tea and evening cocktail service, champagne and fine dining featuring local seafood.
24-hour room service is available (menu is limited from 10:30 pm to 6 am).

Hotel amenities include an indoor lap pool, a kiddie pool, a hot tub, 2 saunas, a fitness centre, a 24-hour business centre, dry cleaning, a day spa, a gift shop, a 24-hour front desk, concierge, bell staff, babysitting, safety deposit boxes, free bicycles (to members only), bicycle storage, free newspapers and meeting rooms.

What’s nearby? The BC Legislature, Royal BC Museum and the Maritime Museum of British Columbia are all 3 minutes away on foot. The Bay Centre (downtown’s mall) is a 5-minute walk. Market Square is a 10-minute walk. Fisherman’s Wharf is a 17-minute walk. Butchart Gardens is 28 minutes by car.

Getting around: The bus stop is a 2-minute walk. Access to the Trans-Canada Hwy is a 1-minute drive. The Ferry Ramp to Seattle/Port Angeles is a 7-minute walk. Victoria International Airport (YYJ) is a 30- to 40-minute drive. (All travel times: Google Maps)

Confirmed by hotel Aug 4, 2017: clearance of underground lot, all rooms have a safe, a mini-fridge and windows that open

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The Good
This hotel was well liked for its perfect location, elegance, informative staff, and delicious dining.

Rooms varied and comments did as well, but they were typically described as clean and nicely decorated with comfortable beds. Some had great views of the harbour.

Guests loved the location. It was an easy walk to restaurants, shops, the harbour, transportation and attractions.

Staff were helpful, professional and full of information, but some guests complained about them.

Many enjoyed excellent dining on site.

Guests enjoyed afternoon tea. Although expensive, some guests really enjoyed the tea, delicious sandwiches and cakes and found the experience memorable.

Guests also liked: the grounds and facilities which were nicely decorated and well maintained, the large and clean pool and the well-equipped gym.

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The Bad
Some guests were disappointed or not fully satisfied for the price paid.

Recent room complaints were: small room, tiny bathroom, dusty surfaces, no microwave, slippery marble shower floor, poor view, room was dark and dated in parts, and no bottled water.

Noise transferred from: the street, a drafty window, AC unit, the elevator, doors slamming and neighbouring rooms. One guest said his room overlooked exterior air conditioners on the roof which produced noise.

Many complained about the Wi-Fi charges and some complained of poor Wi-Fi connectivity.

Some guests were displeased with the staff. They reported rudeness, a lack of help with luggage, very little interaction, and being disallowed entry from the bellman.

Other comments found were: evening entertainment ended too early at 9 pm/10 pm, and hot tub barely hot with weak jets.

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Show Sources
Sources
TripAdvisor.ca guest reviews ranked the hotel #20 out of 49 Victoria hotels with an average rating of 4 out of 5 from 3632 reviews.

Expedia.ca guest reviews rated the hotel 4.2 out of 5 from 1494 reviews.

Booking.com guest reviews rated the hotel 8.5 out of 10 from 647 reviews.



Guest Reviews
Rated by Guests
8.2 / out of 10
"Very Good"
Ranked by Guests
#
30 / out of 49
hotels in Victoria

The average guest rating for The Fairmont Empress is 8.2 out of 10 based on 7186 reviews from past guests. This average guest rating ranks The Fairmont Empress at #30 out of 49 hotels in Victoria.

7186
Location
Map Marker The Fairmont Empress
721 Government Street, Victoria, BC