Yesterday I wrote a little thing about my lovely experience with the Fairmont Empress Gold Lounge. However, the Lounge experience is only part of the service; guests in the Fairmont Gold also stay in completely renovated and up-dated rooms in the Gold part of the Fairmont Empress.
While I love the heritage feel of the Fairmont Empress, I did not particularly like the small size of the rooms there. In the Fairmont Gold, that has been completely rectified. The rooms are spacious and very well appointed. The king size bed does not dominate the room even though it seems massive once you are in it. The room has plenty of space to work around the bed.
Because I was in Victoria on business I needed a work station as well as a small meeting space. Even though I was in a room, not a suite, my accommodations suited my purposes perfectly.
The desk was large enough for me to have my laptop on as well as my reference and note books. There were enough electrical outlets to charge my laptop and my phone at the desk and another electrical outlet beside the bed for me to charge my camera battery.
The bathroom facilities were perfect. This is where the renovation work is most appreciated. The bathrooms have marble vanity tops and floor. My most obvious complaint about my stay in the Empress last time was the proximity of the toilet to the tub; it was difficult for larger people to have a sit down on the toilet because it was so close to the tub. No more. The toilet sits on its own and is a very comfortable perch for even the largest of guests.
Another thing I noticed was that the toilets are low flow flush; they use 6 litres per flush. In comparison, the toilets in the resort I recently stayed at in water-starved Tofino use 13 litres per flush. The Fairmont Gold showers are also low flow water conserving even though you would never notice. Overall, the improvements to the bathroom facilities in the Fairmont Gold are total home-run.
Of course there are a couple of things about the Fairmont Gold that I found odd. First, there is no dresser to unload my clothes into. Of course there is a lovely big closet to hang my suits and shirts in but nowhere to load my socks and other dainties.
Another quibble I have is that I could never get the lamp beside the bed to turn on. The hotel uses the CFL bulbs and they do not come on immediately so in my sleepy state I would turn the little knob to make the light come on and then inadvertently turn it again to the off position. In honesty, this is more about my ineptness than it is about the Fairmont Gold.
On the plus side, the level of service that comes with the Fairmont Gold is wonderful. All the little perks that make a stay just that little bit more comfortable are in place. On the desk in my room was the coolest little chocolate egg with tiny chocolate beads and dried cranberries inside of it as a welcome gift. Very thoughtful.
There is no waiting in line-ups in the main lobby of the hotel for check-in or out. The people who work in the Fairmont Gold are exceptionally friendly and helpful. Anything I needed they could, and did take care of. The management has put together an exceptional team of people to run this section of the hotel-within a hotel.
When I called for a wake-up call a real human took the call and asked if I wanted tea, coffee or fresh fruit juice brought up to my room for my wake-up call. And when the call in the morning came it was again a real human who started my day by saying good morning in a very cheery but not too enthusiastic manner. A perfect start to my day.
Other little perks were things like the fact that I placed my leather shoes in a wooden tray outside my door and they were returned to my door before 7am with a professional quality polish administered. Seeing as I was in our provincial capital for business meetings it was nice to at least have the look and apparel of a professional.
Perhaps the best perk of all, when I went to check out I did not have to drag my suitcases all around the hotel with me. The concierge arranged for someone to come to my room and take them to my car which was brought around for me.
The single best thing about the Fairmont Gold? People called you by your name. It may sound funny to say this but it made me feel very welcome. For example, when I needed my car brought around for my use nobody asked “What is the number.” The reply was always, “Certainly Mr Robinsmith.” And then they would phone the people who had my car and say, “Would you bring Mr Robinsmith’s car around for him?” It is the personal touches like that that I most appreciated.
Overall impression? The Fairmont Gold is a home-run hit. Although I was in Victoria on business for this stay, I will most definitely be returning to the Fairmont Empress Gold for a quiet weekend getaway with my Sweetheart. Most definitely. And I do not doubt that they will once again meet or exceed my expectations. A perfect stay!!
Disclosure; this review is based on my personal opinion. I did not receive any form of compensation from the Fairmont Empress or anybody else for writing this review.