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Reviewed 1 February 2012

I have visited the empire hotel for the last 3 years. 2009, 2010, and 2011/12. It is an amazing place, with wonderful views. Amazing rooms and is as glamourous as it comes. The first two visits were phenominal, and I would rate it 5 stars! However my last visit has left me feeling a little disappointed. The lagoon pool was not open but I wasn't pre warned of this when I booked. I travel alone with a young child and the lagoon is perfect for that age. The kids club was moved to a different part of the hotel which was inferior to when it was at the kids pool, which was very disappointing. We went bowling in the bowling alley but had to give up half way through the game as their were so many glitches. It took 50 minutes to get through five bowls. I booked a badminton court, but when we arrived, we were told we could not use the court as a VIP had decided to use it. I can only guess that one of the royals had turned up! In the past all of these things have been fine. I really hope that they sort these things out quickly. It is the most fantastic hotel I have ever stayed in, but it has lost so much in this visit. For the high price for this part of Asia it should be much much better!

  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled with family
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2  Thank GPbrit
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 reviewResponded 8 March 2012

Dear GPbrit,

Greetings and a warm welcome from The Empire Hotel and Country Club! Thank you very much for your review and comments about our property. It is exactly feedback like yours that helps us to continuously improve and do better and we thoroughly appreciate your role in this!

We understand from your comments that there were quite a few things with which you were not satisfied, and we apologize sincerely that these disappointments would have marred your stay with us and left you feeling that your third stay was not as good as your first two.

In no way do we intend to provide excuses for our shortcomings, but we would, in response to your comments, like to take this opportunity to let you know what is happening with regards to improvements at the Empire Hotel and Country Club.

The Salt Water Lagoon Pool has been closed since last October & will re-open again in May 2012. The reasons for closure were that, after 10 years of non-stop operation, we had to improve the water filtration system as well as be able to effectively, constantly & efficiently monitor water quality.
The Kids’ Club was temporarily closed so that we could replace the entire roofing and floor. Whilst these improvements were taking place, we did provide a temporary location for this facility. I am pleased to say that the original venue is now re-opened, along with new sets of facilities and toys.
The Bowling Alley is also suffering from a bit of old age, and in its twelfth year of operation has admittedly been prone to erratic breakdowns. However, I am glad to say that we have purchased and installed all new equipment so the all the lanes are now fully operational.
With regards to the use of our facilities by members of the Royal family, we do hope that you understand, in respect of local tradition and protocol, that such things can happen from time-to-time and that we will do all we can to provide you with alternative activities in such situations.

Of course, we do realize that as a guest of this hotel, you shouldn’t have to put up with such shortcomings and we are truly sorry that you had to endure them. We also acknowledge that you should have been made fully aware of them prior to your arrival at the property…indeed this is our common practice, so we apologize that this evidently did not happen. However, if you could perhaps let us know your name and the dates of your actual stay, then we can enter the details into your personal guest history here at the hotel. We can then be ready to make sure you ensure enjoy a seamless and faultless stay on your next visit.

Thank you very much for your patronage and we hope to see you again at The Empire Hotel and Country Club!

Best Regards,

Desmond Acheson
General Manager
The Empire Hotel and Country Club

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Reviewed 31 January 2012

Date of trip Sept 2008
First review missing in action
While in Brunei it was a sin not to splash out on a night at the Empire.We were so glad we did.First off after being greated by the doorman and guided into reception area past gold mirrors,tapistrys and marbel floors.Although the reception staff were struggeling with there English we managed to get an upgrade to the main building and a late check out. Great start.
Our room had just the best view of the South China Sea and pool area.The bathroom was the size of most hotel rooms with marble & gold floor to ceiling .Twin shower with three shower heads ,bath twin sinks etc.We dined in the Italian Restaurant which was very nice.We had a tasting board with a bit of everyrthing which we shared.

Breakfast was extensive with everything you could think of ,we just had to do it as it was included in our room rate.Great views out the large auditoriam glass windows of pools & South China Sea.The day was spent in and by the pools .Just see the photos and be amazed.They have new cabanas with sun shades to curl up in and go to sleep.For most of the day we had three pools to ourself as the place was half empty.The other people mainly from non English speaking countries spent all day in the Spa pools & Hot Tubs.Our late check out allowed us to have a light snack by the pools(kebabs fries & salad enough for two) before our long flight home.There is a couple of over priced shops in the hotel but as you are thirty minutes from town there is no choice in the matter.We did not get to see the bowling alley or cinema and the indoor pool as the place is massive.You would need a few days of R & R to see it all.Brunei itself is very nice,clean with some good shopping and cheep restaurants ,everyone eats out here.The Mosque at night is a must to see the town lit up.Water village is also interesting.
Brunei as a destination worth a couple of days the Empire stay as long as you can afford.

Room Tip: Best rooms in main building as you do not have to get a golf cart to pick you up.
  • Stayed: February 2011, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank KIWIKEITH
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 reviewResponded 8 March 2012

Dear KIWIKEITH,

Greetings and a warm welcome from The Empire Hotel and Country Club! Thank you very much for your review and comments about our property. It is exactly feedback like yours that helps us to understand how those who actually use the hotel see us, and we thoroughly appreciate your role in this!

We're glad you enjoyed your stay with us at The Empire Hotel and Country Club, and delighted that the breakfast was good - we like to think that a great day on holiday starts with an equally good morning meal! We have also taken note of your comments about the shops in the hotel’s retail arcade and will work on improvements in that area.

Thank you very much for your patronage and we hope to see you again at The Empire Hotel and Country Club!

Best Regards,

Desmond Acheson
General Manager
The Empire Hotel and Country Club

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 January 2012

During my last visit on Christmas Eve of 2011, It happened that the Hotel was fully booked and there was a long que on checking in, we waited from 2pm until 4:30 still haven't reached my turn, one thing was quite comfortable was,the hotel arranged refreshment for us and we managed to sort many things out throughout our stay, thanks to the front desk manager Awg Sofi. He really did a great job! We weill definately go there again and introduce friend to visit. Keep it up!

Room Tip: no regrets, all the rooms are fantastic.
  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled with family
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2  Thank isds_chris
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 reviewResponded 8 March 2012

Dear isds_chris,

Greetings and a warm welcome from The Empire Hotel and Country Club! Thank you very much for your review and comments about our property. It is exactly feedback like yours that helps us to continuously improve and do better and we thoroughly appreciate your role in this!

Your comments about the Christmas 2011 arrival experience are well taken…thank you for this. In truth it was much busier than we had expected it to be, and we did experience delays in getting rooms prepared for arriving guests – all of whom seemed to be checking at about the same time in the afternoon! However, we have since reviewed our preparation processes, and believe that we know how to do a better job in keeping the delay to a minimum. Indeed, we had similar levels of business over the New Year and Chinese New Year periods and, in most instances we managed to reduce the waiting times to only about 5-8 minutes during these busy periods. Our Assistant Front Office Manager, Awg Saufi played a significant role in this improvement and is indeed a true asset to our growing team of excellent local staff!

Thank you very much for your patronage and we hope to see you again at The Empire Hotel and Country Club.

Best Regards,

Desmond Acheson
General Manager
The Empire Hotel and Country Club

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Reviewed 31 January 2012

Stayed at the Empire recently. It's all very impressive, with the gold everywhere, but just a bit over-the-top bling. The check-in process was rather disorganised, with a couple of people manning the desk, but people just milling around waiting to be served. Took 20 minutes to check in, then only one of our rooms was ready. They need to have some sort of bank-style queuing system. The hotel is huge with various buildings spread over a large area, so it does mean there is often quite a walk to go anywhere. There are little buggies but you can wait a long time for one, it's often easier to just walk. There are all sorts of facilities such as bowling and a cinema. The rooms are good, high ceilings, very nice big bathroom, with good water pressure and plenty of hot water. Looking a bit dated now, with old fashioned TV's and some wear and tear evident. There was also a lot of litter on the grass outside our balcony, in the Seaview block. We had room service food in the evening, which came fairly quickly, but was rather pricey and really not very good. The fish and chips had been covered in cling film and so arrived somewhat limp and cold. The breakfast was a rather industrial affair and nowhere near the standard of the other luxury hotels in the region, such as the Tanjung Aru in Kota Kinabalu. I first stayed at the Empire about 10 years ago, and it does seem that standards have slipped somewhat. The Zest cafe is nice however, with good cafe and nice sandwiches. All in all, a good hotel, impressive building, but needs to up its game somewhat.

  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled with family
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1  Thank werdneka
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 reviewResponded 8 March 2012

Dear Werdneka,

Greetings and a warm welcome from The Empire Hotel and Country Club! Thank you very much for your review and comments about our property. It is exactly feedback like yours that helps us to continuously improve and do better and we thoroughly appreciate your role in this!

Yes, you are right, the Empire Hotel and Country Club is indeed a set of remarkably impressive structures. I dare to say that they don’t build hotels like this anymore – anywhere in the world! However, I also dare to say that, whilst having an amazing physical structure is nice, for a hotel to be truly great it also has provide consistently outstanding service.

It is therefore of some considerable regret to me that you ran into some difficulties during your stay. We take your point about the long delays at check in. It is true that we did underestimate how busy we would be during some of the busier periods in January. It is a problem we should have anticipated, & I am very sorry that we failed to do so. Since the period of your visit however, we have taken some corrective action to speed up the check in process.
With the buggy service we have recently received 20 new buggies, so we hope to be able to provide a more prompt and consistent service to our guests. Also, with the hotel’s 518 rooms being divided up between 4 separate buildings, it can initially be quite confusing to understand the shortest way from one point to another. To this end, we are currently working on improving our signage around the hotel, and believe that this should reduce the ‘directional challenges’ of being in this magnificent property.
Your point about room wear-and-tear is well taken, and I am pleased to advise you that we are currently in the middle of upgrading 196 of our 518 rooms and suites – a project that should be completed by the end of October 2012. When back in circulation, these rooms will have been completely refurnished & provided with upgraded flat screen inter-active TV’s & connection facilities.
We are very conscious that we are not keeping up with the considerable task of maintaining our 170 hectares of grounds and landscaping at the level we would like, but we have taken plans in these past three weeks to remedy this, and hope to see the effect within the coming months.
I am indeed sorry to learn that you clearly felt that room service was not at all value-for-money. We take this to heart & will be working as a team to effect some immediate improvements
I'm glad that you enjoyed Zest, which is one of our newest additions to the property, and hope you'll find much more to enjoy when you stay with us again.

Thank you very much for your patronage and we hope to see you again at The Empire Hotel and Country Club!

Best Regards,

Desmond Acheson
General Manager
The Empire Hotel and Country Club

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Reviewed 28 January 2012

There is so much you can do. This hotel boasts for its beaches, swimming pools, grand movie theatre, spa, courts, absolutely breathtaking views, classy restaurants and tip top service. No matter how deep I look, there is nothing bad I can say about this hotel. The rooms are spacious, clean, and well equipped (then again, I guess they could update with better flat screen TVs and WiFi connection - which certainly is a must nowadays). For the price you pay, you cannot imagine that this is the service you deserve. The food is amazing to say the least.

It is a huge space, but not to worry for those who cringe at the thought of walking around, there are buggies available for anyone, anywhere. Excellent, excellent hotel!

It is quite a drive from the city centre to Jerudong (where Empire Hotel is), but what's 10 minutes? It is definitely worth all that time, plus you'd have to drive to go anywhere around Brunei as attractions are scattered around the country, not just at the Bandar.

Room Tip: You can choose one of the ocean view rooms, but after many stays here, all of the views from any room (above 2 floors) of this hotel are simply breathtaking. The rooms on the ground floor (especially ones that are close to swimming pools) can be quite noisy all morning and afternoon as they are usually packed with children if you intend to get some rest.
  • Stayed: August 2011, travelled with family
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3  Thank ndvine
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 reviewResponded 8 March 2012

Dear ndvine,

Greetings and a warm welcome from The Empire Hotel and Country Club! Thank you very much for your review and comments about our property. It is exactly feedback like yours that helps us to understand how those who actually use the hotel see us, and we thoroughly appreciate your role in this!

We're so pleased you enjoyed your stay with us. Just to let know - we are currently renovating 196 of our rooms in the main Atrium building and this extensive project should be completed by the end of October 2012. They will be fitted with large flat-screen inter-active TV's and will also enjoy improved WIFI connections – which is being addressed throughout the property as a whole. Updates are available on our website and Facebook page where any further queries or comments will be promptly answered

Thank you very much for your patronage and we hope to see you again at The Empire Hotel and Country Club!

Best Regards,

Desmond Acheson
General Manager
The Empire Hotel and Country Club

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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