The Empire Hotel & Country Club
Travel Blogs from Kampong Jerudong
After a great sleep in Singapore, we headed back to the airport at 6.00am and took the SMRT (rail system) across to Terminal 2 where our flight was scheduled to depart from. I was looking forward to experiencing the First Class Singapore Airlines Lounge, thinking it was going to be something simply spectacular (being their home hub and all), but we …
... there would be no moving and our neighbours were threatened with a beating if they didn't keep their doors tightly closed (and if that didn't work, DH was going to get me involved). Problem solved.
Contrary to other reports we found Brunei to be interesting- the oil reserve is supposed to run dry in 25 years. What happens then? If the lavish spending continues, and the diversification attempts fail, Brunei may just become a country version of the old gold rush ...
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TravelPod Member ReviewsThe Empire Hotel & Country Club Kampong Jerudong
The Empire Hotel is a property of outrageous opulence and grandeur, beautiful furnishings and quality staff. We would recommend checking whether there are any big functions on at the Empire while you're planning to be there, as this can affect service.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TravelPod member and not of TravelPod.com.
Lovely room, excellent view, pretty much had a beach all to ourselves. There was numerous bars, bar pools, spas etc. Great spot :)
This review is the subjective opinion of a TravelPod member and not of TravelPod.com.
Historical Traveler Reviews The Empire Hotel & Country Club Kampong Jerudong
Definitely a good hotel but 6* ??
Before travelling to Brunei & staying at this hotel I read (as you do) a few reviews & thought perhaps some of the reviewers were either show-offs, mal-contents or were travellers who expect the rest of the world to be like the USA. Thank God its not. We (the rest of the world) has as much USA as we can take, for the time being).
Well having stayed for 4 nights, I can tell you,- the place is flash !!. The attention to detail when it comes to location, views, architecture, furnishings, the friendliness of the staff is second to none. Its WOW factor from beggining to end.
The lack of alcohol is definitely not a factor, unless you are a budding alcoholic.
The breakfasts were rather very special with freshly baked breads (generally good fresh bread is rare in this part of the world as it isn't 'their thing') and a few lovely touches like the special French & Spanish cheeses - magic!.
The hotel's 'driveway master of ceremonies' (a wonderfull person & a gentleman can't remember his name) that drove us to town (complimentary service) was trully a great ambasador for Brunei & the hotel. Gave us the 'good oil' on some aspects of the town, pointed out places of interest & even alerted the taxi drivers to look out for a middle aged couple that will be looking for a taxi back to the hotel later in the evening (not all that easy to find taxis after dark)It was trully magic & hard to beat.
Where this establishment falls behind, its in the house keeping managenment. In short it is inconsistent.
After a while it got to me. I am the kind of person that if one makes claim to being a 6* hotel then it should be better than good, - it should be rather exellent.
In our case it took a good 20 min to check in (when it wasn't busy) others got thru in 10. I know because our party had 2 separate (identical) bookings on different days. One got a welcoming dring, the other didn't. Our rooms got tidied-up on consecutive days any time from 10am to 3:30 pm!.
The 'hot meals' were hardly ever temperature hot,for some people its a factor. The food in general very good but not outstanding.
We supposedly had (in writting) a late check out time of 4 pm, but at 1 pm received a call from the concierge asking why we haven't checked out & that if we wanted to stay on it was going to be an extra $ 65. This sorts of minor events, after a while wear thin.
In the end (first time in my experience) I ended up telling the manager how to 'suck eggs'.
Not an enjoyable experience for both parties.
Did they get back to me with the promised apology of any kind - No.
So having experienced my stay - would I recomend the place?. Well yes, because the place is beautiful & knowing now how they operate, expectations should be different therefore also relaxing. Would I pay the std. asking price for a room, - No but.... flying into Brunei on a 3-4 day package with Royal Brunei airlines when the cost is very reasonable - yes.
So, for what its worth - my honest opinion.
Amazing , superb hotel
Before our stay at The Empire I had read reviews saying it was boring, well they must be hard to please as we stayed for 4 days and wished it was longer, we will certainly go back again as there are still things we didnt do.
The hotel is wonderful, and so is the staff. We had a Lagoon room, we could have upgraded for a reasonable amount to sea view but actually liked where we were, our room was lovely and the bathroom very large and beautfully fitted out with extra large shower and wonderful marbles, big bath etc.
The gardens are lovely to walk round and the pool is just amazing (we also had a smaler pool by our lagoon building.
We spent less on meals here than we did in Sabah.
Of course it is a dry country (no alcohol) but tourists are allowed to bring in two bottles of spirits or wine, I would have liked to bring more wine to enjoy with dinner but they do very good mocktails etc so its no hardship.
The weather was superb, we found it better than Sabah which was very humid.
We fkew with Royal Brunei and had good service, so looking forward to another visit to The Empire as its just so right when you want a relaxing but not too restful holiday.
The hotel is magnificent; the service beyond belief
We stayed for a week in a junior suite at the Empire and I have to agree that the facilities, decor, design etc warrants all the superlatives you can muster. The rooms are understated elegance - all quality materials that compliment each other and stop short of feeling ostentacious.
What really blew me away, though, was the fantastic service we received. I think part of the reason for the staff's attentiveness was that we were visting the hotel in the off-season and there were not very many guests. Still, at times, we had three or four staff for just the two of us. One morning my girlfriend was sick and couldn't go to breakfast at the e-club and a couple of minutes after I returned back to the suite the waiter knocked on the door and brought in a mibile cart filled with fresh fruit, evian, coffee, tea, juice, muffins, breads, pancakes and toast - at no extra charge! That same afternoon I was sitting on a stool in the pool at the 'mocktail' bar and had ran out of cigarettes - about two minutes later (and without asking), one of the service staff was running down towards the pool with a packet on a silver tray. I guess these are small things and reasonable expectations for a six star resort, but you rarely get that kind of service without asking for it at other similar hotels. Also, in my experience with staying at various high end hotels which are considerably more expensive, the staff can often be more pretentious than any of the guests and this is certainly not the case at the Empire. In fact, all of the staff and the people of Brunei generally seemed genuinely happy and friendly. Brunei is an amazing place - its demographics, culture and quality of life is quite unlike anywhere else I've ever been, certainly in South-East Asia. While you should sap up the luxury at the Empire, make sure to visit Kampong Ayer (the water village) and organise a trip to see the proboscis monkeys!
Finally, book the hotel through Royal Brunei airlines - I did a lot of price checking with agencies, the net etc and finally got the cheapest price through the airline.
Need to see to believe!
We recently stayed in the Empire Hotel while visiting Brunie a few months back. We had booked the Junior Suite. Limousine pickup was efficient. This hotel is truly amazing and sits majestically on the shore of the South China sea. The view from our suite is so beautiful especially during sunset. Our suite is very opulent and with all the amneties that is expected of such hotel, even the curtains are remote controlled. The size of the bathroom itself could be a standard hotel room in Europe!
Food quality and service lacks a bit in our expectation, however in general the staff are very friendly and helpful most of the time. The E-club is also a good place to relax and unwind though a bit far to walk from our suite. The size of this place is just huge. There's a pool, bowling center, cinema and a golf course in this hotel all accessibile by buggy cabs if you are too tired to walk.
Considering the quality of this hotel, the rates are fairly reasonable and the occupancy level quite low.
Overall an experience and would recommend if you like to be treated like a royalty!
Loved the Empire
We are from Kota Kinabalu Sabah and we have just returned from BSB after spending two days and a night, staying at the Empire Hotel. I think those people in Kota Kinabalu that want to get away for a weekend, want to take a short flight, have a good time, go to the Empire ! The view of the hotel, exterior and interior, is simply magnificent. They have special promotion for Malaysian residents at certain times of the year, and it will definitely be worth your while going there as the rate for this 6 star hotel is just like the October rate for a Hong Kong 3 star hotel. The hotel shuttle service to and from the hotel to town and the Jerudong Park is very prompt, on one occassion our shuttle was late and they drove us in the M/Benz 600SE to town! I couldn't ask for more of the service - whether it was asking for more bottled water, more towels, more ice, more shampoo, more blanket - they are just so obliging. and the pick up and delivery to and from the main lobby and our room was always very swift. You just called and within minutes they were there waiting.
My husband videotaped parts of the hotel and I wish he has done more shooting. For all you people out there, go marvel at this hotel. To start with, get onto the website and appreciate some of the views.
This place really does have to be seen to be believed! I had a one night stop here on-route to Perth with a friend and we were just amazed. We are both in our mid 20s and entered the hotel in shorts, trainers, skateboard, etc, very casual for quite an up-market place. However this didnt alter the standard of service at all, upon checking in they actually up-graded our room!
It did seem like there was not another person staying in the hotel from time to time, in the country club the pool was empty, the chinese restaurant in the evening was empty! and to top it off b4 leaving the next morning the man-made beach was empty!
I would rate the service, hotel, facilities as some of the best I have ever experienced and Im a well travelled person and have stayed in some of the finest resorts throughout the world.
If your flying via Brunei then have a night or 2 here, the great thing also is it wont cost you the price of a 3 star hotel in London for example and the stopover packages include transfers and breakfast.
5+ and above for sure!
Luxury an understatement
February 2005 spent 5 luxurious days in Brunei, although there is not a drop to drink (you can take some in for personal consumption) you are swept away with the smiles and contentment of these lovely people.
The hotel is superb, located within a country club environment, golf club and all sports complex, fantastic indoor pool. The rooms are very spacious just the basic superior room is more than ample with marbled bath rooms the size of an average english lounge. bedrooms and linen to sink into all electronic curtains, lights etc, no expense spared. you are ferried around the resort on large golf buggies so no walking if you feel lazy. a secluded soft sandy beach and the most massive outdoor pool we have seen right next to the sea. Fly with Royal brunei, wonderful cain crew and comfortable seats(the new range of business class reclining seats) so if you fancy a detox this is the place for you.
Great Facilities but the lack of Service takes the Shine off
Stayed at the hotel for 4 days returning home today. The facilities are on par with any Leading Hotel of the World - very impressive and gorgeous. We had a suite and two children with us. Suites do not accommodate children as no stnd rooms have 2 x double beds. Rollaways were organised by reception. The hotel seemed almost empty. We were very well looked after by the front office staff who I must say were excellent, as was housekeeping and the Country Club management. It was the food and beverage staff we felt were no more than 3 1/2 star and took the shine off the whole experience. Service in the restaurants overall was appauling. Upon leaving a restaurant one evening we told the maitre'd staff how terrible the service had been only to have them laugh at us. We, along with other in house guests on that night were totally ignored by the waiting staff and we felt like we shouldn't have been dining there. It was impossible to get a soft drink or the attention of the waiters, they were only interested in serving the locals this night. This was an awful experience. In the main restaurant, food would often run out at breakfast and would slowly be replenished. The service was VERY mediocre. The pool staff also were inconsistant. Day one, cool water was offered not long after you sat at the pool which was a really nice touch - but that was the first and last time. Numerous times there were up to 4 staff on with very few pool guests and they'd all be talking and laughing but wouldn't offer water, menu's, etc. Guests would have to go to them and get their attention. Having just spent a week at the Peninsula Hotel Bangkok, there is no comparison. The Peninsula in a true 'Leading Hotel of the World' in every sense and their service is 5 star. The Empire Resort is breathtaking and has the wow factor, but we felt it's food and beverage staff really let it down. We wanted to return in 2006 and take a group of our friends there, but now were not sure.
If your best hotels rate a 5, this would have to be a 10. I stayed here in November and everything about the hotel is fabulous! I have never even seen such a lovely hotel before, never mind stayed there. It is fairly new (October, 2000) and has accommodated many famous folks, including President Bill Clinton, King Gustaf of Sweden and, of course, the Sultan of Brunei. There is a golf course designed by Jack Nicklaus, for people who like that sort of thing, a country club, a spa, a bowling alley, tennis courts, and three movie theatres, showing the latest run films which, we learned later, are free to people staying at the hotel. Among the several pools, there is a one that is filled with 11000 square meters of salt water and is surrounded by palm trees. From our balcony, we had an excellent view of this pool, and slightly beyond, the South China Sea. There is a Kid's Club for children 4 -12, so everyone is accommodated. Our large room was spectacular with an enormous bathroom. The tub had the same view as the balcony and there was a separate shower. The staff could not have been nicer or more accommodating. We got a special package deal that included a limousine transfer to and from the airport, breakfast and dinner (fabulous on both counts), complimentary laundry service (particularly needed after a few days in the Borneo rainforest), free local calls (not needed, as we knew no one there), free shuttle to town, and early check in (around 11 a.m.) and late check out (6 p.m.). We also had access to a special "E-Club", with free internet and a lovely afternoon tea. The cost? $133 per person per night. I would unequivocally recommend this hotel and its wonderful country. The only problem with staying at such a place is that you never want to leave to explore the rest of the area. However, if you time it right (the second day after the end of Ramadan), you might get to meet the Queen (if you are a woman) or the Sultan (if you are a man), as they open up their home for a Hari Raya celebration. Don't let the crowds deter you - it could be a once in a lifetime experience to meet half of one of the world's richest couples!