Brunei's Best Hotel: The Empire Hotel and Country Club - Vikingess Voyages

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Brunei's Best Hotel: The Empire Hotel and Country Club

Have you ever wondered how it's like to stay at Brunei's best hotel? For the last part of our trip to Brunei my darling and I had the pleasure of staying at The Empire Hotel and Country Club, a self-proclaimed seven-star hotel where even the Sultan himself occasionally comes to play polo. The hotel has been welcoming guests since 2000 and has become a symbol of Brunei's cultural heritage with its extravagant and luxurious interior.

This post is divided into the following sessions:

The Resort Area

Above: Entring the Empire Hotel

The Interior

The first thing you'll notice when you step into the hotel is the pure white and deep black marble that are covering the surface from wall to ceiling. The marble has been imported all the way from Italy, and the glorious interior makes the hotel seem more like a palace of bygone times than a hotel made in the 20th century. For a hotel of this caliber it is not surprising that the lobby even is equipped with a self-playing piano. 

The Exterior

The beautiful surroundings are perfect for those who want to spend some relaxing time in Brunei. With both refreshing outdoor pools and beaches right next to the hotel we could ensure that we got our batteries fully charged during the days at the hotel.
The hotel's location right by the South China Sea also makes it a wonderful place to catch the sunset. Unfortunately we experienced some cloudy weather during our stay, but we did have one day where the condition was almost perfect to enjoy the nice view.
Above: Made friends with a local cat while waiting for the sunset

Above: Getting dark
Above: The hotel grounds has some benches where guests can sit and enjoy the sunset

The Guest Room

For the stay at the Empire Hotel we had booked with an Ocean Room - a 60 m² room where one could choose between double and twin bed. As we soon discovered our room was located separately from the main hotel building, but we had a nice view of the beach from our room. The distance to the other building wasn't more than a couple of minutes of walk though; by walking through the hotel lobby we could practically reach the second building in just a couple minutes, so this wasn't an issue for us. Both my darling and I love to stay active, so we always find it funny how some people would complain about having to use their feet to get to places. Anyway, here's a short introduction to the room:

This hotel room was obviously more than the two of us would need in terms of size. Still this was one of the cheaper room types the hotel had to offer, so for those who have the budget to spend there are definitely more luxurious rooms available (you can even get a $23,000-a-night suite here if you're dying to burn some cash).

Above: The room came with various complimentary snacks and drinks 


The bathroom came with separate toilet and bathtub, and it was possible to pull up the roller-blinds and enjoy the view of the outside from the tub.

Above: Various complimentary amenities prepared on a daily basis for the guests

There are not any restaurants in the near proximity of the hotel, so during our stay we decided to try out as many as possible of the different dining alternatives that the hotel had to offer. I could have dedicated a whole blogpost going into details about the different restaurants and their menus but for this time I've just briefly added some photos from some of the restaurants we dined at below.

Asian Buffet - Pantai

By the beachfront you can find Pantai, a stylish restaurant that offers and Asian buffet combined with daily specials. My personal favorite was the delicious seafood that included a selection of fresh sushi, mussel and crab.

Operating Hours:
Daily Asian buffet dinner from 6 pm to 9 pm
Lunch buffet available on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 am to 3 pm
Above: One of my plates with a selection of seafood from the buffet

Chinese - Li Gong

The restaurant Li Gong is situated 4 minutes walk from the Atrium Building towards the hotel's villas. The restaurant is operated by Yi Yuan Ting (义缘亭) and serve a variety of Chinese dishes.

Operating Hours:
- À la carte lunch and dim sum:
Mondays to Thursdays and Saturdays from 9 am to 2.30 pm
Fridays from 8.30 am to 12 noon
Sundays and public holidays from 8.30 am to 3 pm
- Dinner served daily from 6 pm to 10 pm.

Italian - Spaghettini

The Italian restaurant Spaghettini is located in the Main Atrium building. Here you can enjoy a wide range of authentic Italian and contemporary Mediterranean cuisines. The restaurant is serving à la carte dinner from 6 pm to 9 pm, and the dress code is Smart Casual

Operating Hours:
- À la carte dinner from 6 pm to 9 pm

The Lobby Lounge

As you already know Brunei used to be a British colony, and the people of Brunei still take high pride in their English heritage. It is thus no surprise that the Empire Hotel's Lobby Lounge offers a place where guests can unwind and enjoy a selection of refreshments that include traditional English High Tea.

Operating Hours:
Daily Afternoon Tea from 2 pm to 6 pm
 The Lobby Lounge had a set course for visitors that featured various pastries and cakes which we tried out on our last day at the hotel. 
 Above: The daily afternoon tea set included a glass of alcohol-free sparkling wine
Above: A variety of pastries from the afternoon tea set.
Above: Spending some relaxing time together with my hubby in the Lobby Lounge

Above: Area map of the hotel

One of the things that characterizes the Empire Hotel is their huge selection of recreational facilities. The hotel is particularily well known for its Jack Nicklaus Designed Championship Golf Course, and with its 7,029 yards the hotel has been awarded Best Golf Resort in Asia Pacific a number of times. But whether you're a pro golfer or just a tourist looking for some fun activities during your stay in Brunei you can find it here at the hotel.
Above: The hotel has been awarded Best Golf Resort in Asia Pacific multiple times 

Tennis Court

Operating Hours
6:00am – 10:00pm daily
*B$20 per hour per court (before 6pm)
*B$25 per hour per court (after 6pm)


Operating Hours
6:00am – 10:00pm daily
B$15 per 45 min per court


Operating Hours
6:00am – 10:00pm daily
Two professionally equipped courts with soft cushioned wooden flooring


Operating Hours
10:00am – 10:00pm daily
Price: B$6 per game per person.


At the hotel's gymnasium staying guests can join a number of activities such as aerobics, step and body power classes. There are also free weights and other exercise equipment available, and you can enjoy the view of the South China Sea while doing your workout.

Swimming Pool

Operating Hours
6:00am – 10:00pm daily - 17m Indoor Spa Pool
7:00am - 7:00pm - River Pool
7:00am - 7:00pm - Salt Water Lagoon Pool
7:00am - 8:30pm - Wet Edge Pool
9:00am to 8:30pm - Children's Pool


Operating Hours
9am to 5pm daily
There are 3 Single and 2 Double Kayaks. Rental fee are as follows:
Single: $5 per 30 mins 
Double: $8 per 30 mins

Pool Tables 

Operating Hours
6:00am – 10:00pm daily
- Next to the badminton court
Table Hire:
B$15 per hour per table

Children's Club 

Children between 4 to 12 years can join the fun daily activities of the children's club.
Operating Hours
9:00am - 6:00pm daily

We spent some relaxing and fun days at the Empire Hotel and Country Club. In the end the stay here became one of the memorable things about our visit to Brunei, both because of the iconic architecture, delicious cuisine and the many activities we could take part in at the hotel. It is clear that this hotel also has become a symbol of Brunei in itself, which makes a stay here an exciting experience in itself.
Above: The Empire Hotel has become a symbol of Brunei's cultural heritage. Here you can see magnets sold in a souvenir shop downtown with the Empire Hotel as motif.

That's all for now, but hopefully my series of posts about Brunei can be of help to some of you out there considering a visit to the country.

 ◆Basic Info

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Thank you for reading! Please feel free to leave any comments or questions below
- Anette
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About Anette
Anette came to Japan as an exchange student in 2010, met the love of her life and got stuck. From her base in Tokyo she writes about her experiences as a full-time worker in Tokyo and about her travels in Japan and abroad. She's a free-spirited adventurer who enjoys both the great outdoors and her urban lifestyle.

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About Me

Adventures ofAnette

A modern day shield-maiden who loves to explore the unbeaten paths of the world. From her base in Tokyo, Anette takes on both rural and urban challenges, and goes by the motto "No challenge too big, no adventure too small"!
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