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When we enter the hotel, we have to take a deep breath for a moment. It hap-

pens often that a hotel calls itself Imperial, but does not meet expectations, but

in this case, it definitely lives up to its name. The Empire has disproportionate

royal aspirations and even that is still an understatement. From the lobby we

look right at a 40-metre-high atrium that is supported by gilded marble col-

umns. This hotel is certainly a megalomaniac creation. It has seven four-star

restaurants, several lagoon swimming pools, a cinema, a bowling alley, an

18-hole golf course ... In short: just about everything that is possible with an

unlimited budget. The PR lady who shows us around, honestly admits: "We will

never know how much this hotel has cost to build." Although there are 500 opu-

lent rooms and 66 suites, we don’t notice any other hotel guests. The price tag

for an overnight stay at the Empire Hotel will probably have something to do with

it, but it also shows that Brunei is not a tourist destination yet.

The Empire Hotel has disproportionate royal aspirations