I feel so nice and wholesome because I haven’t done a review in a while! While we wait to stop giggling at me pretending to be wholesome, Rob and I are just now relaxing after packing up our things prior to checking out and starting the next leg of our trip.
This review of our hotel stay to uses on 3 parts, The Hotel, The Room, and The Food. These aspects are things that the hotel advertises as being exceptional, so I thought they were good things to note.
Without further ado, let’s get on with it!
The building itself is quite centrally located downtown, steps away from lots of shops and restaurants, and a heaping helping of clubs and nightlife. Specifically positive for us is that it is only a couple blocks from the bus station (currently, as Acadian Bus Lines will be halting NB operations within the next couple of weeks), and about a 30 minute walk from the train station. Score! The frugal student travellers in us applaud the lack of cab necessity for travel!
The place itself is gorgeous…..if you can manage to shield your eyes from the eye-searing colours. The decor is comfortable looking and not ultra-modern, which I’ve stayed at before, and was quite cold. No, the Residence Inn is quite inviting. Except of course for the greens and oranges and reds and yellows…
Whatever issues the epilepsy-inducing colour pallet the hotel common areas have, the suite that we have more than makes up for it. The best thing that we’ve said (multiple times) to ourselves since we arrived is I would live here.
Those of you that know us and have visited our apartment know that we are used to living in small places. We have a one bedroom apartment…and it’s probably the same size as this room. Our place doesn’t have stainless steel appliances, a dishwasher, even enough room for a kitchen table or eating nook. The only addition to the kitchenette here that I would need would be an oven (it even has a stove and huge microwave).
A comfortable adjustable chair and lounge sofa round out the entryway area, with the bed separated from the rest of the room by a cabinet and swivel-tv. There’s even enough room for a second desk for me should we decide to uproot the place and live in it 😛
Unfortunately, it can’t all be flowers and puppy dogs…
The microwave was dirty prior to us arriving:
The shower has rust stains:
The curtain rod is bent:
And when I wanted a shower last night I ripped a towel trying to stretch it out (it was shrunken and wrinkled up). Note that a housekeeper came and gave us a new set, and they were awesome. She laughed and said she had a new rag, so I guess it must happen often? Here’s the original:
Finally, the internet is to be desired. I hate to say it but we do like our electronics. I did.t bring my laptop, but I have been using my smartphone to blog and keep up on my socials, and I was having some issues with the latter. I also was pleasantly surprised that my 3DS could hook up with a Nintendo Zone (ive never seen one before), but because the WiFi was pretty spotty it was so sluggish it timed out multiple times and I gave up.
My issues weren’t as bad as Rob’s however; he brought his laptop and was scheduled to do some national TV interviews via Skype (he is the founder of a charity that gets news requests frequently), but had to cancel them partly because of the reception he was getting. He settled for watching an hour-long documentary online, but it took him just over 2 because of it cutting out and the buffering. I will give the hotel props though: he tweeted the Marriott brand about the internet, and within an hour or so the front desk called up to ask if we were having internet issues. He’s now having to use the actual Ethernet cord… But it’s on the desk so it’s too far from his desire-to-watch-in-bed.
Finally, The Food–
This one was surprising. Normally we would eat just one meal in the resident hotel restaurant. We would have done that this time and eaten at The Keg, but in looking at the in-room menu, we decided against it. It was waaaay to expensive for us. Prices ranged from 20-50 dollars a plate! I’d have liked to see some 10-15s other than the couple munchies. Oh well. We ended up getting in just after lunch so we explored and walked down to The Old Triangle (which we found the last time we were down), and ate for under 45 dollars, tip included. Then we walked down to the train station to picked up our tickets for today, and stopped in at the Sobeys next door to grab some microwavable yums for dinner. Easy.
Breakfast this morning was another matter entirely. Included with your stay is a free morning meal in their Hearth Room. The layout is breathtaking first thing in the morning; the entire outside walls were covered in floor to ceiling windows looking out on street level. There were a mix of table sizes and configurations (including bar seating all along the windows), which I always find important. When we arrived it was moderately popular, when we left it was packed.
The food area is a cook’s retreat; a whole wall of food stuffs, wrapping around the corners a filled with fruit, breads, cereals, eggs, wraps, and and beans (amoung a whole heap of other items), and it’s all DIY. I love that, because you can control portion sizes, likes and dislikes, and sugars/salts… And not feel bad about it. It was required that I try out the waffle machine, and Rob started it up for me while he grabbed his yogurts and bagels. They had a whole corner set up for me it seemed… Strawberries, blueberries, walnuts, chocolate chips, syrups, whip cream (aerosol though 😦 ), and icing sugar.
Rob was a little let down by how watery their hot chocolate mix was on their drink island, but I was happy they had juices and water (with a pitcher of lemon wedges next to it to boot!). Although I will say the coffee was kind of weak, and I’m not even a coffee snob.
Honestly, I would stay here again just for the breakfast. I’m a little dissappointed over the hours they have the meal set up as it’s kind of short (6:30-9:30 Monday to Friday, and 7-10 on weekends) and a kind of too early for me personally, but I think it could be jusitified because of the amount of items in the buffet breakfast. Maybe there’s significant cost associated with it on their end… I’m not sure.
Things like decor are certainly up for personal debate, and I can’t claim to be an expert in the slightest. I was just visually attacked this morning upon exiting our room, and I would like those seconds shaved off my lifespan back.
The room is beautiful, but the .ogre like the dirty microwave, the rusty bathroom shelf (which is the only surface is the shower, so it’s that much more noticeable), the WiFi, and especially the towel incident are detractors for sure. I work at a Convention Centre, and I’m told to pick up on things like that of our own staff and events, so I wouldn’t just say things to be mean. I truely did enjoy myself here, and I’m happy to come back towards the end of my trip.
Out of the 3 points, I’d give them 2; the breakfast was great (if not early), and the room is comfy enough to try and take bits if it home (I kid, I kid!). A point was deducted for the decor in the common areas, but they saved themselves by being aware of the power of Twitter.
What do you think of staying at hotels? Any emotionally-charged horror stories? Comment below… I’ve got a long train ride ahead of me and could use a laugh! Remember to subscribe, and prep yourselves for a stay in Toronto soon! What should we try out while in Cabbagetown?