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Monday 13 June 2016

Oh Canada! Hotels have difficulties with the basics

Canadians are wonderful people; friendly, welcoming and with a similar attitude to life as Australians. 

Unfortunately that laid-back charm does not always translate to quality hospitality - certainly on the evidence of two hotels I have stayed in over the past week. 

The first was the upmarket Omni King Edward Hotel, brilliantly situated in downtown Toronto. The rooms (below) are great. But...

Here, I encountered two issues. After a late-night cognac in the lounge I was keen to pay my bill and head upstairs to bed. Unfortunately the four wait staff were all deeply engaged in conversation and ignored me. 

I approached the bar and the barman finally got the bill heading on my direction. The apologies were profuse and there was the offer of a free drink. But I was tired and didn't really need another cognac. A smart operator might have removed the charge from the account - but that didn't happen. 

I related this story to my sister and her husband, regular guests at the Omni, and they reported having had similar issues in the past.

My second quibble was when I asked for the business centre in the morning I was confronted by machines that demanded a minimum $5 credit card payment. When I am paying $300+ a night I don't expect to be nickel and dimed. A bad look and certainly not hospitable. 

I had an even worse experience at the Comfort Inn Toronto Airport. 

Needing merely a bed for the night before an early morning flight, I opted to pay $100 plus taxes for an unknown quality hotel. 

Mistake. This Choice Hotels property was unable to get a shuttle to me for over an hour - a remarkable effort given the hotel is merely a three-minute drive from the terminal. The reception desk blamed the shuttle driver; and the driver blamed the desk employees. 

I asked to speak to the duty manager, but no manager was on duty. And the person on call never called back. In fact, I am still waiting for a response. 

Throw in a down-at-heel restaurant serving sub-par food and spare beds (and bedding) stored in the corridor (above) and this is a property well worth avoiding. 

Oh, and the 6am wake-up call I requested did not materialize. That was all too predictable.  

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