Sunday, 6 November 2011

Hotel standards and public services

Jen and I just got back from the Rimrock this weekend after celebrating her successful completion of the GI exam in Ottawa.  I chose this place because normally we would go to the Banff springs for a random nighter, but I always had heard Rimrock was comparable, less prestigious, but larger rooms, with all the frills you'd expect at the Fairmont Louise or Springs.  Id just like to note that we usually only go to these expensive hotels if we wanted to just experience the hotel, the dining options, and enjoy drinks with a wonderful feel and view.  After experiencing all the 5 star resorts in the Banff area, half a dozen mid level hotels in the area, and several budget hotels in the area, I had one of those clarifying moments with respects to hotels and the services they provide.

BUDGET:  This was the majority in my early years as a ski bum, and sometimes still in Revelstoke or Golden.  These are your typical motels, where you are able to park in front of your door for free, where sometimes you'd have the fumes waft inside your room.  The offices are usually attached to the owners living room, and the keys are the old fashion style with a big hanger on them.

  • PROS - Cheap!  Like under $100/night cheap.  You can pile people in with no questions asked....heck throw a dog in as well.  They are usually near downtown for easy access.  They have a party atmosphere.  Internet is free, parking is free.  They even offer discounted lift passes.  Lots of pros for being at the bottom of the heap eh?
  • NEGS - Well, first, cleanliness is not ideal.  Usually you will find a minimum of 1 long hair in the shower from the previous occupant.  You always double check the sheets, making sure all is good.  Everything is stuck in the 80's...the flower print sheets, yellow curtains, old tub with a bit of rust near the drain, and of course, a 15 inch tube TV.  The hot tub is usually 10% spilled beer, with less then ideal water quality conditions.  Early in the morning its noisy, people packing up for skiing before 7am, big trucks idling with many yelling to each other to hurry up.  There are no amenities such as a spa, restaurant, bar, etc.  Hot tub is usually the big attraction here.  Basically, what you see is what you get.

MID RANGE: These places are usually newer, or recently updated.  They are roughly 3-5 stories, and compete near other hotel chains.  They are fiercely in battle with their rivals.  These chains are usually very well known, and found right across the country.  Examples include Holiday Inn, Ramada, Super 8, Quality Inn, Travelodge, Best Western, and some Hiltons (some border 5 star).  Cost range from $110-$180 on average.

  • PROS - You know what your expecting before even entering the building.  If you've seen one, the rest will be very similar...they basically all have new duvet sheets, small LCD TV's, good shampoo and coffee options, and good showers (which is a big deal to me).  The parking is 99% of the time free.  There is usually a complimentary continental breakfast.  Internet is free.  They usually have a small pool and hot tub, and a small gym.  There are rarely any hidden fees.  Deals can be found using search engines.  Best bang for the buck!
  • NEGS - Location is average, usually not ideal.  The restaurant is also average....maybe a Perkins or Humpty's.  Kids are usually wrecking the mood in the hot tub...which is usually full.  The feel in these hotels is average... basically get in, enjoy, get out.  The elevators are slower than most (ok ok, Im reaching lol).  I honestly cannot think of any others.

5 STAR:  These hotels are usually large, stores within stores.  You'll have your convenience store, jewelry store, bars, more then one restaurant, spas, and more.  The location is usually somewhere with significance.  These places can be old with lasting appeal, or glamorous like many of the vegas resorts.  They are found at tourist attractions, or downtown within metropolitan cities.  Costs can range from $200-10000/night.

  • PROS - What can I say, luxury.  You will have your up to date trendy shampoos, the latest starbucks coffee.  Counters in the bathroom will obviously be granite.  The TV will be a minimum of 42 inches.  They will offer many options for restaurants (high budget to mid budget), several bars, spas which are connected to a full service pool area.  They offer valet and room service.  Like Jen and I in Banff this week, you really don't need to leave the hotel if you don't want to.  The food should be excellent.  Service SHOULD BE top notch...after all, you are paying double for what a mid range is.   The view from the room should be at least decent...either high up, looking into the city, looking over a mountain valley, or down any famous "strip".  Room service should be meticulous, and 50% of the time, "turn down service" should be provided.  
  • NEGS - There is a slight chance service will not meet expectations, which in turn, will suck even more because you now just blew hundreds per night just to basically sleep.  Status sometimes trumps service...if you look young, or not filthy rich, you may not get that table near the window, or be serviced in that first minute.  The cost of food, tipping, not to mention internet, parking, etc can add up seriously, you pay all this money, and that does not include internet or parking.  Do they not know I can just use my iphone for internet instead of paying $20/night, or park down the street instead of the $25/night they offer.  Dogs are rarely allowed.  Basically, it doesn't take much at all for the cost to be a big waste of money if just one little thing goes wrong.  

In Summary, best bang for buck is the MID RANGE!  They fight for your service, everything is new, and they are accountable for their shortcomings.

Worst bang for buck CAN be the 5 star, but not always.  I personally find they feel like they can charge what ever they want because they know the egos of their customers wont dispute it, but if everything goes as planned, then it can be a night to remember!

Our recent 1 random night at the Rimrock...
Looking out into the valley

4th round of drinks? Jen tried a few Martini's

Big dessert, pretty good!

Our French waiter rocked!!

No comments:

Post a Comment