Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Where I'm Staying...Toronto Marriott Bloor Yorkville Hotel

I consistently stay at Marriotts when I visit Toronto, but I don't stay at the same Marriott. I like to mix it up a bit.  I do this partly because I like to try new things, but mostly because I find the prices of hotels in Toronto to be too high and very inconsistent from year to year. For example a place that goes for $150CAD last August now goes for $240CAD -- and the same hotel would have  $190CAD two years before.

The Toronto Marriott Bloor Yorkville Hotel came highly recommended from several of my more discerning travel colleagues.  I was looking forward to this hotel, even though I don't spend much time in any hotel while I travel - either for work or pleasure.

We arrived at the hotel around midnight. I had two rooms under my reservation, since my colleague doesn't have a corporate credit card.  I approach the desk and hand my identification, my Marriott Silver (ugh, not real status, I know) card and my corporate credit card.  I ask about in-room wifi and the front desk agent said it is available, but only for an additional charge. Of course, I ask him if it can be included complimentary.  He looks down and types for a while, then agrees. I clarify that it is for both rooms and with a big smile he says "yes".  I wasn't expecting this, how nice.


We are assigned rooms on the second floor, which is actually on the 7th floor of building.  The hallways are long and covered with carpet that has seen better days. The pattern and the edges that were pulled up a bit made it look and feel like I was on a cruise ship -- the hallways felt like we were on a moving boat.



My room was large and clean.  I was surprised to find the extra pillows and towels (that I have a standing order for) were actually in my room (they were in BOTH rooms under my name). Most times this request doesn't get fulfilled.  The room had a comfortable king bed, two club chairs near the window and an flat panel TV. Nicely done.



The secondary lock on the door was in poor repair. This would not keep an unwanted guest out of the room.  Since we got in late and had to be up early I didn't worry about this issue until the next morning. As I was leaving the hotel, I asked the people at the front desk to send someone up to fix the lock.  Nothing was fixed.  I do hope they fix this lock (in room 230).  Guests safety should be a priority.


The bathroom was a standard bathroom with the Bath and Body Works products, which I still love.  The only stain on the linens I found was what appeared to be a grease stain on the shower curtain. So much nicer than Westin Alexandria (read about that here).  The water pressure was great and I always had hot water when showering.  A must in a hotel, but it is surprising how frequently hotels do not deliver.


Grease stained shower curtain
The room did have a good number of power outlets, including a double outlet on each nightstand. SCORE. God I hate when I have to crawl around on the floor to find an outlet to charge my electronic gear.  Nice showing Marriott.



While the hotel didn't meet the expectations that my colleagues had set for me, it was a perfectly fine place to stay. I did have one issue that really takes this hotel down a notch for me.  The hotel screwed up the billing of the rooms. As I said before, I had two rooms under my name, since one colleague doesn't have a travel card.  One of the rooms was billed to my corporate card and the other room billed to my personal card (that is tied to my Marriott Rewards Account).  I presented my corporate card at check-in and indicated this was the card to use.

The second issue is that we got one day of wifi free, but were charged for a second day.  The first day showed up as "Internet - $0.00", so it was on the folio as free. The second day, not so much.

A few days after check-out I called to get the bill fixed.  This is where the service fell apart. I got a hold of someone in accounting, but after explaining the issues she said she had no authority to make any changes and someone would call me back.  I called again the following day and got the same woman. She apologizes for no one returning my call, but again her manager was unavailable.  Since it was the Friday before a holiday weekend she said he wouldn't be able to call me until the next week (he wasn't gone for the weekend, just wouldn't have time to call before he left for the weekend).  I didn't get a call on Tuesday either, so I called back again and was transferred to a new person who I had to leave a message with.  He called me back the next day.

He explained that the front desk guy didn't have the authority to offer free Internet as that was only for Platinum Guests.  I didn't care what he had authority to offer, he offered it and it worked partially on the bill.  Just fix it -- and properly charge my cards, as I originally requested.  It took another couple of days before this was rectified.

The final issue, is the currency fluctuation. The charge errors resulted in me losing a couple bucks when the value of the dollar was lost.  I emailed the hotel and asked for some additional Marriott points to make up for my minimal loss. They responded in less than 24 hours and offered me 3,000 points.  Not a windfall, but a nice bit of help.  It would have been wonderful if the hotel had proactively offered something, considering the issues.

The real question: Would I stay at this hotel again? Probably.  There are many Marriotts (and other chains) in the area of Toronto I need to be in. If the price is right, I'd definitely stay here again -- just be prepared for the possibility that you'll have to spend a week (or more) working on minor accounting errors.

Have you stayed here before?  Did you have any accounting issues?  Are you surprised when you don't see a gross stain on the bed linens, like I am (kudos Marriott Bloor Yorkville for having clean bed linens)?

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