Rated 2 out of 5 by MrCrow Quality not as high as reputation and past experience led me to believe
I have stayed at this location on several occasions, each with a business organization (business meetings), each for several consecutive days/night. Previous visits had groomed me to expect a certain degree of service and accommodation. My most recent stay, unfortunately, lowered my expectations for this location.
To begin, this location is in a very scenic and accessible part of Toronto with many shopping areas in walking distance and various entertainment venues and restaurants nearby. The view from my lake view room was very nice.
Arriving with a large group on a coach (meeting with hundreds of others from the same organization on the same day), I would have expected that the large numbers would have been accounted for in advance. Instead, we had several problems with this:
1) We had to persist and insist several times on being able to use trolleys to remove luggage from our coach bus, and had only vague directions as to how we might safely get said trolleys to the street level. We took several trips and only received help from a service worker who, judging by his uniform, I do not think even worked in the porter department. (Note: This individual who worked on his own to see us safely unloaded and who brought us into the building via a street-level staff entrance (which we would not have found on our own) was the saving grace of our arrival experience and he certainly deserves kudos. Please acknowledge and praise Sydney B. for his above and beyond efforts!)
2) The large number of guests should have been anticipated (as this was booked months in advance and was a HUGE expense - many tens of thousands of dollars). Instead, my colleagues spent a long time in line, some for over half an hour. No refreshments were given to help comfort these many dozens of waiting customers, nor, I recall, any attempt at providing a quick service (i.e. take a number and relax at the lounge until called, etc.).
3) Many were told upon registration that their rooms were not yet ready for check-in. This is understandable as we arrived before the guaranteed check-in time. What I do not understand is why bags were not taken right there at the counter, marked, and sent up to the rooms as they became available. Also, despite guests being assured they would be called on their cell phones upon room availability, many had to continue to check in as phone calls were still not made even as we were approaching our 4PM meeting times (guaranteed check-in is at 3PM). When a front desk worker says they will call, they should call. I had one front desk worker fail to call me back in the 6 DAYS preceding our arrival. (While I leave names for Kudos, it would not serve to single out this individual as this seemed a systemic, not individualistic, problem. I do, of course, recall the name, however.)
Beyond our arrival process, there were still several areas of service which failed to meet the expectations of such an upscale, downtown, high-cost hotel.
The 'Green Rooms' option (to eliminate the need for nightly changes of bed linens) stated that towels left in the tub would nonetheless be changed daily. My roommate and I left our towels in the tub (wet and used) on the morning of our second day (day after arrival), yet after the day's business and return to the room, we found neither had the bed been made nor the towels been changed. When we called down for new towels, they delivered them while we were at dinner, but they left the old ones in the tub. Only on the third of four days did the towels get removed, and our beds were never made, except by us. (Perhaps the 'don't change linens for the environment' option implied a 'do not make the bed, I like it messy' message?)
Our drinking glasses were never replaced.
Our cleaner did, however, volunteer to change the duvet cover after we noticed a stain upon arrival (she was in the next room and easily accessible), and fresh housecoats were sent up upon request.
2) Fitness Area/Pool
The hours were nice for these amenities, and the staff working them were friendly and helpful. I appreciate that towels and lockers were available for use. Unfortunately the steam room in the men's change area was not working during my four day (three night) stay, except for during one visit. The whirlpool/hot tub was also only weakly able to create jets. Luckily the sauna was working and nice and hot.
In the fitness area, while the amount of cardio equipment was reasonable, it seemed a shame that although some free weights existed, there were few standard weights for the universal bar (on the bench press). This meant that I had to adjust the weights I was used to using to accommodate the lack of available options.
3) Catered Dinner
We had as part of our meetings, a formal dinner. This dinner was set up nicely, with appropriate lighting and well-spaced tables. The table settings were elegant and well-appointed (buns, butter, cutlery). The food, however, was surprisingly disappointing (although it looked like it would be delicious). The beef was slightly overcooked, and lacked flavour -I rarely put salt on my beef, but this required it. I was also surprised that we had to request horse radish for the table, as it was a known beef or chicken main option.
While each table was given one red and one white bottle of wine, additional bottles could be purchased if a table chose. This seems a rather reasonable option. What was not reasonable was the wine offered for the price at which it was being sold. While I understand and support some mark-up for hotel profit (200% - 300% is the web-stated standard in most restaurants), this was unacceptable. A bottle of wine (Barefoot Sauvignon Blanc), available for $9.95 at the area LCBO (wine, spirits, and beer store), was being sold for $55!! After tax, this is a 500% markup!! After the hotel is already charging per person for the meal and the service? This was more than an appropriate amount of profit-seeking!
For those of us that chose not to spend 5 times the retail rate on wine, we were left without water. No one came to refill our glasses on their own and no pitcher was left at the table. Instead, we had to seek staff (who were already busy) and ask them for water. I would expect better service at my local family restaurant.
4) Making it up to us
At most hotels, when expectations are not met and drops in service have been made (long delays in receiving call backs, inability to accommodate room upgrades when requested weeks in advance and when one is willing to pay to upgrade, long lines to check-in, etc.) staff volunteer to make it up to the customer. Traditionally, an invitation to enjoy their buffet breakfast on the house is offered as an apology. I requested this (as it was not offered) and I was told I would be called back once the manager had been spoken to about it. Big surprise, no call back. I did, however, go back to the counter and ask about it. After speaking with this agent, she went into a back room for several minutes and then came back with tickets for a 'fruit cup, coffee, and pastry' and the coffee counter - three each for both my roommate and me (covering the duration of our stay).
While I do appreciate the effort, it was only upon my insistence that we received anything at all.
For the amount I know my affiliate organization paid to have this meeting hosted, and the advance notice regarding how many would be in attendance, I am surprised and disappointed by the quality and lack of service. The previous visits I had to this location left me missing it during our last few years when we conducted our business at a nearby affiliate hotel. I look forward to our return to the downtown affiliate, and hope it is sooner than later. Next year would be nice.
August 19, 2012
Rated 5 out of 5 by SeanMarks Great view
We had a great night sleep along with a great water view.
August 18, 2012
Rated 1 out of 5 by DON43 A Disappointing Stay
The stay did not begin well as the place was somewhat chaotic as I drove the car up the ramp for check-in. Self-park was offsite, a 5 minute walk in the rain and cost $30/night.. We opted for valet parking.
At check-in we were offered a SPG room on the 34th floor. This did not seem to be an upgrade. I asked about an alternative and was offered a corner room that had a little more room. We took this on the assumption that it would be outfitted the same as our original room assignment. This proved not to be the case. I mentioned this to the front desk later on our first night. There were very few bathroom amenities (no shower gel) and no complimentary water. The room had a rather tired look. No offer was made to change room. Sometime during the night, a note was slipped under our door for complementary buffet breakfast. The next morning I took a list of a number of things that were not at par for the room and handed it in at the front desk. The main problem was a very noisy air conditioner. With the design of the room, when I sat in the lounge chair, I could not hear the TV. The noise also made for a less than restful night (hence rating for room comfort). The switch on the standard lamp did not work , there was lint on the cover of the of the exhaust fan in the bathroom and the taps leaked at times. Coming back to the hotel in mid-afternoon, none of the items had been attended to. The room had not even been made up. After dinner outside the hotel, I called service express with my concerns. After talking to Kim and Gus, a couple of technicians arrived and said that sound level for the AC was usual and the taps did not leak. Since it was late, I said it was pointless in fixing the lamp. We did get bottled water but no bathroom supplies. Gus did arrange for extra Starpoints but I would have much rather someone had dealt with my concerns in a proactive manner. We did use the pool which was quite nice. The food in the main restaurant was quite good (at least for breakfast) but I prefer a dining room with some natural light..C heck out was fine but, at that stage, they had not added parking to the bill. This came very much later in an e-mail update of the billing. I doubt that we will return to this hotel.
August 16, 2012
Rated 5 out of 5 by Linda52 excellent hotel
everything was excellent. The only thing we didn't like was the pool facilities. At 10pm it was so crowed with children. Have stayed at another high end hotel and they have the last hour as adults only. And also the hot tub was not working properly as the jets only came on once (after we got out) in a 1/2hr. When they did come on there wasn't much to them.
August 15, 2012
Rated 1 out of 5 by SueS Very Disappointing
We have stayed at this Westin several times before and always enjoyed our experience. There was something different this time. It started at check -in when we were told we did not have a guaranteed reservation and it was not paid for, although we had paperwork which indicated we did. When they tried to re-regrister us they said our credit card did not work. We were made to contact our credit card company. There was no problem with our card.....once this was resolved they checked us in and upgraded our room, which we appreciated. Our room did not have adequate towels or toilet paper. The carpet was worn and looked dirty. There was a mix up when we checked out, we were given someone else's bill which was much more expensive from our bill.....it took time to resolve. Check in and check out was very frustrating. I almost wondered if travelers from the States were not welcome. I really like the Westin chain but will never visit this hotel again.
August 14, 2012
Rated 3 out of 5 by celebrity13 Westin let me down this time
Our problems were principally with the room.
The view was of a roof and tennis court.
The bathroom did not have a door except for the toilet area, and only one light switch. This meant that during the night, one had to illuminate the whole room in order to find the way to the toilet area and thus disturb a sleeping partner. The towels were more like motel grade and the toilet seat was not secure on the toilet. Dear husband always looks forward to the steam/sauna area so we donned our bathing suits and went off to the area only to be told they were out of order. The hallway leading from our room to the elevator appeared not to have been vacuumed the 3 days we were there as the same bits & pieces were still there each
day. However, when these issues were brought to the attention of the Front Desk Manager, he was appreciative to be informed of these non-Westin type problems and I assume will investigate and try to fix. We have stayed at the Westin Harbour Castle for years and have never had anything but good to say about this hotel so I would still recommend it and hope that next time our visit will be more enjoyable.
August 13, 2012
Rated 3 out of 5 by SunnyDay Surprisingly average facilities and room
Upon waiting in the starwood platinum line for check-in, I was passed over by 4 people before someone recognized I had been waiting for 15 minutes. First room given to me had someone else already in it; second room was not upgraded per request. Bathroom was dusty and missing shampoo. Too many misses for a business trip at this hotel.
August 13, 2012
Rated 5 out of 5 by Beatlesfan63 Great place to stay.
The staff were all very friendly, and nice to talk to. The Thoula(hope I spelled it correctly), restaurant was absolutely wonderful!
August 12, 2012
Rated 4 out of 5 by Muzzy4 Service express
Would like to give a many thanks to 'Sean?'
who was covering in SE on Sunday. He was most patient and helpful with my daughter's many questions
August 10, 2012
Rated 4 out of 5 by MrSpock3 Pet & People Friendly
The staff at the Westin went over the top to ensure our room was set up to accommodate our cat. Our extra requests were met with sincere enthusiam. We are happy to recommend The Westin to Toronto travelers.
August 6, 2012
Rated 2 out of 5 by Luvtrvl Very tired, old, poorly maintained
This is the worst Westin I have ever stayed at and I'm a platinum member. The hotel is in a superior location and has amazing views of Lake Ontario. The hotel is poorly maintained (we had to switch rooms because the first assigned room was dirty and looked like it hadn't been dusted in weeks.). The hallways and rooms are in dire need of painting. The bathrooms are old and very small. The carpet in our "suite" was nasty and shredded near the entrance to bathroom and opening door. The wallpaper was bubbled in places and furniture scraped. Not a good representation for Westin quality. I wouldn't use your suite awards for this place as the room was not of "suite" size nor quality.
August 5, 2012
Rated 5 out of 5 by Jack1942 Perfect location for a Toronto city leisure trip
Tenth floor room overlooking the Lake and watching the ferries crossing to the Island added to the relaxing ambience of the hotel. Very good facilities and very good service from staff.
August 4, 2012
Rated 3 out of 5 by WorldTraveller12 Good hotel but I expected more
The check-in and check-out processes were swift and the service was wonderful. The room itself is relatively large for a hotel room with an amazing view of the lake. There are a lot of good things about this hotel and that's why I would still recommend it, BUT given my experience with Westin (and other) hotels globally, I expected a bit more if the Westin Harbour Castle wants to be considered high-end.
Specifically, (1) the in-room fridge, while it's a tremendous and valuable perk, doesn't actually work. Even though it's plugged in, the hotel has turned it off. The ONLY way to keep things cool is to put ice in a bucket in the fridge.
(2) The bathroom had no towel racks by the sink. Where am I supposed to hang my hand towel and face cloths??
(3) We had the buffet breakfast for $25 each. It was severely lacking compared to other hotels. There was no fresh juice (the containers were empty), no fresh omelett or waffle station, no granola or fresh cheeses and limited fruit options. The bacon was under cooked, and you only had 1 option for eggs which was scrambled. It should be sold for $15 each, not $25! I also had dirty glasses at our table.
August 1, 2012
Rated 5 out of 5 by BaseballMommy Excellent family stay
We stayed as a family (traveling with 10 year old, 6 year old and infant) and loved our time spent here! The baby was given a welcome bag at check in (toy duck, outlet covers, night light, etc) and the big boys got water bottles. Check in was a bit slow (we arrived right at 3pm and the line was long). We opted to pay the extra $10 for valet parking (regular parking was 30 but a couple block away from what we heard). Longest wait for the car was 20 minutes but we are pretty sure they forgot about us!
We were on the 9th floor in a "non-lakeview" room... well we had a pretty darn good view of the lake! The kids loved watching the boats come and go.
Everyone in the hotel was so helpful, from getting us extra towels, to suggesting that we go to the lowest level as it takes you out at the street and was much easier to access than taking a stroller down the front stairs. Kids were treated to popsicles the night we arrived (person wandering the main lobby with them), and got to see a snake up close and personal the second day. Kids were also thrilled to have freshly popped popcorn when they got out of the pool... we didn't watch the movie but the boys loved the treats.
We walked the harbourfront often, went for a lovely trip through the islands. It was a very short trip to the Rogers Centre and CN Tower.
Checkout was a bit tricky as there were so many people checking out that the elevators were all packed (we wanted to swim first and ended up taking the four flights of stairs down and back up after our swim). To get help with the luggage we just called the front desk and someone was up in no time to help with loading up and carrying down everything.
Cleanliness.... I am a stickler for clean and found the room was generally spotless. The bathroom... well the grout could have used bleaching and the baseboards had that look of needing a scrub on the tops (accumulated dust and whatnot). It would have been nice if you could have drawn in some fresh air from outside as the room had a bit of a stale smell (the only "window' that could open was the size of a mail slot... guessing safety?) but you quickly got used to it. We ran the air conditioner and fan most of the time.
We found the stay so relaxing we are going to do it again! The location was excellent, the service was great, the hotel was quiet (despite being fully booked the nights we were there). LOVED IT!
August 1, 2012
Rated 5 out of 5 by JodyG52 Friendliest staff ever
From the minute we checked in the staff was extremely friendly and accommodating. They truly made it their job to see that we were taken care of. All of the Westins have very comfortable clean rooms, but this one seemed extraordinarily clean and had a magnificent view of the lake. I was told every room in the hotel had some view of the lake!
August 1, 2012
Rated 4 out of 5 by bobusa Harbour Castle
Stay was fine, but cannot believe no free WIFI in rooms!. Get with it Canada
August 1, 2012
Rated 5 out of 5 by JuneB Great Hotel
We stayed there for a relaxing weekend and everything was excellent from start to end. The hotel room was spacious with an excellent view of the lake and was very clean. The staff were great too right from valet parking, check-in staff and service staff. I would highly recommend this hotel to anyone thinking of staying there.
August 1, 2012
Rated 4 out of 5 by Buc416main Stayed at the Harbor Suites Penthouse
Penthouse was fantastic! Should have a balcony though.
August 1, 2012
Rated 5 out of 5 by roadwarrior58 excellent stay
Only stayed one day to go to the Beaches Jazz fest but the staff was excellent at check in and obtaining information and direction to the Beaches. Took the cheapest non-refunable room and it was more than we anticipated. Parking was a block away at $30 for self park but that downtown TO for you...so no complaints...just a couple very satisfied customers!
July 31, 2012
Rated 4 out of 5 by Schools Great location
Very nice hotel in a very convenient location on the harbour front of Toronto. Clean, comfortable, great amenities. The pool area and sun deck were outstanding. Only negatives are self-parking ($30) and the fact that wi-fi is not offered free in the guest rooms ($10). Also, the business centre is not complimentary ($7).
July 31, 2012
Rated 4 out of 5 by madill01 close to everything
hotel good quality for the money, just do not eat at the revolving restaurant, terrible
July 31, 2012
Rated 1 out of 5 by Platinumspg Confidential for Westin
I was very disappointed in this hotel for a Westin. The rooms need a thorough upgrade. Bathrooms are very yesterday. Very disappointing. Please put real glasses in rooms. Suite configuration for up grade was 2 separate rooms and you had to open each door if you went from one to another. Very poor. Front manager and staff were excellent but facility is below Westin standard by a long shot.
"Italian" restaurant was extremely poor. Would never recccomend .
July 28, 2012
Rated 4 out of 5 by JOB3600 Nice People but...
When we arrived, the check in procedure was well-greased and we were up to our room quickly. However, the room safe was loose and a repairman had to come up to fix it. Then, our television came on spontaneously at odd hours, daily around 1 to 2 AM and had to be turned off. It also came on at other hours, as if the people next door or somewhere could control the darn thing.
The staff are great and very efficient, pleasant, and helpfull. Location is central and the view of the lake is a bonus.
July 28, 2012
Rated 5 out of 5 by cat123 Service
Best ever service. I suffered an injury and not only did hotel staff assist with medical care, they even went to my room to read my medicine bottle while I was in the E.R.!
July 27, 2012
Rated 4 out of 5 by ABCNJ Excellent location
Waking up and seeing the water every morning was priceless. The room was large and comfortable. The staff were very nice as well.
There are stores to shop and places to eat and on the water and in walking distance from the hotel. I cannot wait to go back
July 26, 2012
Rated 4 out of 5 by CWF123 Enjoyed the Westin, not Toula
The Westin rooms and staff are really nice. We had a great lakeview. First time staying here and I was quite pleased. However, I would not recommend Toula within the Westin. Seemed over booked. Toke an 1hr plus to get our main course. I had requested a birthday message to be written on the dessert plate as we were celebrating a birthday - they did not remember.
July 20, 2012
Rated 1 out of 5 by Hockeysox161 Hidden Costs, Little Reward
I recently stayed here for a week. The lobby was great, the room was to be expected, and the view was wonderful, but that's all your rate pays for. I took a bus to get here from the airport and there was no ramp to get up the huge set of stairs to the front doors. I guess you could wheel your heavy luggage all the way up the valet entry, but it's very inconvenient. Upon arrival, I set up my tablet but quickly learned that internet access is a whopping $17 per day. I didn't realize this at the time of booking and at no time was I told before I went to log on. 1st hidden cost. Later in the week, I decided to rent a car for some day trips. It was only after I gave my keys to the valet and I was back in my room that I noticed on the valet ticket I would be charged $40 per night for parking. None of the staff, valet or front desk, had ever mentioned I'd be paying for parking nor did it say it on the website. 2nd hidden cost. There is a coffee machine in the room, but the hotel only provides one pod for your stay. If you want additional coffee, you must buy it from the store downstairs. It's a very unique coffee pod that would take a lot of shopping around to find. 3rd hidden cost. Say you were bored and you wanted to rent a movie on-demand. The cost at this hotel is an excruciating $17. I'd like to point out that this is the same movie you could rent on Amazon for $4 or on Redbox for $1. Not a hidden cost, but certainly an outstanding up-charge. The televisions at this hotel do not allow for you to hook devices up as some hotels do, so renting elsewhere and watching through HDMI cable is not an option. This hotel needs to get a lot better at disclosing its costs before you book. They are very ticky-tacky about charging you and as a guest, it makes you feel very unappreciated. I'd still like to know where all of the money for my rate was going to (besides to line the pockets of their executives).
July 10, 2012
Rated 5 out of 5 by Janice51 Will definitely return
Excellent buffet breakfast to start the day! Staff very attentive in all parts of the hotel and helpful when called upon.
Good location for subway system, attending both baseball and hockey games(both within walking distance) as well as good restaurants within walking distance.
A bonus for families wanting to go to 'Centre Island' the ferry is right there at your door step! Will definitely plan to return when we are in Toronto and want to be in that part of the city with or without a vehicle. Airport service is about 30 min. without traffic.
July 7, 2012
Rated 2 out of 5 by leila stay review
not pleased at all. room not clean as expected and the noise level at night was disguisting. needed to call front desk.
July 5, 2012
Rated 5 out of 5 by Irighgirl A little Oasis...
With our house under construction, I decided LAST minute to book a night away for me and my husband - a little stay-cation because I actually live in Toronto. The Westin had a great rate so I booked it not knowing what to expect. All I asked of the staff was a quiet, cool room. When I arrived, I was immediately upgraded (without asking for it) to the 30th floor with a waterfront view. That night we slept like babies and kept saying what a GREAT way to spend a night. Thank you Westin Harbour Castle!
June 26, 2012