Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Review: Hotel Fort Garry, Winnepeg, Canada

Our polar bear photo trip with Natural Habitat Adventures included a pre and post night stay at the historic Hotel Fort Garry in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. This is an upscale hotel, old and beautiful. It is within easy walking distance of The Forks, the VIA train station and the parliament building. Our package included a daily breakfast that was top notch with custom made omelets, eggs, waffles, etc. Yet I have some not too positive comments as did several members of our group.

Apparently the hotel offers beds with either a tempurpedic mattress with down duvet and pillows or complete feather bed ensemble including feather beds. We were assigned rooms without anyone asking if we had a preference and those on feather beds, including my husband, found the bed too soft.

Internet access for anyone with a wi-fi device needed to pay a $15 a day fee for access. NatHab had negotiated a special fee for its guests of $3 per day. When I was told this I got the impression I needed to pay and get a log on code to use the computers in the lobby so I paid for one day, a $3 charge I soon learned I didn’t need to pay. The two laptop computers in the lobby are totally free. Interestingly enough the laptops were on a counter top and you have to stand to use them. Definitely a way to keep users from getting too comfortable and hogging the machines.

Our room was nice sized with two double beds. No view to speak of but I wasn’t there to look out the window. The room has a thermostat but I couldn’t adjust it. I made two stops at the front desk to request that the room be made cooler and was told maintenance would take care of it. Right! Never happened.

Lastly, while the breakfast room was lovely and service was quick and friendly, there was nothing informing guests what was available. I didn’t find out until I saw what other diners were eating that there was French toast, hash browns and sausages available. I wouldn't have even known waffles were available if I didn't see the waffle maker. They were all behind the omelet station and needed to be requested. And while there was a sign showing the ‘omelet of the day’, there was no information about what other items might be available to go into an omelet.

Lastly, I have never seen such a large hotel lobby with so very little seating. As you enter the front door, to the right, there is a small seating area. That’s it. Other than seating in the bar, of course.

All in all, stripping the bed down to just the top sheet and wearing only a t-shirt to bed made the room temperature OK. We definitely didn’t go hungry at breakfast with custom-made waffles and eggs. I managed to get my email checked quickly on the free laptops in the lobby. And we spent as little time as possible hanging around the no-seats-available lobby.

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