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“Unable to trust accomodations industry after staying here” 1 of 5 stars
Review of Howard Johnson Express Calgary

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Howard Johnson Express Calgary
2.0 of 5 Hotel   |   5307 McLeod Trail SW, Calgary, Alberta T2H 0J3 , Canada (Southwest Calgary)   |  
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Ranked #84 of 100 Hotels in Calgary
Vancouver, Canada
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
“Unable to trust accomodations industry after staying here”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed July 15, 2013

As is plainly obvious from my subject line, I have much to say about this place. I will begin with the positives:

(1) A great staff! From spending time to find extra pillows, to printing out maps for your journeys and allowing us access to the eating areas after hours to make formula for our baby, the staff at this hotel is their saving grace.

(2) Location is great, as it is very close to Chinook Mall and easy access to the major thoroughways.

Now this is the tough part. I try to stay positive on these reviews, almost to a fault. I respect the business owner and the risks they take, and I know the kind of damage a negative review here can do. Unfortunately, this is one experience I must share. Here I go:

(1) When we arrived, we were taken to a room on the ground floor, and it had a putrid smell of stale cigarette smoke. The staff said perhaps the last guests had smoked in there, but the smoke was so embedded and stale it was obvious this had been happening there for a while. We said no, and was given another room close by.

(2) The room had very old carpeting, and it was long past its due date. I am not one for new materials, but at a certain point, a carpet needs to be changed for hygienic reasons. The wallpaper was also old and peeling, and who knows what lurked behind the paper (mold?). We kept our son from crawling on it, placed all luggage on the table and just avoided walking on it with bare feet.

(3) The washroom was "functional", but what was really odd was the thick limescale that encrusted the shower head. It was quite prominent, and looked absolutely disgusting.

(4) We pulled up the sheets to look for bed bugs, and found none, but did find a couple of tiny black beetles. We inspected the room, and found more of them in the washroom (dead and alive). It was hard to sleep on that bed, which was already worn and tilting whenever you laid on it. We felt like bugs were crawling on us all night.

(5) When looking for the bugs, I found the source. There was a hole in the wall (evidently to fix a heating issue) that was never patched (picture of hole attached to this review). The insects were pouring into the room from there. I woke up to a moth on the washroom door. They could not even bother to apply a small piece of drywall on that hole. I took the mat in front of the washroom at was below that hole, shook it over the bath tub and was aghast at the amount of dead bugs, cigarette as and other gunk that came off it. It obviously had not been vacuumed or cleaned for a while.

(6) The entrance to the room needed work. First, you opened an exterior to a very small common hallway that connected two rooms. Then you opened the door to your room. Issue was the two doors did not open and close smoothly, and required a lot of pushing and shoving. This naturally made for a lot of noise (especially when closing) and it reverberated through the hallway and into the rooms. It was actually very annoying, and did not make for a homely stay since you were wondering if someone was about to break in.

In sum, it was definitely the worst hotel/motel experience I've had. I have stayed in many discount ones, so I know what to expect when you pay a low rate, but this one is absolutely horrible. I wrote the manager a long e-mail expressing my concerns, but received no reply. No professionalism or class. It seems like management has skimped on maintenance staff and repairs to extract as much money as possible.

My wife had accidentally booked this hotel at www.bookings.com. We phoned the website immediately, and were told there is no cancellations. Bookings still sent them a professionally worded e-mail explaining our situation and offered to refund any fees they owed to www.bookings.com. The next morning, management refused, and said we would have to pay 50% for a cancellation. This was during Stampede Week, when finding tenants is ridiculously easy. I have no doubt if we cancelled, they would have just rented it out to someone else. When I was checking out, a guest from Oklahoma was asking for the manager for an explanation of this fee. She said she had provided 4 days notice of their need to leave early, but was refused a waiver of the fee. It was hard to hear her say how $500 is a heavy price for someone who is living cheque to cheque. Here is the kicker: she had come to Calgary to held with the flood relief effort. This, if I already wasn't, completely soured me on this motel.

As I said earlier, I try not to give negative reviews. The way this motel conducts business is shameful, and casts a bad light on the city of Calgary, the Howard Johnson brand and on the industry overall. It's rather sad considering I have stayed at many, many great hotels and yet this one experience can taint them.

If I may offer some words: whatever you do, avoid this place like the plague. If we could re-do it, we would've stayed in Banff since all other hotels were booked. It would have been a longer drive, but well worth it to avoid this sty of a place. Our 1 year old became very, very ill when we left the motel, and it has left me wondering what he picked up there. Never again.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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209 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    6
    37
    27
    24
    115
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Rating summary
  • Location
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    2.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    2 of 5 stars
  • Service
    2.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    2.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    2 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (39)
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  • English first
  • French first
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English first
Perth, Australia
Top Contributor
51 reviews 51 reviews
30 hotel reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
71 helpful votes 71 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed July 4, 2013

Sometimes you can find last minute accommodation deals through various websites - and sometimes you take the cheapest option and regret it. This one was definitely not a bargain. The night manager was the surliest and least helpful I've ever encountered; the "non-smoking" room smelled like an ashtray, and the air-conditioner (necessary to dispel the odour) was noisy, though fortunately I was tired enough to sleep anyway. Apart from that, the room was adequate (and unlike some pricier ones I've stayed in, it did have a fridge), despite furniture that looked as though it had come from a thrift shop and holes in the wall where electrical work seemed to have been jury-rigged. Breakfast was basic but okay, and the daytime reception staff were more helpful than the night manager, but I was still glad to get out of there and have no desire ever to return.

Room Tip: Go somewhere else.
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled solo
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Laval
Senior Contributor
42 reviews 42 reviews
19 hotel reviews
Reviews in 27 cities Reviews in 27 cities
51 helpful votes 51 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed June 27, 2013

Excellent location to get downtown in no time. Rooms need lots of improvement. It was the beginning of May and they were too humid and hot. A/C units need maintenance or change.
Breakfast was OK.
Front desk service was good and answered questions to our satisfaction.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
1 review
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed June 26, 2013

SHAME on you HOWARD JOHNSON 5307 MACLOED TRAIL. My company booked us for the night as we live in Mission and have no electricity and was told a small pet was ok. When I arrived I was told I could not stay because cats were not allowed only dogs. Now I was somewhat irritated and asked if exceptions could be made due to the circumstances. She said RULES WERE RULES. Asked to speak to her manager. Says she is the franchise owner. (she can't break her own rules???)Asked her if she would turn people away on a technicality if they were the only vacancy, she said GO TO A SHELTER. I can understand if that is how you want to run your business, and asked if I could use their phone to contact my company and take my business elsewhere. THE OWNER REFUSED TO LET ME USE THE PHONE BECAUSE IT IS LONG DISTANCE. Now THAT is beyond reproach!

Stayed June 2013, traveled on business
Was this review helpful? Yes 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed June 25, 2013

Would give it a zero if it was possible. Find a hotel that offers honesty and friendliness. Forget personal items and returned three days later only to find that the owner had thrown it away.
She lied about not having found the item and then admitted to throwing it away, in front of her staff.
Preceded to get vulgar with ignorant gestures

  • Stayed May 2013
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vancouver, Canada
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed June 19, 2013

to be avoided like the plague .... AWFUL!!!.......... Definitely THE worst motel I have ever stayed in .... Run down and in desperate need of repair ...Dirty carpet in room ....dark, dingy, filthy hallways ...NOISY!!!!!!......Breakfast was a joke ....staff barely spoke English ..... HORRIBLE!!!!!............. only gets a 1 star because there are NO MINUS scores !!!.....PLEASE AVOID

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois
Top Contributor
54 reviews 54 reviews
34 hotel reviews
Reviews in 35 cities Reviews in 35 cities
76 helpful votes 76 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 6, 2013

This hotel could be so much better if the owner's made a few maintenance improvements.

Entering the room we were hit by a wave of musk, but nothing a quick use of the a/c couldn't remove. The room was incredibly dark. There was only one working light bulb at the entrance and two in the bathroom. Unfortunately we couldn't switch because the hotel was at capacity.

The hotel has free wifi, which is surprisingly fast.

Overnight the room got very cold and we were unable to make the heater work. Also during the night we could hear traffic through the thin exterior walls, although the walls between rooms were satisfactory. In the morning there was a satisfying continental breakfast.

I highly recommend booking early and online. We overheard some people who hadn't booked ahead getting quoted rates almost double what we paid.

This by any means is not a great hotel, but it's okay for a quick night sleep.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Howard Johnson Express Calgary

Address: 5307 McLeod Trail SW, Calgary, Alberta T2H 0J3 , Canada
Phone Number:
Location: Canada > Alberta > Calgary > Southwest Calgary
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Room Service Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #84 of 100 Hotels in Calgary
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:2 star — Howard Johnson Express Calgary 2*
Number of rooms: 48
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Free breakfast, Wifi, parking, Local calls & room coffee. Guest Laundry. Few minutes to downtown, Stampede ground, Saddledome, Chinook centre, Heritage park, Rockyview Hospital & Mitchell Eye Care. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Howard Johnson Express Calgary Hotel Calgary

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