I made the reservations for this hotel through Priceline, my second time using that site, my first time staying at the hotel it lined me up with. When Priceline told me the price was going to be a little over $60, I thought, "Cool!" (especially considering this hotel's normally bit over $100 per night). I added $5 for the Trip Insurance; okay. Then it added $20 for various fees and whatnot. HUH? Still, I went with it. (I usually stay at the HoJo near the Perimeter Highway, so I was looking forward to something a bit closer to downtown and the Winnipeg Fringe Fest.)
The hotel wasn't too difficult to find, even with my propensity for getting lost in Winnipeg. It's a fair-sized hotel -- four stories -- and a newer, very well kept-up property. I was, well, flabbergasted when I walked in. The lobby was large and luxurious and clean. (I'm used to staying in smaller hotels -- Super 8 being my usual go-to -- so something that looked like about 4-1/2 stars blew me away.) I really did feel a bit out of place there, a guy in a snarky t-shirt and jeans in a lobby that looked like it had a dress code.
Check-in was a little on the slow side. Considering I was running late for a show downtown, that could easily be a misperception on my part. Still, there was only one woman in front of me (she was having something faxed), and the only desk clerk there at 6pm was out of sight, sending off that fax. After waiting just a couple minutes though, a gentleman (the manager, I'm guessing) stepped behind the front desk. He didn't quite help me so much as pulled another employee behind the desk to get him to help me. Considering he walked that second man through the check-in, complete with the Priceline info, I figured the second man was fairly new.
I stayed up on the fourth floor in a large room with two large beds, a refrigerator, and a microwave. Again, to me, it was large and luxurious, and I started to wonder if I was in the right place. I couldn't wonder too long though; I had less than a half hour to get downtown, parked, and to the first of three plays for the night.
I got back to the hotel pretty late. It was then that I noticed just how small the parking lot was. I found maybe three open spots. One odd thing I saw was that there were parking spots lined out directly in front of the hotel -- but there were also signs over each of those spots: "No Parking. Fire Lane." Yeah, the definition of mixed messages. Considering one of those messages could get a guy ticketed or maybe even towed, I thought it best to hunt around the lot a little bit.
Like I said, I got back pretty late, too late for any pizza delivery. The grave-shift front desk man was able to direct me to a nearby 24-hour Tim Horton's though. I was gone ten minutes, fifteen tops, and only one small parking spot was left, just squeezed into one corner of the lot, IIRC next to a dumpster. It wasn't ideal, but at least I was still on the property. (One employee said that they have about one parking spot for each room. Yeah, not ideal, not when the hotel's about full and a number of rooms probably have more than one car.)
I really looked forward to sinking into that plush bed. Unfortunately, it wasn't quite as plush as I had hoped. No, it was a bit on the hard side -- not plywood-hard but still it didn't offer a lot of give. And then the noises started. Planes taking off and landing at the airport. Traffic noises from the street. Conversations and laughter in a nearby room (made me feel bad for having my TV on, even at low volumes for maybe a half hour) along with a door shutting a couple of times. And a weird, intermittent ticking/tapping noise. At first, I thought it might've been the sink or the toilet, but both of them were just fine. And, I'm not entirely sure on this, but I could've sworn I heard a vacuum going about 7:20 in the morning. Add in that I usually have problems sleeping in a strange bed the first night or two and that I'm a night owl (usually not getting to bed until about 6am), and there wasn't much sleep to be had.
The next morning, just out of curiosity, I opened the curtains. There it was -- maybe five blocks away -- the airport. GAH! (Yeah, I know this hotel's listed as an airport hotel, but couldn't the place have been better insulated against the noise, especially considering how new this property is?)
When I checked out the next morning (by itself, a quick and painless process), I mentioned the noises (especially the airport noise) to the young lady at the front desk. Her only comments: "Sorry" and "Weird." (Other than that, she seemed like a perfectly nice and competent front desk clerk.) I'm guessing she and the rest of the staff who pretty much stay on the first floor -- complete with any number of buildings between them and the airport, buildings that help absorb the noise, unlike the fourth floor with nothing between it and the airport -- aren't aware of just how loud the planes can be, especially late at night.
Just based on the appearance of the hotel, I would've given it a 5. But between the noise and the parking and the noise (yeah, "noise" deserves to be listed twice), I'd prefer to drop this hotel down to a 1. So -- I split the difference.
And would I stay here again? Given all of that noise from the street and the airport, probably not.