My wife and I escape our New England homestead and travel to Montreal several times a year for a taste of Europe right here in N. America. Over the years we've stayed at just about every class of hotel the city has to offer. Our original go-to in the 80s was the venerable Bonaventure which at that time sported expansive rooms and proportionately large bathrooms with phones in them. Though back then our luxury travel was limited, we also distinctly recall that the staff seemed more dedicated to detailed hospitality than the current crew.
While placing my reservation directly with the hotel, I had specifically entered a request for a King room facing west to take full advantage of the sun. Such requests are typically and understandably regarded as 'if possible' by all but the highest-echelon establishments. But you should always expect the request to at least appear on the reception desk computer at check-in. This time, mine wasn't. Even more disturbing was the failure of the desk staff to know or care to ask a colleague which direction was west. So it became a guessing game resulting in a trial expedition to and back from the first room we were assigned. Finally, after 10 minutes of labored computer work and head shaking, a west-facing King room was indeed located. We were so glad to see the sun streaming that we forgave the fact that the room was the size of a Holiday Express cell, as was the bathroom. What we hadn't been told and would later discover was that an inside wall was close enough to the elevator shaft that in the quiet of the night a distant but distinct and very annoying 'boom' would frequently occur. The first night we thought it was just a noisy guest. And only later realized it was the lift doors shutting or some clunky internal machanism. But by then we were completely ensconsed in the room and reluctant to relocate. I can't imagine that the desk staff was unaware of the noise problem. Moroever, given the fact that we'd stayed at the Bonaventure as recently as a year earlier, I would have expected just a little more deference during the compass orientation discussion and botched first room assignment.
Minor but still worth mentioning were: a lengthy WiFi initial connection process made more challenging by the unclear printed instructions we were given at check-in; lack of a residential city phonebook; lack of a printed hotel services reference guide.
Another problem we've noticed here is a lackluster, unprofessional concierge staff. Maybe we've been spoiled at other hotels. But we've grown to expect and appreciate a modicum of enthusiasm from a concierge when asked to do a little quick research on a request. In fact, many concierge staff seem to take guest requests as personal challenges deserving absolute satisfaction above and beyond the guests' needs. Instead, our queries were treated with uncertainty and lack of depth. Anything requiring more than a brief exchange of information seemed to evoke exasperation. And in one case, a destination 2 blocks away was totally mis-marked on our city map, resulting in an irritating and frantically cold search. Finally, given that it was a particularly busy weekend, a supervisor might have thought to schedule a second concierge to assist the single beleaguered one we had to deal with.
Environmental concerns temporarily aside, one of the pleasures of a wintertime Montreal hotel stay is use of a gloriously steaming heated outdoor pool. In fact, the only reason we'd returned to the Bonaventure was that our other hotel mainstay had recently ceased outdoor pool activity between fall and spring. And though the Bonaventure's pool setup hasn't changed over the years, it's worth mentioning a couple of inconveniences. For one thing, a long stair climb is required to get to the tiny sign-in and initial immersion area. There we were faced with a grumpy attendant who didn't feel it necessary to point out where we were expected to leave our robes (not obvious) or that towels were available. (At least we HAD earlier thought to phone the front desk about robes and slippers which we were told were ony delivered to guest rooms 'on request.') Oh, and the vaunted pool "waterfall" feature proudly mentioned on the hotel website appeared to have been non-functioning for quite some time.
Extremely troubling was the fact that the under-the-door express check-out bill didn't reflect our special "2nd night half-price" rate. Another pair of guests might have hurriedly accepted theirs at first glance and been inadvertently out an extra 85 bucks.
I'll end on the positives. Front-door staff were very efficient; room housekeeping was impeccable; more pillows than we could even use were already in our room; bathroom fixtures were attractive and in good repair; room heating was quiet and responsive. Oh, and the reception staff person who handled the billing mishap DID actually express sincere dismay at the oversight.
- Also Known As:
- Hilton Montreal Bonaventure Hotel
- Hilton Montreal Bonaventure Hotel Montreal
- Hilton Montreal
- Montreal Hilton
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