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Canadas Best Value Inn Chinook Station
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Reviewed July 25, 2013

This is what I wrote to the head office:
Wyndham Hotel Group
22 Sylvan Way
Parsippany, NJ 07054

RE: Property – Howard Johnson Express Inn
5307 Macleod Trail, Calgary, T2H 0J3

Dear Wyndham Hotel Group,

Please be advised that this property is a serious detriment to your “Howard Johnson” brand. The staff is not friendly, and I’m embarrassed that we suggested guests stay there. Upon check out they wanted to charge us for pillow cases towels and bed sheets that had been what they referred to as stained. They showed us photos, but could not provide the actual linen. We could not confirm the linens in the pictures we even ours. They also indicated that the pictures were taken prior to laundering, and did not even check to see if they could be washed out. This appears to be a money grab from the franchisees at your customers cost. I travel up to 40 nights a year for business and will make sure all my colleagues and I do not stay at Wyndham properties. The fact that this property still displays your banner is something corporately you should be ashamed of.

This property, staff, and the conduct should not go unnoticed. We have since reviewed the “Tripadvisor.ca” website and see that there are several others that share our experiences.

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with family
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5  Thank Chuck A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 23, 2013

Don't stay here!!!!! The worst hotel experience ever. I was quoted a price for a six night stay of $95 per night and $99 for the Friday. This is during the flood crisis of June 2013. Made a reservation for 6 nights. When I checked in on June 30th they charged me the quoted rate and then cancelled the transaction and charged me an extra $60 for the Friday night!!!!!! Accused me of lying about the quoted rate and was told that he would refuse me service if I argued any more. Hotel space was very limited because of the floods in Calgary and the pending Stampede so took a deep breath and checked in. The air conditioning didn't work and when I complained I was told that it was "OLD"(no fixing old). Power was out for a day (no offer of a credit). AND when I checked out, I was accused of smoking in the room and of course, my $200 fee would not be returned. This hotel deserves to be on the Wall of Shame for Calgary 2013 Flood. And even at $75 per night (no flood crisis now) this hotel is not worth it.

  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled solo
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7  Thank Lynn D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 23, 2013

I did fall for it. We only wanted a very brief overnighter on our tour and didn't pick up on the fact that the booking was not cancellable. The day after booking Calgary was hit by the worst flooding for 70 years and the town was cut off for 6 full days, and all roads from the Rocky's were sealed by the police and the authorities requested that people stay away anyway until the situation was resolved. Under the circumstances I would have expected that since it was impossible to reach the hotel the management would have waived the right of non-cancellation. No such luck !! Not even an apology for the rules being applied so rigidly. Is HOJO a franchise operation ? I cannot believe that any national management company would act in this way with complete disregard for clients and it's reputation. If it is not a franchise which has gone out of control ,then the central management needs desperately to institute staff training to cover both customer relations and the obviously appalling running of the operation shown up in the recent reviews listed on this site.

Stayed: June 2013, traveled as a couple
6  Thank davidpeters158
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 14, 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
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8  Thank Manhattanhopeful
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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.
  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled solo
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7  Thank N0MAD
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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