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“bathroom was decaying and dirty and the feather pillows smelled”

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The Fairmont Palliser
Ranked #21 of 109 Hotels in Calgary
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed February 11, 2010

I have stayed here before but on the gold floor where it was beautiful and clean. This time we had two regular rooms, one for my husband and I one for our two kids. I did not see the kids room. Our room 338 needed a whole new bathroom., The faucet was badly corroded, the wallpaper peeling from the walls, the tiles broken and moldy, the back of the door dirty ( i couldnt stand it and cleaned it myself a bit) the sink cracked, the tub was a nice cast iron tub but needed refinishing. The feather pillows on the bed smelled like rancid body oils ( i guess because they cant be washed and are too expensie to throw out) the entrance to the hotel had cigarette butts laying around and butts and garbage in the planters that flank the stairs. The valets and bell hops doing nothing when they could be keeping the entrance spotless. the kids went down to the very very expensive breadfast buffet and were told it was not too late to eat and my son only got a very small plate of fuit and then they removed the buffet saying he took too long to eat. And this is a Fairmont ???

  • Stayed: January 2010, traveled with family
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2  Thank VernonSuperlou
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed February 9, 2010

My husband and I were booked in to the Fairmont Palliser for his company Christmas party. Upon arrival we were a bit taken aback to find there was no free parking for hotel patrons. It was $12 a night but we did that rather than pay the valet parking which was $30. The staff were all very friendly and helpful during our whole stay. The location is very good, right downtown and with pedway access to the Calgary Tower, the Glenbow and many other office buildings.

The dinner and party were in one of the function rooms. Again the staff were attentive and the food was excellent, no complaints there. We didn't eat in any of the restaurants so can't comment on that.

The room was rather small, but quite nice and the bathroom appeared to have been recently remodelled. It was very clean and the bed was comfortable. It was quiet and the drapes were nice and heavy and kept the sun out of the room.

The only major complaint I had was that the Internet was $13.95 for 24 hours access unless you were a Fairmont Gold member. When we checked in I went online and paid for 24 hours via Paypal, which turned out to have been a bad idea. After the party was over, I tried to get back online and it kept directing me to the pay screen again. I tried to call the Internet company's help line and it kept ringing busy. So I called the front desk and talked to about four different people, most of whom had no idea what I was talking about. The last guy I talked to seemed to know a bit more about the Internet, but practically accused me of lying because "We don't accept payment with Paypal, only cash, debit and credit cards," and I couldn't get him to understand that it was the Internet I had paid for with Paypal. He said he would send someone up to my room to look into it but nobody ever arrived. Mind you, it was midnight, but you'd think a hotel of this caliber (there were former Star Trek actors staying there at the time, and this where the Queen and other dignitaries stay when they come to Calgary) would have a little more help available. Finally, though, I got hold of someone at the Internet provider's help desk and they got me set up again. It seems like most hotels nowadays offer free Internet, so it was rather annoying to have so many problems with something I had paid for.

From looking at their website, it appears that our room was about $220 Canadian a night - but my husband's company was paying and they got a group rate so it probably wasn't that much. It is a very beautiful and historic hotel, and I would stay here again if someone else was paying, but it's a bit out of my budget, especially when you consider that you have to pay extra for parking and Internet, which are no cost at most hotels I've stayed at.

  • Stayed: January 2010, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank wildalbertarose
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 19, 2009

Not a bad hotel in a great central location. But I had two really bad nights. First night had continually knocking due to a broken elevator cable banging on the side of the bedroom wall. Maintenance were unable to fix it so the second night I was moved to another room. Room was fine except is was a smoking room with the pillow reeking of tobaco. Linen was however clean. When I raised the problem at check out I was told that it would be taken seriously. But I had to write on return home before I was taken seriously. Can't say that I was impressed either with what happened or with the response.

  • Stayed: December 2009, traveled on business
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2  Thank Pepysp
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 15, 2009

First of all, I booked this hotel as I thought it might be nice to stay at a historical hotel having stayed in all the Fairmonts in the Canadian Rockies (Banff Springs, Jasper, Lake Louise). And for this hotel, I went ahead with their Gold Room, since it includes access to their Lounge for breakfast. First impressions of the lobby was good, since it was huge and well furnished, though I do think it's a bit dark.

As we were booked on the Gold Room, we had to take the elevator to a special check in floor on one of the top floors. Nothing special with regards to the check in area though, and the hotel also did not provide me a connecting room (requested on booking a month ago). First impressions of the room was good as the main sleeping area was vast and spacious with sofas, a writing desk. We had 2 rooms, one with 2 double beds and another with a king bed. However, upon seeing the bathroom, I was really disappointed. The bathrooms in the room are perhaps what one might find in Holiday Inns along highways (which means its small motel standard). Totally not befitting the room size and hotel standard.

Breakfast is served at the Lounge, but the Lounge they had was small, and could hardly fit in all the guests in the Gold Floor especially if it is peak season. Breakfast selection was also very poor and the espresso machine is old and requires a replacement. Some of the food also took like forever to be replenished. Thus it doesn't seem worth it to go for the Gold Floor, as the only special thing about the Gold Room was the bowl of Butterscotch candy in the room. We were also driving in from the Rockies on a roadtrip and there wasn't complimentary parking for hotel guests, which is another minus. Though for the city, we weren't really expecting complimentary parking. But they didn't have it in Banff and Lake Louise either!

During my stay, I also requested for a nail clipper as our roadtrip lasted a week and we forgot to bring our own from the house. And the hotel had to charge even such a small sum. Given that the price doesn't even consist of 1% of what we paid for the 2 rooms, it doesn't seem to be nice service at all. For the price and standard of service, stay elsewhere in Calgary.

  • Stayed: June 2009, traveled with family
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2  Thank althaus
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 5, 2009

I ended up staying in the Palliser due to some rather bad weather that Calgary was having recently; I found online that the Palliser was having some great 'weekend' specials, so I figured it would be worth the stay to stay somewhere nice, rather than be stuck in a Super 8 someplace. I also decided to go with the Fairmont President's Club membership, which allows access to the "gold" rooms...

So, I get there and I'm cold and tired from the short but exhausting trek from work (too much snow, too many people, etc). I went to the 8th floor to check-in, and was pleasantly surprised, the woman on the front desk was very nice, and accommodating and was willing even to give me a tour of the hotel so I knew where everything was. I didn't take her up on this offer, but rather headed out to my room.

I got to the room and it was COLD even though the heat in the bathroom and supposedly in the bedroom was on at full blast. So I asked up at the reception, and they had someone from maintenance there within 15 min, so in that aspect the service was great.

Then, I tried to order some food. I realize that I am terribly picky when it comes to food, but usually if I'm hungry I let quality slip a bit. So they brought up my calamari and my 'butter chicken'. I ate the calamari - it was rubbery and not overly fresh, but it wasn't horrible. Then I cracked into the butter chicken - which looked disgusting - like a brown sludge was over it. The 'basmati rice' looked like it had been drowned in oil, with weird brown pieces strewn throughout (those were supposed to be onions, but looked like worms); the "raita" was more like a sourcream sauce than a yogurt-based sauce. Now, if the dish had been decent within itself, I would have eaten it. But the rice tasted like kitchen cleaner, the chicken was overcooked, and the other bits on the plate weren't much to look at either. So I called down and told them I wasn't impressed... their response? "Well, that's the first time I've heard that!".. and then SHE PROCEEDED TO ARGUE WITH ME (!) about how their chef was from India, and how she'd never heard of such a thing, yadda yadda. I asked her if the executive chef prepared my meal.. "Well, no".. which was exactly what my point was - maybe it was his recipe, but it was some poor schlub making $8/hr that actually cooked it - and cooked it poorly.

So I asked about getting a replacement meal, and asked if the seafood in the seafood pasta was fresh "Yes, everything is fresh".. well, I should have asked if the seafood was overcooked and old too, because honestly, that is what it tasted like. And again, much like the calamari, it was just not the standard that I would expect the Fairmont to meet But by this time I was hungry, so I ate the pasta - but the mussels were OLD in the mix, the halibut in the seafood was overcooked and dry.

So far this has only been about food. I guess when someone argues with me about my reaction to their food that puts me off a bit. But the real kicker was the loudness. I had specifically requested a very quiet room - away from the elevators and ice machines.. so I was away from the elevators and ice machines, but I was *not* away from the TRAIN. There is a large train track that runs right behind the hotel, and it ran about 5 trains during the night - usually no horns or whatnot, but still the clackity clack is just a bit much.

In the morning I woke up, was able to enjoy a complimentary breakfast because of that whole President's club thing, and then I went to check out. SO I was asked if all was okay, and I said, "Well, the room was a tinch loud", and the woman at the front desk nearly jumped down my throat, "well, we gave you the quietest room in the hotel, and there isn't much we can do to stop the noise from the train..". Then she went to print out my charges for the room, but I wanted to look it over before I left - and she walked away, instead of asking me if everything was okay! I had to make sure that my charges for my food were correct, but they weren't making sense, so she was eventually able to confirm them. But it was such a PROCESS that it shouldn't have been.

I left to go and get a taxi or something (whatever I could find outside) and was waiting in a taxi line behind another girl. There was the valet guy, he asked her what she needed, but never made eye contact with me, nor asked me if I needed assistance, or even acknowledged me. I realize that at that point I had on winter boots, massive winter jacked and was not well "made-up" but guy didn't need to overtly judge me like that. I'm sure he didn't know, or care, that I work in the same city, and in fact look for places to book visiting dignitaries on a regular basis - there could have been a LOT more business for the Palliser if I would have been a bit better responded to... but with service as it was - intermittent, and when issues were brought up, the staff became defensive - I don't know that I could recommend them.

Now, I would say this with a bit of knowledge however, as I've stayed in the Banff Springs and Lake Louise Fairmonts as well, and both had EXEMPLARY service - you had things taken care of before you even thought they were a concern. So it is possible that I'm setting the bar really high, but I also wouldn't think that would be a big deal.

The reason that I wouldn't recommend this hotel would be only if I was having someone stay there that was paying full price; if you can get their weekender specials (starting at $110 or so), then I'd say stay there, but be specific on your requests (not near elevators, QUIET!), and don't be surprised if you get a bit of an attitude back.

  • Stayed: December 2009, traveled solo
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1  Thank Tchochtke
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 5, 2009

My boyfriend and I stayed for one night, a birthday present, and I would not go back.

The parkade, located in the back, was very confusing and there was a lack of signs to get you to the lobby. Once we reached the lobby, service was ok and we got to our room. We had ordered champagne when we booked the room and it was not in the room. When i called to find if/when it was coming, I got re-directed 4 times until someone finally said that they had no idea what I was talking about so we just forgot about it.

Left the hotel for dinner and came back to our room where we could not get back in because our room card wouldn't work. Walked to the check-in desk and a bell boy walked back with us, card didn't work again...so we were sent to the lobby for a complimentary drink while we waited as they fixed our door. Remember, we paid 260 dollars for a pretty simple room at the "Fancy" hotel and we can't even get in our room.

After an hour in the lobby we got back to our room and decided to go for a swim. Pool was pretty nice including nice change rooms and an ok/old steam room.

We checked out in the morning and that was it, pretty uneventful but I just wasn't impressed at all. For the price, stay at the Hyatt, it's just down the street.

  • Stayed: November 2009, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank trvlgurl99
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 3, 2009

Stayed at a number of Fairmonts across Canada, and I really enjoy the trip back in history with most of them. The grand entrances, the ornate ceilings, brass hand rails, etc. I found the staff very helpful on this particular stay, even with 3 conferences happening at the same time, so lots of people checking in and out. They were welcoming, professional and efficient.
The guest rooms are where Fairmont is falling down. I was there for one of these conferences, so the amount of time I spent on the main floor was minimal, I spent more time in the room, and as a result had to deal with the antiquated bathrooms, beds, lamps, decor etc. There's a fine balance between heritage and comfort I guess...
Across the road is the Hyatt. No history, but all the mod-cons.

  • Stayed: October 2009, traveled on business
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1  Thank kodiaknfld
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Fairmont Palliser

Address: 133 9 Ave SW, Calgary, Alberta T2P 2M3, Canada
Phone Number:
Location: Canada > Alberta > Calgary
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#4 Spa Hotel in Calgary
#7 Luxury Hotel in Calgary
#9 Romantic Hotel in Calgary
#9 Business Hotel in Calgary
#14 Family Hotel in Calgary
Price Range: $137 - $444 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — The Fairmont Palliser 4*
Number of rooms: 407
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Since 1914, The Fairmont Palliser has been the city's premier address, the cornerstone of Calgary's hospitality industry and a landmark building that is rich in history and architecture. Set in the heart of the city, The Fairmont Palliser is a historical landmark offering distinctive accommodation in elegant surroundings. Recent renovations include five floors of guest rooms and the expansion of Fairmont Gold. A brand new Fairmont Gold Lounge, Concierge and Check-in area can be found on the Penthouse Level. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Fairmont Palliser Hotel Calgary
Fairmont Hotel Calgary
Fairmont Hotel Palliser
Fairmont Calgary
Calgary Fairmont

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