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“Bugs in the bed, broken air conditioners and an understaffed restaurant!”

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Best Western Dorchester Hotel
Ranked #6 of 18 Hotels in Nanaimo
GreenLeadersBronze level
Reviewed August 23, 2012

The good, the bad and the ugly...
We recently stayed at the Dorchester based on a lot of the reviews on here. I will begin with the good things about the hotel/our stay:
As mentioned by others, the location is fabulous! It is central to the harbour of Nanaimo and was a great spot to base ourselves while visiting family.
We ate breakfast in the hotel restaurant and the food was very good! We also had a fairly nice view of the harbour from the dining room as well.
Drew at the front desk was incredibly friendly and helpful and even though he was run off his feet answering phones and checking guests in, never took the smile off of his face!
The bad and somewhat ugly:
As we travel a lot, I am fastidious about checking for bed bugs before we get too settled into a room. I did what I always do when we check in and in the process, found a couple of very alive little bugs in one of our beds as I pulled down the sheets. I am not sure if they were bed bugs or not, but either way was not willing to share my bed. We quickly packed up and headed downstairs to change rooms.
We mentioned our findings and I was ensured they were not bed bugs, but potentially spider mites and was re-assured that Best Western adheres to the highest standards of hygiene and checks all rooms diligently. We were given a key to another room and were told we were being upgraded to a "harbour room". Everything was fine with this new room until about midnight when our air conditioner stopped working and began dripping water! This was one of the hottest nights of the summer in Nanaimo!! We were not willing to wake kids, move rooms etc. this time of the night (AGAIN) so opened the windows for what little air we could get! The road noise and drunks shouting outside of our window made for about 2-3 hours of sleep. Ugh.
Eager to start the day on a better note, we headed down to the restaurant for breakfast. I felt for the lovely waitress in the restaurant as she was run off her feet. She had a manager helping her out, but was clearly not able to keep up! When we finally got seated and served, the food was good.
Upon check out, I mentioned our experience to the front desk staff. All we got was a simple "I'm sorry", nothing more. Having worked in hotels for many years, this was not enough to send a guest away satisfied, nor will I ever recommend this property to anyone. So much more could have been done at this stage. What a shame.
As you will see from other reviews, I am more apt to share wonderful reviews than poor ones, but I feel the Dorchester Inn really let us down and wanted to let others know of our experience there.

Room Tip: Stay city side, not harbour side. I think the rooms are even quieter here and will cost you less!
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  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled with family
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3  Thank nksv
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
NanaimoResponse, General Manager at Best Western Dorchester Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded August 24, 2012

Thank you for sharing your experience. As soon as you mentioned some bugs upon checking into the first room we called in our professional exterminator. This company verified that it was spiders and the room was treated immediately. I apologize for this unfortunate situation but thankfully it was definitely not bed bugs. The new split unit air conditioner although functioning perfectly, was inadvertently set for a different energy saving program with the in room A/C remote control. Our maintenance staff checked it the following day and found it to be working perfectly. I'm glad to hear that our staff was friendly and helpful. Thank you again for letting us know about your experience.

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452 - 458 of 563 reviews

Reviewed August 19, 2012

I stayed 3 nights here. Great location downtown with a nice view of the harbor. Also a very good central location for exploring around the island. Room was clean and comfortable. The desk staff were very cordial and helpful.

  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled solo
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1  Thank Mark I
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 17, 2012

I see from some of the other reviews that there are criticisms of this hotel. However, we thought the value was very good and at such a price really would not complain. Front desk seemed short of staff and it was a bit of a trek to our room. However, the view from the room was good of the harbour, and wifi, over which I am usually very fussy, was adequate.

We did only stay the one night and did not use the restaurant, which looked a bit gloomy, however, the menu looked interesting enough.

When we were looking for the hotel driving along front street from the south, we first saw the car park off Front St, but you seem only to be able to approach this from the north. There are two entrances, one along from the car park, the other off Church St, but then you have to go to Front St to park.

Certainly more than adequate for our overnight stop!

Room Tip: If you have a lot of luggage, get help, or a room near reception.
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  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank AlbertSolihull
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 16, 2012

We had a great toom on the bay side of the hotel which gave us a great view of the harbour. We watched seaplanes land and take off all evening long before heading to dinner across the street. Baggage drop off is at the front of the hotel from Church Street, while parking is at the rear where entry to the hotle requires walking up 20 steps. The room was plenty large enough for us with a coffee maker. The front desk reception made all the difference for travelers whoe were all greeted upon entry to the hotel.

Room Tip: Ask for a room on the bay side overlooking the harbour. We were not charged for a premium upgrade a...
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  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank olegar31
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 10, 2012

Liked the room, enjoyed the view, but the stated wifi was atrocious - laughable for a hotel chain of this calibre. Not even the restuarant had a signal above 'weak' and was constantly dropping out. One standout was the lady serving coffee a breakfast - what a gem - she's the reason why people enjoy staying someone.

Room Tip: Top floor, harbour view
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  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank Amethyst_Cat_Oz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 8, 2012

Front street loading - no vallet, no bellmen. 1 Little, slow elevator. Rooms are dated but clean. Great view of the harbour. radio provided - can;t get any radio stations on it.
It was a good hotel....just not 5 star.

Room Tip: choose upper harbour view.
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  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank CamasGary
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
NanaimoResponse, General Manager at Best Western Dorchester Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded August 9, 2012

Thank you for letting us know about your stay at the Dorchester Hotel. You're right, we are not a 5 star property but a limited service hotel. We do not have a bellman or valet and it is a historic property dating back to 1887 with a lot of the charms of a bygone era. The elevator, although completely refurbished, reflects a historical charm when things were a little slower paced. I'm glad to hear that your room was very clean and our staff was welcoming and helpful. Thank you again for sharing your experience.

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Reviewed August 4, 2012

I actually usually stay at the Best Western Northgate in Nanaimo, and have always enjoyed my stays there - big rooms, all the amenities, wireless internet, nearby restaurants and shopping, clean, relatively soundproof rooms. But this time it was booked solid, so I took a chance on the Dorchester with a little hesitation because of some of the reviews. I would recommend this hotel to those with a specific interest in visiting/exploring Nanaimo because it's right in the downtown area close to the ocean. It's in what is probably an historic building for the area, so the rooms are very small (at least mine was - to walk from my room door to the bathroom, I practically had to turn sideways between the bed and dresser). Otherwise, the room was nicely decorated and clean with air conditioning, coffee maker, clock radio and mini-fridge. Walls were thinner than my liking when it came to hearing your neighbors, but luckily everyone kept relatively quiet after 11pm. The gentleman working the front desk was very polite and helpful during check-in and in helping me find places to eat afterwards. So, all-in-all, it was a decent stay. Would I stay here again? Probably not, I prefer the Northgate, and driving to Tofino is my usual interest, not exploring Nanaimo.

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled solo
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2  Thank Cloudbreaker39
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
NanaimoResponse, General Manager at Best Western Dorchester Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded August 7, 2012

Thank you for sharing your experience. Yes, the Dorchester Hotel is a historic boutique style property and reflects the charms of a bygone era with some of our rooms being smaller and lower priced. Many of our Harbour facing rooms are much larger as well as our executive suites. Thank you again for your feedback, we strive to ensure all of our guests receive a comfortable stay.

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Additional Information about Best Western Dorchester Hotel

Address: 70 Church St, Nanaimo, British Columbia V9R 5H4, Canada
Phone Number:
Location: Canada > British Columbia > Vancouver Island > Nanaimo
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites
Hotel Style:
#3 Green Hotel in Nanaimo
Price Range: $104 - $162 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Best Western Dorchester Hotel 2.5*
Number of rooms: 70
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The BEST WESTERN Dorchester Nanaimo Hotel is conveniently located in the heart of downtown Nanaimo over looking picturesque Nanaimo Harbour. Our charming heritage boutique-style hotel is decorated in a style that blends old world class with modern conveniences to make your stay at this Nanaimo hotel a comfortable and memorable one! ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Best Western Nanaimo
Nanaimo Best Western

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