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“Staff friendly...”

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Howard Johnson Hotel - Nanaimo Harbourside
Ranked #10 of 19 Hotels in Nanaimo
Level 2 Contributor
9 reviews
“Staff friendly...”
Reviewed July 29, 2013

The staff was very friendly and helpful! The bathroom was quite possibly the smallest we've ever encountered; you had to sit sideways and reach back over your left shoulder for the tp (of which was like sandpaper.) The beds were very comfortable with nice pillows. Would have appreciated a small fridge. Could possibly stay again if visiting Nanaimo, BC. Close to everything we needed.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Review collected in partnership with Howard Johnson

Thank jennfoosmom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Erik B, Manager of Operations at Howard Johnson Hotel - Nanaimo Harbourside, responded to this review, August 12, 2013
Good Day
We are happy that the staff were friendly and helpful. Yes being an older hotel the bathrooms are very small. We do take pride in providing good service, good value and good location in Nanaimo. We are working on providing all guest rooms with mini fridge and microwaves. Presently we do have fridges and microwaves in the larger business style rooms.
Thank you again for taking the time to post your comments on TripAdvisor as we truly appreciate guest feedback
Erik Brook
Manager of Operations
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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396 reviews from our community

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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (38)
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English first
Edmonton, Canada
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed July 28, 2013

The hotel is right beside the harbor with a path to Sutton Park under the road so you don't even have to cross the road. The positives: staff was excellent and very friendly, pool area was very nice, location is superb. and rooms were roomy. Negatives - the hotel is in need of a major renovation, furnishings and carpets were dated (bed was newer and comfortable though). Need a few more lounge chairs poolside, only 8 or 9 chairs are not enough for a hotel with 100 rooms and there is plenty of space. The hotel is not built very solid (older) and it can be noisy when walking, but not much they can do other than a complete teardown and rebuild. Overall was very good value, stay on the 3rd floor so you don't have to hear the noise overhead.

Room Tip: Take a room on the 3rd floor so you don't have to put up with footsteps overhead,
See more room tips
  • Stayed July 2013, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Erik B, Manager of Operations at Howard Johnson Hotel - Nanaimo Harbourside, responded to this review, August 12, 2013
Good Day Jeremy
Great to hear you enjoyed your stay at the hotel. The location to the inner harbour park cannot be beat. Thank you for the comments about the staff - the staff take pride in providing great service. Yes we are an older hotel - be we do have comfortable beds. I will forward your thoughts about the furnishings to our owners.
Thank you again
Erik Brook
Manager of Operations
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Richmond, Canada
Level 6 Contributor
581 reviews
28 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 521 helpful votes
Reviewed July 16, 2013

We were in town for the weekend for the Nanaimo Dragon Boat Festival that was hosting 72 teams. We stayed for 2 nights – arrived Friday afternoon and left Sunday.

This is a downtown area hotel across the street from Maffeo Sutton park which was where the dragon boast festival was being held.

The hotel is a little dated but clean.
The hotel is built on a sloped property with the ground floor being the check-in and lobby and also doubles as the “main” floor. There doesn't appear to be any access/egress issues for people with mobility issues in spite of the fact that there are no elevators. I’m guessing anyone with mobility issues would be assigned a “main” floor room.

The check-in was quick and efficient (5-10 minutes at most) considering the number of people arriving at the same time.

We were assigned a "Home office" room with the following:
• Queen-sized bed
• Sofa bed
• Air conditioning
• Microwave
• Mini-Fridge
• Old style tube tv (no HDTV)
• Separate counter with coffee machine (outside bathroom)
• Free wi-fi
• Free National newspaper
• Ironing board and iron in closet

In the wing where we were, there was no ice machine. It was in the other wing, off to the right of the hotel lobby. The ice machine ran out of ice on day 2 so I had to go downstairs in the other wing to get more ice.

We had a main floor room facing the pool. As stated before because of the topography of the hotel site our room was 1 level above the pool. It was a little noisy in the afternoon with adults and children outside in the pool area. The pool shuts down at 9:00 or 10:00 PM. Regardless, even after pool hours, there could be people sitting outside their “ground” floor rooms talking loudly. No disturbances were noticed in the late evening.
If pool noise is a concern you may wish to consider a room farthest away from the pool area.

The mattress was okay; a little soft. I don't know if mattress was the cause of a restless night of sleeping on Friday. I sleep on a firmer mattress at home.
The 2nd night of sleeping was slightly better. Other people in our group had varying opinions on how they slept.
Once in awhile I heard footsteps from the floor above. The carpeted floor was creaky in some spots of our room. Not a big deal.

The bathroom is small but nonetheless functional. It will fit only 1 person at a time.

The complimentary bottled water in our room on day 1 was a nice touch. We didn’t have the maid clean up the room Saturday so we don’t if water was complimentary everyday.

The desk lamp wasn't working so I went to the front desk to inform them. The clerk told me to turn on the master light switch at the front door which controlled the desk lamp. After I resolved the issue I didn’t give it another thought until about 15-20 minutes later the clerk phoned our room to see if the issue had been resolved. Much appreciated!

The employees provided friendly and courteous service.
• We were able to get a late check out at 2:00 instead of the normal 12 noon. The employees were willing to store your luggage past 2:00 PM if the later check out time was not sufficient.
• For rooms without a fridge, you could store perishable foods such as take out containers in the hotel fridge.
• Requests for information on various issues/topics were provided by the hotel staff.

There is an on-site restaurant - Millstone restaurant (not Milestone's). We did not eat there because we had other made other arrangements. We did show up for breakfast on Saturday morning but they were only serving the breakfast buffet probably in response to the number of teams staying at the hotel. There was no ordering off the menu so we left because we only wanted a light breakfast.

Harbour City Fitness and Tanning Centre adjoins the hotel via an outside entrance. Hotel guests have complimentary use of the facilities by getting a chit from hotel check-in and presenting it to the fitness facility. I went in to check it out. It is a fair sized fitness facility with lots of free weights, weight machines and cardio machines - treadmills etc. You can check out their website for info on equipment etc.

I noticed some less privileged people in the area around the hotel and the park. They appeared harmless and non-threatening. The security guard at dragon boat festival site told one of the paddlers not to use underpass at night to get to the hotel if you're alone. It didn't appear to be dangerous as the underpass was less than 100 feet wide. Festival security guard was more concerned with pathway/trail leading to the underpass? The security guard told the paddler to get to the hotel via the street above.
The underpass pathway connects the hotel parking lot and the park trail.
Although the hotel is located in the older area of Nanaimo, I did not feel in any way unsafe at night. However, I was never alone at any time.

We are not too fussy about the age of property as long as it is clean and comfortable.

We paid a rate of $99.00 per night. Breakfast was not included in the room rate (but included last year). Given the convenience of the location, cleanliness of the property and the courteous staff (4 star rating for employees) I would rate the overall hotel experience – 3.25/3.50 stars out of 5. I had no issues with the hotel and would stay there again.

I would possibly rate it higher if it was more modern and in a different location. I’ll let you be the judge if “newer” conveniences such as HDTV, age of property, location, etc. rates an “extra” star or two.

Notes and Tips
• Tim Hortons is across the street.
• On site liquor store in separate building.
• There is a bus terminal on the same site to the left and to the rear of the hotel.
• We found a shopping complex with a Thrifty supermarket and London Drugs store less than 1 mile (1.6 kilometers) from the hotel. It’s a nice walk from park promenade/walkway via the Maffeo Sutton park to the the shopping complex.
• Floatplane terminal on promenade/walkway. If you don’t want to take the ferry to Nanaimo, you can take floatplanes from Coal Harbour (downtown Vancouver) or South YVR terminal (Richmond, close to Vancouver Airport (YVR). Nanaimo floatplane terminal also houses Lighthouse Bistro and Pub. Review of this pub to follow.
• A few coffee shops on the promenade close to boat docks.
• You can take a water taxi to Protection Island to visit another pub – ”dinghy dock pub”. Check out the website for fares, times etc.
• Newcastle Island Marine Provincial Park is a short ferry ride from Maffeo Sutton Park. Check out the website. On my “to do” list next time I’m in Nanaimo.
• Less than a mile to Old City Quarter historic site

Stay tuned for my reviews of the following Nanaimo restaurants:
1. Lighthouse Bistro and Pub (at floatplane terminal)
2. Modern Café (downtown Nanaimo)
3. Asteras Greek Taverna (Old City Quarter)

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1 Thank Bottomshelfhockey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Erik B, Manager of Operations at Howard Johnson Hotel - Nanaimo Harbourside, responded to this review, July 30, 2013
Good Day Traveller55555_8
Thank you very much for taking your time to write a wonderful comprehensive recap of your stay during the Dragon Boat Festival in Nanaimo. The front desk and housekeeping worked extremely hard on July 4th, 2013 to check in 240 people with Dragon Boat Teams from 2pm to 4pm, and we really appreciate your comments about the short wait for check in.

With being an older property with out an elevator, we do have several alternatives for people with mobility issues. The main floor of the hotel has direct street access at three locations, and for guests wishing to be on the pool level we have a accessible entrance on the 1st floor to the parking area.

The hotel is an older property, but we do take pride in maintaining clean and comfortable rooms with good beds. We are always replacing beds to ensure that no bed is more than 5 years old.
With our downtown location near the inner harbour walkway we do have some situations with people cutting across our parking lot for access to the walkway.

We try our best to keep the outdoor pool area quiet after 10pm on a daily basis as the hotel does have security who monitor the area to ensure a good nights rest.

The staff take great pride in providing the best service possible, in an efficient and friendly manner and I am happy that you did experience such service. I will pass on your comments to the various departments.

Thank you
Erik Brook
Manager of Operations
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Howard Johnson Hotel - Nanaimo Harbourside

Property: Howard Johnson Hotel - Nanaimo Harbourside
Address: 1 Terminal Ave N, Nanaimo, British Columbia V9R 5R4, Canada
Phone Number:
Location: Canada > British Columbia > Vancouver Island > Nanaimo
Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #10 of 19 Hotels in Nanaimo
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:2 star — Howard Johnson Hotel - Nanaimo Harbourside 2*
Number of rooms: 101
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Also Known As:
Howard Johnson Nanaimo
Nanaimo Howard Johnson

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