Perhaps we got shafted due to our 'free' stay using Hilton honors points, perhaps it was just my bad luck, but my family and I did not have a 5 star experience at all in this hotel!
I will start by stating that I am a Hilton Diamond member and have stayed in numerous Hilton locations throughout my business travels. This hotel was certainly not a fun pleasant experience for my family and I.
We arrived early in the evening and check in was relatively straight forward, quick and simple - just the way I like it. I did notice the lobby area was jam packed with people for what I had assumed was appetizer hour (which I later found that the hotel in fact offered a full dinner for the guests on Monday through Thursday).
There were some luggage carts that I used to help move my family luggage and suits into the room. Using them was clearly a bit awkward since the carts were quite large compared to the rather narrow hallways in this hotel. I was always under the fear of running over my kids or other people!
We finally got to our floor and the first thing that hit me getting off the elevator was the light smell of decomposed garbage. I'm not sure if the compactor was nearby or if it was because the carpets were dirty but in any case it certainly set our impressions right away. (FYI we were on the 5th floor)
Upon seeing the room, my first impression was...that's it? This is a suite in a 'suburbia' hotel? The room in my opinion was decidedly small for a family of four. It almost was if they took a regular hotel room and put a false wall through the middle to force separate living and bedroom areas. This is Markham, not downtown Toronto! Couldn't they have designed this place to be more roomier? Our whole family felt that we were constantly bumping into each other in these very close quarters - and we are not big people. Perhaps they should lose a table and single chair to at least make the place a bit more roomy? With the sofa bed deployed, there just isn't enough room to even walk around the bed to properly get the bed sheets tucked in! I also found myself pushing the office chair and coffee table/Ottoman into the tiny foyer area since there just was no other place to hide them! What irked me even more is when I looked at the fire escape diagram on the back of the hotel room door, I noticed that my room was definitely one of the smaller rooms in the hotel. Is this how this hotel treats it's Diamond level members or just the 'free night' folks?
The room also had a very strong pungent smell of vinegar which we later tracked to the air conditioner unit near the window. Perhaps that's what they use to keep the AC free of mold? Honestly there has to be better ways...Vinegar is not an ideal cleaning agent for public areas!
The bathroom counter area was nice enough if not a bit high for the kids. The toilet was annoying. Woe be it if you're a man, as the toilet lid refused to sit up! I certainly hope that our room was the exception and not the norm on this as this served to annoy the 3 males in our family to no end over our 5 night stay! Water pressure was average and the shower head was good.
The next morning, when we went to the breakfast area, it frankly felt like a scrummage. Every family for themselves! Resources and food were limited during the busy times and they were not being refreshed fast enough. Make sure you send someone down earlier to get your group a table or else it's standing room only! Want a waffle? Be prepared to wait at least 15 minutes IN LINE for your turn! Have kids, want fruit loops - make sure to ask the very busy food staff as other families tended to hoard what few were put out. The food selection itself was generous compared to other Homewood Suites I've been to...that is when there was food available due to the throngs of hungry people. Needless to say, after 2 breakfasts of 'fighting' for food for my family we decided to just head out for breakfast for the remainder of our stay given the plethora of great food options in the area. (HWY 7 has tons of great restaurants and food courts)
On the 2nd night, both our keys demagnetized. Maybe this was bad luck, but as experienced travelers, we always take the regular precautions (don't put it the cards near cell phones and electronics etc). I have this sneaking suspicion that in the haste to check us in, the front desk probably only programmed the cards for 1 night. Normally this isn't a big deal, but coming back late from a wedding with tired kids and getting stuck in a foul smelling hallway isn't how I want my evening to end.
The hotel does offer a free dinner on M-Th nights which is generous. But after all I had been through here, I have to wonder if it's to compensate for all of it's aforementioned deficiencies?
All in all, if you are a Hilton Diamond member and are looking for a 'points' stay, we have had a much better experience down the street at the Hilton Suites on Hwy 7. The rooms feel more spacious and the overall property is nicer and better maintained.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Whether you are in town for a weekend stay or an extended stay, the Homewood Suites by Hilton Toronto-Markham is the ideal all-suite hotel for you. Enjoy our spacious suites with a fully equipped kitchen, separate living area and bedroom. Take advantage of our complimentary breakfast served daily. For those in town for business utilize our business centre and complimentary internet access. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Homewood Suites Toronto-Markham Hotel Markham
- Homewood Suites Markham
- Homewood Markham
- Markham Homewood Suites
- Homewood Suites By Hilton Toronto-Markham Ontario