Stayed at the Best Western Plus Executive Inn, Estate Drive, Scarborough, Toronto between the 10th – 15th September 2017 and returned 18th- 21th September 2017, with my partner for a city break in Toronto.
The first thing that you realise about this hotel is that is some distance from the centre of Toronto, although it accessible via the Toronto Underground System (the Toronto Transit Commission or TTC for short), you have to go to McCowen Station (which is the last on the line) and either walk, it’s a 20-25-minute walk or get a Taxi (Taxis are C$ 7-8 dollars, which at the time of writing this was £4.21-4.81).
This hotel together with the Holiday Inn, located next door is on a light industrial estate to the east of Scarborough Town Centre, so it is a curious mix of hotels, wholesale clothing warehouses, a Toyota distribution centre, a gym, a Keg Steak House and a few religious buildings (Jehovah’s Witness etc), and a few others, it is a strange mix.
Anyway, we arrived at the hotel 3-4pm on the Sunday, after a long flight across the Atlantic, all we wanted to do was have a shower and freshen up and was met by a guy at the counter who was trying to explain to two American ladies, that their room wasn’t ready (although he was making a very bad job of it and didn’t appear to have a clue what he was doing) they had just driven up the deep south in the US, so they’d had a long drive! So, my first impressions weren’t good, I thought ‘we’re in for a wait here’, just at this point another female reception staff appeared, and she did know what she was doing and we were checked with the minimum of fuss, leaving these two bemused ladies at the reception.
First impressions of the room were good, for the first week were on the fourth floor, at the back, now it is bordered by a Freeway at the back, and the view wasn’t great, but to be quite honest although you could hear (very faintly) the traffic, it wasn’t intrusive and we didn’t have any trouble sleeping. The room was a reasonable size and very well equipped, with a large flat screen TV, (with a reasonable selection of TV programmes in English and French, both Canadian and US) fridge, microwave, tea/coffee machine, (tea & coffee, cups, but curiously no spoons or milk), sofa bed, coffee table. The bathroom was a good size, with a good shower over the bath with lots of fresh white towels (which were changed daily), shampoos etc and a hairdryer. The room also had air conditioning, and although the fan was a bin noisy it was actually very good. The room did have Wi-Fi but never used it so can’t comment.
After a dip in the spa pool (which very hot and very nice) we had a shower and a freshen up, we then went out to the Keg Steak House for something to eat, which is a five-minute walk from the hotel and is very good!
In the morning, we went down for breakfast, now this is very thing start to go a little bit wrong. First impressions are not good, the breakfast area is very small, only about nine tables, so it gets busy very quickly. There is a good selection of fruit juices, yogurts, boiled eggs, cereals, tea, coffee, toast, pastries etc, but the cooked food leaves a lot to be desired, there’s very little variety (the hotel only rotates what they serve every two days or so, so you get the same things time and time again), the food is bland and tasteless, (in the end we stopped going for breakfast the second week) and worse of all they only have paper plates and plastic cutlery.
On our return, the second week (we went for a weekend in Montréal) we had a room on the ground floor, which was identical to the one on the first week, so no problems.
I would describe this a as a middle range hotel, the price paid was good, but it’s a trade-off between the distance it’s from downtown Toronto and price. If you stayed in downtown hotels it’s a lot more expensive.
This hotel has good facilities, the pool was good, the spa pool was excellent, it has a sauna and a gym (didn’t use either so can’t comment, but they looked good), the room are good and well equipped, staff are helpful (especially Eira on reception, we left a large bag at this hotel whilst we went to Montréal for the weekend, and we checked out late at 12.30pm the second week, all at no extra cost, all arranged by her, excellent!) One point we both really liked is that there is a tea and coffee on tap 24/7 just at the side of the main reception, this was a really good idea. What lets it down is the breakfast, firstly paper plates and plastic cutlery I can only describe this as shocking, I’ve never been anywhere is the world where this is done, secondly, they need to do something about the cooked breakfast food, as previously stated it’s bland, tasteless and poorly presented (There is a waffle machine, which I did try once).
Lastly, would I recommend this hotel, not sure is the answer to that, it’s got a lot going for it (as previously stated), but the breakfast situation lets it down, if they make some effort with that that, it would improve the situation 100%, and you really need a car, the distance from Scarborough Town Centre really is a bit too far.
Things to do and see in Toronto, firstly the Keg Steak House (next door) is worth a visit, not the cheapest, but it’s very good and service is excellent, getting around on the TTC is easy, once you’ve worked the pricing systems which is a bit complicated certainly at the beginning (I would describe it a cheap and cheerful), we got a return ticket in and out of Toronto which is C$ 6 dollars each. Toronto Island and the CN Tower is also worth a visit.
There was some building work going on there whist we were there, (on the ground floor) but I have to say never heard them, and saw one workman on the last day, that’s all ! less