I been in every so-called, best hotel in the north, for more than 1 night and many of them were "best room in-house" so to say and this takes the cake in the district as far as rooms go.
Although everything else rather fell short. As with most Best Western properties, can only expect B+ experience at best, this one was more C+ which is still far from terrible, enough to earn 3 stars from me; slightly above average for the region. For the 5 stars, you need "Fairmont Gold" service level, which if I rated any less, would be an insult to the above-and-beyond service I get from them - though I pay for it extra and are totally fine with it since it is worth it. Was going to give 4 stars but the security is so bad, this was worth decking an extra star since it will cost me more to get my vehicle repaired. Was not easy to find the attempted intrusion but this is the only place I left my vehicle without supervision nor security measures. Parking divisions are also terrible but power hookups are available. I'd recommend against parking any vehicle worth more than $50k here, lest you don't care about damage nor lost time.
Small town, low crime they say, don't worry they say, no need for security they say. I work in computer security and encryption, ask me how I feel about leaving a backdoor opened to anyone during business hours without any monitoring; yeah kinda kinda freaks me out actually but lacked hotel choice. Yeah, I trust Ottawa more than Cochrane after this one... they went out of their way to make sure my vehicle was secured, even after I screwed up. Small towns often are packed with poor people who could care less and if you have anything of value, are a target. Heck, I come from one of those small towns, I know how things work and done my fair share of loitering in that town; but I outgrew it. At least now it tells me I need a much more elaborate security system but had I done that, the Ottawa Samaritan would have ran off without helping - some country we live in huh, when big cities are safer than small towns. I'd never move back in the north; my money either. Darn near impossible to break a hundred.
Staff was so-so, I expected more from a Best Western but all my needs were met, just not as much as I gotten used from Best Western properties. The Soo's staff in comparison is much more professional and more on the money. Karen was nice, charming personality, probably the best worker there, most others fell short in some way... there is nice and there is efficient but is me being picky but I am comparing in relation with room costs. Although it was an awesome room, I didn't get as much bang for my buck out of it as I did in other BW properties.
Porsche left me a welcome note, which I absolutely adore those. The bannock buns in the hobby are amazing, one of the rare freebies, though I would say to inspect them before eating, one I took was moldy.
Toiletries are OK, they smell strong, smell of coconut, which to me, I am not fond of the smell of coconut, or at the very least, I rather go without it. Though they did pretty good on my hair, I highly doubt I would buy them online... still had to use my own though.
Restaurants, I can't really comment on, I like the Railway Restaurant in front of the hotel, literally a 5 minute walk from my room... less time than some in-house restaurants I been to. Love the restaurant, amazing food, decent service, highly recommend it; I'd come back for the food before I came back for the hotel... in contrast, I go to Ottawa exclusively because the Fairmont is there.
Lastly, can't comment about breakfast since I never eat any but I can comment on the gym, probably one of the worst gyms I ever been to in a hotel but crummy gyms are common in 90% of hotels in Northern Ontario, no staff can fix them on site. The machines are so loud, stopped it due to my losing my mind and even alerted the staff, 3 days later, nothing was changed.... this was all the machines I could use.
All of those little things contribute to "Low Bang for Buck" for me. Or, I did not get my money's worth. The room itself, amazing and probably the best sound proofing in the North and most comfortable bed too. I love the power over room temperature you get, with the fireplace, it's unbelievable. Though I don't go to hotels for the room alone, I go to hotels for the overall experience.
The train horn in the morning was rather angering.... I enjoy the horsepower sounds, this is actually nice to wake up to, being a fan of horsepower.. but the horn, no. Thankfully I was leaving the next day or I would have left either way. Great wall sound proofing, meaning you won't hear your neighbors, unless in the hallway but you will hear the streets very well... one tractor doing snow clearing kept me up a few hours, beeping, non-stop. Almost called the police on that one as it was in the middle of the night but took sleeping pills and fell asleep. Another reason why I don't want to come back here and why I did not get my money's worth here.
In comparison, I paid 50% more for a room at Chateau Laurier in Ottawa the week after and got so much for my money, that it ends up costing less than here though the cost to stay is much higher, even though the room is not as sexy... but I could debate that too. Considering the service level difference, I just get WAY more value out of Fairmont than Best Western, when it is all said and done.
Had the security been better, this is a 4 star hotel, even Kap & KL had better security none of which are not much difference in size. Another suggestion would be suites safes, most people prefer room safes anyways, I would never leave valuables with the front desk, nor ever recommend for it, that's just foolish; like leaving a backdoor opened for most the day. The small town excuse is just that, an excuse to say they have no adequate security and hope you are fine with it.
I recommend this hotel to those who can afford it and to those with a secondary vehicle. If you have money, sorry to say but there is no better hotel in the district lest you go to Timmins; but I don't recommend that at any rate. I personally stay at Hotel Grandma but the Innkeeper was closed due to sickness and I needs me the best room in the house, everywhere I go.... so this was it. Seems to be odd to pick a hotel in 2018 because it had an elevator but I did.
In Conclusion, although this was the best room I had in the north, it's still come up short in my book. Though I hope this review will make them re-think their security measures. Not asking for armed guards but some basic security systems, which for any hotel that has rooms over $200 a night should have and usually do. There's not even room safes, not even in the suites... you can leave your valuables with front desk but really? How can I have faith in them securing my valuables when they don't even take basic security seriously? Almost was a joke to them I would ask this; yet I stand corrected.
They omitted this detail, to me, is a liability and it costed me extra. I won't come back here until security has improved; but by that time, it will be too late, I will have bought a suite on wheels and be doing my own security detail. Right now, I could never know who to prosecute or who to send the bill to. Funny how this hotel is heavily congregated by judges and lawyers... though doesn't mean I feel any much safer, if anything, it's much the opposite now.
That's pretty much all I have to say, I am not impressed, expected much better but overall not surprised. . less