January 22 2015

Hotel Review: Quality Hotel Dorval (Montreal)

I had an overnight layover in Montreal. In the dead of winter, with a nighttime temperature of around -5°F, little discretionary time, and an early flight out in the morning, there was no point going into the city.

In such circumstances, my ideal accommodation is not only an airport-area hotel but an airport-connected hotel. In Montreal, that would be the Montreal Airport Marriott In-Terminal Hotel. Alas, I was light on Marriott points and paid rates for that night were more than I wanted to pay.

None of my award redemption options elsewhere provided great value either, and I ultimately decided to just get the cheapest airport-area hotel I could that was at least 3 stars.

That’s how I ended up at the Quality Hotel Dorval.

Main room
My room

If you don’t want to read the rest of this post, let me summarize by saying it was – to be polite – a dump. I had read the TripAdvisor reviews – which cautioned as much – but booked it anyway, reasoning that it’s just one night and I’ll not even be awake for 85% of it.

The room was gross, the service bordered on unethical, and the complimentary shuttle was a disaster.

(Note: there are several other airport-area hotels with the word “Quality” in their name. Don’t confuse them with this one, located at 7700 Cote de Liesse.)

Bath

Location

Arriving after dark and departing the next morning in a very tired state, I couldn’t discern much about the surrounding area. All I can say is the location indeed seemed airport-close (about 3.8 miles away, per Google Maps).

The shuttle service to the location, however, was a fiasco.

At Montreal airport, all hotel shuttles seem to pick up from just one location. So there were hordes of arriving travelers and lots of shuttles jostling around. This is nothing new, but it’s chaotic.

You never know where along the curb your hotel’s shuttle will stop – if you’re lucky it stops right where you’re standing and you get on right away. If you’re unlucky it stops like 30 yards away and you hope that by the time you make your way to it there’ll still be seats.

It’s problematic when a hotel doesn’t provide a shuttle with enough seats. Not everyone can get on, and the unlucky are left to wait another 15+ minutes for the next shuttle.

At the next round, it’s luck of the draw again. And if you’re unlucky again, you wait again. Your odds don’t improve with each round because in the interim new passengers arrive with whom to compete for spots.

Several guests complained they waited several cycles for a seat. Remember, it’s nighttime and -5°F outside.

A well-managed hotel would provide bigger and/or more frequent shuttles to accommodate the volume. They should know how many reservations they have for a given night, so I don’t see why they couldn’t plan properly.

The shuttle back to the airport in the morning was less chaotic, but every last seat was occupied (at 5:30 AM). If just one more person had turned up he/she would’ve been refused – not ideal when one is negotiating a tight schedule to catch a flight.

Room

Good: The HVAC. Well-functioning heat is much appreciated in winter.

Bad: Almost everything else. I’ll just mention a few.

Water stains (and mold?) all over the bathroom:

Water stains

Chunks of paint – they’d apparently flaked off the walls/ceiling – were sprinkled throughout the room:

Paint
Paint that had flaked off the ceiling

Defective, potentially past-their-expiration-date toiletries. The soap broke into pieces right out of the bag:

Soap
The soap self-destructed on contact with oxygen

Service & amenities 

To be fair, most employees I encountered were either friendly or at least polite. But one should expect that of any service establishment.

So let me tell you the unexpected.

I had just arrived in Canada and had no Canadian currency on hand. Since the in-room guest binder implied currency exchange was available at the front desk (technically, it said “inquire at front desk”), I went down hoping to change money.

The desk agent (who seemed new) simply said “no” when I asked to change money. I mentioned what the in-room binder said. So he called out a manager-like person and asked if they change money for guests.

The manager said “yes we do,” but only after belittling this colleague – in front of me – for ineptitude.

Hall
Hallway

He said their exchange rate is 1 USD for 1 CAD. That’s significantly worse than the market rate (84 US cents for one Canadian dollar) at the time. Since I had zero local currency on me, I changed $40 just to have cash in case of an emergency.

When a business provides a service, I think it’s fine to mark it up so the business can make a profit. I mean, if we don’t allow businesses to be profitable then no business could afford to stay in business.

But gouging hotel guests with a 16% markup for simply reaching into your wallet to make change is absurd.

Which brings up my next point: this manager made the exchange with money from a wallet he pulled out of his own pocket. I don’t know if he had a “side business” changing currency for his employer’s guests, but I thought the whole thing distasteful and possibly borderline unethical. (I do understand I could have simply declined the currency exchange.)

As for amenities, there is a business center and an on-site restaurant. The restaurant was closed when I arrived, but there is also a small concession shop with frozen meals (and a microwave nearby) if you are desperate.

Summary

Pros: Beats sleeping at the airport (possibly).

Cons: Poorly-maintained room and poorly-delivered service.

Cost: I booked through TravelPony. The $77 room rate was reduced by 15% with a promo code and $25 from a referral credit. Net cost was $40 pre-tax, $56 post-tax.

Link to hotel website.

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Posted January 22, 2015 by Admin in category "Choice Hotels", "Hotel Reviews

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