Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Hotel Review: Tofino’s Marina West Motel

View from the motel
So on my recent trip to Alberta and BC, I did stay in a couple of really nice hotels. I also stayed in one of the worst hotel rooms of my life. It’s the focus of today’s review.

We should have known that this hotel, sorry, motel, was bad news when we couldn’t find it despite having an exact address for it and driving, repeatedly up and down the right street. Turns out that this motel had changed its name from Weigh West to Marina West and just didn’t bother to let its future guests know (or put up any clear signage).

We were in Tofino with my parents and it was my mother who booked this place. She picked it because it was cheap (for Tofino) and in a good location.

And really, the location was ideal. Located between Tofino’s main road and the water, Marina West is a short walk from some pretty views as well as several shops and attractions, including Jamie’s Whaling Station, who we used to go on a terrific trip out to Hot Springs Cover. The motel also has an unpretentious and tasty restaurant called the Greenroom Diner in its backyard.

But the location is really the only thing this dump (and that’s not a term I use often) has going for it. While it looks OK on the inside the inside of our room looked like it had been set up in 1978 and then never touched again apart from the addition of a flat screen and some light cleaning.

While things were clean on a surface level, the beat-up walls, floors and furniture told us that this room had lived a very rough life (the rug of the “living room” part was connected to the tile of the kitchen part with duct tape).

Because we were travelling with my parents we got a room that had a separate bedroom and a pullout couch. The bedroom was small, stuffy and, because we were on a first floor that was built into a hill, essentially underground. But that was miles better than the pullout. The couch itself looked like something you wanted to cover in plastic before you sat on it. Thankfully the sheets on the pullout part were clean and new but the mattress was in absolutely appalling condition and left me in pain the following morning.

Do you see the duct tape?
While I did notice springs poking me as I tried to fall asleep, I didn’t end up focusing on them because I was too distracted by all of the noise outside of our room. At first the source of the noise was the nearby bar’s karaoke night.  But then that noise was covered up by our neighbours, a group of guys who seemed to have been assigned the rooms all around ours. They spent the night drinking loudly, talking loudly, swearing loudly and, at one point, blaring what would best be described as pow-wow dubstep.

I would have called the front desk and complained but, when we were checking in, we were told that the desk is unmanned starting at 11 pm.

We did complain the next morning, when we were checking out, and that’s when we learned that there was a security number we could have called. Would have been nice to have been told that the night before.

At least this restaurant was good
Actually, the morning desk staff were really apologetic about the noise and even reduced our bill by about $40. So in the end we only paid $199, plus tax, for the worse hotel room on our trip.

Oh, I almost forgot. The front door to our room was screwed up and could only be opened with a shoulder check (though given the quality of people who surrounded us, maybe that was some kind of security feature).

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