Thursday, January 5, 2012
Leaping Ahead To Last Weekend: The Quality Inn In Niagara Falls Disappoints!
The Good: Good room size, General location
The Bad: Light on amenities, Terrible customer service, Cleanliness issues, No breakfast, Thin walls!
The Basics: Lacking in decent amenities, the Quality Inn in Niagara Falls was a huge disappointment for two honeymooners and I cannot imagine staying there again!
For those who keep up on my many reviews, there have been a few days of low productivity in my reviews for almost a week now. The reason for this is remarkably simple for a change; last Friday I up and eloped and was away from my computer for several days as a result! Yes, my fiance decided she was not so keen on waiting a few months for a public wedding, so we made some calls, invited a few close family members and eloped to Niagara Falls, NY for a private evening wedding next to one of the natural wonders of the world. It was pretty cool and we were both psyched.
But while my new wife was just happy to be marrying me - crazy concept! - I found myself dismayed from the moment we checked into our hotel. That plans had been left up to me and, as is my habit, I decided to stay within our preferred chain, Choice Hotels. In Niagara Falls, on the United States side of the Falls, that left us with the options of one of two Quality Inns. Despite missing out on the view and being closer to where we would be married, I booked us a reservation at the Quality Inn on the outskirts of Niagara Falls. When we checked in, I felt my stomach sink and I experienced a sense of ennui that my soon-to-be new wife did not. As our stay went on, my new bride enjoyed my company, but we both found faults in the hotel and it made it impossible for me to recommend this hotel. And while there were other hotels nearby that I had been to and had great experiences at, like the Comfort Suites Downtown a few miles away in Buffalo, they were not appropriate for our honeymoon given my prior experiences at them!
The Quality Inn Niagara Falls, NY181 in the Choice Hotels numbering system (a number quite useful when making phone or online reservations), is located at 7708 Niagara Falls Blvd. in Niagara Falls, New York. This is the part of Niagara Falls that is mostly strip malls and shopping areas, about five miles away from the national park and the bridge to Canada. This is a simple, two-story building set right off the road next to another hotel and across from restaurants and other strip malls. Niagara Falls Blvd. is a long, well-publicized road that is accessible from northern Buffalo and goes up into Niagara Falls. In fact, it is the arterial 62 in the section that the Quality Inn is at.
The Quality Inn Niagara Falls has two entrances, both right off Niagara Falls Blvd. and this section of Niagara Falls Blvd. is right off the Interstate 190, which is a main road running from the Thruway up to Niagara Falls. Mapquest directions are more than adequate for finding this hotel.
The Quality Inn Niagara Falls has a motor lodge feel, though the rooms were only accessed from a central hallway, not outer doors. Given that it was surrounded on three sides by a parking lot - the final side was more or less adjacent to the building next door - the feel of a motor lodge was not entirely an inapt analogy. Our room faced the indoor pool in the corridor inside and looked out into the alleyway between our hotel and the building next door. This Quality Inn had a disproportionately large parking lot, which may easily hold one hundred trucks, despite the fact that the hotel had less than a hundred rooms.
Upon entering the hotel, I was surprised by the size of the lobby. The lobby had a high ceiling and a very open feeling and was well lit, the only part of the building that was. The front desk faced outward and had a mural behind it of Niagara Falls that let visitors feel instantly like they were at the center of the tourist trap that Niagara Falls is.
The hotel's desk clerk greeted me fairly apathetically and seemed utterly disinterested with checking me in, much less the possibility of upgrading my room (no upgrade was available). The hotel did not seem to have computerized systems and while my reservation was intact, I had to fill out all of the information for my hotel stay on a card for the hotel, which I have never had to do before. The additional paperwork was annoying and it exactly why most hotels have computers. Given that the information was all on the printed receipt at the end of my stay, I am at a loss as to why I had to fill it out again for the desk clerk.
As for the room itself, this was a fairly medium-sized and mediocre room, plagued by a lack of good lighting. Measuring thirty feet deep by fourteen and a quarter feet wide, the room included a king-sized bed, two person hot tub, bathroom with shower and bathtub, desk, and only one nightstand. This room has the standard closet as well and dresser with the television. The room did not feel cramped by the hot tub, but the lack of good lighting for it did make it seem smaller in the bed area.
From the first moment I opened the door to the room at the Quality Inn in Niagara Falls, I had a cool feeling about it. The wallpaper was not peeling, but it was darker than looked clean and the rugs - especially in the hallways leading to the room - were not as clean as they ought to have been. On the plus side, the nonsmoking room lived up to that. The nonsmoking room smelled like nothing at all. There was no evidence or trace of scent that would have indicated it had ever had a cigarette smoked in it. Instead, the entire hotel smelled good. As well, having stayed opposite the pool, the pool area did not have a scent that permeated the hotel. The pool was well-sealed by glass doors and the hallway outside it did not smell like chlorine, which was a pleasant surprise.
Every time I enter a new hotel room, I flush the toilet and this Quality Inn easily passed the first flush test with no difficulties, which admittedly surprised me. The shower, hot tub and toilet were all clean. Still, some of the towels had spots, little pink dots that made me lukewarm to using them. Because the hotel was full when we stayed there, there were no linens to replace the ones that were in our room.
The wallpaper in the room was tasteful and none of the wallpaper or paint was peeling. Still, I found several spots on the wallpaper, even at eye level, both in the room and in the hallways. Moreover, the lack of decent lighting throughout the hotel gave it a dank feeling that made the stay a little less pleasant.
The common areas were all clean and well-maintained. The lobby was clean, but the area near the ice machine had puddles. We did not go into the restaurant at the hotel, opting instead to eat elsewhere.
The Quality Inn Niagara Falls has only the standard amenities, at least in our room. There were the standard coffee packets, shampoo, soap, and lotion, along with an air conditioning unit. There was no microwave or refrigerator available to us. As well, it is worth noting that the hotel's walls were ridiculously thin. While we did not stifle ourselves - no doubt leading some parents to uncomfortable conversations with their children - we were equally annoyed by the sounds of neighbors filling their hot tub (as if they were in the room with us), the sounds of children running around in adjacent rooms and the hallway nearby (as if they were running through our room) and the people who were in the pool (a corridor and two walls separated from us!). The walls at this hotel were very thin and this was annoying for adults who were trying to enjoy themselves.
The room we had had a two-person hot tub and I would be remiss if I did not mention this. The hot tub was billed as a two-person tub and it was not terribly big for two realistically-proportioned people, like we are. In fact, as a taller person, being unable to comfortably stretch in the tub was discouraging. The controls were only on the wall; there were no controls for the jets in the tub. Still, this was a nice way to relax and it operated flawlessly, and it only took about ten minutes to fill up.
This hotel had no free breakfast. In fact, the best offer the Quality Inn in Niagara Falls offered was a ten percent discount at the overpriced restaurant in the hotel. We declined that option, so I cannot speak to the quality of the breakfasts.
In addition to no free breakfast, the hotel did not have a business center or any form of internet terminal. Those traveling with a laptop of their own could connect, but as I left mine at home, this option was not available to us. There was, however, a free newspaper available to the hotel guests.
In the room, the television has approximately twenty cable television stations and the television was one of the smallest I've had in a Choice Hotel. We got a great on-line deal on the room, but it still cost us $96.60/night after all of the taxes. This might seem like a great deal for a hotel near a major tourist attraction like Niagara Falls, but the quality was severely lacking and we felt like we overpaid, especially for a hotel that had no free breakfast!
The Quality Inn in Niagara Falls is perfectly average, but it is not one I would ever stay at again, nor recommend to anyone else.
For other hotels in the Choice Hotels chain, please be sure to check out my reviews of:
Quality Inn Brockton - Brockton, MA
Comfort Inn North - Las Vegas, NV
Comfort Inn Fairgrounds - Syracuse, NY
For other hotel reviews, please visit my index page by clicking here!
© 2012, 2009 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.