Star Express Inn and Suites
Mississauga, Ontario
It's funny how you can easily take advantage of the little details that come standard with a quality hotel stay. Something as minute as a convenient electrical outlet being in the right place can make or break a good experience. That's probably why some motels can provide better comfort than other hotels of a claimed higher class. This property is a clear example of an experience that could have been improved so easily.
The Star Express Inn and Suites (at time of stay it was the Quality Inn and Suites Airport) is a stone's throw (or a free shuttle) away from Toronto's Pearson Airport, conveniently west on Highway 401. Sandwiched in an industrial area within a row of other hotels of various types, this property is also close to a collection of restaurants and car dealers (just in case you need to buy a car for the journey home). By definition, this place qualifies as an airport hotel.
Checking in was without dispute a comical situation as no less than three clerks were typing into computers in unison, choreographed like a boy band from the 1990s. For unfortunate me there was only one member of staff that processed incoming guests, and that was how it felt; like an ushered part heading down an assembly line. My requests were also patently ignored: I preferred a quiet floor but they put us on the ground level, which was very noisy that night.
The room isn't as much of a let down as I feared. Decor was a mix of traditional dark wood accents and striped wallpaper - an eclectic contrast to say the least.
Unfortunately the bathroom leaves a sordidly wide space for improvement. It has a modern theme by appearances, but its construction felt very shoddy. A mismatched corner where the wallpaper clearly doesn't fit the wall, the grout around the bathtub looks sloppy, and there was only one set of properly sized towels for my companion and I. What if the towels don't dry fast enough before the next shower? Despite the hotel's green stance, an extra towel would have made the difference.
That's where the disappointments begin. After searching for my lone body towel, I had a nice hot shower, with taps that sounded like a noisy car being serviced when you turn it on. Tried to turn on the coffee maker, but it was unplugged with no outlet available near it. In fact the lone duo of outlets on the lamp are labelled only for "computer use".
I wish this was just a minor inconvenience, but out of the entire room plus bathroom, only four plugs are available for use (two for anything more substantial than a coffee maker). Considering this room can be occupied by as many as four people, and with technology being so power hungry, this is an insufficient configuration!
Thankfully, this property is not totally a lost cause. Free wireless internet and a hot breakfast were included in the rate, and a fair sized swimming pool and fitness centre are part of the facilities. It would be nice if there is a full enclosed business centre, but a computer and printer is made available in the front lobby. It's an essential amenity as an airport hotel so tourists and business travellers have something more than wifi to communicate.
Hotel chains can provide promises and produce jingles involving everything under the sun to entice you to book, with claims of every pleasure apart from a ride on Cloud 9. The fact that this property has scraped away things that should have been standard at this price range really irritates me. I guess you can get away with it if you're located close to the airport. Even a better placed electrical outlet would have smoothed things out for a better stay. Disappointing to say the least...
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