This weekend, we decided to take advantage of an outing that we had planned for Easter but that had been postponed due to the rise of COVID-19 cases in Ontario and the closing of the borders since then.
Reservation at The Westin Harbour Castle Hotel, Toronto
We took advantage of the “Welcome Back in Style” promotion offered by The Westin Harbour Castle, Toronto, a Marriott Bonvoy Category 5 hotel, available from 30,000 points per night.
Although this promotion was only valid for a spring stay, with the closing of the province of Ontario, the hotel had very kindly offered to keep this promotional rate for a subsequent stay.
So here we are in Toronto for 2 days in June.
Location of The Westin Harbour Castle, Toronto
We might as well talk about the road between Montreal and Toronto right now. If you find the time long between Montreal and Quebec City, well, prepare yourself, it’s long, straight, monotonous until Toronto. Positive point: once out of Montreal, we drive very well to the destination.
Arrived at Toronto, we take the exit 153 of the Gardiner Express Way, 2-3 streets farther and we are there. For those whose main criterion is location, clearly, nothing to complain about.
It couldn’t be more central, as the hotel is located on the lakefront, next to the ferry departure dock to the Toronto Islands!
Reception of The Westin Harbour Castle Hotel, Toronto
Getting to the hotel was easy, finding our way there once we arrived in front of the building is another story. We go up via a ramp which brings us to the entrance of the lobby.
And there, we understand (thanks to a nice valet) that there is a 2nd ramp, on the right side to go in the parking lot. I might as well tell you, not easy to find.
Once launched, beware! The parking lot is very old (as is the Westin building, by the way) and the standards don’t seem to be up to date: narrow curves, walls that are difficult to get around.
And once we succeeded in parking, we realize that there is no elevator but that we have to walk on the ramp to go back down…
After this adventurous episode, we arrive at the lobby and we proceed to the registration. The Westin Harbour Castle, Toronto is a “grand conference” type hotel: majestic entrance, large spaces, many stairs.
On an architectural note, it reminds me of our stay at the Delta in Quebec City.
I might as well tell you that the process of registering in COVID-19 time is almost never simple.
Here, there is no exception to the rule. We arrive, the person finds us easily in the system, recognizes our status Marriott but we see that it is laborious for the explanations on the benefits members and on the parking which does not seem to him included (it is in our tariff).
Good news, I had used 2 Suite upgrade coupons prior to our arrival and it worked in our favor.
As our reservation was originally for Easter, then moved to June, it seems that it was “detached” from the coupons. And so, even having communicated via chat on the Marriott app three days before our arrival, our room was only the two queen bed, lake view room.
After explaining, by phone, that we were 2 adults and 2 children, with one status, we got a nice upgrade: a corner suite with a sofa and a king bed, as well as a room with two queen beds, lake view, connecting with our suite!
Nothing to complain about on this side, the supervisor of the reception teams was nice!
Our rooms at The Westin Harbour Castle, Toronto
Our rooms are located in the North Tower, on the 18th floor. Once we got past the ordeal of the elevators with the suitcases, the children and the fatigue of the trip, we found ourselves in front of our haven of peace for the next two days.
In terms of architecture, as previously mentioned, we are in the configuration of a hotel that is already experienced compared to current construction standards. Long corridors, a classic distribution of volumes for the rooms. The suite, for example, is neither more nor less than a “big room” in a corner of the building.
As much as the corridor and the common areas seem to have benefited from a refreshment in the last years, our rooms remained frozen in the 90s.
We enter the suite first. On the left, the bathroom is rather small, with the usual care items.
There is also a closet in front of us to store our luggage.
Then we enter the large room that serves as office, living room and bedroom at the same time.
As much as the impression of space is really nice, we can’t help but think that this space is really not well valued for a suite.
The view of the lake from the room is exceptional!
And it is clearly here, with the location, that the Westin Harbour Castle, Toronto stands out. A bay window that gives a breathtaking view of the lake and the Toronto Islands.
It’s magical and clearly, you feel like you can touch the water!
Retracing our steps, we find the opening communicating to the room with the two beds for the children.
Here too, the room has a very classic, almost overdone, atmosphere that is serene but not very inviting.
The bathroom is as small as in our suite (which confirms me in the idea that our suite is rather a large room).
As for the amenities in the room, nothing special. A coffee maker, a microwave and some rather old electronic devices.
The television system is quite well done and is now standard in Marriott hotels. So, access to a Google Chromecast and a bunch of classic TV channels.
Overall, the twin room is very cramped and for 4 people, I would not recommend it.
The suite is really a large room, pleasant thanks to the view, but according to us, depending on the price paid, it may not be the best value for money.
The Westin Harbour Castle Hotel, Toronto
To talk about the hotel’s amenities, normally, the hotel has an indoor pool that we were not allowed to see or access.
The hotel’s gym was closed too. On the roof terrace, there is a tennis court available (but impossible to book as there is no availability). Also, a Kids Club, also closed because of the pandemic…
And the available food offer was mainly delivery from nearby restaurants.
And this is where I find this Westin Harbour Castle, Toronto hotel to be clearly out of step with the competition.
A few steps from our hotel is a brand new Hotel Germain. For example, the classic room at Le Germain, for a generally similar rate, is clearly a level above in terms of comfort and finish.
Also, as mentioned, the hotel shows signs of wear quite marked, symptomatic of hotels with large passages and large volumes for conferences.
It is mainly noticeable in the rooms. Whether it is ceiling lights that are loose, damaged paintings, worn walls, scratched furniture and wallpaper at the end of its life.
Our overall impression of The Westin Harbour Castle, Toronto
For a category 5 Marriott hotel, one can expect better. The location and the breathtaking view of the lake are the big plus points of this Westin Harbour Castle, Toronto.
However, we feel that time has taken its toll and that, similar to what the Delta Sherbrooke has achieved with its work, this hotel could use a little more.
Finally, the COVID-19 context and the Ontario sanitary rules clearly did not help the quality of the stay by “taking away” all the possible advantages that this hotel could have (swimming pool, fitness room, kids club, breakfast, roof terrace).
Our recommendation? If you can get a promotional rate that lowers your room rate to around $100-130 and you have Marriott status (Gold or higher), go for the view and location.
Otherwise, the competition’s offer is clearly more advantageous under standard tariff conditions.