This is not an easy question. Every person has different needs based on price, location, amenities and personal preferences.
For example, visiting NHL teams stay at The Fairmont Hotel at Portage and Main. Why? Because it is close to the MTS Centre, offers secure floors for the teams so they have no chance of someone seeking them out and pounding on the door, is luxurious with rooms big enough for guys who might have legs sticking out the end of the bed and where a variety of food options exist.
The Fairmont does indeed do it up nicely inside and meets the classification as business hotel for the downtown. It has hosted royalty and travelling executives for years and has been one of the top hotels in the city for decades.
However, what if we are not visiting royalty or a businesses executive? What if we are coming for a Bon Jovi concert, don't have the kids and are here for a one nighter and would like downtown with maybe free parking?
This is a reason why some people book a night at Humphrey Inn on Main Street in the downtown. The proximity to the the MTS Centre, free parking, good rooms and service, free breakfast and wi-fi have attracted notice for people who might come in a few times a year for events such as concerts and games.
Sometimes people are looking for a unique or iconic experience in their hotel visit. In this case, you often hear Winnipeggers have a staycation at the Marriagi Theme Suites Hotel, the Fort Garry or the Inn at the Forks. Not surprisingly, all three have local owners and operators.
|Inn at the Forks|
Families in Winnipeg or coming in from out of town with a desperate need of a pool for the kids often stay at any of the Canad Inns scattered throughout the city.
The success of the Canad Inns can be succinctly defined as "cover your bases". And what are those bases? They are: regional representation across the city and province. Pools and pools good for families. Entertainment and restaurants that include bars, VLT lounges and dinner theatre. And lastly beer vendors.
|Canad Inns Fort Garry|
The airport has had a flurry of hotel construction. If there has been one area that has carved out the niche of hotel district, it is this area. And since Polo Park is so close, we are seeing hotels kind of straddle the two destinations.
In the last decade or so, we have seen the construction of many hotels in the airport Polo Park area. Some are geared more to Polo Park, some to the airport, some to both. Those hotels include Greenwood Inns and Suites, Sandman Hotel, Mainstay Suites and very new arrivals the Holiday Inn - Airport Polo Park replacing the dreadful hotel that once existed there.
The airport itself has Four Points by Sheraton and will be joined shortly by two others. Very near Polo Park we have seen Fairfield Inn and Suites go up and it will be joined by another hotel soon.
|Fairfield Inn and Suites Polo Park|
As we have seen this burst of new construction of hotels, we have seen a few retiring such as York, the Hotel (Sheraton) and Place Louis Riel gearing down. Other have faced the wrecking ball downtown and elsewhere. There is a good bet we might see a few other hotels shut down for political or business reasons.
As mentioned, Winnipeg doesn't have a motel district per se such as Grand Forks with their selection of motels adjacent to Columbia Mall. We never seem to plan these things out in Winnipeg. There used to be a number of motels stretching down Pembina Highway but they were hemmed in by the rail line and neighbourhoods of Foot Garry and Fort Richmond. Today, the remaining hotels are stretched from the Perimeter Highway to Grant Avenue.
It seems unlikely we are ever to see an area where there are six or seven motels all together in Winnipeg.
By all accounts, the hotel business in Winnipeg has fared not too bad. No evidence yet that it overbuilt. They cater to wide variety of clients and have a few income streams to help them be more diverse than just letting rooms.
In the next year or so, we will see a few new addictions vying for best Winnipeg hotel. Perhaps we might be saying the new Grand Hotel at the airport is the best or the Alt Hotel downtown. It seems fairly certain though that the debate on what is the best will continue for some time,