Tuesday, June 4, 2013

What is the Best Hotel in Winnipeg?

Fairmont Winnipeg
What is the best hotel in Winnipeg?

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
Likewise, when people want a local hotel for a wedding. spa, staff parties or business meetings certain places always rise to the top such as The Fort Garry, Clarion, Inn at the Forks and Viscount Court not to mention some hotels chosen for their geographic locations such as Holiday Inn - Winnipeg South or Norwood Hotel.

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
Has it worked for Canad Inns? Well, they are the biggest hotel group in the province. Think that speaks for itself.

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 HotelMainstay 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
So what is the best hotel in Winnipeg? I don't know it is easy to answer. Price and room amenities could be anything that is important to you. A family might have no interest in the Fairmont Hotel because it has no waterslides or major mall next door. A businessman might not be interested in Canad Inns Fort Garry as he has to be downtown for a week of business seminars.

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,


Anonymous said...

West Winnipeg is getting close to having isx motels tightly clustered. There is Motel 6, Best Western @ Flying J, Howard Johnson Express and Motel 1 (a former Super 8). With two more hotels/motels proposed for WestPort Festival (across from Flying J) and the Westwood Inn and Assiboine Inn a little further up Portage it is definitely close to the number you talk about even though it doesn't really have the same feel as the motel district in the likes of Grand Forks but is that a bad thing?

Anonymous said...

Best Western pembina highway don't change their sheets. I checked in and went to my room . got into bed n there was a piece if paper in my bed and it said " if your reading this note it means the housekeeper did not change the sheets. I spoke with management and all they said was if im not enjoying my stay for me to go elsewhere. This is management saying that. Also we saw a bedbug in the sheets. I don't know how they claim that this hotel is clean. Its discusting. They r just in for the money n act like they care about guest but they don't.