Embassy Suites Montréal = Large Rooms but Not Luxury Experience

100   Recommended

July 29, 2018 by
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Hilton is not very strong in downtown Montreal compared to Starwood/Marriott, only having a Hilton Garden Inn and an Embassy Suites. I had a one-night weekend stay I needed to book less than two weeks in advance.  Normally weekend summer rates in Montreal are quite high and hotels are at full capacity so I was very surprised to find a rate of $175 at Embassy Suites (flexible to boot) which obviously was much lower than options with other hotel chains.  By the time I checked in, the Embassy Suites was sold out.  I am not very familiar with the Embassy Suites brand.  Most of my Hilton stays worldwide are in other brands, therefore some of my comments below might be unique to ES Montreal or might be more about the ES brand in general and I would not know for sure. 

 

Location

The Embassy Suites is next to the Intercontinental and Westin hotels, which is a very good location for both business and leisure purposes.  The ES is within walking distance of the old port, the central train station, and right opposite the convention center.  There are a couple of subway stops nearby.

 

Check In

I normally do not comment in hotel reviews on the check-in process because whether my check-in takes 30 seconds or 2 minutes, it does not matter to me.  However for this stay I arrived late afternoon and the lobby was a bit chaotic.  First off the lobby area is very small for a hotel this size and there was no organized queue for check-in and no priority lane for Diamonds.  Once I got to the desk I was about to get assigned the room I picked online (after I had been upgraded), then the desk agent crossed it off, tried to move me to a similar room but two floors higher, called housekeeping to ask if the room was ready, then went to the back office to talk to a supervisor, and finally return to front desk and gave me back the room she had crossed off in the first place. She said they had problems with “room inventory” (perhaps due to the hotel being full?), but that in the end it was all falling into place and I could get my original room.  

Room

I booked the cheapest room “Non-Suite 1 Queen” and got upgraded to a “2 Room Corner President Suite 1 King”.  The rate difference between those two rooms is several hundred dollars and shortly before the hotel sold out, my upgraded room was selling for over $800.  Given that I paid $175 it was a generous upgrade to say the least.  When I entered the room I was pleasantly surprised.  This suite is very large with 111 square meters and was the largest room on my floor by looking at the floor plan.  In the bedroom, there is a comfortable sitting area with two lounge chairs in front of the TV and fireplace.  There are convenient power plugs on each side of the bed. The bathroom has a whirlpool and separate shower.  In the living area there is a full size fridge, oven, microwave, along with decent counter space and sink.  Interestingly there was no cooking ware at all but you need to call housekeeping to get it delivered to the room; all cupboards are empty.  There are two chairs at the kitchen counter in addition to a large table with 6 chairs in the dining area.  In the living area there is a working desk and a large L-shaped sofa in front of another fireplace and TV.  The carpet throughout must have been refreshed and/or deep cleaned recently because it was in excellent condition.  There are a few minor features which indicate this hotel is not new and modern however, for example I was surprised to find an electrical heating system on the wall near the floor given that the hotel has central air conditioning.  Why is heating not central as well?  The room was cool so AC was working without any issues, but in the morning when I wanted to raise the temperature I could only find one panel on a wall with a couple of unmarked buttons and the screen was blank so it did not seem to be working. 

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Dining

We received 4 drinks vouchers for use in the restaurant between 5pm and 7pm.  It is my understanding that all hotel guests receive those vouchers rather than being a Diamond benefit and I am assuming this is a ES standard unless it’s specific to this Montreal property.  There were also carrots, celery, nachos, and chips available.  The entire place was very busy and crowded, which is understandable if the evening reception is for all guests.  While it was not an ideal substitute for a proper hotel lounge, at least we had alcoholic drinks (which we typically not get for free in the lounge of other North American hotels), and there was limited food which is better than hotels with no lounge at all.  We also had 2 vouchers for free made to order breakfast.  Once again the restaurant was quite full and not the most enjoyable setting. We could not get a table in the restaurant at 9am but were offered tables on the terrace outside or we could sit at the bar.  We chose the latter because it was surprisingly quiet – I guess most people do not want to eat their breakfast on a bar counter, but we preferred having a quiet space even if we could have had an empty table in the restaurant.  The breakfast quality is nothing to write home about, and they struggled to replenish.  My wife and I went in the queue two times each, and every time there was something missing: pineapples, melon, scrambled eggs, or forks.  There is an omelet station but we did not go there.  My overall takeaway of the evening reception and breakfast at ES is that if you do not have status with Hilton, then it’s a nice perk to have some free drinks and snacks in the evening, and free breakfast. If you have status however, you might not be impressed and it’s not the strong point of the hotel.  I would not complain however since it’s free particularly in the evening.

 

Elevators

As a related note to the crowded restaurant situation, to make matters worse the entrance of the restaurant is immediately in front of the two elevators, which is not enough by the way for this hotel. At breakfast time there was a long line of people waiting to get into the restaurant combined with people waiting for the elevator so it was a mess.  The elevator was full on the way down and we stopped at almost every floor; people could not get in so if they wanted to go down, they were better off going up first to secure a spot in the elevator, before going back down to the ground level. 

Overall

Bottom line my overall impression of the hotel was mixed but I was happy with the generous upgrade for a modest price and I was happy with the very large room given that it’s a downtown hotel where space is at a premium.  It’s not a luxury experience but you are not lacking anything there and location is convenient for many purposes.  For future stays if and when I need more space, I will definitely consider returning to ES despite the downsides because I know I can get a room there perhaps 2, 3, or even 4 times larger than in some competing hotels, for a similar or better price.   

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