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Hilton Niagara Falls/Fallsview – Ontario, Canada ☆☆

September 27, 2010

We were so excited to see the falls for the first time, and unfortunately we chose the wrong hotel. This trip was for my husband’s 40th birthday, and in addition, we needed a relatively long flight to accumulate some elite miles toward our United Airline status. We read multiple reviews, and despite a large number of negative write up’s, we settled on Canada’s Hilton Fallsview. Big Mistake..

Everything from the casinos, low budget money milking attractions, excessively overpriced parking, filthy streets, and above all, horrific customer service made for a less than pleasant experience. Canada’s attempted emulation of a Vegas style tourist trap is a towering slap in the face to this breathtaking natural wonder. The US side has a well thought out, ample state park reserve surrounding the location of the falls; something Canada should have taken into consideration when initially developing it’s layout.. apparently only dollar sign’s were forefront in the mind’s of that decision making committee.

Upon check-in we took note of the $20 a day parking fee, so we decided to make use of the ‘Fallsview Casino’s’ $5 a day (and $10 on weekends) parking garage.

Jeff at the Hilton’s front desk was very friendly and helpful. He ended up being 1 of only 2 staff members who were friendly to us throughout our entire 3 night stay. The other friendly chap being Robert, our omelette chef at the breakfast buffet. I know what you’re thinking “You guys must be pain in the ass customer’s.” I promise you that we are extremely delightful and respectful! I’ve concluded that our modest dress and youthful looks scream poor people to the staff. Whenever a mature, well dressed couple in their 50’s strolls up, it’s like night and day with these staff members. They’re all of a sudden welcoming and attentive after being rude and short with us. We couldn’t even get any usable information out of the concierge because he seemed to be desperate to rid himself of our presence.

This type of service became a daily occurrence coming from all angles. Not only in our hotel, but in just about every restaurant (starbuck’s too), tourist attraction box office and winery we visited thereafter. It’s a lot like Australia and New Zealand’s infamously sad service, but at least those guys have an excuse seeing that tips aren’t customary. I just wasn’t expecting it from our lovely northern neighbor’s… I’ve never met an unpleasant Canadian up until this point.

Our room on the 30th floor of the North Tower was mediocre at best. We paid a little extra for the room because they had advertised it as being only a year old. It most definitely seemed much older, especially after we discovered loose bathroom fixtures, weird smell’s, tired decor and an abundantly evident pest problem. There was a cupboard under the kitchenette counter designed to fit a mini fridge, but the designated cavity was barren. The view of the 2 waterfall’s was broken up and partially obstructed by the towering Fallsview Casino. Now that I take a second look at some of the Hilton website’s photo’s, I see that they have been photoshopped to make the view appear much better. Room service never cleaned our room thoroughly. One afternoon I came back to the room and found that housekeeping had broken an expensive glass bottle of face serum I had left on the bathroom counter. Instead of cleaning up the shattered glass, they had strategically positioned the tissue box and one of my ziplock bags to cover up their mis-hap. I woke up with 2 big bumps on my leg either from one of the many spiders with whom we shared our room, or of course a bed bug. Perhaps the worst thing about the room was the uncomfortable bed. I woke up with excruciating pain in my neck each night, and my husband (who never has back problems) experienced horrible low back pain.

We never waited less than 3 or 4 minutes for the elevator to arrive (even though there were a total of 6 available on the north tower). This was always a topic of conversation amongst frustrated guests. The elevator got stuck between the 21st and 22nd floor for 5 minutes, which is apparently a problem they have been experiencing since this tower’s opening.

The morning of my husband’s birthday we arrived at the breakfast buffet at the Watermark restaurant. I enthusiastically asked the hostess if there was a table with a nice view because of the occasion. She rudely informed me that she had nothing by the window. I asked her if we could wait until one came available. She told us to step aside. When we did so, she grumbled at us for standing in her way (which we clearly weren’t). Would it have killed her to at least politely wish my husband a happy birthday at the time it was brought to her attention? The notion just seemed to make her more irritated and short with us.

I had booked dinner at the same Watermark restaurant for the birthday dinner, but after this experience, I was obviously hesitant. We ended up sticking with this restaurant solely because we had a $75 voucher toward dinner. Again, I made it abundantly clear that it was a special birthday occasion, but we were yet again treated rudely, and with less respect than the table of 4 large Americans beside us who ordered an excessive number of cocktails and four course meals each. I get sick of waiters who favor those who ring up a large tab. All they’re worried about is getting a larger tip… I guess that goes without saying. We didn’t even receive a complimentary dessert or Happy Birthday card as any upscale restaurant we’ve ever visited in our lifetime would always provide. The only celebratory gesture we received from the staff was an assemblage of excited faces upon our departure, hence freeing up one of their valued window front tables.

To sum things up, the Hilton Fallsview provided negligent housekeeping services, uncomfortable/mediocre interior, and above all else, unbelievably bad service. Also, (I could go on forever, but I promise I’ll stop soon) when we had originally made the booking, the representative assured us that a 1pm check-out would be guaranteed. When we called down to the front desk to make sure this was noted, we were rudely informed that we had to be out by 11am.. no exceptions. They wouldn’t even put us through to a manager when we asked. This was particularly frustrating since our flight wasn’t until late that evening. At check-out we were over charged by $300, and were made aware of a multitude of hidden “Canadian Tourism Fee’s” etc. The accommodations on the American side also have a bad reputation, so I wish that I had some sort of alternate suggestion for those of you who have plans to visit Niagara. Sorry to have been the bearer of bad news;)

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. October 29, 2010 6:56 am

    I’ve often wondered about the tackiness of the Canadian side of Niagara Falls, and the park-like setting on the American side. As a cynical American, I guess I would’ve expected the opposite. Sorry you had such a frustrating experience with this hotel, but I hope your husband had a nice birthday anyway. Did you complain to Hilton?

    Excellent post and photos.

    • October 29, 2010 8:18 am

      Yes, I filled out the post-stay survey to inform the Hilton of these issues (in addition, I brought it to their attention during our stay). I got no response from Hilton Niagara, or Hiltons corporate offices either. Oh well.. Their loss!
      I’m off to Hawai’i now and the aircraft door has closed.. Better turn my phone off now 🙂

  2. November 19, 2010 2:17 am

    Simply amazing, no other words can describe the beauty of Niagara Falls. Kids, adults and people from different generations will surely be awed by its real beauty.

  3. November 18, 2012 9:28 am

    How horrible! That’s too bad–hope they have changed by now, but still doesn’t make me want to stay there anytime soon! Hope the rest of the trip was fun at least!

    • November 18, 2012 10:38 am

      Yes it was pretty bad. We did however make the most of our time there. The falls are beautiful and definitely worth the trip! 🙂

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