Our trip to Canada was more logistically diverse than many of my trips. We moved around a lot and stayed in a variety of places: a mystery hotel, a haunted hostel, a huge hotel, and a bed & breakfast. Each had its advantages and disadvantages. I’ll share a recap here of things I wish I’d considered.
1. Travelocity Top Secret Hotel – Holiday Inn, Grand Island, NY
We didn’t know what we were getting with this hotel. I booked it blindly through Travelocity’s Top Secret Deals. All I knew was that it was rated a 3-star hotel and was within the Buffalo/Niagara Falls vicinity. Since we were only staying overnight, I wasn’t too concerned with whether we’d like the place or not. As it turns out, it was a very nice hotel and we were sorry that we didn’t have more time to check out all the amenities that the hotel had to offer.
What Worked: The price and the hotel rooms were great. I’d do it again.
Something to Consider: The hotel was located out-of-the-way on an island. If we ever go back, I’d choose the hotel again, but would definitely allow myself more time there.
2. HI-Ottawa Jail Hostel
This was actually our main destination for the Canada trip. As amateur ghost hunters, my husband and I couldn’t resist staying in a haunted jail, and it had been years since I’d stayed at a hostel. The place was both kitschy and authentic. It was definitely a unique place to stay and was more private than I’d imagined. The location was great; we walked everywhere in Ottawa. And the Crime and Punishment Tour we took of the jail filled in the background story.
What Worked: We had a unique experience and learned the history of the jail and the hauntings. Plus, the hostel is centrally located, so you can walk everywhere.
Something to Consider: It’s an old jail, so there is no air conditioning. Fans in each cell helped. The bunk beds were creaky and not that comfortable, but okay for a night or two.
3. Delta Chelsea Hotel – Toronto
The Delta Chelsea is the largest hotel in Canada and was a bustling hub-bub. The rooms were very nice and again, there were all kinds of amenities we just didn’t have time to take advantage of. The hotel is in the perfect location; close to Yonge-Dundas and accessible to all the vibrant activity of the city.
What Worked: Great location and nice rooms.
Something to Consider: The hotel is Canada’s largest, so be prepared for lots of people and noise. The rooms were quiet, but if you’re looking for a quiet getaway, this may not be the place.
4. A Hundred Church Bed & Breakfast – Stratford, Ontario
There are several B&B’s to choose from in Stratford. Our host, Tim, was very nice and our arts & crafts room was very pretty. We had the luxury of a private bathroom, which many B&B’s didn’t offer. What’s nice about staying in a B&B in Stratford is that you’re close to the center of town and can walk and shop and attend the theater without having to drive and pay to park. The closest hotels/motels are just out of town, so you wouldn’t have this luxury unless you chose to stay in one of the many B&B’s.
What Worked: Central location that allowed us to walk. A cozy room and nice conversation with our housemates over breakfast. And since we were all in town to attend the theatre, we could compare notes and share reviews of the plays we saw.
Something to Consider: I didn’t think about this when I made our reservation, but I’d booked other activities for us in the morning that conflicted with breakfast time. Our host fed us earlier than the other guests, but I felt bad. Next time I think of staying in a B&B, I’ll pay closer attention to our itinerary to see whether it really works for us to stay there instead of a hotel where we’re on our own for meals.
Overall, we had wonderful accommodations at every place we stayed during our Canadian adventure. But if I had to choose one place as my favorite, I’d probably pick the Delta Chelsea. If I travel Toronto again, that’s where I’ll stay.