Historical Traveller Reviews of Howard Johnson by the Falls Hotel
A Great HoJo
from A TripAdvisor Member
After reading the most recent post. Most Motels/Hotels in Toronto/Nigara Falls you have to pay for parking. In my opion you got a deal $8.00 per day. And in Ontario their are two taxes 8% PST and 7% GST. I have stayed in worth HoJo's and this is the best one I stayed in. The waterslide is nice. I've seen smaller pool is bigger hotels. The Room was clean and the beds were o.k. Overall a 3* hotel. I probley wouldn't stay here again. Is not worth the $125 i payed per night.
Overall Excellent, Enjoyable and Clean
from A TripAdvisor Member
My children and I stayed at the HJ on Victoria Ave. We were enticed by the water slide they offered, and the low price for two queen beds with an in-room jacuzzi, plus the fact that it was within walking distance to the falls. After driving through the most horrendous traffic I have ever driven in, we were very pleased to enter a large, attractive, very clean room. The falls weren't as close as advertised, but it was no big deal. The pool area was very clean, and a unique layout. The indoor/outdoor pool is actually one pool that is separated by a glass wall. My kids loved the water slide and I enjoyed the very large hot tub that sits next to the poolside. The hot tub was far from hot, however, and they definately need to crank it up a few degrees. The sauna was perfect, although we didn't spend much time in it. The pool is also only four feet deep and there is no deep end, but it was still very enjoyable. The room itself was very nice, although I did notice they tend to slack off on the vacuuming. We had an adequate supply of towels. The T.V. channels were pathetic, but we were so exhausted from all the action going on around us that it wasn't much of an issue. There are several hidden costs that are pretty much the rule in most hotels. The costs per night vary, but when I booked the room for three nights I was quoted an average of $105 per night (American currency). Add in the $8 per night parking (Canadian currency) - which I found very offensive. I thought it was tacky to charge your guests to park and this was the first time I have ever encountered this while staying at a hotel. Then there is the 15% tax that is added on which brought our average cost per night to $135 per night. This is minus my AAA discount! Plus they suggest you tip the maid $5 a day. It could get quite expensive fast. I would much rather be told up front that the cost per night will be $140, do you still want the room? All in all, the staff was friendly and helpful. If there was any free charter bus to take us through the ungodly traffic, I wasn't informed about it. When I asked the front desk about it, I was told it was an additional cost. Our in-room safe was a nice touch, but did not work. However, when I called the front desk, a maintenance man was at our door immediately. There are several elevators, so access to your floor is easy and quick. The lighting was fine and air conditioner and the beds were large, clean and comfortable. There is no mini-fridge or microwave, but they do have ice machines to keep your cooler functioning. I found things to be a bit confusing in the currency exchange and no one seems to be too knowledable on that. They can give you approximates, but be careful, it can get costly. My kids absolutely loved the hotel, and I would say the overall rating is way above average, but could use a few touch ups. If HJ would read these reviews and maybe consider what seems to be said over and over, I think they would have one heck of a hotel. We did enjoy our stay there and if I headed back that way again, I would feel it was a safe bet to stay there, IF I wanted to spend the extra money it ended up costing. And that is a big determining factor. Overall, probably an A-/B+ rating.
Not what I expected
OK, I stayed here in late April. This hotel does have a really great location. Right near Clifton Hill, the falls and Casino. You walk into the lobby and are very pleased. It was very recently renovated. But you later find out that the lobby was renovated-Thats It! The guest rooms are dirty. The windows were absoloutly filthy. Bathroom looked as if it were out of the 60's. Beds were hard. Mattress only, no boxspring. Very small amount of TV channels. They say free movies, but its just one TV channel airing old, random movies. But it was a very cheap price. Food was great at Dennys and TGI Fridays. Good rate of $129 for two-night package. Parking Garage with security cameras, so park near the cameras. Guest rooms need updating but nice public areas.
Although, rooms desperately need some updating, carpet was very dirty. Air conditioner VERY loud. Would have loved to have been able to specify a city view room. Live and learn.
Right near all the fun!
from A TripAdvisor Member
Arrived at howard johnsons an hour early to the Check in time of 4pm. So we waited an hour till our room was ready. My gf and I reserved the heart shaped jazuzzi Room. Was very clean. No bad odors. Smelled like a classic hotel room. Pool was clean. Semi small. We werent bumping up against people or anything. Nice water slide. Sauna, And a hot tub. Pool closes at 11pm which is decent. some hotels close em earlier. Within walking distance to EVERYTHING accept the floral clock and that area. We wlaked everywhere. Tgi fridays had great food and service. Its right next door. Dennys was also good. Right next door. Internet in the main lobby. Atm in the main lobby. Most atms do NOt take plus atm cards so make sure you have a nyce cirrus one handy. The housekeeping was decent. did leave our candy wrappers on the table for us to clean up. but had fresh towels and washcloths daily. The jacuzzi is awesome feels great Fun to use. Showering in its a riot. The casino is just down the street. we Walked to the casino lost some $$ had some drinks. Stumbled to the karaoke bar had more drinks. And was very convenient being able to walk 5 minutes to our hotel room. Overall Was a pleasant stay. Front desk staff was average. Maids were average. Mirror on the cieling was cool. i give 7-10 stars.
Not What Expected --- disappointing but okay ----
from A TripAdvisor Member
First let me say we've traveled extensively on road trips around America and usually stay in moderate priced motel chains. And we've seen it all! So after doing lots of research and realizing this is an older, touristy area, we decided on the HoJo for Father's Day weekend. Since all the motels seemed similar, we chose this one because it supposedly had a waterslike. Be aware ... it is NOT a waterslide!!!! It is a flimsy playground slide that is wobbly and attached to the side of the pool. Our middle-school aged kids were VERY disappointed, as were hubby and i -- we love waterslides, too! Check out their website picture -- thats all there is to it. And there is NO water running down the slide so even smaller children can't slide down it with wet suits, more like bump-bump-bump!! Since the slide was a major reason why we chose the HoJo, we were VERY disappointed. However, on the plus side, (and its not a bad motel) the indoor-outdoor pool was clean although just average sized. The motel has a great location -- close to the fun touristy stuff on Clifton yet not right in it. It was a clean room, a tiny bit worn -- but not a problem as most of the hotels are worn since they're older. Its probably one of the better motels actually, since most are of the same older era -- unless you want to pay twice as much for the new high-rises, which are a long long walk to the tourist stuff. The staff is VERY good and willing to help fix any little problem you might have with the room. And it is also a very short walk to the falls. Book the room alone -- I would NOT get a package (we didn't!) because Denny's IS absolutely and ridiculously overpriced! Almost laughable!! Instead, check out the Niagara Parks' own restaurants! "Table Rock Restaurant" is right next to, and almost OVER the falls --you can't get any closer --- amazing view!!! We had a FABULOUS breakfast buffet (NOT the Brunch buffet) for $12.95 CAN / $10 USA including yummy eggs benedict. That meal alone, overlooking the falls, MADE our trip VERY special. Also check out the park's "Victoria Park Cafe" which has a la carte / cafe style dining with outdoor seating and a great view! Very good food and atmosphere and lots cheaper than many of the other local restaurants. All in all, not a bad place to stay although we will probably stay somewhere else the next time since we like trying new places and creating new memories.
A Decent Value
from A TripAdvisor Member
We visited in early May for a Thursday and Friday night stay; prices will vary. Factoring dates and room types; the Two Night Package might cost LESS than lodging alone. The hotel website (Hojobythefalls) has better availability and rates than the Corporate or Third Party websites. If possible, pay with US currency upon check-in rather than a credit card; their exchange rate was $1.55 CDN as opposed to the prevailing $1.37. Our total bill including all taxes, fees and parking was $106 US. The staff is superb: friendly, knowledgeable, accommodating and patient; I requested a non-smoking, sixth floor, corner room with a balcony facing east and that's what I got. They warned me that Victoria Avenue can get noisy, but the traffic and din from the carnival sideshows across the street was tolerable. Things quiet down after 10PM and it's barely noticeable with the television or heater/AC running. The balcony was a good spot to have a cigarette, to keep our cooler and for people watching; akin to a Niagara Falls skybox. The room itself was immaculate, spacious and in excellent condition; standard Hojo fare. The coffee maker was efficient, comfortable beds, plenty of lighting and the nifty electronic safe was a nice touch. Some minor gripes: three (!) ashtrays in a non-smoking room, too few television channels, somewhat sparse furnishings, the decor could use a little imagination and the Candy Apple Red tub/shower enclosure; it felt like bathing in a Tilt-A-Whirl car. However, there was plenty of hot water, decent pressure and the shower nozzle was well above my head. The pool's side tiles could stand a scrubbing; but the water was clean, warm and not too chlorinated. Although the slide dominates the deep end, there's plenty of room for everybody. Head right on the pool deck as you enter for some space and solitude. The 10 person warm (not hot) tub could've been turned up a dozen degrees; but the pool area caters to children and it was still relaxing. A wonderful dry sauna, plenty of towels, nice furnishings, outdoor deck and indoor/outdoor pool swim-through complete the spacious complex. It's been established that Denny's and T.G.I. Friday's are expensive; many restaurants in the Niagara Falls tourist regions are. That doesn't render the package's $30 and $45 dining vouchers worthless; just order judiciously. Enjoy a cup of coffee in your room or keep a carton of Tropicana in a cooler and don't order beverages with breakfast if they're over-priced. Denny's Farmer's Slam was our favorite breakfast entree, with portions large enough to fill us up until dinner. Request the country gravy on the side or hold altogether if you don't like your eggs slathered. T.G.I. Friday's fish fry was ENORMOUS; we ended up taking most of it home. There are values to be had at both restaurants; but drive down Lundy's Lane, head for a local favorite restaurant or to St. Catherines if the prices are too steep. Denny's is open 24 hours and the vouchers can be used at any time; even for lunch or a late night snack. A caveat regarding the vouchers: they can't be used to pay the bill's taxes and surplus amounts aren't refunded if the entrees cost less than their value. Even after paying taxes and tips out-of-pocket; our Package meals were still a better value than they would've been elsewhere. The Marriott shuttle bus was splendid; we didn't wait more than ten minutes combined over two days to get picked up. We had transportation to the Casino, Embassy Suites, the Fallsview Marriott, Courtyard By Marriott and the Horseshoe Falls district. We didn't just use the shuttle for the casino; we could board or depart at any of those locations until 1:45AM. Each room had the Saturday National Post outside it's door and Friday's edition was in the lobby, free. Plenty has been said of the hotel's central location; we left our car just outside the lobby entrance the entire visit. Several additional items to nitpick: It's evident the hotel controls the free movies on channel 10; they need more DVD's. The Wedding Singer and Meet The Parents are fine movies, but I don't need to see them 10 times in two days. Cable or Satellite television is essential to a hotel; a dozen channels just doesn't suffice. Although we didn't expect Spiderman to barge into our room; a working balcony door lock and/or security bar is nice for piece of mind. A more generous bounty of bathroom toiletries, a pen and stationary are touches I take for granted; but we did have a standard room. Our Do Not Disturb sign was so flimsy, it ended up on the hallway floor every time we opened or closed the door. There was plenty of space in our room to put an easy chair and ottoman, the dressers were too low and the only full length mirror was on the bathroom door; it would've served it's purpose better on the wall outside. However, these are faults for the sake of finding them and we'll be back again. Don't make reservations at this hotel expecting Bellagio, but it still has plenty going for it: a top notch staff and location, clean, decent sized rooms, nice pool building, family friendly, free transportation and a good value with some fine tuning.
We checked out the reviews on this site and most seemed favourable so we booked a two-night package (including a dinner and two breakfasts) for the April 24, 2004 weekend. It seemed like a great deal. We arrived to a room with dirty carpets and, when my wife went to turn on the lamp between the beds, it didn't work. Upon checking it out, the bulb had been shattered and the glass gone - the filaments were exposed and she could have got quite a jolt. Pieces of glass were found on the floor beside the bed and our kids could have stepped on it. As for the standing lamp, it didn't work. A call to maintenance and the staffer showed us there was a short in the electrical outlet. instead of fixing the problem, he suggested we put the coffee maker on the floor and plug it into another outlet. The jacuzzi tub doid not work but he did fix that. Some towels had yellow stains on them. As for the pool, to which my kids had looked forward due to the slide, the water was murky and there was a ring of white scum around it the entire time. The hot tub had a brown ring around it and was lukewarm. And, about those free breakfasts - $30 for Denny's each morning seemed like a lot until we got the menu: $13.01 CDN (all prices listed here) for two eggs, two tiny sausages, two uncooked fatty bacon strips and toast. $3.50 for a coffee. Unfreakinbelievable. Across the street, $6.99 for an all you can eat buffet breakfast. A place next door to HoJo had a $2.99 breakfast. Then it was dinner at TGI Fridays to use our $45 voucher for dinner. Mygawd. A bowl of soup for $9.99, a hamburger for $13.99, terrible chicken wings for $10.99. The food was not even hot. Kids meals were listed at $1.99 but did not include pop or dessert like most places. To top it all off, when we checked out, we had to listen to a front desker at HoJo berate a telephone caller about discrepancies in Internet rates and the actual rates. My advice: look for another hotel and skip the package deal. We felt ripped off.
Nice place...nothing fancy...
After reading reviews we selected the Howard Johnson on Victoria Ave.
The location is excellent, right in the middle of the tourist district.
Parking was easy ($8 CAD a day). Nice lobby, friendly staff. The room was very large, loved the heart shaped jacuzzi! Although it was weird taking a shower in it. Bed was comfortable, firm with mirrors on the ceiling! Bathroom was a little outdated but ok. A mini-fridge would of been great... For the money it was fine, nothing fancy.Highly recommend The Keg restaruant across the street at the Courtyard - absolutely the best meal we've had in ages! Excellent! The TGI Fridays was blah-overcooked hamburgers for lunch. The food seemed very expensive everywhere except when we found a little Italian restaurant down the street called 4 Brothers who had a special that night $12.95 CAD for chicken parm...it was very good...cute, small family run restaurant instead of the big chains! We had a very nice time, loved the whole area but found it a bit pricey. Thought about spending another night (we stayed 3) but decided it would cost to much just for meals!
s on Victoria Avenue
from A TripAdvisor Member
We booked a deluxe room. Upon arival they put us in a junior suite. I have been to Niagara Falls 3 other times and the last 2 times, the hotel tried to put us in a smaller room. When I complained about the room they told me they renamed the room to Presidential Suite. I would highly recommond that you be very clear about what kind of room you want. The other problem we encoundered was we were in the room and someone walked in the room on us. When we went down to the front desk they told us problems like that happen. When we left the room to go out and came back our key didn't work and we had to get another key. It's a good thing we can laugh about out 2 day package. But we will never return to Howard Johnson's on Victoria Avenue.
Top Local Tips for Niagara Falls
DENNYS = no no
Denny's was jam packed and WHOA expensive when we went. We found an awesome breakfast place by the hotel called the Golden Griddle that was better and ALOT less expensive.
The tour of "Wine Country" offered by the hotel was 99$ a person and included 3 Wineries and a bagged lunch. We decided to explore on our own - about 15 minutes by car - very easy to find. The wineries offer tours for 5$ a person and you get 5$ off a bottle of wine if you purchase one. Our tip - don't take the Hotel tour - explore on your own. You can get a wine country guide at the LCBO on Lundy's Lane near the Hotel.
Stay away from the Chinese buffet by the Howard Johnson
It was over $60 for the 2 of us and it wasn't very good at all!