Sheraton Centre Toronto Review – BP #65


I recently stayed at the Sheraton Centre Toronto. I got a room for a low price on Priceline to stay over for a one night break mid-week. To help you avoid the same mistake, I’ve prepared a brief set of criticisms. Last year I did a review of the Marriott Bloor Yorkville; I’d recommend the Marriott over the Sheraton. Heck, I’d recommend the Delta Chelsea over the Sheraton. Here’s why:

  • The man at check-in noted out loud that my reservation was “pre-paid” (a.k.a. a cheap room bought on a discount travel site). He asked me where I’d like a room — higher or lower — and I said “Give me the quietest possible room and I’m fine with either.” Naturally, he gave me a room that opened into the floor’s elevator lobby. Luckily I had a personal white noise generator (I should discuss this critical travel item sometime) but without it I wouldn’t have gotten the few hours of sleep that I did.
  • The decor and amenities in my Sheraton room were not what I’d expect at a four star hotel. The tub clearly didn’t drain properly when I took my shower. The counter-tops were grossly yellowed marble. The curtain was torn. I don’t really care about decor, but the four star myth is obnoxious.
  • Just like at the Marriott, wireless internet was free in the lobby and extremely expensive in the rooms. This is no longer a concern for me because I have a mobile hot spot from WIND Mobile. But, if I didn’t, it’d be a significant consideration when picking a hotel.
  • The bed — the Sheraton Sweet Sleeper — is awful. The Marriott’s mattress, duvet, pillows — everything — is better. I’ve slept on a nicer bed at a Travelodge.
  • When I went to check out, I didn’t use the drop box so I could explain my disappointment to the counter agent. He took my card and didn’t even ask, “How was your stay?” Presumably because he saw that I looked tired, swiped the card, and realized I was a prepaid customer who had just spent the night in an elevator lobby.

I could hardly believe that this was the same hotel my Dad raved about. The Sheraton Centre Toronto clearly offers a two-tier experience. It’s one of “those” hotels that look down on guests who paid a discounted rate. Do I owe somebody an apology for the fact that I was flexible enough to book the same day as my stay and submit a lowball bid on Priceline?

And here are pictures of the only thing I really enjoyed at the Sheraton Centre Toronto: the lobby.

Sheraton Centre Toronto - Lobby Waterfall Sheraton Centre Toronto - Lobby

In any case, I know why you’re really here on a Friday. I can’t blame you.


Bashful WAZ DIS?? Happy Xbox controller Dazed

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14 Comments… Share your views

  1. One thing I noticed when I worked in the hotel industry was the irreverent attitude that front desk employees showed toward guests who booked through discount channels like Priceline or Travel Zoo.

    It makes sense because they’re trained to sell rooms at the highest possible rates (walk-in off the street rack rates) while the sales staff negotiates lower rates for corporate guests and allocates a portion of the hotel inventory to the discount sites to maximize occupancy.

    What they don’t understand is that guests who book on discount sites are more likely to share their experience on Trip Advisor, Expedia, Twitter, blogs, etc. What hotels SHOULD do is treat these guests like VIP/frequent customers and put their best effort into making their experience a positive one so they become raving fans.

    • Well I’m not going to argue that I should be treated like a VIP. lol. Although I would never join a club that would have me as a member.

      I only push for a single reasonable request — an extremely quiet room. At a 4-star I expect a quiet room, comfortable bed, and clean bathroom. The fact that Sheraton Toronto Centre couldn’t deliver on those is pretty sad. It’s interesting seeing how they treat people who they don’t think will rip into their hotel on the internet so I never mention this blog at the counter or anything. The guy who looked at my photo ID at the Sheraton also commented on the fact that I was from Hamilton; his assumption that I was a schmuck was palpable.

  2. I booked a hotel on Priceline recently but I haven’t been yet – hopefully the experience is a little better than this! I wasn’t getting any results after making about 10 offers myself so I had to settle for one of the deals they were offering.

    It was still pretty good but the site showed that other people had recently had offers accepted at much better prices. I was very limited with the locations I could accept so that didn’t help me.

    • I highly dislike how you now have to expand your search every time it fails. I start by bidding on 4-stars in Toronto South and then, if it fails, add Toronto North. If *that* fails, then I add 3.5 stars and lower my bid, which is how I ended up staying at the Delta this week. Because I want to walk to work, I’m hostage to only bidding on those two geographic zones. If I fail on TO South 4-star, +TO North 4-star, and then both 3.5-star, then I’m SOL. In my situation, staying is just the luxury of a mini-holiday, so if I don’t get a good deal I’d just go home, and so I’m bidding same day. It’s a tough call as to whether one should bid early or the same day if you *need* to have a room for certain nights. Obviously they’re not going to give the lowest possible cut rate a week in advance, but they could legitimately run out if one waits too long.

    • The hotel I booked was actually pretty good. The room was surprisingly quiet for a location on Times Square, and the housekeeper left a box of floss after the first night which was one thing I didn’t think it was worth bringing or buying just for a few days so that was kind of nice. It was a tiny, somewhat dated, and completely unpretentious room but that may just be the usual for that hotel. Overall I got exactly what I needed and likely the best price I could expect.

  3. Typically, luxury hotels charge for wireless internet because the people that can afford to stay there versus more economic hotels are less sensitive/don’t care if they have to pay an extra bit for wireless. More economic hotels target the more general population who look for free wireless- more people paying less (vs luxury hotels- less people, paying more). I empathize with you, though. When I use my rewards to book a luxury hotel, you can bet that I take a not-completely-voluntary internet break!

    • You’re right. But, yeah, the $20 a day is just freaking killer in an age when it’s free EVERYWHERE. Even at McDonald’s! lol.

      My main complaint about Priceline is that, on their anonymous bidding and express deal sites, they often have a marker indicating “Free wireless” and then it’s ONLY in the lobby. The Sheraton isn’t so bad — their lobby is huge. But at the Marriott Bloor Yorkville there were like two couches and the concierge even got mad at us for staying there while they got our room ready. And then there’s the inconvenience of authorizing the payment and paying it at check out. It just all stinks of NOT 4-star, you know? lol

  4. This should be posted on TripAdvisor for this particular location. Its not the first time I’ve seen or heard negative reviews about a Sheraton (eg/ my office team mates!).

    • I did post a review on Priceline. But as for extending my reviews out to relevant services — like Yelp, TripAdvisor — well, I already spend a ton of time writing on TF lol. But hopefully sharing my opinion still helps Sheraton’s potential guests.

      • Hopefully so, though it might only reach those who utilize Priceline. Hopefully that’s a good percentage. TripAdvisor and Yelp are likely to yield non-Priceline users.

        I once did a lot of research to book a reasonably priced, safe, clean, quiet hotel in Paris (across the pond, not here). When I arrived they gave me a room at ground level, mere steps away from the front lobby, the exit/entry door to the kitchen, and the little breakfast eating area. I decided to check the room out and didn’t like it for the aforementioned reasons. Spoke to the front desk about noise levels and he said the room had two sets of doors so I should not be disturbed by noise. I played along, went back and checked this “feature” out, returned and asked if there was another room somewhere else that would be quieter. At no extra cost I got a room on the top level (which was on the top floor with only 2 other rooms); a lovely, quiet little room. Sometimes it pays to assert and ask!!!

        FYI, I’ve heard Cambridge Suites (I think at Yonge and Queen area) is not too bad. Might want to check that one out for yourself next time you need an o/night stay!

        • 1) You’re absolutely right. My Dad always said “If you don’t ask, the answer is always no.”

          2) I’ll keep Cambridge Suites in mind and look forward to hopefully getting it for one of my lowball bids. I’d absolutely pick it based on your recommendation, but sadly Priceline doesn’t work that way — even “ExpressDeals” are considerably higher than the price bidding tool.

          • I’ve heard Cambridge Suites seems allright from other people who have stayed there from far flung places. Did you ever try Expedia or any of the other discount sites? If I hear of any other likely sounding ones I’ll try to remember to let you know, but now that I’m no longer involved with a project that had people travelling in from all over I’m out of that loop. Still, you never know!

  5. @S M – Expedia is not really a discount site. They publish the lowest available rate that the hotel offers on their own website. Check out Cambridge Suites on Expedia for May 16th and a deluxe suite is $199. When you look on the Cambridge Suites website you’ll see the same room for the same rate.

    Priceline can offer cheaper rates because the hotel doesn’t get revealed until you book.

    Joe’s better off using Priceline with the caveat that he’s going to have to deal with a shitty stay every once in a while due to different hotel chains having different standards.

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