Westin Harbour Castle Toronto Review – It Needs Some Work
I have some mixed thoughts to share in this Westin Harbour Castle Toronto review. My wife and I stayed here for 2 nights during our recent trip to Canada. While first impressions—just looking at the property and pictures during the booking process on their website—were good, it didn’t last. In my review of the Westin Harbour Castle Toronto, we’ll cover the hotel property and our guest room, then the staff. Here is our experience.
We used 2 Marriott free night awards to stay here. My wife had a bunch of these, so we booked 2 nights with her free night awards.
If using points, the hotel costs 35,000 points per night. This is the max value that you can use on the standard free night awards. The cash price was $199 per night. If you use 35,000 points, that’s a value of 0.6 cents per point. That’s a bit below average on what Marriott points are typically worth.
Westin Harbour Castle Toronto Review – The Property
As I mentioned, our first impressions from photos online made me think my Westin Harbour Castle Toronto review would be quite good. Unfortunately, these didn’t last. The property overall is good in many ways, but a closer look brings it down from first appearances.
The property is located across the street from the convention center and right next to the harbor, park, and walking areas. It’s in central Toronto and very close to the CN Tower, Rogers Centre (Blue Jays stadium), hockey museum, and other tourist sites.
There is construction happening in the entry area, but this isn’t why my review isn’t great. We were able to quickly enter with our Uber driver, get our stuff, and go in. The staff in this area are awful, though (more on that later).
The entry area has both revolving doors and standard doors. There’s a driveway for cars and also stairs for foot traffic to the side.
The lobby / downstairs area is massive. It gives a bit of “wow” factor when you first walk in.
The hotel includes two separate towers (north and south), and the public spaces on the ground floor are huge.
There is a huge seating area with TV and chairs.
Multiple restaurants and small cafes.
There’s a foosball table and even ping-pong.
While this sounds cool and fun, the position of the ping-pong table is strange. It’s right next to the main walkway to the north tower. Watching guests and bellhops with luggage dodge ping-pong balls that left the playing table is odd. The location of this really wasn’t thought-out.
There are also a gym and a swimming pool. Due to Covid regulations, you needed a reservation time to visit. I didn’t book a reservation to go take pictures, since I didn’t want to steal a team slot from someone else.
Access To Guest Floors
Each tower has 4 elevators. Interestingly, there is a wall panel showing the status of the elevators, which indicates which elevator will likely arrive to the lobby first.
As with the waiting area, the interior of the elevators also has a brass panel. These are worn and have lost their shine. This is the perfect metaphor to my overall feelings about the hotel.
We stayed on the 28th floor of the north tower. The hallway and elevator area look very nice.
At the end of the hallway, there are 5 guest rooms that all enter from a small space. Multiple doors very close together.
We often heard these people slamming their doors, room service knocked on our door by mistake, etc. Having a lot of doors in a small space isn’t a good thing.
The room felt spacious and looked nice. Overall, the room itself is the best part of my review from our time at the Westin Harbour Castle.
Inside our 4 walls, we had no complaints about the items in the room. The layout is standard, the bed doesn’t crowd the room, and it’s easy to move around.
A chair in the corner was comfortable, but beyond testing it on arrival it went unused.
There is a desk with charging points, phone & lamp. The chair was decently comfortable for getting some work done.
The closet was a standard size. It included bath robes, hangers, and a safe. Tucked into the wall, there is an ironing board and iron.
The bed was large and comfortable. The sheets and mattress were good quality.
The pillows were worthless. This is another “looks nice, really isn’t” element. The moment you touch them, they sink into nothingness.
Each side of the bed has a night stand with a lamp. However, my side also had the phone and a dock with multiple charging points. My wife’s side had nothing.
The dresser under the TV has a mini fridge for personal use. There’s nothing in it (for free or for sale).
There is a small coffee machine that can make single cups. Coffee, tea, sweetener & creamer are provided.
We had a nice view over the harbor. Since my wife is a Marriott Gold member, they gave us a preferred view within the standard rooms.
While not large, the bathroom is great. There is ample counter space for your stuff.
The water pressure is good in the sink, and underneath there are extra towels plus a hair dryer.
The toiletries provided were good quality, and we were surprised that they are nearly scentless.
The shower is not large but works well. Water heats up quickly, stays hot, and pressure is good.
Overall Thoughts On The Room
We liked the room. This is the highlight of my review of the Westin Harbour Castle Toronto. It’s not extravagant, but the items in it worked well. It covered the bases of what you expect.
While there were no lush extras, I did like that they provided a pack of wipes for cleaning the surfaces if you want. We took these with us for use on flights to wipe down tray tables, etc. The room met our expectations, we slept well, and we were satisfied with it.
Westin Harbour Castle Toronto Review – Staff
Now that we talked about the property, which was mostly good, it’s time for the not-great part of my review: the staff at Westin Harbour Castle Toronto.
They were inconsistent at best and grumpy at worst. Not counting employees we only interacted with for a “hello” in the hallways, we encountered multiple employees. We liked only 1 of them. That’s it.
Prior To Arrival
Before we arrived, the hotel sent an information email to my wife about Covid protocols in place. It was likely auto-generated. We had no actual interactions with staff before arrival.
We arrived around 3pm. We took Uber from the airport to the hotel. When arriving at the hotel, the valet staff were grumpy and rude. They shuffled him out of the way rudely, seemingly mad it wasn’t a hotel guest about to give them money for valet parking.
We found these valet employees surly every single time we went by. They never returned our greetings, so we stopped saying hello.
Check in was a joke. We observed multiple employees doing things on the computer, talking to each other, moving about, but not helping any customers. We waited in line for probably close to half an hour. Every time we needed to talk to someone at the front desk, this was a recurring problem. One employee is working, the others are ignoring the customers—creating a line.
The woman who checked us in was friendly and informative. She did her job as efficiently as possible, but the fact no one helped her is ridiculous.
We informed her that we had a delayed suitcase, which Air Canada said they would deliver the next day. She attached a note to our reservation, thanked us for waiting patiently, and we were off to our room.
During The Stay
Our first interactions with the staff were par for the course. We got take-out from a nearby restaurant one day, got up to the room, then realized we didn’t have silverware. I called the front desk, and they said they could bring it up in an hour. I said I’d go down to get it.
I waited more than 20 minutes in line, just to grab some plastic forks. Again, there were employees doing nothing while not helping guests in line.
The employees at the door/valet area were consistently rude, grumpy, surly—I have no positive words to offer about them.
The afternoon when we expected our suitcase, we’d been out all day. I stopped at the front desk again to ask if Air Canada had called the hotel. “Did we call you to say it came? No? Then we don’t know anything.” The guy was a complete jerk to me, despite the fact I was super friendly. I just wanted to know if the airline had called while we were out. Staff acted like we were bugging them.
We only passed housekeeping in the hallway but never used their services, since cleaning was “on request only”. We didn’t mind that.
At check out, there was a long line again with numerous employees doing nothing. My wife used the Marriott phone app, checked out, and we dropped our keys in the box.
I talked to the one employee who we really liked. This friendly man at the concierge desk should clone himself and replace all the other employees with his copies. I told him about our suitcase situation, that we were leaving, and to not accept the suitcase if it came. He understood, wrote down our info/suitcase description/confirmation number, and he promised to send the bag back to the airport if it came after our departure. He seemed really busy with phone calls, tour groups, etc. but took time out to be friendly, not rush me, and understand what was happening. Employee of the month.
Westin Harbour Castle Toronto Review – Final Thoughts
The staff at this hotel need a lot of work. Standing around ignoring a long line of hotel guests is just unacceptable. It wasn’t a one-time thing, either. Additionally, the guys in the valet/arrival area are terrible—unfriendly in every way.
The guest room itself is nice and met our expectations. If we could separate the guest room from the other elements, I’d sleep in it again. That being said, I’d try to avoid the corner area with 5 doors jammed into a small space, since we woke up both nights to banging on doors and errant room service delivery.
To conclude, the metaphor of the worn-out brass in the elevator that’s lost its shine is perfect for this hotel.