The Fredericton Amsterdam Inn and Suites – Review

Amsterdam Inn and Suites

I recently stayed at the Amsterdam Inn and Suites in Fredericton, New Brunswick. This is a relatively new hotel built on Bishop Drive, just off the Trans-Canada Highway.

The hotel features a hot breakfast, free parking, free wifi and is close to a lot of amenities, many within walking distance.

I stayed on points through the Choice Privileges program. I booked a King Suite, not because I needed the space but because I had enough points – and, well, why not?

The suite was spacious, featuring a king sized bed, couch, work desk, and a jacuzzi!

I never used the couch – except to hold my laptop bag – but the bed was quite comfortable and I did some work at the desk.

I did use the jacuzzi and it was quite pleasant.

The bathroom was clean and well organized. The shower was hot and there was enough water pressure for me. I am never a good gauge of water pressure. Since I am bald, I don’t need a lot of water pressure to get clean!

My room had a door to the outside with a dedicated parking spot, so it was easy to get my suitcase in and out. Access was with the same keycard used to open the door to the rest of the hotel.

The breakfast area is off the main entrance, by the desk, and is spacious and clean. The breakfast was fairly basic but had a good selection of hot and cold food and drinks. It didn’t have as much fresh fruit as I would like but otherwise it was a good breakfast.

The staff was friendly and helpful and the check-in and check-out experiences were both quick and painless.

It was a very pleasant stay and I’d recommend the Fredericton Amsterdam Inn and Suites to anyone looking for a place to stay in New Brunswick’s capital city.

The Comfort Inn Halifax – Review

Christmas season at the Comfort Inn
Christmas season at the Comfort Inn

I recently stayed at the Comfort Inn in Halifax, Nova Scotia. This hotel is located on Bedford Highway. The front deck of the hotel faces Bedford Basin and it is quite pretty at sunrise.

The Bedford Basin at sunrise
The Bedford Basin at sunrise

I booked a room online in advance, using their web site. This was not my first stay but it was my longest, three nights.

Check-In / Check-Out

The check-in and check-out experience was good. The staff is friendly and helpful and I didn’t experience any problems while I was at the hotel.

The Room

Queen bed at the Comfort Inn on Bedford Highway
Queen bed at the Comfort Inn on Bedford Highway

The room was comfortable enough, if a bit cramped. The room had a queen-sized bed, work desk, dresser, standalone fridge, couch and armoire. I think there is a little too much furniture in the room.

The specific issue for me is that the work desk is at the foot of the bed and there isn’t really enough room for the desk + chair + bed. I think it would be better to not have the couch at all and put the work desk there.

Dresser, TV, fridge and microwave
Dresser, TV, fridge and microwave

The bed was comfortable and I had no trouble sleeping.

The shower worked well and the water pressure and temperature were good.

Breakfast

The Comfort Inn had a decent if basic breakfast. There was hot food (eggs and sausages) along with the usual breads and cereal. Hot coffee and tea was provided along with milk and several juices. There wasn’t much for fruit but they did have yogurt.

The breakfast room has nice large windows with a view of Bedford Basin.

Amenities

There is a large pool at the front of the hotel. It looked nice from the outside. I did notice that it has a lot of windows so people are a bit “on display”.

The hotel has a small gym with a couple of treadmills and some weights. The exercise room is locked with a separate key card that you have to ask for at the front desk. The card is good for your entire stay. I used the exercise room and found it well equipped for its size.

What’s Around

Being on the Bedford Highway, there isn’t anything immediately adjacent to the hotel. A few minutes walk north will bring you to a convenience store and to Let’s Ko, a delicious Korean restaurant.

Yummy food at Let's Ko!
Yummy food at Let’s Ko!

Accessibility

Steps Up

There are a lot of steps in the hotel. The photo above shows the ground floor hallway. Since the hotel is built on a hill, there are steps in the hallway to match the slope of the hill. If you have trouble climbing stairs, this may not be the best hotel for you.

Summary

The Comfort Inn on Bedford Highway is a good budget hotel for people who are working in the Bedford area or the west area of the Halifax Regional Municipality. It’s probably not a good choice for people who want to visit Dartmouth or downtown Halifax as it is quite a distance away from those.

It offers good value for the money and is a pleasant stay.

The ibis Amsterdam Centre Hotel – Review

The ibis Amsterdam Centre Hotel is located next to the Centraal train station in Amsterdam. As such, its location is ideal for exploring the area around the train station, and you can make connections from the station to pretty much anywhere in the Amsterdam area or beyond.

We enjoyed the hotel, except for one thing – the heat.

First Impressions

ibis Amsterdam Centre Hotel
ibis Amsterdam Centre Hotel

The hotel appears modern and sleek from the outside. When you walk in, the first thing you notice is that there is no front desk. You walk into a lounge type area, with the integrated bar area “Chill #49” down to the left and a snack area to the right.

It took us a few moments to realize that the staff wear ibis shirts and were present in the lounge. They used their portable tablets to sign us into our rooms, and a nearby desktop to prepare room keys.

The Room

A rumpled bed
A rumpled bed

The room featured the Sweet Bed by ibis (a double) as well as bunk beds for our kids. The bed was pretty comfortable and it was certainly large enough for two.

Our kids appreciated the bunk beds; they’re both teenagers and really prefer separate beds.

Bunk beds at the Amsterdam ibis Centre
Bunk beds at the Amsterdam ibis Centre

The family rooms are on the first floor – not the ground floor, as European buildings’ ground floors are floor zero – and are at the same level as the train station platform right next to the hotel. This was the view from our window:

Fortunately, I like trains. You can hear the trains arriving and departing from the adjacent track but none of us found the noise to be disturbing.

The Heat

SO HOT
SO HOT

The main problem we had with the room was the heat. There was no working air conditioning in this area of the hotel, and the windows don’t open in the family rooms. I understand the windows do open in other types of rooms.

There is a ceiling mounted unit but it’s not an air conditioner – I think it’s for heating. The thermostat on the wall makes it look like it can cool the room but it doesn’t.

We complained to the hotel staff and they gave us a portable air cooler device. It works by circulating air over ice packs. I’m not sure it really helped at all. It did blow cooler air – until the ice packs warmed up – but it also humidified the room. The staff were always willing to change ice packs and were generally sympathetic but there wasn’t anything else they could do for us, as the hotel was full.

This was a major issue for us.

Price

The ibis brand is positioned as an economy hotel by parent AccorHotels. Most hotels in Amsterdam are very expensive compared to many other European cities, and this one is no exception. We had a comparable ibis hotel in Paris for half the daily cost of this hotel!

We found the price for the ibis Amsterdam Centre hotel to be competitive with other hotels in the area in its class.

The Verdict

If it wasn’t for the hot room, we would have no problem recommending this hotel. However, the heat was a major issue. I originally wrote that we wouldn’t book there again in a family room… but see below!

Make sure you book a room that has a window that opens.

UPDATE!

A few days after our stay, I received an invitation from ibis to fill out a guest satisfaction survey. I did that, relating our appreciation of the hotel except for the problems with the heat.

I received a response from the hotel manager, who let me know that the air conditioning was indeed not working during our visit but was fixed after we left. He offered to rebate one night’s costs to compensate for our discomfort, which was very much appreciated.

I thought that was a very classy letter and offer and I really appreciate it. Thank you.