The Howard Johnson Express Winnipeg hotel is located at 3740 Portage Avenue, in Winnipeg just inside the Perimeter Highway and 11.9 km west of the Winnipeg international airport.
The 100% non-smoking, non pet-friendly, air-conditioned property has 2 floors with no elevator and 40 rooms, including 6 kitchenettes and 4 executive suites. Hotel amenities include a 24-hour Front Desk with free coffee available in the lobby, free wireless Internet throughout, free parking, and free local calls. There is an ATM on site.
There is currently no sauna, jacuzzi, business centre, meeting rooms, or banquet and conference rooms available as is currently stated online (on some sites).
Food facilities are currently not open, due to renovations, and are scheduled to re-open on August 7, 2012. The hotel has an on-site restaurant called Howard Johnson Grill which is open from 7:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. daily, serving homestyle food. The Hatrick Pub and VLT Lounge with billiard table and outdoor patio are open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. (or may close earlier). Pick-up is available for dining in the rooms.
Basic rooms come with either one or two queen-size beds and include a phone, an ironing board with iron, a coffee maker and cable television.
Rooms with kitchenettes come with one bed (mostly queen-size) and an additional hot-plate for cooking and mini-fridge, but no utensils.
Executive Suites come with 2 queen-size beds, and an additional work desk and chair, a microwave and a mini-fridge.
The hotel is a short drive (4 minutes) to the Assiniboia Downs Race Track with on-site restaurant, lounge and entertainment, and a 6 minute walk to a Sobey's grocery store and an 8 minute walk to Walmart on Knox Street. The John Blumberg Municipal Golf Course and Grace Hospital are a 6 minute drive away and Polo Park Shopping Centre with 200 shops, restaurants and services is a 12 minute drive away.
(Google Maps is referenced for all distances, walking and driving times.)
Check-in is at 3:00 p.m. and check-out is at 11:00 a.m.
Verified by a Front Desk Agent on July 5, 2012: room configurations and extra amenities, ATM on site, no sauna, no jacuzzi, no meeting, conference or banquet rooms, no room service but guests can pick-up food for in-room dining, no food services currently on site
This hotel did not satisfy the majority of guest reviewers who reviewed the hotel online on various hotel sites, and whose reviews were used for this analysis, however a couple of strong points regarding the hotel were mentioned with regularity.
Many guests found the staff to be helpful, friendly and courteous. One guest mentioned how a staff member carried his bag up the stairs to the guest room. There was some criticism directed at the staff and service as well with a few complaints which touched on the attitude of the staff and also errors made by the staff.
Location was seen as another strong point for some who had chosen the hotel because it was conveniently located to the hospital they were visiting, to the Trans Canada Highway, to Assiniboia Downs for those who raced their horses, and for those who wanted to shop at a nearby Walmart. One guest mentioned that it was an easy 15-minute bus ride from the central city. However, some guests complained about the hotel's location and thought it was inconveniently located with regard to the airport and complained of having to pay a $30 taxi fare to the airport from the hotel.
There were guests who thought their rooms were clean and neat and the beds clean and comfortable, although there were also complaints from some guests regarding the rooms with reference to its cleanliness and upkeep, who also mentioned that the beds in the rooms they stayed in were missing duvet covers and bed skirts and some found cigarette burns, and stains on the bedspreads.
Many thought the hotel offered a reasonable price and was, in the words of one guest, a good place to crash at the end of a day.
This hotel received a lot of complaints across a variety of themes from guests who posted reviews online to date in the reviews used for this analysis.
Many guests found the bathrooms to be unacceptable due to a variety of reasons. Several guests complained of scalding hot and cold water surges from the showers, some said the bathrooms were not clean, mouldy in places and cited particular repairs needed.
Another guest concern that received a lot of negative commentary was noise. Many blamed the bar's music and patrons, some of whom were on the outside patio and some of whom were awaiting rides and taxis at 2:30 a.m. when the bar closed; some blamed outdoor noise and traffic; and others blamed airplanes flying overhead. Some mentioned their neighbours who were opening and closing doors near to their rooms.
Needed renovations and the hotel's state of disrepair was another major complaint across various guest review sites to date. Many guests complained that the advertised hot tub and sauna were not operational and had not been for months. Many cited areas that needed fixing specifically. Although the hotel's official website states renovations performed in 2011 and says that all guest rooms have been recently renovated, the complaints continued past that date regarding the need for repairs and renovations in the hotel and rooms.
Unpleasant odours were another common complaint with guests mentioning specifically the smell of a perfumed (one guest said chemical) cleaning product that some people had trouble enduring. Some mentioned the smell of smoke and mustiness as well.
Other common complaints were: the thermostats did not work well and guests could not get the rooms to a comfortable temperature, there were dirty and stained carpets in rooms and in hallways, and there was poor Internet connectivity. Some mentioned that the parking lot was inconveniently situated behind the hotel with guests having to bring their luggage around to the front door in order to access the building. In addition, a couple guests had feelings of insecurity regarding one's personal safety and the security of their parked vehicle in the lot.
Many guest reviewers said they would not return to the hotel and did not recommend it to others.
TripAdvisor.com ranked the hotel 39th out of 57 properties in Winnipeg, and the hotel achieved an average rating of 3 points out of 5 from 24 reviews
Expedia.com guest ratings averaged 2.4 points out of 5 from 10 reviews with 30% of guests recommending this hotel.
Booking.com guest ratings averaged 6 points out of 10 from 9 reviews.
Priceline.com guest ratings averaged 5.8 points out of 10 from 15 reviews, and the hotel was ranked 12th out of 43 hotels in Winnipeg.
Verified by a Front Desk Agent on July 5, 2012: room configurations and extra amenities, ATM on site, no sauna, no jacuzzi, no meeting, conference or banquet rooms, no room service but guests can pick-up food for in room dining, no food services currently on site