Howard Johnson Express Inn Barrie OntarioHoward Johnson Express Inn Barrie OntarioHoward Johnson Express Inn Barrie OntarioHoward Johnson Express Inn Barrie OntarioHoward Johnson Express Inn Barrie Ontario
3.9 | Very Poor

Howard Johnson Express Inn Barrie Ontario

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Pet-friendly Barrie hotel with free breakfast and free parking but mixed guest reviews

  • Free Wi-Fi, parking, continental breakfast
  • Cheap rates, according to numerous guests
  • Many guests liked the location, close to the city centre
  • Helpful staff, said several guests
  • Many guests said the area around the hotel felt unsafe
  • Terrible smells throughout the hotel, said many guests
  • Many guests felt the rooms and common areas were not clean
  • Numerous guests complained about noise late into the night
  • Hotel was out-dated and worn, according to many guests
jump to full editor's analysis (below)
Free Wi-Fi
Free Breakfast
Free Parking
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Editor's Analysis
Updated Oct 22, 2014
This hotel is a 5-minute drive or a 15-minute walk from downtown Barrie, making it popular with guests looking for an affordable, basic overnight stay close to local restaurants and bars.

This 100% smoke-free hotel has 42 standard rooms, which come with one double, queen or king bed or two double beds, along with a coffeemaker, cable TV, and free Wi-Fi access. Some rooms include a mini-fridge and/or a microwave. An iron and ironing board are available upon request. Pets under 20 lbs. are welcome for a fee of $10 per night.

The hotel offers complimentary continental breakfast each morning. Parking is free. The website states there is a hot tub, however a front desk agent confirmed there is no hot tub. Kings Buffet restaurant, offering an all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet, is located on site and is open for lunch and dinner. Other restaurants, including The Keg and Tim Hortons, are within a 5-minute drive of the hotel.

Downtown Barrie, with movie theatres, shopping and restaurants, is a 5-minute drive or a 15- to 20-minute walk away. Centennial Park (beach area) and Georgian College are also within a 5-minute drive, and Georgian Down slots and racing is a 15-minute drive away. Horseshoe Valley and Mount St. Louis Ski Resorts are within a 30-minute drive of the hotel. (All distances and travel time estimates: Google Maps)

Verified with a front desk agent on November 7, 2012: 42 guest rooms, free Wi-Fi, 100% non-smoking, some rooms have a fridge and/or microwave, all rooms have a coffeemaker, irons available upon request, there is no hot tub.

The Good
In the reviews used for this analysis, negative comments typically outweighed the good, however there were some positive remarks about the room rates, location, staff, and rooms.

Many of the guests chose this hotel for the price, stating it was the cheapest they could find in the city.

The location was praised for being close to downtown Barrie. Many guests enjoyed the hotel's proximity to restaurants, bars, the beach and more (all within a 5-minute drive).

The reviews of this hotel's staff were mixed. Some guests felt the staff were very helpful and accommodating, while others complained about staff who were rude and unaccommodating.

The reviews regarding the comfort of the rooms were also mixed. More reviews were negative, but a number of guests did think the rooms were "reasonably comfortable for the price," as one guest said.
The Bad
A high number of the reviews used for the analysis of this hotel were negative and focused on the hotel's location, upkeep, and noise levels.

Many of the reviewers felt the hotel was in an unsafe neighbourhood. One guest said, "The area was somewhat creepy with homeless abound." Another guest said, "A shady looking character knocked at my door around midnight." According to some guests, the locks did not work on the back doors leading into the hallways, so anybody could enter the hotel at any time.

Another frequent complaint was of various smells in the rooms and common areas, including smells of urine, vomit and cigarette smoke, even though the hotel claims to be smoke-free.

Many guests complained about unclean sheets. Guests reported stains from mold or other unknown substances. A few guests also opted out of the free breakfast because they felt the breakfast area was too dirty to be serving food safely.

Numerous guests complained about noise during the night from people partying in the hotel and also in the parking lot. One guest said “The Inn attracts many young, noisy weekend revellers and I did not sleep more than fifteen minutes all night.”

The hotel was run-down according to many guests. There were complaints of rotting ceilings, peeling paint, rusty bathroom fixtures, broken toilet seats, stained carpets, and cigarette burns in the curtains.

As mentioned above, some guests had positive experiences with the staff, however a few had negative encounters and described rude and unaccommodating staff.

While some people did think the beds were comfortable, there were quite a few guests who did not. One guest said "Every time you sat or lay down on the bed, it felt like you were falling off of it.”

Show Sources
Sources guest reviews ranked this hotel #15 out of 20 hotels in Barrie, and rated it 3 out of 5, based on 37 reviews. guest reviews rated this hotel 5.5 out of 10, based on 39 reviews. guest reviews rated this hotel 2.2 out of 5, based on 32 reviews.

Verified with a front desk agent on November 7, 2012: 42 guest rooms, free Wi-Fi, 100% non-smoking, some rooms have a fridge and/or microwave, all rooms have a coffeemaker, irons available upon request, there is no hot tub.
Editor's Analysis by Candice F.
Analyzed by Candice F.
Having travelled to 25 countries on 5 continents, Candice understands what a traveller is looking for when booking a hotel. She currently lives in Chiang Mai, Thailand, but originally hails from Toronto, Ontario.
Guest Reviews
Very Poor

Rated 3.9/10 based on 241 reviews

Ranked #15 out of 15 hotels in Barrie


1 out of 10 | Verified Guest stayed June 03, 2013

"One of the worst hotels I've ever stayed at."

"The only good part was the quick easy check in/ out. The room was small, the door barely closed, and it wouldn't lock. The a/c didnt have any controls, neither did the tv, and the walls are paper thin. Wont return."


2 out of 10 | Verified Guest stayed November 20, 2011


"If this was my first experience with a Howard Johnston it would be my last. The room was terrible. I would think twice about staying at another Howard Johnston."

show older reviews

1 out of 10 | Michael stayed August 15, 2010

"Terrible, gives the Howard Johnson chain a bad name."

"Terrible service, the rooms was dirty, rug was torn, spider webs in the bathrooms, furniture was old, dirty, and torn. Absolutely worst hotel I've ever been to. We stayed for 4 hours and left."


2 out of 10 | Verified Guest stayed October 29, 2006

"They should clean their carpets and bleach their towels, they both had stains in them."


7 out of 10 | Ed stayed October 06, 2006

"check in person was new and unfamilier with systems should not have been left alone until fully trained. aparent power problem with one side of motel,however rooms clean and large."


4 out of 10 | Verified Guest stayed June 23, 2006

"The hotel was ok... The customer service was not very good, it was like they just didn't want to take the time to help you out. The room was fine but just for a one night thing i wouldn't recommend it to anyone staying for anything longer then that."


2 out of 10 | Bridget stayed June 12, 2006

"The hotel was very dirty and old. It was was deserted and in a rough part of town. All of the doors open up onto the parking lot which made our group of three women very uncomfortable. We did not stay but were able to find a much cleaner, safer hotel room for $40 less per night."


5 out of 10 | Elizabeth stayed April 02, 2006

"The real problem with the room was that it was much too hot with no way to cool it down. We tried to use the air conditioner, but the baseboard heating competed with it."


3 out of 10 | Bob stayed January 22, 2006

"Don't stay here, sleep in your car instead."


4 out of 10 | Amanda stayed September 04, 2005

"The small bathtub is very small, just slightly bigger than a shower stall. The continental breakfast was poor. They was not much offered, the cereal is stale and the only thing that they had to drink was coffee and tea, no juice or water for the non coffee drinkers. The hotel was clean and the bed was comfortable"


4 out of 10 | Sandra stayed April 23, 2005

"We were in a room surrounded by some noisy customers; on each side and up above us. When we called the desk for another room, they were very obliging and found gave us another room called their suite. The hotel is certainly in need of repairs; the floor of the second room we were put into slanted downhill so bad we could feel it when we walked and the outside door had a space of about 1/2 an inch all around it."


4 out of 10 | Karen stayed January 15, 2005

"The receptionist was helpful. The bath had an evil rust stain at the drain and both times we tried to get ice there was none (ice machine broken, I think)."

  • Snow Valley Ski Resort (8.1 km)
  • Downtown Barrie
Map Marker Howard Johnson Express Inn Barrie Ontario
150 Dunlop Street West, Barrie, ON