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a blog by Chris Barrow

The hotel that has to try a little harder

I arrived in Toronto last night and was somewhat uneasy as the cab drove past the downtown financial area. That’s where I have stayed on my last 3 or 4 trips, using well known brand name hotels such as the Sheraton or Royal York. We arrived at The Grand and my heart sank a little as I realised that we were not central. The hotel is just 10 minutes walk from the Eaton Centre but away from the bright lights, the restaurants, the underground railway and the waterfront. My unease has been dispelled in the last 12 hours – because nothing is too much trouble here. They clearly understand that the location isn’t ideal and so the owners have taken the trouble to make the stay as enjoyable and trouble-free as possible. Free wireless internet access on every floor – so that my junior suite has become and office without the need for messy wires or daily charges. Free breakfast – and a plentiful supply of hot and cold food. Free TV channels, including all movies free of charge. Free local phone calls and voice mail. Free newspapers. Free shuttle transport to anywhere in the financial centre. My room is spacious and includes 2 TV’s, VCR and DVD players, a full kitchen (!) including microwave and a great bed and power shower. I’m happy, relaxed and ready to work – exactly as it should be. There are fantastic sport and leisure facilities, including a magnificent indoor pool. Most important of all – the team that work here are friendly, caring, pleasant and want me to have a nice time – it shows in everything they do. The moral of the story – sometimes we cannot have the best location for our business – but we can make up for it by delivering world-class customer service and lots of added value. The Grand Hotel and Suites, Jarvis Street, Toronto.

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