An Absolute Zoo

Via a reader, some reviews of the Radisson Hotel in Toronto:

When I showed up, there were kids running around the hotel unsupervised and in the pool area, and adults running talking very loudly loitering in the common area, a lot of signs of run down and general filth you might find in a Toronto rooming house downtown. I basically walked in and walked out, kept my bags in the car. After checking in, I went to my floor and there were signs of neglect, more loitering. I hardly bothered opening the door, and laying claim to the room as the floor had a warm foul odour of urine, cigarette smoke and sewer gas. I was afraid to spend the night as a single female later at night, needing to be up and out of there early.


This place is an absolute zoo. Stayed here for a business trip for 2 nights. Was shocked and horrified at the nightmare situation when we arrived in the lobby. Huge crowds of people, children spitting, yelling, jumping on top of each other, and to make things even worse, one of them stole my phone and I had to chase them to get them to return it. The child’s parents were nowhere to be found. The lobby is filthy, packed with people at all times of the day, and the noise is unbearable at any hour.


I don’t know what was happening the day I visited but everybody kept grabbing my arm and either tried selling me something or kids begging me for money. I will never stay here again. I’m so glad I didn’t bring my 11 year old daughter.

All rather unusual for a Radisson, no? What’s got into these Canadians? Ah, wait:

As we heard from the locals, the hotel has contract with government & as the result they are accomodating the refugees in the hotel.

I always assumed the Radisson was one of the posher hotel chains. Certainly the ones I’ve stayed in were nice enough. So why is the Canadian government putting refugees in them? Don’t they care about the cost, or are Radissons not as nice as I remember?


22 thoughts on “An Absolute Zoo

  1. “So why is the Canadian government putting refugees in them? Don’t they care about the cost…”

    *proffers credit card*

    “Bank of the Taxpayer, sir? That’ll do nicely.”

  2. Hector Drummond, they have. The Rebel did an investigation in August. The gory details are here including an attempt to alter the reviews.

  3. I am not sure that Radissons are all that up-market, Tim. I’ve only stayed in one, in Ottawa – the hot water took forever to arrive, the HVAC didn’t work very well, and I suspect I got food poisoning in the restaurant. I decided that I didn’t personally need to establish a statistically-significant sample of Radissons, and have stayed in a different hotel on subsequent trips.

  4. ” . . . or are Radissons not as nice as I remember?”

    I’ll go to a Radisson if the Motel Six is full.

    The Radisson chain used to be upscale, long ago. But I’ve stayed at probably ten of them across the USA, and the majority have been run down, short of staff, and filthy. And at every one of those, I’ve received the excuse that they’re renovating.

    I think that they made unfortunate spending decisions as a chain, and as a result let their properties become run down, and then entered the spiral where they so badly needed renovation that business suffered which made financing renovations even harder.

    So government contracts probably rescued them from bankruptcy.

  5. I have no idea if that’s what’s going in in the Radisson, but there’s a phenomenon I’ve seen with a number of hotel chains in Canada. They’re franchised, and since one of the ways for a recent immigrant to sponsor the rest of his family to come to Canada is to demonstrate that they will have employment and a place to live, running a hotel fulfills both. Large extended family lives in the rooms in the hotel and is ostensibly on the payroll. Head office may eventually find out about this and yank the franchise, but that can take a while. In the mean time, a once reputable chain hotel resembles a third-world slum.

  6. Saw it happen quite a lot in London in early 90s. Hard times, hotel accepts dossers (DHSS), ordinary customers are lost and never come back, eventually hotel goes out of business.

  7. How about this classic Stockholm Syndrome symptom from “Steve B”;

    I have stayed at this property on several occasions due to business needs nearby. The hotel is busy with refugee families who are awaiting placement in communities. This humanitarian gesture is a good thing.
    There are lots of kids running and playing in this hotel – as kids should do – and for this time the hotel is their home and i am the guest for 2 days

    My room was quiet, comfortable but would benefit from some upgrades. One drawer would not stay closed. The fixtures in the shower/bath need upgrading and better stabilization.

    I enjoyed the buffet breakfast of the past better than the menu breakfast of this most recent visit.

    The room was sound proof which was great given the location next to a busy highway. The bed was very comfortable.
    Show less
    Room Tip: Be grateful that the Government of Canada is accepting refugee families

    “Grandad, what did you do in the Culture Wars?”

    “Conscientious objector.”

  8. A few years ago Ozziland was swamped with country shoppers arriving by fishing scow.
    The govt of the day had no will to refuse entry, and the immigration officers processing the arrivals were (to their chagrin) ordered to let in even the dodgiest of types.
    Camps were set up everywhere, however the arrivals came faster than the camps could be built.
    Hotels all over the place were filled with (cough) “refugees” though they were kept well away from nice places where influential people stayed, or politicians, or where compliant journalists stayed.

    Country pubs, on top of their normal operations, were receiving $5 million per year in accommodation payments.
    One northern publican of my acquaintance upgraded to a specially imported German motor that cost him circa half-a-million-dollars.

    Didn’t hear of any trouble though, as the govt of the day was smart enough to know what would happen if the reality of what sort of people they were importing became widely known.

    They took great care to keep the cultural enrichment well away from where the general population would get wind of it.

    It would seem the Boy-Emporer Turdeau is not as smart.

  9. A friend of mine who regularly stays in a very nice hotel close to his London office was surprised a while ago when he attempted to book a room for a couple of days – he’d never found the place absolutely full before. On speaking to the hotel manager in the hope of wangling a room he was told that the place had been block-booked for three months by the DSS in order to accomodate “Grenfell” survivors… At full rack-rate!

    HMG can be very good to do business with when they’re spending our money!

  10. Radisson is upmarket in the same way a lot of Hiltons are. Seen better days.

    Actually a lot of North American big city hotels give this kind of impression even when not stuffed with refugees. The swanky entrance/lobby/bar is lipstick on the pig of the tiny, run-down $400 a night rooms.

    BTW, can anyone tell me why with every North American big hotel breakfast, the meat has that “just about deniably the wrong side of gone off” taste to it? Actually, meat in general there. Boston specifically. City of the grey-going-green ham sandwich. It occurs to me that I’ve never eaten anything which is not rotting, let alone palatable, in Boston.

  11. All illegals should be in jail or a prison camp prior to their deportation. Under military regulation with physical punishment as the only option for bad behaviour. Including a good hiding for smashing or otherwise damaging property.

  12. Radissons are nowhere near five star, they may have been once but give them a miss is the best choice. Radisson Blu are higher quality and have some presentable four and a half to five star hotels.

    I fully recommend the Radisson Blu in Maputo, Mozambique, you can get a sea view executive double suite for about $500 a night, a touch higher than the $300 that you will normally pay for a decent five star room in Africa but they treat you like royalty and anything goes with room parties, it’s all about the total experience. That’s where I stay when I am there, the military top brass stay there as well which is always a good sign in Africa.

  13. Ah, didn’t realise the Radisson Blu was the higher-class one, nor that the Radisson has declined over time. I used to stay in a really nice Radisson in Kuwait around 2004-5.

  14. Yes they split away from Scandinavian Airline Service side which was the higher end backer.

    I just checked the room rates for the hotel I recommend, for a regular room with sea views as opposed to an executive double suite it’s US$340 per night. Which is a touch high comparatively speaking, as its only 4.4 star but it is brand spanking new in a great location, next to the esplanade and the Parliament and seemingly the place to be with its many restaurants, piano bars and dance clubs.

    Like I said Lourenço Marques (Maputo) is a fascinating place, a place that everybody should visit once in their life. The Portuguese influence is truly exotic.

    Radisson Blu Hotel & Residence, Maputo
    Avenida Marginal 141, Maputo, MZ | +258 21 242400
    Situated on one of Maputo’s most prestigious avenues
    1 Room, 1 Adult, 0 Children
    Bed & Breakfast-Studio Sea View
    Average Nightly Rate* $339.00 USD per night

  15. I’m often in Scandinavia on business and my experience with the Radisson hotels there has been very good (mainly they are Radisson Blu – I hadn’t realised that they are the higher-class version, as a commenter above noted, though).

    On the the other hand, when I was in the States last autumn and had to reschedule a flight and find an extra night of accommodation in New York due to hurricanes closing my destination airport, the only place available at short notice was a Radisson near LaGuardia. It was awful and in a dodgy part of town too.

    I wonder if the standards of the brand vary wildly between Europe and North America? This would not surprise me. In my limited experience of the US, I’ve been astonished by how bad the basic level of almost *anything* gets compared to the UK or Europe. Even the most basic no-frills hotel chain in the UK would have standards far exceeding those of their equivalent in the US.

  16. I think you will find the difference as simply being the difference between Radisson Blu and Radisson, they have split from a brand point of view since SAS pulled out. I think that both entities are still ultimately owned by the same holding company though.

  17. Yes they split away from Scandinavian Airline Service side which was the higher end backer.

    Ah, that probably explains a lot. I never noticed they’re no longer called SAS Radisson.

Comments are closed.