Review: 2 Niagara Falls Hotels with Kids (Best Western Plus Cairn Croft Hotel and Clifton Victoria Inn at the Falls)

On our trip to Niagara Falls, we stayed at two different hotels. Our time was limited, and we chose one hotel in the heart of the tourist district, and one that was slightly further away. Here’s our review of both.

Niagara Falls
Niagara Falls

Best Western Cairn Croft Hotel

The Best Western Plus Cairn Croft Hotel hosted us for a night at their hotel on Lundy’s Lane. This hotel is on a major street leading to the tourist area. It’s on the WEGO tourist bus line (red line) and you can walk to the tourist area in 20+ minutes depending on where you’re headed and how fast you walk. The WEGO buses, by the way, cover all the major tourist areas, and with your pass you can switch between lines and not use your car at all. The bus runs every 30 minutes. The hotel has free parking, which not all Niagara hotels have. They also have guest laundry facilities and a few computers for personal use. The rooms have mini fridges and coffee makers. There’s also free wi-fi.

The Best Western Cairn Croft Hotel pool area
The Best Western Cairn Croft Hotel pool area

Why it’s good for families
Did you see the picture of the pool area? Not only is there a lovely pool, but there’s a huge climbing structure plus arcade games. The rooms all open onto the courtyard (many with large sliding glass doors), making it easy to get to and from your room to the pool.

Best Western Cairn Croft Hotel pool access
Best Western Cairn Croft Hotel pool access

There are a lot of lovely touches in the courtyard area, including painted floors that look like stepping stones. The décor feels like a combination of New Orleans, with iron decorative lights and a gazebo, with a tropical setting, given the lush plants. The glass ceiling in the courtyard adds a nice light. Two hot tubs were a definite advantage as well, set up high which make it easy to look out over the pool if your kids are swimming.

The painted floors
The painted floors

Outside each room is a little table with two chairs, which is a nice spot to hang out near your room. We saw a lot of people with pizza and snacks, settled in for an afternoon or evening of enjoyment. The hotel is in the process of updating all the rooms with new furniture and lighting, which you can see at the hotel website. We stayed in a room that hadn’t yet been converted; they’ll all be changed over within a few weeks.

The hotel is connected to Doc Magilligans, a lovely Irish bar and restaurant. The hotel reportedly has live music some nights, going into the early hours of the morning, plus a trivia night once a week.

Doc Magilligans, an Irish pub and restaurant
Doc Magilligans, an Irish pub and restaurant

We were tempted to leave the kids in the room and head to the bar for a drink that night, but we were tired. We ate breakfast there the next day. The food was very reasonably priced and you can get a kids’ breakfast for $5 Canadian, about $4 U.S. (The alcoholic drink prices were good too, though not served at breakfast).

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The disadvantages

I’d recommend not staying in room 128. As mentioned, all rooms access to the courtyard. Room 128 is directly across from the courtyard bar, like 15 feet away. If you opened the curtains in our room, everyone at the bar would look right in at us. That night someone was celebrating a birthday, and the bar area was full. We could hear word-for-word conversations going on. The guy at check-in told us that quiet time started at 11 p.m., which is kind of late when you have kids and want to get to sleep. We asked at the front desk the next morning about the bar’s usual closing time. He said it’s only open for special occasions, so the bar is probably not an issue for room 128 on most nights.

We were in the closest room to the pool bar.
We were in the closest room to the pool bar.

Fortunately, the party people left around 10:20. To be fair, they weren’t obnoxious/drunk loud, but we were just so close to them and the courtyard carries sound that it was impossible to ignore them. At 10:30, with the bar people gone, we could hear kids running around the courtyard making noise. The pool closes at 10 p.m. I’ll just add one more thing about room 128. Behind it is a staff area, and some kind of heating system which buzzed all night. It was not a good night’s sleep for my husband because of that, though the rest of us slept fine.

Part of the indoor play area at the Best Western
Part of the indoor play area at the Best Western. The area also has some arcade games and a change machine.

Clifton Victoria Inn at the Falls

We prefer to stay in a suite, so the kids can have their own room. The Clifton Victoria Inn at the Falls has this, which is one reason we chose this hotel (we paid our way) for our second night. A few other advantages were free parking and breakfast, an indoor pool and easy walking distance to the American Falls and activities in that vicinity. The hotel is affiliated with the Fallsview Indoor Water Park, which it’s not physically connected to. Some of the other affiliated hotels have indoor ramps connecting the hotel and water park. You can get discounted water park tickets at the hotel, and they also offer packages. And there’s free wi-fi.

The courtyard of the hotel.
The courtyard of the hotel.

The courtyard area was open and bright, with huge windows covering the front. That meant breakfast in the morning, with the sun shining directly in, was super hot – even on a cold morning. I can’t imagine how it feels in summer! The pool was much smaller than at the Best Western Cairn Croft, but people were enjoying it. The hot tub was out of order during our visit, but it looked like they also had a sauna in the same area.

The hotel pool and hot tub.
The hotel pool and hot tub.

Most rooms face the courtyard (more on that later).

Why it’s good for families

I already mentioned the pool, and I’ll also mention location. It was a 5 minute walk to Clifton Hill, the Vegas-like tourist area, and about the same distance to the water park. The hotel has a microwave available for guest use in the courtyard, and can lend out games as well. And they have suites.

Breakfast at the hote
Breakfast at the hotel

The room had a mini fridge and coffee maker. The beds were fine (my husband thought ours was too soft and sloped – I didn’t notice).

Breakfast was a traditional free hotel breakfast. It was mediocre at best, but they had several waffle makers, cereal, scrambled eggs shaped like cubes, oatmeal and breads.

One of the bedrooms
One of the bedrooms

The disadvantages

Most rooms face the courtyard, with sliding glass doors. The ones closest to the pool were gated off so they had some privacy. We had the weirdest room. Our sliding glass door to the second (adult) bedroom opened onto the hallway (a wall/hall view) – it didn’t actually face the courtyard. So we had to make sure to keep our curtains closed, as it was about a foot from the bed. We realized how helpful the extra exit was the next morning, when my husband left to go running. He could escape out our bedroom sliding glass door and not wake the kids in the next room. The view from the kids’ room was another hallway, and that outer wall had a view of the parking lot. As my son said, “we have a view of the view of the parking lot.”

The view of the courtyard from our room
The view of the courtyard from our room

Also, the bathroom plastic piece covering the fluorescent light fixture wasn’t on properly, so any time we opened the bathroom door, it rattled, which was jarring. The décor was dated, but it was clean and the staff was friendly.

The courtyard at night
The courtyard at night

All photos are copyrighted to Deborah Abrams Kaplan and may not be used in any way without written permission.

Here are some of our other Niagara posts:

Niagara on the Lake with Kids – and what to do on the way there

Niagara Falls with Kids

What’s a Clifton Hill Fun Pass and Should I Get One?

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