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.
Best Western Cairn Croft Hotel
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.
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.
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.
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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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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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: