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All reviews church street older hotel harbour view downtown nanaimo parking lot is queen bed great view front desk staff central location one night stay vancouver island worcester ferry victoria bc shampoo walkway
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Reviewed December 25, 2010

My husband and I were taking a trip to Tofino this past September with our teenage grandson and decided to stay one night in Nanaimo on Vancouver Island. The Dorchester was an excellent choice for our night. The beautiful hartbour was just outside our window and a walk along there revealed purple and orange star fish as well as octopii and other sea creatures. Our grandson decided right then he could readily settle into beautiful Nanaimo and forget about returning to Ontario.
The friendly staff and the clean and well decorated rooms were such a treat that first night.
One other bonus: we received a parking ticket while in the hotel lot and after receiving a surprise that our Mastercard had been billed by our rental car company, one communication with the general manager at the Dorchester cleared it all up and we were fully refunded. We appreciated his quick and decisive action.
We will definitely stay again at the Dorchester Nanaimo but the next time will be for several days.

  • Stayed: September 2010, travelled with family
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Thank sneesnod
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed December 17, 2010

Pros: Pretty view of the docks from the restaurant. Freshly renovated in the past year: paint, bathtub, fabrics in my 3rd floor room. Delicious, standard food on the menu in the attached Deep Blue restaruant. Friendly front desk staff. The floors have a soft creak in some spots and have that smell of wood that remind you of a classic building that's been properly maintained.
Cons: Tiny room. If there had been two people instead of one in my room we would have had to negotiate movement from the bed to the bathroom or to the closet.

As with every Best Western I've stayed at, this one had helpful staff and a friendly atmosphere. I was there on a weekday when the population was low, so there was plenty of hot water in the morning and a quiet sleep at night.

  • Stayed: December 2010, travelled on business
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Thank 1975_Valiant
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed October 8, 2010

I stayed at the Best Western Dorchester for two nights in September, and was really happy with my stay. From the moment I spoke to the person on duty when I made my reservation, the staff were all, without exception, very friendly and accommodating. When I walked into my room, I was taken aback by how luxuriously it was decorated. The room was somewhat small, which might have been a problem if I had been travelling with someone, but knowing that it is an older hotel I was quite willing to overlook that, given what a lovely room it was. Everything looked like it had recently been redone, and there was a flat screen TV as well. I had a bit of a view, even from a room on the side of the building, and they were able to accommodate an early check-in as well as a late check-out. There was a coupon provided for 15% off breakfast in the hotel restaurant, which I wasn't able to make use of, as well as a discount coupon for a dessert with dinner. It was very comfortable to wander from the hotel to the shopping area nearby, and very convenient for walking to many areas. I will definitely stay here again!

  • Stayed: September 2010, travelled solo
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Thank Fougeaerie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed August 12, 2010

This is basically a nice hotel. It has been well restored, and it is in one of the best locations in Nanaimo, in the middle of downtown and right on the waterfront. The hotel is clean and smart, and our room was comfortably spacious and generally well appointed. Most of the things that troubled us, should easily be fixed, or may not matter to most people. But this is our report of this hotel, as people who travel often to Nanaimo and frequently use this hotel chain. While the hotel has a lot of positives, and has patently had a large sum of money spent on it of late, the negative details continued to mount up.
So let's start with the positives:
1) As mentioned, this is a nice, central, redecorated/refreshed facility.
2) The staff both at reception and in the restaurant were as helpful and as friendly as can be.
3) the Room was adequately spacious, and generally well appointed.
So what's not to like?
First of all, there is the parking. The hotel has no dedicated parking. The corner lot on hotel property would be too small even if it were reserved exclusively for the hotel, however it is a public lot, and it was always full in the evening when we arrived back at the hotel. The alternative is to park accross the road and down the hill, where one can park on the slope or under cover in a very empty parkade. The whole area around the hotel is very empty at night, and did not feel safe to my wife and I. We tended to park in the well lit underground public parkade about a block south of the hotel, with a somewhat nervous walk back to the hotel. In all fairness, we were jumpy about our car as it is our own car, whereas we would not hav ebeen as concerned about a rental vehicle. We would also like to commend the local RCMP for cleaning out the petty criminals from this area, as we were never confronted by panhandlers as we had been on previous visits. The hotel also promptly and willingly paid us out in cash for our parking expenses without reservation.
Most hotels we have stayed at, do close their doors late at night, but have key card access for guests requiring re-entry. This hotel does not have that, one has to ring a doorbell bell and attract the attention of the night clerk to gain admission. One wonders, in the course of renovation, how much it would have cost to add that convenient feature, especially on the back door.
The hotel does not have a pool, which is not a particularly big deal, seeing one is at the seaside, and there is a large, clean public pool not far from the hotel, and a nice little toddler beach and nearby playground just up the road. the hotel may even offer free passes to the pool.
The restaurant is reasonably large and is staffed by people who really try hard to provide good service. While the food is of ample quantity and well prepared, the menu itself falls short in terms of layout, quality and content. By quality I mean that it is printed on a flimsy piece of cheap paper.The layout is a little less than professional and the content is limited. There is only one flavour of yoghurt offered, and is served in a large cereal bowl. The breakfast was good enugh not to avoid the restaurant but insufficient to attract people from elsewhere. There are definetly a good selection of places nearby that offer a better selection and presentation, but not necessarily with the same excellent service that the staff provide. We were told that there was a 15% discount on breakfast, which must only apply to certain items, as our discount, which was stated as 15% actually came to a much lower percentage of the bill before tax.
Moving up to the rooms, there is only one elevator and it certainly takes its time.
I have come t expect ice oon every floor, but by all accounts there may have only been one ice machine in the entire hotel, on the third floor, a minor inconvenience I suppose for people on the 2nd and 4th floors. There is also a set of stairs between the elevator and the south wing, so unless there is a second elevator on the other side of the hotel, you will have to abandon the hotel trolley at that point and drag your bags the rest of the way, not a problem I suppose if you travel light.
There is an attractive roof garden accessible from the 3rd floor, which seems a pleasant place to read a book outside ot smoke a cigarette.
The room:
Recently refreshed, with what appeared to be new paint, wallpaper, bathroom tiling and TV, and perhaps new or reupholstered chairs. The bed, desk, and armoir all seemed in good condition but showed the dents of years of use. But the room was spacious and the bed comfortable. The room had an air conditioner, and I suppose we could have complained, because it never ran for more than 10 minutes at a time before cutting out. It had a sign warning people not to run the unit while the windows were open, as it would freeze up the unit, so we kept our windows but to no avail. We did not call the hotel to fix it because our stay was too short and over the weekend, so we can't be too harsh on them, and the fix was to run the fan and then switch across to the cooler after 30 minutes or so. But the a/c was clearly old and in need of replacement. Opening the windows did not help anyway as there was never any breeze.
The desk was also a bit frustrating, in that there was no desk chair, so one had to move the stylish easy chairs around to sit at the desk. It was at this point that we discovered that the padding in these chairs is very thin indeed, and thses chairs were certainly never intended for use at a desk. Why the hotel cannot fololow the other BW's we stayed at and provide an office chair for the desk beats me. The wi-fi was good. Solid signal, wireless G, 54 mbps.
Unlike other hotels, both local and BW, there was no phone at the desk, only by the bed. It was explained to me that this was because there was no telephone jack by the desk, but there again, the TV cable ran around the entire room, so one wonders what would have been so hard about running a phone cable to the desk when the flooring was being replaced....
I discovered another little niggle, that is that local calls are only free up to 1/2 hour. Fortunately we use our cells for calls so this did not impact us at all, just anothe rlittle niggly point.
We brought some soft drinks with us, and found an empty hole where the fridge would normally reside. We called about that, and were told that a fridge was available for $10 per day. No thanks! Another piece oif pinching pennies, out of step once again with other Nanaimo and other BW hotels.
Of all the above, however, the killer for us was the shower. This is the first hotel I have seen in quite a while that does not have a single, pressure compensated temperature control for the shower. One had to endlessly twiddle a hot and cold tap that turned in opposite directions to eachother, to get the right temperature and then be prepared to move fast when the pressure changed. Failure to react quickly would result at various times in being frozen or scalded, and we spent about as much time adjusting the temperature as we did standing in the hower. The nozzle was one of those nasty plastic affairs with a pinprick spray around the outer circumference, with a section representing approximately 1/3rd of the nozzles that were blocked. Not replacing these 1970's controls nor fitting a decent shower head were significant omissions to the refresh in our opinion.
On a more positive note, the room did have one unique feature: The desk, and both bedside ables had plastic power strips attached to the surface by means of velcro strips. Hmmm.....
Which is a pity, because the facility has so much going for it.

  • Stayed: August 2010, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank EaglesEye
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed August 9, 2010

Of course i read the other reviews before booked myself.
The parking issue is solved. There is a 15 minute offload spot just in front of the hotel, and you will receive a blue piece of paper with which you are entitled to park at one of the 2 parking lots behind the hotel (both are normally paid parking spots).
The hotel is 2 miles from Departure Bay where we took the ferry to Horseshoe Bay/Vancouver.
Room was quite OK, larger than expected. They call it a boutique hotel, but i wouldn't go that far. It's a nice, centrally located hotel, so convenient for many people.

  • Stayed: August 2010, travelled as a couple
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Thank DutchTravelagent
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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