By Lori Bosworth
If you live in Toronto or the GTA, there exists the summer ritual of visiting Niagara Falls. Whether you’ve been 5 or 25 times, the marvel of watching that enormous source of water explode down into the Niagara River does not diminish. One can only imagine what it’s like to see Niagara Falls for the first-time. Of course, the city of Niagara Falls is as kitschy as ever, some parts more so (Clifton Hill) than others, but that area is easily avoided if you so desire.
If you do not feel like forking out the big change to get a Fallsview room at the top hotel chains on Fallsview Blvd., there are several much more affordable options. We decided to try the Ramada Plaza Niagara Falls on Lundy’s Lane. It is a good 10 minute drive to the Falls from the Ramada Plaza so if proximity to the Falls is number one on your agenda, then the Ramada Plaza is not the hotel for you.
If, however, you don’t mind being a little further away from the Falls and money is a concern, then the Ramada Plaza is a good option. The Ramada Plaza may not have a view of the Falls, but it has a great view of the Canada One Outlets, which are directly across the street, and that’s a pretty good substitute.
As far as the hotel goes, the Ramada Plaza underwent a multi-million dollar renovation and the rooms definitely show it. Decorated in neutrals, our room featured two queen beds with pillow-top mattresses, duvets, coordinating accent pillows, a super-stylish and comfortable chair, 32 inch LCD TV with cable and satellite, a desk with ergonomic chair and outlet for laptops, a fridge and a microwave.
The bathroom was decorated in the same appealing neutrals as the room, and featured a new granite countertop and cabinet, luxury toiletries and a sparkling clean deep soak bathtub.
The Ramada Plaza has both an outdoor and indoor swimming pool, as well as a fitness room with many of the standard exercise machines.
We stayed in the building close to the outdoor and indoor swimming pools, which was very convenient since I love swimming. The main building includes the registration desk, a Starbucks vendor booth selling Starbucks coffee, pastries and soft drinks, and direct access to Don Cherry’s Sports Grill.
Don Cherry’s Sports Grill was just too convenient to pass up for breakfast considering that you can enter the restaurant from the lobby, plus we were offered a 2-for-1 breakfast coupon with our stay so we ended up eating there both mornings. If you don’t have a coupon, Don Cherry’s is quite expensive for breakfast. For instance, the Country Breakfast, which includes two eggs, bacon, ham or sausage, and toast, was $9.25. If you added hash browns, the breakfast was a whopping $12.95. That does not include coffee, which is $2.95, although our server did refill our coffee twice. Because we had the coupon, we paid for only one of our breakfasts. Without the coupon, there are much better breakfast deals on Lundy’s Lane to chase after including the breakfast at Falls Manor Restaurant. Also, hopefully you don’t mind some Classic rock and screened sporting events in abundance with your scrambled eggs; otherwise, Don Cherry’s might be a little too rowdy for the early a.m. Fortunately, I enjoy both.
So what did the above cost? A Deluxe Room with two queen beds booked for two nights during the week in mid-July 2014 cost us $72.95 per night minus 20% when you book for two nights. There are incidental fees including $12 per night for parking and a $4.99 per night facility fee. I wondered why Ramada couldn’t just incorporate their facility fee into the room fee. I felt it was a bit tacky to charge extra for facilities. Isn’t that one of the reasons you choose a hotel? For its facilities? In any case, even with these extra fees and the HST, the total amount came to $178.54, which is exceptional value for the quality of the room and the facilities that are offered.
Ramada Plaza Niagara Falls, 7389 Lundy’s Lane, Niagara Falls, 1-888-668-6116