The facilities in the room were generally very good. There were an iron and ironing board, a hairdryer, a good selection of TV channels, an in-room safe, even scales in the bathroom for the benefit of health-conscious visitors who have just dined in one of the hotel's four (count them, four) restaurants. My only real complaint was that because the hotel is so up-market, the usual free coffee service had been replaced by a mini-bar. Quite why anyone would want to pay $4 for a small bottle of coke is beyond me. And how the hotel has the cheek to charge guests if they so much as move anything in the mini-bar is also incomprehensible. People on unlimited expense accounts have a lot to answer for.
One excellent feature of the new tower is that it is wired for high speed Internet. Housekeeping provided me with an Ethernet cable. I fired up the computer, loaded my web browser, and got the hotel's internal web site. On attempting to access to outside world I was asked to confirm my willingness to pay the access fees, and there I was, fully connected once more. The speed is excellent, and it is 24 hour unlimited access. It does cost $10 a day, but for the business traveller (which often means me these days) it is a fabulous boon. Just to make sure I called up the email server in the office - something that is always a real pain over a modem while on the road, and it worked fine. Every hotel should have this service.
Another innovation is that the radio-alarm in the room also included a CD player. Had I but known I might have brought some music with me.
I have a few small niggles about paperwork. There were no pages in our room directory folder, so we didn't know what services were available, when check out time was and so on. Central reservations had Kevin's frequent stay club membership on file, but the information didn't get through to the hotel. And there was no express check out facility, something you get in even the most basic motels these days.
The Fairmont is a beautiful hotel, but I can't escape the feeling that there is a point in the hotel market where, once you have passed it, the more you pay, the less value you get. The Fairmont exists just beyond that point.
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