With Nova Scotia having reopened to fully vaccinated travellers, I promptly booked a trip right after receiving my second dose. During my journeys, I got a chance to review the Halifax Marriott Harbourfront Hotel, one of the city’s two full-service Marriott hotels.
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Halifax Marriott Harbourfront Hotel – Booking
I booked the Halifax Marriott Harbourfront Hotel using the best available rate, which ranges from $200 to $300, depending on the date.
Last-minute bookings can get into the $500 range. Combined with the fact that the hotel may be fully booked during peak travel season, it’s prudent to make reservations in advance.
As a Category 5 property within Marriott Bonvoy, the Halifax Marriott Harbourfront Hotel can also be booked using 35,000 Bonvoy points at the standard rate or an anniversary Free Night Award. This would be a great option if you’re travelling when cash rates are high.
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Halifax Marriott Harbourfront Hotel – Location
The Marriott is located on the Halifax waterfront. It is a 10-to-20-minute walk to the Halifax Citadel, the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, the Halifax Public Gardens, and the Scotia Square shopping centre.
The immediate vicinity of the hotel is home to local restaurants and businesses. While convenient, some of these establishments are geared towards tourists. A quick stroll further downtown may yield a better selection of seafood-heavy European, Asian, and Middle Eastern cuisines.
The hotel area offers great views of the waterfront and the nearby high-rises.
In the end, while the hotel is in a scenic neighbourhood, many points of interest are not within immediate proximity, requiring a steep uphill walk or a car to reach.
The closest large supermarket seems to be the Atlantic Superstore near the Westin, a solid 15-minute walk away from cheap late-night snacks and road trip supplies. That being said, there are convenience stores and pharmacies nearby.
Halifax Marriott Harbourfront Hotel – Check-in
Upon a late-night arrival, a staff member handled the check-in professionally, handing me the room key and explaining the elite benefits along the way.
I used a Suite Night Award to secure an upgrade to the King Suite, and my Platinum Elite status granted me free breakfast in the restaurant.
Halifax Marriott Harbourfront Hotel – King Suite
I got upgraded to a King Suite for the duration of my stay. It resembles a small studio apartment with a Victorian England color palate. It’s quite dated, but in line with the general vibe of the city.
Past the door, there is a small foyer. The closet containing extra bedding and ironing amenities is on the right, while the bathroom is on the left.
The restroom is outfitted with a sink surrounded by a substantial counter, a fairly standard toilet, and a bathtub. I always welcome the latter in lieu of a shower cabin.
Past the foyer, there is a TV stand with a large TV set. Inside the stand, there are three drawers and a coffee machine.
On the right, the desk and a white leather chair are situated. I never find office surfaces at hotels particularly comfortable, and sadly, this one was no exception.
The lounging area follows, with a large sofa and some pillows. Besides that, there is a blue armchair. Together, these can accommodate a small party.
The highlight of the room is a giant king bed. It’s comfortable, as I’d expect from a Marriott hotel. The two bedside tables have proven useful for storing my midnight snacks.
Surprisingly, the suite is equipped with a small kitchenette. It features a sink, some glasses, and two red bar stools straight from the 1960s. There is also a fridge, in which I found two complimentary water bottles.
Overall, the suite is well appointed and spacious. The color scheme, however, is a bit dated, and so is the furniture. Neither are in line with the common spaces around the hotel, which seem to have been refurbished fairly recently.
Halifax Marriott Harbourfront Hotel – Breakfast
The hotel serves breakfast in the lobby restaurant. Platinum, Titanium, and Ambassador members can order anything from the menu.
I had the pancakes, while a friend of mine had the omelette. Both tasted very good and were accompanied by decent coffee, tea, and orange juice.
In addition to the restaurant, the lobby houses a local coffee roaster. I didn’t get a chance to give it a try, but as an avid coffee enthusiast, I will make sure to check it out next time I am in town.
Halifax Marriott Harbourfront Hotel – Other Facilities
The hotel’s lobby is well appointed, but the elevators are a bit confusing. The hotel has a North and South side, with the latter providing access to the parking lot. I had to use both elevators on a regular basis, as I made full use of the complimentary parking included in my rate.
The corridors are spacious and follow the classy, yet not overly fancy Marriott brand colour palate.
Last but not least, the hotel features a fitness centre and a pool. I was too busy to check them out, but they are available with Covid-19 precautions in place.
Is the Marriott Better than the Westin?
The Westin Nova Scotian is Halifax’s second full-service Marriott property. It is a former railway hotel that Ricky had previously reviewed. On this trip, I stayed at the Westin as well as the Marriott, and I have mixed opinions about the former.
The rooms at the Westin follow a modern style, and I prefer its location for proximity to supermarkets, pharmacy, and affordable Asian eats. Any construction that has been in place in 2019 is now finished, and the old restaurant has been replaced with a seafood venue.
Unfortunately, Westin’s advantages end at that. As of August 2021, the hotel is severely understaffed and often fully booked. Any requests to the room such as bathrobes, towels, or water can take hours to be delivered. Dine-in breakfast orders take very long as well.
In addition, the front desk staff was stingy about the 4pm late checkout, even though it’s a guaranteed benefit at non-resort properties such as this one.
The Marriott Harbourfront, on the other hand, had impeccable service. I value that more than slightly better room interiors; hence, I’d recommend the Marriott in this booming travel climate.
As of August 2021, I consider the Marriott Harbourfront the best Marriott hotel in Halifax. It provides immediate access to the waterfront area and is within walking distance to attractions and shopping destinations.
Slightly dated room interiors are well made up for by excellent service and tasty breakfast. The hotel also features a gym and a pool for those looking to work out and relax during their trip.
Later this year, I’ll be looking to compare the Marriott with the Muir, an Autograph Collection hotel. It’s scheduled to open in November 2021 and provide a luxurious experience for Marriott loyalists traveling to Halifax.
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