When you live more than an hour away from the airport and your flight leaves anytime before a suitable breakfast period, staying at an airport hotel makes a lot of sense.
But they aren’t all as convenient as you may think. If you can’t walk into the airport on foot or hop on the airport’s monorail or internal shuttle system directly from your hotel, you’re probably going to find that you’re annoyed when you return — exhausted — and all you want to do is get into your vehicle and go home.
ALT Hotel at the Lester B. Pearson International Airport offered us a chance to bunk there the night before our flight and leave our vehicle while we were in San Diego, so I assure you that it’s an option worth exploring.
I have to start with the price because it’s excellent. For around $160 plus the normal taxes, you get your one-night hotel stay and seven nights’ worth of parking. Last time I checked, you can barely get airport parking alone for that price.
ALT Hotel was easy to find — we set the GPS and there were no issues getting there.
There’s a convenient little short-term parking area if you need to run in to ask where to park your vehicle, like we did (HINT: turn around, cross the street and park in the short-term airport parking area directly across from the hotel. It’s marked, which you’ll notice if you’re looking for it.)
As soon as you walk into ALT Toronto, you’ll feel like you’ve entered an ultra-modern boutique hotel right out of New York City. Its super-contemporary finishings are eye-catching and what is a small space feels big and airy because of good design and excellent use of natural light.
Rooms are similarly designed with an edgy, industrial loft sort of feel — think chunks of concrete slabs along the wall, for instance.
Everything is scrupulously clean and perfectly manicured. Although we didn’t have a chance to spend much time in our room, my diva princess self was very comfortable there.
While they aren’t “Heavenly” beds or InterContinental-level pillows, I have no complaints at all about the beds and pillows at ALT.
The monorail is a very short walk from the hotel’s front doors, and there are free luggage carts not too far off that you can grab when you reach the lobby if need be. Monorails come approximately every three minutes and we were not five or six minutes away from our terminal. Very convenient.
Not a king bed to be found in the whole place. One or two queens – that’s all you get.
There’s no onsite restaurant at ALT Hotel, which could prove problematic for business travellers who need to entertain without a vehicle. There is a small in-house eatery where you can get some hot meals, sandwiches, snacks and beverages in the lobby, but there’s no formal service or anything. We drove to Chop Steakhouse down the street before turning in for the night (which I have to highly recommend — it surprised me).
Getting to the monorail once we landed and cleared customs wasn’t intuitive. You have to go through a parking garage and it’s not well-marked along the way. Thankfully my husband has built-in NAV in his brain. I would have ended up in Rochester.
The parking lot is open-air, not gated and across a small street from the hotel. So you’re schlepping your bags across the road to get into the hotel, and it’s not like your vehicle has the security of underground parking. Important to note here is that our truck was just fine when we picked it up.