Road tripping in Ontario

Ontario Motel Experience

November 18, 2019Niry Fidelis

What is a Motel and Why you should stay in a Motel

What is a Motel

This September, Alessandro and I went on this great Ontario road trip, we travelled five days and four nights from Toronto to Ganonaque on highway 60 and went back to Toronto through Trenton. This is why we did a lot of sleeping in motels. It was our first experience with motels because I have never seen one in Italy and in Europe either, except for in those American movies. (Green book) 

I have to say they were exactly like we thought they’d be.

They all have a similar ground plan, generally an “L” shaped road-facing single building with rows of rooms whose doors face a parking lot. You arrive, leave your car, get in and sleep, just like what we are used to seeing in the movies. All of them had a wide window; we always kept the shades drawn in order to keep people from seeing our belongings. They were located along the main roads. The highways had plenty of them and while driving through, you can easily identify them. 

The managing office was attached to the guest’s rooms. The reception seemed to have a single duty: handing out the key to the customer. They were not inclined to do more.

The motels have a board which reads “vacancy” or “no vacancy” by the street, so you know if rooms are still available while passing through. We had pre-booked all our nights through but I think the motels are a kind of place where at last moment, while driving from one place to another, you can decide to stop and ring the reception at any time if there is a vacancy board sign.

Road trip Ontario

Even if they were similar to each other, in shape and accommodation facilities, each of the ones we stayed had its particularity: one had attached kitchenettes with a few things to prepare breakfast by ourselves, and another one offered free breakfast, another one had a barbecue and children equipped area and so on. Mostly they all were meant to give just accommodation with few or no amenities. Some of them seemed neglected and often dirty, rented without any passion for hospitality. The following is the list and details of the places where we slept during our road trip in Ontario.


  1. Dwight Village Motel. It is located along highway 60, some km away from the east gate of Algonquin Park. It is convenient for those who start the visit at the west gate and finish it at the west gate. We arrived at 8.45 pm and the lady at the reception seemed to not want to be bothered with our questions about the restaurants and breakfast. She gave a photocopy with a list and went away fast to the first floor where she probably had her own accommodation. This was my second favourite motel among the ones we stayed: clean and well equipped. It had a wide selection of opportunities for children. Loved the fact there was a fire pit and barbeques for guests to use, although we didn’t get a chance to! Tea bags and water boiler came with the price we paid. There are two fast food restaurants close by. Pay attention because they shut down very early so you better hurry before 8 pm if you want to fill your stomach with something. Moose Cafè, the bar next door, frequented by Canadians, is a great place for breakfast and is authentically Canadian. 


  1. Barry’s Bay Golf Resort Motel was the one where we slept the second night. It had a fantastic location. It wasn’t located along the main
    road but on one of the back streets. The special thing about this place was that it was inside a golf club and was therefore surrounded by beautiful lakefront scenery with an amazing natural environment. I highly recommend this place, it is really worth it to drive out of the Algonquin Park and sleep here. We loved this location. The room where we slept was very clean and homey.
    During the night the sky was full of stars and we could see the Milky Way. The
    manager was just like the lady at the first motel. Probably it is the way of running motels. They say what is necessary and nothing more, privacy at most. Just like the first one, Barry’s Bay motel offered tea bags and boiler. While sleeping here, remember that there are no nearby restaurants. Only Tim Hortens and McDonald’s are there in town. They are open the whole night. I would have loved to stay two more days here. They also offer golf courses for their guests.


Road trip in Ontario

  1. Imperial Inn 1000 Island Motel was owned by a Chinese family. It is nestled in the heart of the 1000 Islands, close to Ganonaque. Imperial Inn offers comfortable, tiny, and clean accommodations close to all major attractions. The building was quite old and needed a renovation. Certainly it should have been a budget solution for what they offer, but on the contrary, it was overpriced, but ok for a night. The best two things about this place are that they had a Chinese restaurant attached with the motel and the breakfast was included even though they offered tea bags and water boiler as well.


  1. Bayside Motel in Trenton run by an Indian family was located close to the town of Trenton. The girl at the reception desk gave us prompt answers to all of our questions. After getting the key, we immediately left to seek a restaurant because it was almost 9 pm which means already too late for dinner. We got in to our room only later, after supper. It was out dated and it could have been cleaner. It had an attached kitchenette area where you can have a quick breakfast (tea bags, water boiler, bread toaster and microwave) but unfortunately it was dirty, there were crumbs of unimaginable things everywhere on the floor and even the microwave was dirty so we preferred not to use them. There was such a bad smell in our room that I couldn’t get to sleep. The window in the kitchenette didn’t have a curtain so we woke up really early because the sunlight came into our room at dawn. I don’t think I will return back here. It needs a total renovation, I mean “total” because the owner needs to upgrade his mentality about the cleaning and the motel
    itself needs a renovation. 

Motels in Ontario

This has been our experience in motels; quite enough to understand how they work. I hope I have given you the right idea about them. At least you now know that they all have tea bags and water boiler… (By the way I never saw a coffee bag)

Comments (1)

  • Elizabeth O

    November 26, 2017 at 12:42 pm

    Ontario is such a beautiful place to visit. The peaceful and pleasant ambiance of this place is so fulfilling. I will definitely put this on my bucket list to my next travel visit. and those motel looks so interesting, perfect place to stay.

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