- Played July 2017
- Ottawa, ON
- 45 minutes
- Up to 6 players. If you have less you may be joined by other groups.
- Recommended for guests 16 and older
- What People Say
Escape Manor does not disappoint, and the entire Mystery Motel branch is no different. The movie-trailer quality introduction lays it out for you: long ago, a wealthy socialite and her family’s legendary diamond disappeared mysteriously while they were staying at the motel. The motel subsequently shut down, but was recently reopened, packed with puzzles, by a new owner with unknown motives.
From the second the elevator doors open, the immersion begins. You are greeted by a receptionist of the motel, and old lamps and luggage dot the surroundings. (This receptionist won’t serve any alcohol by the way). After signing in, you may be led to one of the waiting cabins, complete with the short riddle games found in all the Escape Manor locations to pass the time. The entire location is draped in luxurious curtains, with old lamps and rustic wood furniture. The environment really pulls you in before you step foot in any of the rooms. Unfortunately, however, the hallways are a bit narrow. This is especially evident when two groups are passing by each other. There are two waiting cabins that double as staging areas: both are fairly isolated from each other, so it feels like you get a very VIP briefing before you go into a room. However, there are only two waiting cabins for three rooms. In the case of a fully-packed back-to-back schedule at Mystery Motel (which probably happens quite often with Escape Manor’s popularity) the waiting cabins, hallways, and reception area can start to feel crowded. Also in the list of drawbacks is the lack of free parking. The street parking or garages nearby are all clocking your time, even on evenings and weekends.
The integrated storyline both in the Parlour and the rest of the Mystery Motel series really shines in the rooms. In each room you learn a part of the story that focuses on a different character. If you finish all three, you will receive the final clues needed for a scavenger hunt to find the century-old missing diamond. For non-Ottawa natives like us, the Parlour taught us quite a bit about the city and its history. In particular, we loved that we actually got to explore parts of Ottawa (during the final scavenger hunt) that we learned about in the game!
The props of The Parlour were all connected to the game and thematically appropriate. The rag-time parlour music was a lovely touch as well. The size of the room had to be the only immersive flaw: you’re more likely to find The Parlour in the dining cart of a train than in an actual hotel. The countertop, shelves, chairs, and table are all well-made – just slightly smaller than believable.
The Parlour definitely had a large variety of puzzles. There were deduction puzzles, observation puzzles, physical puzzles, communication puzzles, you name it! One major puzzle had split reactions from our team: a few found it tedious, and the rest thought it was a pretty good puzzle. One thing we did all agree on was the poor choice of combo locks that were located everywhere in the room. If you had the code 9999, you might have to try it on three different locks, or it might be the code to a different lock you hadn’t found yet! It’s important to note that the puzzles are fairly challenging – many of the puzzles combine different mechanisms that force you to slow down and really focus. Unfortunately, our team got bottlenecked at a few points during the game due to these mechanics. The upside to that however is that many parts of the room encouraged teamwork and strong communication skills.
Overall The Parlour is a room that really puts a team’s searching, deduction, and puzzle-solving skills to the test. It is the hardest of the three Mystery Motel rooms and we would recommend doing it after the other two and going in with all your puzzle-solving gusto and thinking caps on.