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Friday, August 27, 2010

Denver, Colorado / DIA airport hotel -- Holiday Inn & Suites - the invisible room!

August 2010, Weekday, 2-nights, King suite 601

Status perks and check-in
I received an upgrade to a suite, and the process before I received this room was quite an experience.

I had reserved a king executive room, and when I arrived at 2:30 p.m., the agent told me I had been upgraded to a king suite; however, my room was not ready yet. I did not have a problem with that since I knew I was 1/2 hour early of check-in time. I was happy to wait in the lobby for the suite. I sat down in the lobby to work on my laptop. After I had been waiting 2 hours, there were 6 or more guests in the lobby also waiting for rooms, and several other guests had received rooms. I decided to check back with the front desk agent. He said that he had a suite available, and he gave me a key for room 530. 

When I arrived at guestroom 530, I saw that it contained 2 double beds. I went back to the front desk because I wanted the king suite, and I said I would wait, if it was still not available. A different agent this time said that she had a king executive room available, which was the same size as a suite except it did not have a sofa sleeper. It was on the [top] 6th floor, so I took it. When I entered guestroom 608, I saw that it was much smaller than the doubled bed suite! Since I was going to be staying at this property for 2 nights, I went back to the front desk and said that I preferred to wait for the king suite. 
Sign on the 5th & 6th floor

When I agreeably tell someone I want to wait for the better room, I do not understand why he or she does not believe me. This is not the first time someone has tried to just assign me any room, instead of letting me wait--or, even better, having someone get my room ready. After waiting almost 4 hours--it was after 6 p.m., I was finally assigned a king suite, only it was on the 3rd floor. Floors 5 and 6 are quiet floors designated for PCR members, which is something I appreciate and want. I told the agent I was not happy. I was nice about it, although I did make it clear that the only reason I had waited 4 hours without complaining is because I thought I was waiting for a king suite on the 5th or 6th floor. She did some typing at her computer, and then said she had to go check on something. When she returned, she gave me a key for room 601. She did not say anything about the room type or how to find it. I knew that 601 was probably at the end of the hall on the top floor, so I did not ask. I just thanked her and took the key.
Room 601 living room

Guestroom 601
When I got to the end of the hall on the 6th floor, I did not see my room number or a sign. There was a locked door ahead, which looked like a staff utility closet, or something. I tried my key, which opened the door, and there were rooms 601 and 602 behind the locked door. When I entered my room, I realized I'd received one of the best rooms!
Bedroom w/ whirlpool tub

The guestroom had a full kitchen, bar, living room, bedroom with whirlpool tub, desk and chair, and large bathroom with walk in shower. There was a note on the tub, which said it leaked; however that did not matter to me. I was happy to have the comfort, room to work, and silence. 

As much as I loved the room, I would have been happy with a king suite on one of the PCR floors, if it had been assigned to me within an hour of my arrival. This hotel was very busy, and seemingly unable to handle a full house. Many guests were checking in while I waited, and I do not think anyone was paying attention to what I was waiting for (or another guest who finally got so mad, he demanded the corporate telephone number). 

Work desk and TV in bedroom
I had checked with the front desk after waiting 2 hours, and again to let them know when I went to the lounge to eat, so employees had my name and should have remembered what I was waiting for. When I returned to the front desk again after 6 p.m., I still did not have a room assignment until after the agent found me a room on the computer--even though other guests had been checking in the entire time. Before I went to the lounge, I had stopped at the front desk, and the agent I spoke with said that she would assign my room and come let me know the number. It appeared that rooms were just being assigned as guests were checking in, which is apparently how the room I was initially waiting for was given away.

Room 601 was extremely comfortable. The bed was great, it was perfectly quiet, the bar stools and living room furniture were comfortable. 
Room 601 bar/kitchen area

The wireless Internet connection speed was great in the lobby and in my room. I thought this was impressive since the hotel was full. There was a safe in the closet; however, it was locked open, so I was unable to use it. I was surprised that there was not a bathrobe in the guestroom. I was glad I did not need to apply any makeup because the lighting in the bathroom was poor. There was an excellent mountain view from my room, which I missed the first night because I was working, and almost missed the second night as well.

Food & Beverage
I thought the food and beverages at this property were acceptable and nothing more. The service was very good, and the prices were average; however, the quality and taste was lacking, in my opinion. The eggs I ordered in the morning were overcooked, and the toast was cold and not even browned. I don't know if my eggs were prepared this way because of the recent egg recall, or if this was their normal preparation. I was glad I went to the restaurant shortly after it opened at 6 a.m., because when I left, there were four or five tables of guests, there were guests waiting for seats, and I observed only 1 server. When I got off the elevator on my floor, I observed two employees departing with a room service table, and one of them was the person who had seated me. I guess that's why guests were waiting for a table. In the evening, I ordered the Ahi tuna salad one night, and the Ahi tuna appetizer the other night. I do not usually order similar menu items two days in a row; however, there were not many options on the menu. I thought the appetizer was bland. The salad had Thai dressing, which contributed much to the flavor. I was not impressed with the freshness or quality of the fresh ingredients in my eggs (I had the California omelet) or on the salad.

Hotel comfort
I have added a new category for this property because the comfort warrants it's own category. Even though I sat in the lobby working on my laptop for 3 hours (I went to the bar to eat for part of the time I was waiting), it was very comfortable. There were outlets for my laptop, and the chair and couch were both comfortable. The chairs at the bar in the lounge were comfortable, and there were many comfortable looking chairs along the hallway outside the meeting rooms. All the furniture in my room was great, as well as the bed and bedding.

Business center
There were a couple computers and a printer in the business center, as well as miscellaneous office supplies. I was able to print a couple documents without any trouble.

Fitness center
The fitness center was open 24 hours. There were two working TVs, although the set up of the 4 cardio machines did not directly face either TV. I wondered why they had not set the machines at an angle for more comfortable TV viewing. The room was large, and it looked like there was plenty of room to arrange the machines the other way. There were no weights or other equipment besides the 4 cardio machines and 1 exercise mat. 

I think this is a nice property with a lot of good points. The only criticism from me would be the organization and ability to handle a full house. Even though I was upgraded to a nice room, and employees were quite attentive after that, I was still disappointed that the situation had even happened. My experience at most hotels when I arrive before my room is ready, has been that the agent makes note of my name and comes to the lobby, or bar, or calls me when my room is ready. Often I have been given drink coupons or lunch while waiting (not expected, but appreciated), and my room has NEVER been given away while I was waiting. This hotel did not offer me the upgrade until after I let them know how unhappy I was.

The second day I was here, I saw that PCR guests checking in were receiving 2 bottles of water. I did not receive any bottled water, and I did not see anyone receive water on the busy day when I had checked in. I would stay here again--the furniture was comfortable, staff conveyed a positive attitude, the airport shuttle was great, and the Internet connection speed was great. I think that if you are staying here when the hotel is not full, you will probably love it! If, however, the hotel is full, it'll probably be like drawing straws as far as what kind of room you'll receive.