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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

N. Charleston, South Carolina / Residence Inn CHS airport

September 2011, Weekday, 2-nights, King studio

I do not have any photos to share in this review, since unfortunately, I did not have my camera this trip. I encountered a few unsatisfactory situations during my stay, and want to share them for anyone who may be considering this hotel.

I had read some unsatisfactory reviews before my stay. I did not give them much merit since many of them had been written by non-elite members, and I know that elite members often have different experiences than guests who don't travel often. I had Silver Marriott status during my stay, and the following was my experience.

Status perks
I did not receive anything as a Silver member, which is my usual experience at Marriott. I receive perks when I have Gold status, and I only occasionally receive an extra perk as a Silver member.

There was a large water stain on the ceiling in my room, and the room had a slight damp/musty smell. There were the usual studio amenities in the room: kitchenette area with small table and two chairs against the wall, coffee, and popcorn; and couch, chair, and coffee table in the living area. The bedding looked fresh, and there were two nice sized windows; one in the bedroom area and one in the living area. 

When I returned to my room at 3:30 PM for the second night, my room had not been cleaned. I decided to take my laptop to the laundry room since I had some laundry to do, and I had observed a housekeeping cart in the hallway. On my way out, I saw the housekeeper and asked her if she would be doing my room next. She looked at her sheet and said my room was not on her list. She asked when I had checked in and when I would be checking out. I provided this information, and then continued to the laundry room, thinking she would check on this and take care of it. When I returned an hour later, she was gone, and my room had not been cleaned. Since it was now almost 5:00 PM, I called the front desk to say that my room had not been refreshed, and I requested coffee for the next morning. The agent said he could see if someone was still in the hotel to clean my room. I declined this offer, as it would have been inconvenient for me to vacate my room again. An employee cheerfully brought towels and coffee to my room after my call; however, I was shocked that neither employee apologized for the oversight.

Airport shuttle
When I called for the airport shuttle in the afternoon, I was told it would be there in 5 - 10 minutes. It was 95 degrees outside, and I had to wait outside since the pick-up spot is on the traffic island away from the building. I called the hotel again two times after my initial call, and I ended up waiting 30 minutes for my ride! I was even more frustrated after boarding the shuttle because the driver did not apologize for the wait, nor did he confirm that the guest who had called three times was on the bus. Another guest had come out of the terminal just before the shuttle arrived, and boarded the bus with me. 

On the day I departed, I told the front desk agent what time I needed a ride, and she said to just come to the lobby when I was ready. I told her that I wanted to make sure the driver knew what time I needed a ride because I had waited at the airport 30 minutes when I arrived, and if that happened when I left, I would miss my plane. She apologized, and must have relayed this information because my departing shuttle was very prompt.

This hotel was an embarrassment to Marriott. The carpet in the hallways and public areas was nasty looking and stained. The elevator and windows were grungy and fingerprint streaked, and the ash tray urns at every door were disgusting. The ashtrays were the worst--there was one located right by every door of the hotel, and they were overflowing and reeked of stale smoke. I never passed anyone smoking anytime I went in or out; it was just the ashtrays.

I had a problem with the washing machine I used. I chose the delicate cycle and double checked everything when I started the machine. When I removed my clothes later, they felt warm. I looked at the washer setting, and it showed that it had been on the permanent press cycle rather than delicate! I have no idea how that happened. It's possible I pushed the wrong button to start, although I doubt it since I was careful to double check this.

If you are considering a hotel at the Charleston airport, here is a little insight about hotels in the area. There is a Homewood Suites across the street from the Residence Inn. I wanted to stay at that hotel; however, there were no rooms available for the two nights I needed. There is a Crowne Plaza in the same general area, which I had looked at before choosing the RI. The CP looked like an older property, so I went with the RI, since Marriott is usually better about enforcing their expectations. There is also a Hyatt Place, W, and a Holiday Inn nearby. If I need to stay in the area again, I would look at the Holiday Inn or Homewood Suites because of the Rewards programs that I am a member of. I had overlooked the Holiday Inn since IHG's CP hotels are usually nicer, and the CP did not look very nice. From the outside, the Holiday Inn looked like a new property, and there were also two restaurants in the same parking lot with the hotel. Since I did not stay at any of the other properties, I can not provide any stay experiences.

I can say that my stay at the RI was far below my expectations, and I saved a lot of tip money that I had planned to spend that stay.