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Sunday, January 15, 2012

Minneapolis MSP airport - Hilton Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport Mall of America

New Years Eve 2011, Executive king guestroom #1128

Status perks
I reserved an executive floor room when I made my reservation because I knew this hotel would be full for a New Years Eve benefit; I did not receive any extra perks as a Gold member. I should have changed my profile so I could have received the bonus points instead of a room upgrade; however, I did not think to do this before we arrived.

Guestroom 1128 is on the floor below the concierge floor, close to the elevator, and it has a connecting guestroom door. I was surprised with the room location because my HHonors profile says: non-smoking, high floor, away from elevator. I had also requested a room in a quiet area. Fortunately, we did not hear much noise from the guestroom next door, or from the hall.

The guestroom was a typical Hilton room with a king bed, soft chair, desk and chair, and coffee setup. Since there were two bottles of water with the coffee setup, it appeared as though this room is an executive floor room. I had inquired about this when I learned I was being given a room below the lounge floor, and because the agent said he was "giving" me executive lounge access. I told him that I had reserved an executive floor room when I made my reservation, and he said this room is an executive floor room. We did not need to use our key in the elevator to access this floor or the floor above. 

I was glad the bed was comfortable and clean, because I did not think the guestroom was very clean. There were toothpaste spatters on the back of the vanity and mirror, and there was debris on the floor under the vanity. The bathroom was quite small, and the entire guestroom was smaller than I had expected.

Executive lounge
We did not arrive until after 8 PM, so I do not know what kind of snacks had been offered that evening. The attendant appeared to have been finishing clean up from a couple hot burner items when we entered. He did not greet or acknowledge us. The only food available when we arrived was cold snack mix. Soda and bottled water were also in the small fridge.

We went to the lounge in the morning shortly after 7 AM when it was supposed to open because we needed to take the shuttle to the airport at 8 AM. The doors were open; however, the attendant did not finish with the food setup until after 7:15. We waited the 15 minutes, and then were seriously disappointed with the food. The scrambled eggs were undercooked and not hot. There were only a couple cut fruit choices and the bananas were overripe. There were a couple muffin and bread choices; however, there were no bagels. I expected to see bagels since there was cream cheese on the counter by the toaster.

Food & Beverage
The executive room information that we received at check-in said that each guest is entitled to one or two alcoholic beverages in the executive lounge, so I stopped at the front desk to see if he could offer us any type of discount to use in the lobby lounge instead. I think the executive room offer was good for two drinks each; however, since we had arrived too late to take advantage of the offer, I do not recall for sure. It may have been for two drinks total. The front desk agent gave me a coupon good for two house brand drinks in the lobby lounge.

The bar seating in the lounge was full, so we sat down at a table. When we were greeted, we asked if we could use the coupon value for a discount off premium drinks, and we were told no. This was not a problem for us. Some hotels let guests do this, and some do not. I always figure it doesn't hurt to ask. We ended up staying a few hours, and my husband used the coupon for a draft beer and a margarita. I had champagne by the glass. The beverages were all good, although the service was terrible. I can not remember the last time we had such poor service. Our initial wait time to be greeted was not anything I would complain about since our server was also assisting guests dining in the lounge; however, I was not happy with the service after that. Every time that my glass was empty, I waited over 5 minutes before our server stopped at our table to see if I wanted a refill. I even had to flag him down one time. He was not too busy; many times he was standing at the bar watching TV. One time, when both our glasses were empty and we had been waiting almost 5 minutes, he waited on guests who had sat down at the table next to us without looking toward us. Every time he walked by our table, he never stopped or even glanced at us to see if we needed anything. He did not bring us any bar snacks--until after we requested some because we had observed him serve them to other guests seated at tables in the lounge. At  the beginning of the evening, we did not consider anything to be a problem; however, by the time we left that night, we felt insignificant and ignored.

Shuttle service
The airport shuttle service was satisfactory. We were picked up at the airport in a reasonable amount of time, and we departed on time in the morning. I was slightly worried about the morning ride because of what the front desk agent had told me at check-in. I asked him if we needed to sign up for the morning trip, and he said no. He then added, "It's first come, first serve." He said the shuttle would leave with the number of guests that would fit. It sounded like, if there were more passengers than the shuttle would hold, then the last arriving passengers would have to wait for the next run--1/2 hour later. I have never had someone tell me something like that at a hotel before. Usually, if the employee adds further information, it is to say that if the shuttle is too full, they will call a cab.

Our stay here was a quick overnight stay between flights on New Years Eve. Since we don't like to drive on New Years Eve, and I found this flight option for a good price when I was booking our air to Cancun, we decided to try something new. We thought it might be fun to spend New Years Eve in Minneapolis. I had also considered the airport Marriott and the Crowne Plaza for our stay. The Marriott was the least expensive option, and the Crowne Plaza was the most expensive. My PCR/IHG status was Platinum at the time of this stay; however, I could not count on an upgrade to a concierge room at the Crowne Plaza, and the cost for a concierge room was $50 more than at the Hilton. Since my Hilton status was Gold, I figured I had a better chance for a nice stay there than at the Marriott, where my status was only Silver.

I feel like I did not research the hotels well enough before this stay, and if I had the chance to make this decision again, I would choose the Crowne Plaza. I was extremely disappointed with our stay at this Hilton, and I would not stay here again. I thought all of the staff members were either indifferent or rude. The guestroom was acceptable at best, and if I had paid much more than $100 for it, I would have been even more disappointed.

This hotel is 100% non-smoking; however, there was nothing to keep guests from smoking right next to the entrances. There were guests smoking at the entrance when we arrived, when we departed, and throughout the stay. We could smell smoke in the lounge from guests smoking outside the doors, and I could smell it in the bathroom of our guestroom. Since we did not visit businesses other than the Hilton, I don't know if this is typical for Minneapolis or just this hotel.