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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Scranton, Pennsylvania / Residence Inn

May 2012, Weekday, 1-night, King studio #227

Status perks
I have not received an upgrade at any Marriott property since I was granted Gold status a few months ago. At this hotel, I was not even recognized as a Gold member--the agent thanked me for being a Silver member! I told her that my status was Gold, and she said that it only said Silver on her computer, and that I had five more nights to go. When I checked my Marriott account online after arriving in my guestroom, I saw that my status was listed as Gold. The front desk agent did tell me later that her system was showing my status as Gold when I talked with her about another issue, which I will explain at the end of this review.

Suite 227 is located at the end of the hall on the second floor. This hotel has three floors; however, I arrived early, and the room on the 3rd floor that had initially been set aside for me was not ready yet. I asked if both of the rooms were the same, and I was told yes. Since I liked the location of this room at the end of the hall, I took it instead of waiting for a top floor room.

The suite setup was a basic Residence Inn king studio room. The kitchen area contained a full size refrigerator, stovetop, microwave, dishwasher, dishes, coffee pot, small table, and two chairs. A packet of microwave popcorn had been provided. A desk and chair were located at the end of the couch by the entrance door. The flat screen TV between the living and bedroom areas could be viewed from both places. There were two nice sized windows with screens. The bathroom vanity was located between the sleeping area and the tub/shower and toilet. There was a large closet across from the vanity with mirrored doors.

I liked the guestroom layout; however, I was not happy with the condition of the room. The room did not smell fresh, so I decided to open the windows. When I opened the curtains, I saw that the inside windowsills were wet and dirty. I observed a few dead bugs along with the dirt inside. The tract area between the window and screen was extremely dirty. Since they were power washing the hotel, I figured the inside debris must have come in at that time. I called the front desk to suggest that they have housekeeping check the guestroom windowsills after the power washing was complete, and I explained the situation in my room. The agent apologized, and said she could send housekeeping up to clean it, or give me a new room. I did not expect the cleanliness of the other rooms to be much different, and since this room was in a good location, I accepted her offer for housekeeping to clean the windowsills. 

bathroom fan
A short time later, an employee arrived with one small dry rag, which was barely enough to wipe the inside of the windowsill next to my bed. She did not check the windowsill in the living room area, which was in the same condition. Since I was not going to be sleeping by that window, and the one small rag she had brought was no longer good for cleaning, I did not mention the other window.

In addition to the windowsill dirt and the unfresh smell, there were a few other issues with this guestroom. The tub floor was badly stained--apparently from dirt clinging to residue from a stuck on decal, the bathroom vent was loose and noisy, the closet door glass was cracked, the carpet did not look like it been vacuumed in the corners in a very long time, and the condition of the carpet and furniture was poor.

glass crack, carpet stain
The wireless Internet speed in the guestroom was acceptable. The telephone on the desk did not work well, and the volume did not change when I tried to raise it. I had a difficult time hearing through that handset, so when I used the telephone after the first time, I used the one next to the bed.

carpet stains, dusty corners
I could hear quite a bit of noise from the guest in the room overhead, so I would suggest a top floor guestroom at this hotel. I don't think the guest was noisy--the floor just creaked and moved a lot, every time the guest moved about. Fortunately, the person above me did not stay up late. The bedding was clean, and the bed comfort was acceptable.

Food & Beverage
Tossed salad and hot chicken wings were served at the evening reception the night of my stay. Beverages included draft beer; however, there was no wine. I have sometimes stayed at a Residence Inn where the wine was kept in the back, and guests needed to request a glass, so I asked the employee attending to the refreshments (she was actually sitting on the couch with a plate of food watching TV) if she had red wine. She said that they only serve beer and not wine. She commented that other guests have asked for wine before too. I said that is probably because usually when a hotel serves beer like this, wine is also available. I told her that I had never attended a hotel reception with only beer. I have stayed in hotels where neither is served because of local laws; just not where only one or the other is served. The employee said she was not aware that other Residence Inns served wine, so she was going to ask her manager about this. She said that sometimes when there is wine on the property from a meeting or something, she gets to serve the leftover wine until it is gone, but that is the only time.

An average breakfast buffet was included in the morning.

Fitness center
The fitness center was a fairly small room with three cardio machines. The machines were equipped with cardio theater; however, I had forgotten my headset in the guestroom, and there were none in the room.

Business center
There was a computer and printer set up in the corner of the lodge room, where food and beverages are served. I did not observe any other office supplies, although I was able to use a pair of scissors at the front desk to cut out a coupon I printed.

Misc. and overall
After housekeeping came and cleaned the windowsill, I received a phone call from the front desk. The employee apologized for the condition of the windows, and she said she would be depositing 15,000 MR points into my account for the trouble. She also said that she wanted to let me know that my status had been updated to Gold. I did not understand why she had thought it was Silver when I arrived, and I did not ask. My status had been changed to Gold a few months before this stay, and I have stayed at several other Marriott properties that recognized my Gold status. I only made my reservation at this hotel the day before, so it was not because my status had changed after making the reservation.

After check-out, I received an email from the general manager thanking me for my stay. It looked like a generic email; however, I decided to reply anyway. I briefly described the window problem, the points the employee had said I would receive, and thanked him for the follow-up. I received another email telling me that the points would post separately (I had also stated that I did not receive them when my stay posted), and I have since received the points.

I appreciated the points, and the follow-up; however, I did not think this hotel was worth the cost. My stay at the Holiday Inn Express down the road (HIX Scranton review) was a MUCH nicer stay for $20 less per night. I don't usually let the experience of one stay in a hotel chain change my mind about whether to choose that type of hotel for future stays; however, my thinking about Residence Inn has now changed. This is the third property I have stayed in where I was not satisfied with the guestroom or property cleanliness. The others were at the Charleston (CHS) airport (RI Charleston airport review), and a property outside Atlantic City (Somers Point, NJ). I do not have a review for the second property, since that stay was before I started this blog. I do recall that the check-in area and guestroom were both musty smelling, and that I had to keep swatting flies that seemed to appear out of nowhere into the guestroom that evening. I don't think my experience was unique, since there was a fly swatter in the guestroom! 

After sharing my unsatisfactory experiences at Residence Inn, I want to say that I have stayed at a few nicer ones, although they have been few and far between. One of the nicer stays that comes to mind, was at the property in Milwaukee. We used points for a free night and received a room on the top floor overlooking the river. I do not have a review for that stay because it was also before I started this blog. The only other thing I remember about the hotel, is that employees made us feel welcome, and that the evening social hour included beer and wine.