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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Ft. Myers, Florida / Hotel Indigo Downtown River District

January 2013, Weekday, 1-night, King sofa guestroom #606

Status perks and check-in
I was excited when I viewed my reservation online a week before my arrival, and saw that I had already been upgraded to a deluxe king guestroom. Then, a couple days later, my reservation had been changed to a 2-room executive suite! I arrived about a half hour to 45 minutes before check-in time, and the agent said that my room was not ready yet. I figured that the hotel probably didn't have many 2-room executive suites (the website does not show this information in the hotel facts, although there were 5 rooms like this available when I conducted a search for a future date), so I happily sat down in the lobby with my laptop to wait. I was not the only guest arriving early that day. One guest was already waiting in the lobby when I sat down, and I observed about 7 to 10 guests arrive to check in while I waited. The front desk agent told every guest that their room would not be ready until after 3 p.m. (check-in time). 

After I observed the front desk agents checking guests in after 3:00 p.m., I decided to go back to the desk to ask about my room. The guest who had been waiting before me had left the lobby shortly before this without her room yet. The front desk agent said that my room was ready, and she provided keys. She did not recognize my status, the key packet she provided did not have my status on it, and she did not tell me what kind of room she was assigning me. Since I had seen that, "2-room executive suite," was still on my reservation when I first sat down in the lobby, I did not ask any questions. I received a house brand beverage coupon in my key packet; however, it said it was a "hotel guest" coupon, so I do not think I received this because of my platinum status. 

Guestroom 606
This room is located directly across from the elevator on the 6th floor, and the entrance door is just around the corner from the elevator. It is an oversized room with a couch and chair, as well as a desk and chair. It was not, however, a 2-room suite.

Other items in the guestroom included a footstool, flatscreen TV on a cabinet with doors, safe big enough to hold a laptop, coffee table, nightstands, suitcase bench, 2 decent quality bathrobes, iron and board, king size bed, and table by the door with a K-cup machine. I was surprised that a hotel would provide a good quality coffee machine and coffee with standard to poor quality condiments. The K-cups were high quality; however, the cream and sugar packets were not.

The room was spacious, and the bed was very comfortable with the exception of the pillows. The pillows were the standard low quality pillows found in most Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express hotels. The coffee table in the seating area and the suitcase bench both needed to be cleaned. There were several mug rings on both tables. I included a close-up photo of the coffee table below.

There was a large gap around the guestroom door, and activity in the hall could easily be heard inside the guestroom, even though the bed was somewhat around the corner from the entrance. This guestroom is only one large room, although there is a partial hallway at the entrance.

This guestroom did not have many outlets. There were two at the desk, and the only outlets by the bed were behind the furniture. The wireless Internet was extremely slow, and there was no guestroom directory in the room. I looked for it because I wanted to see a dining menu, and I wanted to see the hotel outlets open hours. I did find a breakfast menu on a card on the desk; however, that is the only information I found.

coffee table that needed washing

The bathroom area was very large with two sinks, and a tile shower. The bathroom amenities included a good quality hairdryer, and there were a sufficient number of outlets in the bathroom. I try not to use bathroom outlets for my electronics though because of the humidity.

The shower was spacious with a deluxe shower head, although the towel and washcloth in the shower were stained. I  would say that some of the towels in the bathroom matched the table cleanliness in the outer guestoom area. At least the bedding looked clean!

stained cloths

Food & Beverage
I did not have anything to eat at this hotel. I had thought I would have breakfast in the morning; however, after I became dissatisfied with some of the experiences during my stay, I decided to dine elsewhere.

The rooftop bar is a smoking bar, and there were several people smoking when I visited, so I decided to use my beverage coupon at the lobby bar instead. Since there was no directory in the guestroom, I looked up the hours online. The hours for the lobby lounge are not posted online, although the information does say that Happy Hour is from 5 p.m. - 7 p.m., so I would expect it to be open by 5:00 p.m.. 

I did not see anyone in the lounge when I entered shortly after 5:00 p.m.. The lounge was not dark, so I figured the bartender was in the back, and I took a seat at the bar. A couple of employees walked be me and said hi (the time clock was on the bar); however, no one said anything else to me. About five minutes later, I decided to go ask the front desk if the bar was open. When I walked out, I saw a sign that I had not noticed earlier that said that the bar was opening at 9 p.m..

I went back to the rooftop bar, and the bartender there let me order an upgraded beverage with the coupon.  I then took my beverage back to my guestroom since there were still several customers smoking.

Business center
I observed a couple computers in a corner by the front desk; however, I did not use anything in the area.

Fitness center
The fitness center was located on the roof with the bar and pool. I liked that it was open 24 hours. The hall from the elevator to the fitness center is covered, so even though the area is open, it shields out the sun and rain. There were several cardio machines in the room and a working TV. None of the machines had cardio theater.

I called the hotel the morning of my arrival to ask about parking options because this information was not on the hotel website. I had to call the hotel twice, and I had to ask specific questions more than once because the employee who answered the call did not initially provide self-parking options when I asked. First, she transferred me to a valet employee, who could not help me because he was not sure of the self-parking facts. He could not transfer me back to the front desk because he was on a mobile phone. When I called back, the same employee answered, who again, did not want to help me with self-parking information. She initially only told me that the parking garage is 1 1/2 blocks away, and she made it sound like it was not a good idea to park in the garage. I finally got the name of the parking garage from her--City of Palms Garage, the approximate location (which I then looked up online after the call), and the overnight cost. This was after she told me she was going to report the valet employee to his manager for not helping me! I guess she said this because I called back, and then she had to help me. Unbelievable! He was much more professional than she was.

Here are the parking facts: Valet parking is $14 a day, and self-parking is $5 a day. The self-parking garage, City of Palms Garage, is the same garage that is used for valet parking. It is directly across 1st Street from the hotel (where Starbucks is located). The hotel front and valet entrance is on Broadway; however, there is also an entrance from 1st Street, which enters across from the front desk. The hotel entrance on 1st Street, and the parking garage exit, are not on the corner, so you would need to walk less than half a block to the corner, to use a crosswalk and ramp for a roller bag. I had a small roller bag, and there was not any traffic on 1st Street, so I just crossed over in the middle of the block.

I had originally planned to stay at this hotel for two nights, as did a colleague and friend of mine. Before our stay, another friend decided to join us, so my colleague wanted to change her room to a room with two beds. Hotel Indigo did not have a room with two beds, so they decided to move to the Fairfield Inn a few miles away. Fairfield Inn is not at the top of my list for hotel choices, so before I checked in, I told them I was going to keep my stay at the Hotel Indigo, and meet them for dinner the next evening. Especially, when I had seen online that I had been upgraded to a 2-room executive suite.

After the parking telephone call and check-in experience, I decided to move the second night as well. I stopped at the front desk shortly after I had checked in, and the male employee offered assistance. I asked him what the classification is for the guestroom I was in. Before he had a chance to answer me, the female agent who had checked me in, walked over, [indifferently] asked if there was a problem, and then took over the conversation. I politely told her what I had seen online, and she said that I got the room I had reserved. I said that I realized I had not paid for a suite; however, it is quite disappointing after seeing this on my reservation for a week. She did not say anything more after this, so I told her I was going to check out the next morning instead of staying two nights. She changed the reservation, and then the male employee provided me with the guestroom description I had requested. The male employees I encountered at this property were more professional and friendly than the female employees.

Although it's nice to have extra room, I did not need a 2-room suite, and I would have been happy without one, if the front desk agent had handled the situation and my check-in process better. It would have been nice, if I had at least received a room on the executive floor since those floors are usually quieter, and my profile preference is for an executive room. Even though she told me I had the room type I had reserved, I actually received an upgrade because a king sofa room costs more. I would not have known that my room was an upgrade, if I had not looked this up after the stay.