Search This Blog

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Bismarck, North Dakota / Staybridge Suites

August 2013, Weekday, 2 separate stays for 2 nights each: 
1-bedroom king suite #428 and queen studio #425

Status perks and check-in
The manager checked me in the first time I stayed at the Staybridge Suites in Bismarck, ND. She provided an upgrade to a one-bedroom suite at the time of check-in. 

The second time I stayed here, I thought I was receiving the same room; however, I did not. My arrival time was going to be in the evening, so I called a few hours before then to inquire about my room type. I had hoped I would be able to get the same guestroom, or at least a room on the top floor in the corner or near the end of the hall (I had also written these requests in my reservation). On the telephone, the agent said that he could not give me an upgrade because the hotel was full. He did say that he could move me to the top floor though (it sounded like a room on the 3rd floor had been assigned to me before I called). When I arrived, the front desk agent wrote #428--the number of the one-bedroom suite I had received last time I stayed at this hotel--on the paper that he had me sign. He also verbalized the suite number. I expressed my pleasure and surprise, since he had told me on the telephone, that he would not be able to give me an upgrade. He did not respond to my comments.

When I arrived at suite 428, my key did not work. After a couple of tries, I looked inside my key packet, and saw that 425 was written in it. I then tried guestroom 425, and my key worked. I called the front desk to ask which room I was supposed to receive. The agent said that he did not know why he had written, and said, "428" during the check-in process, and that 425 was my correct room. He said something that alluded to the fact that he now understood my comments a few minutes earlier. It appeared that he had not been listening when I checked in, because I clearly said that I was happy to see that I was receiving guestroom 428. I said that I had really liked that guestroom last time, and I also mentioned the fact that he had said that he could not give me an upgrade.

I received a bottle of water the second time that I checked in. I am not sure if this was a consolation, or what. The agent had offered me cookies, and after I politely declined, he asked if I wanted a bottle of water, which I readily accepted.

One-bedroom king suite #428
This is the guestroom I stayed in during my first stay, so I will provide the details of the one-bedroom suite first.

The kitchen area contained a full-size fridge, stovetop, microwave, dishwasher, sink, coffeemaker with supplies, cupboards with dishes, utensils, and silverware, and a packet of microwave popcorn. 

The bar area between the kitchen and living area included two bar stools. A desk and chair were against the wall across from the bar. The lighting, electrical outlets, and work/eating space in both areas was comfortable, adequate, and spacious. There was an ethernet outlet and a telephone on the work desk.

The living area contained a sofa with pillows, coffee table, lamps, and a flatscreen TV on a cabinet. The sofa was comfortable, and there were easy to access outlets in this room as well.

The bedroom had a door that could be closed. A full length mirror was on the wall behind the door. The bedroom contained a flatscreen TV on an armoire, soft lounge chair, king-size bed, nightstands with lamps, a lighted alarm clock, and telephone. The bed and chair were both comfortable. The bedding and pillows were good quality. I did not hear any outside noise from the bedroom area.

The bathroom was located off the bedroom. The vanity and a closet were outside the bathroom area. The closet contained hangers, a laundry basket, and an iron and board.
The hairdryer on the wall over the vanity was decent quality, although the mounting screws were loose, and I thought it might  fall off the wall. I liked the spacious walk-in shower in the bathing area. Good quality towels were provided.

Queen studio suite #425
I took the guestroom diagram photo when I was staying in guestroom 428; however, guestroom 425 is also visible showing its location near the elevator.

Even though this guestroom is located close to the elevator, I did not hear much noise from guests in the hallway. I was, however, disturbed by housekeeping when I first arrived. It was around 6 p.m., so I was surprised that they were still cleaning guestrooms. I did not see anyone outside my guestroom when I entered; however, I heard them shortly after I arrived. Housekeepers must have been working with the doors propped open, because for about half an hour, I listened to the loud banging of guestroom doors, as they slammed against the steel door locks, while the housekeepers went in and out of rooms. The noise was quite disruptive as I tried to work and talk on the telephone. Fortunately, this did not last long.

My second stay at this hotel was not nearly as impressive as the first one. This is not because I did not receive a room upgrade; there were several neglected areas in this guestroom.

The queen studio suite had similar furnishings in the kitchen area: a sink, full-size fridge, stovetop, microwave, dishwasher, coffeemaker, and microwave popcorn; however, this guestroom did not have a bar or table eating area.

only decaf coffee
kitchen floor; click on photo
to enlarge it to see debris
There was no regular coffee in the guestroom when I arrived, and there were only two forks in the silverware drawer. I noticed the missing coffee right away, so I went and got a packet from housekeeping in the hallway.

There was quite a bit of debris on the floor in the kitchen area that had not been cleaned. The next day, I noticed that the evening social menu was missing from the fridge. I had taken a photo of the menu when I stayed at this hotel the first time, so I was able to look that up to see what was being served that evening.

desk chair

A similar style desk and chair were located across from the kitchen area at the end of the couch. The work area was adequate, comfortable, and well-lit. The chair needed to be cleaned before I could use it.

The living room area contained the same style comfortable sofa, with a coffee table, and lamps. A flatscreen TV located between the living and sleeping areas could be turned for viewing from either area. I forgot to take a photo of the desk and living area, although I did take one of the sunset from the window in that room.

The bed in this guestroom was pretty much the same, except that it was a queen bed instead of a king bed. The bedding and pillows were the same quality and comfort. I was glad that the bedding was clean!

The bathroom area was the same except that this guestroom has a tub/shower combination instead of a walk-in shower. The vanity area  and closet contained the same items: same type hairdryer, laundry basket, iron, and ironing board.

I observed more debris on the bathroom floor, and some type of liquid stain on the floor by the closet.

closet/vanity room floor

If there had not been so many areas in the guestroom that had not been cleaned, I am sure I would have been just as comfortable in this guestroom as I had been in suite 428.

Food & Beverage
I did not remember the hours of the evening social, and I could not find this information in the guestroom during my second stay. It was not listed in the guestroom directory, and the menu photo I had taken did not include the hours. I called the front desk, and I was told that it is from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Both of my stays at this hotel were Monday through Wednesday, and the evening social is only offered Tuesday through Thursday, so I attended two evening socials.

I thought the food offerings in the morning and evening were decent. Along with scrambled eggs at breakfast, all of the fixins were provided for breakfast burritos: soft shells, cheese, tomato, etc. One other hot item was served in addition to scrambled eggs each morning--bacon, sausage, potatoes, or fried egg patties/rounds. A waffle maker, cold cereal, breads, yogurt, hard boiled eggs, cottage cheese, fruit, and beverages were provided as well.

The salad toppings both evenings were deluxe! They were fresh and plentiful. I love fresh salad, so I was quite happy with the salad offerings. The topping choices were too numerous to name, so I have included two photos from one of the evenings. There were two chilled sections of salad ingredients both evenings.

There were more food items served that what is listed on the menu. There were also snacks/chips and breads. The wine brand served was Stone Cellars, which I thought was acceptable for one or two glasses. I did not pay attention to the beer or soda brands.

Fitness center
The fitness center contained three cardio machines with cardio theater. I did not have a problem finding an available machine most times, although one morning all three were in use when I arrived. The room also contained a flastcreen TV, hand weights, a weight machine, scale, water cooler, and towels.

Misc. and overall
This is a newer property with a lot of nice features. It is in a good location close to shopping and dining.  One thing that I thought was odd about the setup, is that the outside sitting area faces the road, and the front entrance of the hotel is around the backside of the building facing the shopping center. Maybe this is so the evening sunset can be partially viewed from the patio area.

I hope that my second experience with the housekeeping neglect in the guestroom is not a reflection of how this property will look a year from now.