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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Foxborough, Massachusetts / Residence Inn

October 2013, Weekday, 1-night, King 1-bedroom #324

Status perks and check-in
I received the standard Platinum member bonus points. My guestroom upgrade experience at Residence Inn properties has been similar to Marriott Courtyard: I have sometimes received an upgrade after asking, and have rarely received an automatic room upgrade.

There was quite a commotion going on at this Residence Inn when I first arrived. I observed several police cars and a fire engine in front of the building, as well as many guests and employees standing in the parking lot. This hotel is located in a nice neighborhood, so I wondered what was going on. I got out of my car to talk with one of the employees. It sounded like a guest had set off the smoke alarm in one of the guest rooms. A short time later, everyone had cleared out, and I entered the hotel to check-in. I did not smell or observe anything out of the ordinary inside the hotel.

Guestroom 324
This guestroom is located on the back side of the building on the top floor. It was clean and comfortable. The guestroom had been recently remodeled, and the furnishings looked new. 

The kitchen area contained all of the Residence Inn amenities: full size fridge, electric range, dishwasher, microwave, coffeepot with supplies, dishes in the cupboards, microwave popcorn, and a table with two chairs. I have stayed in many Residence Inns with only a stovetop and no oven, although this guestroom had both.

The living room area contained an entry table, nice large work desk and chair, sofa, coffee table, and flatscreen TV on an armoire.

The bedroom contained a king size bed, nightstands with lamps, a telephone, and an alarm clock, and another flatscreen TV on an armoire.

The bathroom contained a tub/shower combination with a shower curtain on a curved rod.

The vanity was located outside of the bathing area, across from a closet. The vanity presented a problem for me. It was quite tall, and the sink is set back against the wall. I am 5' 3" tall, and I had to stand on my toes to brush my teeth!

I thought this guestroom was great when I arrived; however, my opinion changed after spending the night. The wireless Internet speed was incredibly slow, and the guestroom was not well soundproofed. Even though this is a one-bedroom suite, with a door on the bedroom, I could hear guests in the hall, and I was awakened by noisy guests that night. I could also smell smoke in my guestroom, even though this is a non-smoking hotel.

Food & Beverage
Minimal food was served at the evening social the night of my stay. The social calendar listed "nachos" on the menu, and that was definitely accurate. Refried beans were also included, as well as tossed salad, two unbranded sodas, and juice.

Breakfast the next morning included scrambled eggs, hash browns, Canadian bacon, cold cereals, oatmeal, breads and bagels, waffle maker, milk, juices, coffee, and tea.

Fitness center
The fitness center contained four cardio machines without cardio theater, hand weights, flatscreen TV, water cooler, towels, and sani-wipes.

Misc. and overall
This hotel is located in a business park area near an apartment community. There is a Marriott Courtyard just down the road. I chose the Residence Inn instead of the Courtyard because the cost was less. Afterward, I wished I had searched more diligently for a better rate at the Courtyard. 

I usually do my homework pretty well, and I did not do that this time. Some extra research before my stay would have alerted me about the things I did not like: hallway noise, evening social menu, and smoke smell in the guestroom. Several guest reviews on TripAdvisor, which I had not read before my stay, complain of smoke smell in the guestroom, and about noisy guests in the hall. The fact that these same complaints came from more than one guest, make me think that what I experienced was not unusual. I read a reply from the hotel manager to one of the reviewers about the smoke smell. She asked the guest to contact her since this hotel is 100% non-smoking. This kind of thing needs to be handled at the time of occurrence by hotel staff, IMO. The front desk agent asked me if everything was okay when I checked out, so I told her about the noisy guests, and the smoke smell. She did not say anything, except, "I am sorry." Also, if the hotel is 100% non-smoking, why isn't housekeeping trained to report this? I do not think it should be up to guests to make sure that a hotel lives up to its standards.

A couple of other things that should have tipped me off before my stay: A night at Residence Inn is not usually less than Courtyard, so I should have wondered why the cost was less, even after I noticed that the hotel had been remodeled. The evening social menu is listed on the hotel website, and I must have forgotten to check this before my stay. 

Another thing to consider, if you collect Marriott Rewards points, is that points at extended stay properties, like Residence Inn, are earned at only half the rate of a hotel, like the Courtyard. I am glad that I now have my stay documented, in case I do not remember this experience the next time I need a hotel in this area.