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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

O'Fallon, Missouri -- Hilton Garden Inn St. Louis/O'Fallon

October 2013, Weekday, 1-night, King guestroom #347

Status perks and check-in
I did not receive any extras, and the agent did not recognize my Gold status. Since Hilton usually provides two bottles of water, I asked about this after check-in was completed, and then the agent gave me two bottles of water.

The guestroom was furnished with the standard Hilton Garden Inn furnishings: beverage area with small fridge, microwave, and coffeemaker; king-sized bed with nightstands and lamps; flatscreen TV on an armoire; desk and chair, and soft chair with footstool. 

I was happy and impressed to see a Keuring K-cup coffeemaker in the guestroom. I do not recall ever having one in a Hilton Garden Inn before. 

There was an ethernet cord on the desk, and there were two telephones in the guestroom--one on the desk, and one on one of the nightstands next to the bed.

Even though the bed in the guestroom was a Sleep Number bed, I did not think it was comfortable. I adjusted the number on the bed, and it did not seem to make any difference. Additionally, the sheets were low quality--rough and stiff feeling. 
Another problem with the sleep quality was noise from the other guestrooms. The guests near me were not making a lot of noise; the walls were very thin. I had this same problem recently at the Hilton Garden Inn in Savannah, Georgia, and I wrote about it in that review.

This guestroom did not have enough electrical outlets. I like to have four accessible outlets outside of the bathroom to use overnight, and I like one of those to be next to the bed for my cell phone. I do not like it when I have to reach behind the furniture to find an outlet. When one of the lamps did not work after I flipped the switch, I discovered that it had been unplugged. Later, when I realized that there was not an available outlet by the bed, I understood why the lamp had been unplugged!

The bathroom was an adequate size with a tub/shower combination. A shower curtain was hung on a curved rod, and a decent size vanity and mirror were located across from the shower area. Bathing amenities were on the vanity, and a hairdryer was provided. 

The toilet paper in the bathroom was extremely coarse/rough. I do not know what brand it was; however, it was not anything I have ever purchased, nor had I ever experienced that kind of quality in a hotel room before. Since the toilet paper holder held two rolls, there was not a wrapped spare roll to show the brand name.

The bathroom had several cleanliness issues. There were many hairs in the shower, which I did not notice until after I had turned the water on. Because of that, you can see water in some of the photos I am posting. These photos were taken before I stepped into the shower, and it was not my hair, because I have very long dark blonde/reddish hair. Not short, straight black hair, like the ones in the photos. 

The corner between the tub and the bathroom door was moldy, old, and nasty looking. Click on the photo to enlarge it, if you want to see what I mean. 

The bottom of the tub had a few minor dings/damage, which I probably would have completely overlooked, had it not been for the other issues.



tub bottom

Business center
The business center photo on the hotel website is pretty accurate. I like that Hilton Garden Inn business centers always have everything I need: a computer, printer/copy machine, tape, white-out, Post-it notes, paper clips, envelopes, and a stapler.

Fitness center
I was not able to use the fitness center because all of the treadmills were in use both times that I visited. I thought that there were more than the two treadmills that are shown in the hotel website photo; however, since I left the room very quickly, I can not say for sure.

Misc. and overall
I arrived at this Hilton Garden Inn from the north, and I thought that I would see the hotel sign from I-64, or the hotel name on the sign on the off ramp. Since I did not see the hotel or any signs, I hoped that my GPS was correct when I got off I-64 at Winghaven Blvd. The hotel location matched my GPS, although I did not see any hotel signs until I was directly in front of the property.

Hilton Garden Inn used to be one of my favorite reasonably priced business hotels. I like that I receive bottled water at check-in, I like the beverage area in the guestroom, the bed is usually comfortable, and they always have a fabulous business center. My recent stays are causing me to re-think whether I want to keep Hilton Garden Inn at the top of my hotel choice list. I did not like the super thin walls in my last two hotels, and this hotel was not well maintained. Given the condition of the bathroom in my guestroom, I tend to think that the bed mattress was not as comfortable as usual because it needed to be replaced. 

I was shocked to read that this hotel has a 2013 TripAdvisor certificate of excellence award.

Area dining
Bristol Seafood Grill is located in the same parking lot as the hotel. In fact, it is so close that it almost looked like it is part of the hotel. I thought the menu that I had found online looked fabulous, so I called in a to-go order for the Lobster Cobb Salad. The salad cost is $4 more on the dinner menu than it is on the lunch menu, and I doubt that there is much size difference. This is a photo of the dinner Lobster Cobb Salad.

I have had excellent lobster salads before, and I was not happy with the service or the food flavor at this restaurant. One of the best lobster salads I ever had was at the InterContinental hotel at Doral in Miami, Florida

Bristol Seafood Grill reopens at 4 p.m. for dinner after being closed from 2 to 4 p.m. I called shortly after 4 p.m. to place my order, and I was put on hold for over one minute. Counting my hold time, it took me over three minutes to place my order. All I ordered was the salad, and I did not have any questions. This is not a huge deal, although it was consistent with the type of service I received. 

When I arrived to pick up my order, the hostess by the door was cheerful and immediately greeted me; however, I was not greeted after she directed me to the bar area. There were not any patrons in the bar area, and even though no one greeted me, I assumed that the employees had overheard that I was picking up a to-go order, and that it was not ready yet. I stood at the bar, and after I had been waiting a few minutes, a man who walked out from the back, asked me if I was being helped. I said that I was waiting to pick up my to-go order. After this, an employee who had been seated at the bar, walked to the kitchen. When she returned, she told me that my order was almost ready. I assume that the male employee was the manager, and that the female employee who had been sitting at the bar was the bartender. I had expected her to greet me, check on my order, and offer to take a beverage order while I waited! Other employees had also walked through the bar area before the gentleman who greeted me, and none of them had acknowledged me either.

I was further disappointed after I returned to my hotel to enjoy my salad. The ingredients were fresh; however, the flavor was bland. Based on this experience, I would not recommend this restaurant, and I would never dine there again.  

After I published this post, I shared my experience with Bristol Seafood Grill. I am happy to report that someone immediately contacted me. The fact that they place importance on guest satisfaction, makes me more willing to change my viewpoint the next time I have the opportunity to dine at Bristol Seafood Grill.