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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Austin, Texas--AUS / Hilton Austin Airport

October 2014, Weekday, 1-night, King guestroom #340

Status perks and check-in
I stayed at the Hilton Austin Airport with a small group, and did not pay for my room; therefore, I could not receive all of the usual Gold perks. My Hilton Honors number had been added to the reservation because I called beforehand to ask about receiving my guestroom preferences (king bed, non-smoking, etc.). Because of this, the agent recognized my status at check-in and I received two bottles of water. I also received late checkout when I called to request this the next day.

Guestroom 340
This guestroom is located on the third floor on the inside, so the view from the window overlooks the interior courtyard/bar seating area. Two other guests in our group also had inside rooms. I thought a guestroom on the outside perimeter would have been nicer, although I do not know since I was not in a guestroom on the outside. I did not learn whether anyone in our group had a guestroom with an outside view.

I was in another guestroom on the second floor, and that room was much smaller than this one. I do not recall the room number of the guestroom on the second floor, although I do recall the location. It was the first guestroom next to the west elevator, and I have marked it with a yellow arrow on the guestroom diagram. Guestroom 340 is marked with a red arrow. You can click on the photo to enlarge it.

I did not take photos of the guestroom when I first arrived because I was not sure I would have time to write this review, and I did not have much time then. The photos in this blog were taken the next morning, so please pardon the mess.

The guestroom was spacious, and the bed and pillows were comfortable. I did not sit on the sofa or the desk chair, so I cannot comment about the seating comfort. I thought the sofa looked old and dingy/un-fresh. I did not hear any noise from outside the guestroom or overhead.

The bathroom near the entrance was a decent size with adequate vanity counter space. It contained a tub/shower combination with a curtain on a curved rod. Bath amenities, towels, and a hairdryer were provided.

A dual single-serve coffeemaker with supplies was setup on a counter outside of the bathroom, across from the closet. An ice bucket and glasses were also provided in this area. This is something I always like about Hilton properties--other than Hampton Inns, they seem to make a special effort to supply counter space outside of the bathroom for coffee and water.

The closet contained hangers, a folding luggage rack, a safe, and an iron and ironing board.

There were two things I did not like about this guestroom. It smelled like stale smoke, and it was very dark. I turned on all of the lights in the guestroom, and it was still quite dim.

I then called to make sure this guestroom is a non-smoking room, and I asked if housekeeping could come and spray room freshener. Someone did come and spray the room, although it did not help much. I have been in this situation before, and the employee usually sprays the room floor corners and the drapes. This employee sprayed in the air, which only helped temporarily.

I think the furnishings in the guestroom (sofa, carpet, drapes) all needed to be replaced, cleaned, or at least sprayed with odor eliminator. The employee who sprayed the room agreed that she could also smell the stale smoke.

Food & Beverage
I had a glass of wine in the lounge, which was good quality, although the service was terrible. We observed a server walk by us a few times after a colleague and I seated ourselves at a table that needed to be cleaned. The table was free of debris; however, it needed to be washed. Over 10 minutes later, the person I was with walked to the bar to get our beverages. When more colleagues joined us, they also had to go to the bar to get their own beverages.

We all went to dinner in the hotel restaurant after this. The food and service in the restaurant was excellent. I had the spinach berry salad with grilled salmon. Others had items ranging from the vegetable wrap to steak, and everyone agreed the food was excellent.

The next day, our group had breakfast and lunch in an event room. I thought breakfast was mediocre, and lunch was excellent. Both meals were served buffet style, and servers picked up our plates and such from our tables. Service in the event room was excellent.

For breakfast, we had scrambled eggs, bacon, and sausage gravy and biscuits. Pitchers of water and coffee were available. I am sure orange juice was also present, although I do not recall for sure. I know that milk was not available because I would have had some if it was. I probably could have gotten a glass of milk, if I had requested this. We had a Mexican type luncheon: tossed salad, soft tortillas, beef and chicken with onions and peppers, and tres leeches cake. Assorted condiments were provided for the salad and tortillas, such as shredded cheese, diced tomatoes, pico de gallo, salsa, dressings, and sour cream. All of the lunch food was fabulous!

Fitness center
The fitness center was adequate, and the treadmills were equipped with audio theater. The equipment I used functioned properly.

Shuttle and misc.
This hotel is located in the airport; however, there is not a walkway from the airport to the hotel. One of the reasons I had called prior to this stay was to inquire about a walkway between the airport and hotel. I always like it when I can get to the hotel on my own without shuttle service, like the Gateway Marriott ATL, the Boston airport Hilton, the Westin Detroit airport, and the Hilton Chicago O'Hare airport.

I traveled with a friend and colleague this trip, and I called for the shuttle as soon as we neared the shuttle pickup area since we did not have any checked bags. The female employee who answered the telephone said she would send the driver to pick us up. When the Hilton shuttle did not arrive, I called again 10 to 15 minutes later. The male employee who answered the telephone the second time apologized, and said that it should have only taken a few minutes for the shuttle to get to the airport. Our shuttle arrived less than five minutes after the second call. We are not certain, although it appeared that the female employee had not relayed our first request for pickup. When we checked in, my friend was assisted by a female front desk agent, and I was assisted by the male employee. My friend did not receive any bottled water or recognition, even though she provided her Hilton Honors number, and the male employee who assisted me provided personable and thorough service.

When we returned to the airport, the service was friendly and quick.

This hotel does not have an executive floor.