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Friday, April 3, 2015

Southfield, Michigan / Embassy Suites Detroit - Southfield

March 2015, Weekend, 1-night, King suite #730

I had read a few reviews for this Embassy Suites that were not very good. Again, we had found an inexpensive rate, and this was one of the stops on our trip, which would help me maintain Gold status with Hilton. We had stayed at the Embassy Suites at the Detroit airport a few years ago, and it was nice; however, that location was out of our way, and the cost was more. We hoped for a clean, comfortable guestroom at this hotel, and we were not disappointed. I would choose this hotel again.

sunset from bedroom window

Status perks and check-in, including online check-in

I did online check-in with Hilton for the first time the day before we arrived at this hotel. I had looked at online check-in before our stay at the DoubleTree Port Huron; however, I did not fully understand the process, so I did not complete it then. At the DoubleTree, the room assigned to me had been 207, and I did not go through the process far enough to see that I could have chosen a guestroom on a different floor. I had been afraid of choosing a poor room and not being able to get out of it.

When I started online check-in for the Embassy Suites Detroit - Southfield, I had been pre-assigned a room on the second floor, just like at the DoubleTree. I was confused by this because my Hilton Honors profile says high floor. I went through the process further this time, and I was able to see guestrooms on floors up to floor 7. Although most Hilton Honors or executive floors are on higher floors, I have stayed in a couple of hotels that have them on a lower floor, so I decided to call the hotel. I explained what I was doing, and I asked if they have a specific floor for Hilton Honors members. I was told that they do not have this yet because the guestrooms were being remodeled. I asked if any of the guestrooms had already been remodeled, and I was told no. The agent said they are working on floors 8 and 9, and she would suggest floor 7. I thanked her, and then completed online check-in. I chose guestroom 730 because it was a corner room, and it did not show a connecting room door.

We arrived just before 3:00 p.m. The front desk agent started to complete the check-in process. She acknowledged my status, and mentioned the guestroom number I had chosen during online check-in. I asked if that was a good choice, and she said yes. She said it would be in a quiet location. Someone from housekeeping happened to be in the front desk area, and they said they wanted to double check my room to make sure everything was in order. The front desk agent provided a key so we could look at the pool area while we waited. After we looked at the pool area, we went back outside to get our luggage and then sat down in the lobby to wait. A few minutes later, the front desk agent walked to the lobby to bring us our key packet. She provided excellent and professional service.

Guestroom 730

This guestroom is located in the corner not too far from the elevator. The corner rooms located farther from the elevator had not shown as available when I did online check-in, or I would have chosen one of them instead. I have provided some photos here, and there are more in the Facebook page album. I expect that the furnishings in these photos will not be the same after the renovations are complete, although this should still be a good representation of the guestroom layout and amenities provided.

The guestroom was in dire need of remodeling, as some previous guests had said, and renovations were in process during our stay. We were happy that the bedding was clean, the bathroom was tiled and clean, the desk chairs were leather, and the room smelled fresh.

The living room area contained a sofa, footstool, end table with lamp and telephone, chair, flatscreen TV on a stand, desk and chair, closet, and beverage area across from the closet. A lamp on the desk had outlets on the base.

The desk had a slide out shelf, which extends the desk area on one side. I always like that feature when I am traveling for work. I would have preferred the telephone at the desk, if this stay had been for work, although that is not a deal breaker.

The beverage center contained a small fridge, microwave, coffeemaker with supplies, and a sink. The light over this area either did not work, or we could not figure out how to turn it on. We tried every switch we found in the guestroom, and it did not light up.

An ice bucket and glass glasses were located on the stand under the TV.

The closet across from the beverage center had mirrored doors, and it contained a folding luggage rack. There were no hangers in this closet, so we took a couple from the other closet for our coats.

The bathroom contained a decent size vanity, and a tub/shower combination. A shower curtain was hung on a curved rod. Two more glass glasses were provided on the vanity.

The towels and hairdryer were good quality, and the bath amenities were Giovanni brand. I had never used Giovanni brand nor received this brand in a hotel before. I thought the products were excellent quality.

A door separated the bedroom and bathroom from the rest of the guestroom. The bedroom contained a second closet, a second flatscreen TV on an armoire, desk and chair, king size bed, and nightstands with lamps, a lighted clock, and a telephone.

There was not a full length mirror in the guestroom, although the mirrored doors on the front closet provided an "okay" substitute.

There was an excellent view of the sunset from the large window in the bedroom (photo at the top of this post), although the glass was quite dirty.

The bed and pillows were comfortable, and this room was well-soundproofed. We were not disturbed by outside traffic or guests in the hall. In the morning, after I had already partially awoken, I could hear a faint hum, which I assume was coming from the elevators. The noise was barely audible, and did not wake me up--my husband had done that! Our stay was on a Saturday night, and no one was working in the guestrooms overhead. 

Food & Beverage

All Embassy Suites provide an evening social and breakfast included with the room rate. Both events were held in the lounge, as the atrium renovations were not completed at the time of our stay. The new furniture was set up in the atrium, and we were able to sit out there with our beverages and food. The seats in the atrium were super comfy. The lounge seats were not very comfortable, and it was dark in the bar area.

one of the atrium tables where we sat
The food items at the evening social were snack type foods only: chips and dip, fresh vegetables and dip, and Gardetto type snack mix. Beverages included white and red wines (merlot and cabernet), three beer choices, and some liquors. Other items were available for purchase. I do not recall the brand name of the wine, although I thought the merlot flavor was decent. It was not bitter nor too sweet. Two of the beer choices were Budweiser and Blue Moon.

All of the servers/attendants and bartenders provided excellent service except for one female bartender whose name I wish I had gotten (average build, light color hair--kind of reddish blonde).

Occasionally, I have been able to get a decent quality margarita at Embassy Suites during the evening social, so I inquired about the tequila brand I did not recognize. Unfortunately, the rude bartender was the one who assisted me. She said she did not have Triple Sec, and that the tequila was "cheap, cheap, cheap." She had mix, so I asked her to make me a margarita with just a splash of orange juice. The entire time she made the beverage, she said things like, "cheap, cheap, cheap, dollar store cheap," and on and on. I had to stop her when she added the orange juice because she was putting in more than a splash. Too busy rambling on about "cheap, cheap, cheap," to pay attention to what she was doing! The drink was not too bad, and it could have been better with good service. If I was the bartender, I would have salted the glass, added less orange juice, and provided a lime.

I thought this female bartender was rude before the incident I had with her, and I observed her having an altercation with another guest at the end of the evening. I was not present when the contact started, so I do not know the circumstances at the beginning. Guests were supposed to wear wristbands to the social hour, and it sounded like the bartender had questioned this guest about having one. I had not observed anyone else having to show their wristband, and it sounded like the guest was unhappy because she felt like she had been singled out among everyone else. From what I observed, I thought they were both out of line! They were arguing very loudly when I entered the lounge from the atrium. A different female who had been attentive, kind, and professional earlier (thin, long dark brown hair) filled my wine glass for me, and the other bartender and guest were still arguing loudly when I left.

Breakfast in the morning included an omelet station, buffet food, and beverages. Some of the items available were scrambled eggs, sausage links, breads, grits, cold cereals, cottage cheese, yogurt, bananas, apples, milks, juices, and coffee. I am sure I have forgotten a couple of things, although this list covers most of the items.

The omelet chef did an excellent job, and an attendant in the atrium greeted guests and cleared tables. I thought everyone working in the morning provided excellent service! There was one omelet station open, and the area was not very busy when we arrived. There were two sports teams staying at the hotel (one high school and one college, I overheard a staff member say), and the breakfast area got very busy before the end of our meal. Two omelet stations were open before we departed. I know that many teenage boys eat a lot as they are growing and active; however, I was surprised to see one teenager with an overflowing plate of sausage links! He was not overweight, as were none of the other players I observed. I cannot imagine how much food this hotel went through that morning.

Pool area

The hot tub in the pool area was a decent size, and we had thought we would use it when we checked in. There were a few teenagers in the area when we arrived, and later the hotel was buzzing with activity, so we did not use the pool area during our stay.

Misc. and overall

This hotel has strict rules posted about guests wearing the wristband, and enforcing quiet time after 10:00 p.m. I was glad to see this because I prefer a quiet hotel in the evening for sleeping. Even though this hotel seemed quite full, we did not hear any noise from our room after the evening social. 

I observed a shuttle bus in front of this hotel, and the website says they provide shuttle service within a five-mile radius. SpringHill Suites and Hilton Garden Inn are also located in this area. The online map shows a couple of restaurants within walking distance near SpringHill Suites, although we did not walk over that way.

We would definitely stay in this hotel again. The service was excellent, and I expect the guestrooms will be fantastic after the renovations are completed. Let me know if you have any questions!