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Thursday, March 10, 2016

Hollywood, Florida/Holiday Inn-Ft. Lauderdale airport

February 2016,  Sunday, 1-night, 2 Queen beds Jr. suite 427

view of the pool from our table outside the restaurant

Arrival and status perks

We arrived at the Holiday Inn Ft. Lauderdale Airport in the morning, as we had just returned from a cruise, and did not have anywhere else to go after getting off the ship. I did not expect our room to be ready at 8:30 a.m., although I did expect better service than we received.

The agent at the front desk provided mediocre service when we arrived. He did not acknowledge my status, he did not say anything about what type of room I was waiting for, and he did not tell me when to expect the room to be ready. He said he would let me know when our room was ready. He did not request my telephone number. I knew my cell phone number was listed in my IHG profile, so I assumed he would call when our room was ready. This was not a problem for us in the beginning. We checked our luggage, and then went to the pool area. A few hours later (around 11:00 a.m.), I returned to the front desk, after I observed other guests checking in. The same employee merely told me it would be sometime after noon when I asked how long he thought it would be. A few hours after this, my husband went to the front desk. He happened to get the other employee working at the front desk, who then called someone after he checked the computer. This second employee then called us just before 2:00 p.m. to say that our room was ready. He, also, did not recognize my status, or provide any hotel or guestroom information when he provided the keys.

When I checked out the next morning, I told the front desk agent that no one had asked me which on-property Platinum perk I wanted when we checked in. I casually mentioned that it had been kind of busy the day before. He apologized, and said that is no excuse. He said he would take care of this, and the 500 bonus points posted to my account within 24 hours. I would probably have a different perception of this hotel, if this employee had been working the day we checked in.

I redeemed a free night certificate for a guestroom with two queen beds on the executive level for this stay. We did not receive a guestroom on the executive level, and I am not sure what room type we actually received, or if it was an upgrade--since no one told me anything! Read on for further information about the guestroom.

Guestroom 427

I think this guestroom is a Jr. suite with 2 queen beds on the non-executive level. The rate for a Jr. suite is about $15 more than an executive floor guestroom with two queen beds, so it appears this guestroom was an upgrade. Guestroom 427 is located near the end of the hall on floor 4 of this 6-story hotel. The view is out the front of the building overlooking the parking lot. I could not find any pictures on the IHG website of a guestroom like the one we had. Looking at the guestroom diagram on the back of the door, this room is not larger than most of the other rooms on this floor. It looks a bit wider than some of the rooms; however, it is also shorter. This is evident in the diagram and from the outside of the building.

screen shot from Google maps
The sitting area located near the entrance included a small kitchenette area. A countertop and cupboards were located to the right of the door when entering the room. Amenities included an ice bucket, a couple of small plastic cups, a microwave, small fridge, and single-serve coffeemaker with supplies. A small table and two chairs were located in front of the counter, along with a suitcase bench and closet. A telephone was mounted on the wall.

A sofa, end tables, coffee table, and desk and chair were located across from the kitchenette. Since I forgot to take a photo of the guestroom layout, I created a diagram to illustrate this. The diagram is merely to show the guestroom layout, as it is not to scale. You can enlarge the diagram by clicking on it.
diagram of guestroom 427

Two queen beds were located next to the sofa with a nightstand between the two beds (nightstand omitted in my diagram). A flatscreen TV was located on a small armoire at the foot of the first bed. There was a large window on the outside wall, which could not be opened.

The bathroom in this guestroom was fabulous! The spacious room contained a beautiful walk-in tile shower with glass doors. Tile was also laid on the bathroom floor and part way up the wall.

The decent size vanity contained Bath & Body Works amenities. A hairdryer was mounted on the wall. The towels were good quality.

The Internet quality was poor. I had trouble with pages loading by the pool and in the guestroom.

The beds were comfortable, and we did not have any problems with noise from outside the guestroom. The cigarette odor in our guestroom was very strong from people smoking nearby. This hotel is smoke-free; however, I could not tell if the smoke was somehow entering from outside, or if it was coming from inside the hotel.

Pool and outside area

The pool area at this hotel is nice. The pool is a lagoon style with tropical landscaping around the area. There is a small whirlpool tub, and the water temperature was good. There were several loungers around the pool, as well as tables with an umbrella and chairs. The evening lighting around the pool area was nice for conversation, although it was not bright enough to play a game or anything at the table. We started playing cards at a table by the pool before dark and had to quit after it got dusk out.

Food & Beverages

This facility has a lot of potential for dining and lounge service because of the nice set up around the pool with inside and outside seating at the restaurant and at the bar. After our experience, I would not recommend having anything to eat or drink at this property. The service was some of the worst I have ever had. The bartender/server never came to greet us when we were sitting at a table near the pool while we were waiting for our guestroom. They sell burgers cooked on an outside grill starting at noon, and my husband had stopped to let him know we wanted to order some a bit later. Since the bartender/server was not busy, I expected him to check on us at some point to see if we were ready. And, maybe see if we wanted something to drink!

After we got our guestroom, we returned to the outside bar area and took a seat. The burgers we ordered had good flavor, and the service remained unchanged. I talked with this same employee later at the bar and in the restaurant, when I was checking to see if I could get liquid creamer for my in-room coffee. He did not help me, and neither did another employee I spoke with in the restaurant. A third employee walked over to offer assistance when she saw I had been standing by the restaurant entrance several minutes (both of the other employees had spoken with me and said okay, so I thought one of them was getting me creamer). She returned with the cream in less than 30 seconds! I wish I had gotten her name so I could commend her on her excellent service and attitude. Obtaining cream should not have been a difficult thing, as this hotel boasts about having coffee available in the lobby 24-hours on the recording that plays while on hold. Coffee was not available in the lobby at any time during our stay.

Later that evening, our son went downstairs to order some wings to bring back to the room, and ended up leaving after more than 30 minutes without anything. He ordered, waited, inquired about his order, waited, and then finally left when everyone in the bar where he had placed the order ignored him. He did not learn if his order had been placed because no one took the time to confirm this or answer him after he inquired about his order status. Our son is an adult in his 30s, so it is not like he was a child they might not take seriously.


Our experience with the shuttle service was good; however, not all guests felt that way. Following are the details of our shuttle ride to the airport. We signed up for a ride to the airport at 5:30 a.m. Apparently, the shuttle actually leaves three minutes later, because our driver had forgotten her phone, and she wanted to know if it was three minutes after [5:30] yet before she departed. It was exactly 5:30 when she asked; however, someone told her yes, so we departed at 5:30 a.m. We were flying Delta, which is in terminal 2, so it was the second stop. We arrived at our stop before 5:45 a.m.

Another passenger on the shuttle was flying American Airlines, which is in terminal 3. Her flight had been canceled the day before, and she said it had taken her a long time to get through check-in before it canceled. When she learned our flight was just after 7:00 a.m., she said, "Aren't you worried about missing your flight?" She had wanted to go to the airport at 5:00 a.m., and they told her she had to go at 5:30. Since her flight was in terminal 3, she was still on the bus when we got off. We would have gladly gone to the airport a bit earlier, if someone in the hotel had called us to ask if this was okay. There were a couple of other passengers on the shuttle, too, and I do not know their situation.

Overall and misc.

The stairways in this hotel are located outside like fire exit stairs. They are covered; however, once you access the stairs, you are outside and need to use your key to re-enter the building.

If you are staying in this hotel without a vehicle, there are not a lot of dining options right by the hotel. There were a few convenience foods in the mini-mart of the Shell gas station in front of the hotel. McDonalds and Denny's were located across the street next to the Days Inn. If you are up for a walk, Oakwood Plaza is less than one mile away. Oakwood Plaza is a shopping center with several restaurants. My husband and I walked there last time we stayed at this hotel in 2005; however, we did not walk there this time.

screen shot from Google maps
If we had realized it was going to be six hours before our room was ready, we would have walked to Oakwood Plaza when we first arrived, and then returned after lunch. Usually, when I arrive at a hotel early, front desk staff communicates with housekeeping, and then we check in within a couple of hours. Since we initially expected our guestroom to be ready in two to three hours, we had thought we might walk to Oakwood Plaza after we got settled in the guestroom and refreshed. Shortly after noon, when we realized that was not happening, we decided we would just have burgers from the hotel grill instead.

I chose this hotel for the nice pool area. And, last time we stayed here, we were very happy with the executive floor guestroom we had. This time, we were so unhappy with the poor communication and lack of service that I will never choose this hotel again. We also did not like the strong cigarette smell entering the guestroom. There are many more FLL airport hotels to choose from.

Let me know if you have any questions, and please feel free to share this post!