I was in Denver and Washington DC for business last week, and I was able to stay 3 nights in 3 different SPG properties. Doing this not only allowed me to get one free night toward SPG’s great promotion that I hate, but it also let me get the Foursquare Check-in Bonus three different times, for 750 (3×250) additional points. Nice! Everything went smoothly last week. While I didn’t get any upgrades as a Gold member, I really had no issues, and I was quite pleased with the hotels I stayed at. I stayed at the following places:
- Aloft Denver International Airport
- Westin National Harbor
- Sheraton Dulles Airport
I flew from DC straight to Vegas for the long weekend, where I spent it with my family at Lake Mohave (more posts on that at a later date – it’s basically my favorite place in the world haha). I had business this week in New York so I flew from Vegas via LAX to New York. Even though I was staying in the same city for three nights this week, I made sure to swap hotels. I stayed a night at each of the following hotels:
- Sheraton Four Points Manhattan Chelsea
- Element Times Square
- The Manhattan at Times Square
There were some surprisingly low rates at these places so I decided to stay at them, even though they are mostly lower end properties. My first night at the Sheraton Four Points Manhattan Chelsea was a real bummer. I don’t expect much from this type of a hotel, but I do expect cleanliness, and that was NOT delivered. The whole bathroom was a bit gross, but the shower drain definitely takes the cake. YUCK!
In all fairness, after complaining, the Sheraton Four Points ended up refunding my stay. I appreciate them offering some sort of compensation for a filthy stay, but I would have preferred the bathroom to just be clean in the first place.
Next up was the Element Times Square. I actually have the least bad to say about this hotel. In fact, I really love this place. I think it’s the best “low-end” SPG property in the city. The rates typically hover only slightly above the rate for one of the grungy Four Points properties in the city, and this place is brand new. There’s free breakfast, an above average gym, and every room has a fridge/freezer. Additionally, the bathrooms are very clean and very new. It’s a short walk to Penn Station, and it’s only a block away from the nearest subway stop. They also do a “happy hour” every day with free hot snacks. My complaint is an isolated incident, I believe. I got to the hotel at 7:45AM in the morning because I had a bunch of laundry to drop off. I knew that if I got it in by 9AM (but i shot for 8, just to be on the safe side), I’d be able to get it back wtih same day service. I turned in my laundry, and as it said on the sheet of paper, I should get my laundry back by 7PM. I went out to dinner that night, and I expected to return to my laundry in the closet. Nope. I called down. They said it should be here in an hour or so. An hour passed. Nope. I had an early meeting the next morning so I wanted to get to bed soon. I called down at 9:30PM, and the woman at the front desk told me she expected it by 10:30PM. 10:30PM?! What kind of dry cleaning place returns the laundry at 10:30PM?! In the end, I got my laundry just a few minutes shy of midnight. So while I do like the hotel, and I will stay there again, their bad service caused me to get a crappy rest.
And then last night I was at the Manhattan at Times Square. I had read some reviews of this place on Flyertalk, and I didn’t expect much, and let’s just say it didn’t exceed my expectations at all. Checking in was uneventful. The woman working there was actually quite friendly and welcomed me to the hotel. The crowd at the hotel was quite odd – typically New York hotels mid-week are filled mostly with businesspeople, but this seemed to have tour groups, lots of students, and a lot of foreigners. The hotel must do a lot of bulk bookings for discount travel agents. As soon as I got on the elevator, I could sense that this was a pretty run down, old hotel, in need of some major renovation. I didn’t care too much, though, as I was only there for a night. I unpacked all of my stuff and went down to the gym. The gym was pretty mediocre. There are a few treadmills, a few elypticals, and a couple machines with a rack of free weights.
I came back up to my room, and I hopped in the shower. The bathroom was extremely small, and it had an old shower curtain that looked pretty worn. When I got out of the bathroom, I noticed that there were some random black stain marks on the walls in the room, but most of all, I started hearing loud rumbling noises against one of my walls. It sounded like a few washing machines were next to my wall. It was about 9PM, and I called to ask when the laundry machines would be turned off. The woman at the front desk told me that the hotel did not have any laundry service. Hmmm… So I asked her if she knew what those noises were? She said she the machines had to do with the hotel’s cooling system and they would be turned off within an hour. That sounded like an odd response, but whatever – I went with it. I was curious what those machines were, though, and I decided to enter the double-door employees-only area next to my room to see what those machines could be. I found these things parked against the wall.
These just looked like laundry carts of some sort to me, though… It was doubtful that these were making all the noise. There was a door next to this area of carts, though, and it was locked. I put my ear up to the door, but there wasn’t any noise coming out of there at the time (the machines I heard kept switching on and off sporadically).
I have no idea which was making all of the noise. While I was told the noise would stop in an hour, after two hours, it was still continuing. When I eventually fell asleep at 2AM, the noise was still going… and when I woke up at 7:45AM, the noise was still there. I would have switched rooms if I would have known that the noise was not going to stop, like I was told it would.
In any case, it was a rough week of slumming it with Starwood. The Four Points Chelsea and the Manhattan hotel are somewhat gross – I would not recommend staying there. The Element is a great place, but I had an incident of bad service that messed up my schedule.
The silver lining is that after these past two weeks, I only need one more SPG stay to get three nights for the promo, and that’s all I want. I’ll be using those three nights for a week at the St. Regis Punta Mita just outside of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico! I’m not the only one. One of our bloggers, Brad, has the same plan.