- Reason for Stay: Work
- Time/Duration of Stay: Feb - Apr 2018
- Travel Schedule: Sun - Fri (weekly check in/out)
I stayed at this hotel for weekly travel to a client in Long Island. Overall, the rooms were clean and comfortable, if small by Residence Inn standards. The property included some non-standard facilities and amenities, though the decor is largely outdated.
This property is certainly unique. I have heard variously that it was once a boarding school, or that it was a conference center. In either case, it has facilities and amenities not typically found at a Residence Inn, such as a full-service restaurant, and room service. The downside of this unique history is that the decor remains the same and has not been updated from the hotel's prior use. Further, the hotel primarily caters to snowbirds, especially in the summer; so there would seem to be little motivation to update the decor. It doesn't bother me, but it may be an issue for some. Personally, I like some of the touches, such as the piano music playing in the lobby.
Covered entrance to the lobby
View of the lobby from the main entrance. The bar is straight across, on the opposite side of the lobby.
Lobby, front desk, and market.
A typical guestroom hallway.
Like the hotel itself, the rooms are clean and comfortable (which is my primary concern when traveling for work), but with outdated decor. Personally, it didn't bother me, other than the bathrooms feeling particularly small, with almost no counter space. I did not find the work space to be adequate. The small desk and uncomfortable chair were not ergonomically well-suited to laptop work. I found myself using the breakfast bar or dining table when working, though neither was a great option when working for several hours.
"Larger" king studio, viewed from the door.
"Larger" king studio, viewed from the balcony.
The tub/shower built-ins are particularly small, in some cases not even being wide enough for my shoulders to stand squarely facing the shower head.
Tiny shower/tub enclosure.
Virtually no counter space. Note the medicine cabinet in the mirror above the sink.
The bathrooms are so small, the hand towel rack is installed behind the door.
The other thing to note about the rooms is that - likely due to the prior use(s) of the property - not all rooms are alike, even for a given category. A standard king may have a king or a queen. The kitchenette may have a breakfast bar for seating, or a small, two-person table. The room layouts change. Some rooms have balconies; others do not.
Nice view from this balcony.
Unfortunately, the balcony wasn't the cleanest.
On the positive side, every room I stayed in had a walk-in closet. In-room storage would not ever be a problem for most people staying here.
Some ground-floor rooms have patios; I actually requested to be moved from one such room to a room without exterior access, and that request was promptly granted. I generally do not like rooms with exterior access, especially when housekeeping continually opens all curtains/blinds every day, inviting all and sundry to peer into my room. I'm also the type not to leave anything within sight in my car, so, take that as you will. One person's security consciousness is another person's paranoia.
As with most Marriott properties, the staff were all friendly and helpful. This is one of the selling points for me for Marriott, and this hotel does not disappoint.
There were minor issues, such as housekeeping changing my room thermostat a couple times, and one time removing items from my refrigerator; but otherwise, the overall housekeeping service - particuarly, the standard of basic service, such as cleanliness, towel/toiletry replenishment, etc. - was much more consistent than I have experienced at several other properties.
I had one occurrence of very loud neighbors who woke me up several times in the middle of the night (2-4AM, approximately), and when I called the front desk to complain, the desk attendant told me that he would "make note of it." I eventually had to get dressed, go next door, and ask my neighbors to quiet down. I am not a light sleeper, and have only been kept up/awoken one other time in all my Marriott hotel stays. In that instance, the front desk came and broke up a 3AM party, and sent all non-hotel guests home. That was... impressive. At a minimum, I would expect the hotel to be proactive in enforcing quiet hours, and not merely "make note of" noise complaints.
The breakfast buffet is plentiful, and always well-stocked. The breakfast meats are changed/rotated daily (can I get an "amen!"?). The coffee (during breakfast) is actually very good. (Note: outside of breakfast hours, coffee is available via a self-serve machine in an alcove off of the lobby; I did not try it.)
One of the benefits of the hotel having a full-service restaurant, and catering to an older clientele, is that this Residence Inn still provides the old Residence Inn standard, full dinner, Monday through Thursday. In a time in which most Residence Inn properties moved to a glorified manager's reception Monday through Wednesday, this amenity is greatly appreciated.
The hotel also has a full-service bar, with a bar-food menu that also doubles as the room-service menu. The wings are particularly good.
Thanks to one of the several nor'easters that came through the area during my stay, I was forced to extend one stay an extra day. Because of the travel delay, I took the opportunity to do my laundry before flying home. I found the laundry facilities to work well, and they were reasonably priced. However, there were only two washing machines and two dryers in the laundry room I used, and there was a line to use them. (Being a Saturday morning, that is partly to be expected.) Also, I specifically asked the front desk if the machines and detergent could be purchased using a credit card, as I did not plan for doing laundry, and therefore didn't have quarters. While I was told that both machines and detergent could be purchased with a credit card, I discovered that to be true only for the machines; the detergent dispenser required coins. (Thank you to the kind guest who let me use some of her detergent.) So, if you plan to do laundry, plan accordingly.
As is typical with work travel, I did not generally have time to avail myself of the other amenities and facilities at the property, such as the pool (pools?) and outdoor facilities.
Parking can be a challenge at this hotel. There is limited parking space in the main hotel lot, a parking garage with mabye a dozen spots, and an overflow lot across the street from the hotel street entrance (note that the hotel street entrance is a non-trivial hike from the main lobby). Gerhard Road can be pretty busy during the morning commute hours, and crossing the street to the overflow lot can be challenging.
Much of the main parking lot seems to be occupied by long-term guests who don't leave often, guests with multiple vehicles (such as both personal and commercial vehicles), and daytime guests who are visiting for the many meetings/conferences held on the property. It would be helpful if the hotel would offer overflow-log parking valet service for long-term guests who don't drive frequently, and ask guests to park second and/or commercial vehicles in the overflow lot, so that the guests going to/from their cars on a daily basis didn't have such a long walk.
Savvy guests use the parking lot of the next-door medical building, which allows hotel guests overnight use of their lot, between the hours of 5:00PM and 9:30AM, Mon - Fri, and all weekend. The walk from this lot is shorter than the walk from most of the parking spots in the main hotel parking lot.
View of the medical building parking lot, from the hotel
View of the hotel entrance from the medical building parking lot