Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Hilton Charlotte Center City, N.C.

We had friends to meet in Charlotte, N.C. on our way home from Hilton Head Island. Once again, this time from my room at the Crowne Plaza, I hopped on Priceline and named my own price for a hotel. I chose Charlotte Downtown - 4 star hotel. I bid $60. The bid was accepted immediately by Hilton Charlotte Center City. I called them right away to verify our reservations (both rooms) and request bed types.

Upon arrival to the hotel Rebecca at the front desk told me there were no King rooms available at all. She said "That's what you get when you use Priceline." I told her I understood. I do. I understand some hotels will treat you like less than a guest when you use Priceline. No biggie.

We went upstairs to our two rooms (606 & 607) with two full beds in each. (Another hotel which crams you into two doubles instead of two queens - what gives?) The kids dubbed it "The Taco Bell Hotel" because of the colors. They liked it, but thought it was funny. In their room there was something all over the wall above the beds. I don't even want to guess as to what it was. The halls obviously were not the responsibility of anyone in housekeeping, because the walls are pretty beat up and the carpets could use a good granny scrubbing.

When we got to our room we decided not to use the internet since, even though we are priority club members, there was a $10 fee per computer, even if you use the wired internet. My husband was happy to just watch the brand new 42" plasma. Problem: Even though the switch from analog has been in the works forever, and the hotel just had a TWENTY FIVE MILLION DOLLAR update, none of our HD channels worked. Translation: the only thing we could watch would be pay per view movies, at $16 each, after taxes. Gee, no thanks.

We called for some help. Les came up and was very nice. He tried to fix it, but it wasn't possible. He called down to the desk to ask if he could move us to a different room. Les gets my vote for #1 employee at this hotel.

"Sure" came back the answer on the radio "Room 615 is open." Guess what room 615 was like, REBECCA?? Why, it was a spacious room with a king bed, and a chaise lounge, a newly upgraded bathroom, and... the same problem with the television. Les said he would bring up an ethernet cord and give us free internet and let us watch pay per view movies free. As many as we want!

In the morning a pay per view movie was on the bill and I called down to the desk to tell them Les said he would leave a note on our account to waive the pay per view fees. She tells me it says to waive one. I tell her that is not what he told us, but thanks anyway. She immediately says she'll remove them both and adds "Have a great day." That was a quick turn around, wasn't it? I'm hoping it is because I was nice about it and was going to give up so easily.

The bathrooms are beautiful and have lighting as good as any bathroom I have ever seen. The new showers have marble bottoms, yes... but they are small rectangular marble tiles and they hurt your feet. Even my husband remarked about how uncomfortable they were. He says "No love was put into this place." I think I agree. It's a beautiful bathroom. Everything works well. The sink is not for children or the elderly, but it is modern. The coffee gets two thumbs up. It is a nice LaVazza from Italy.

The lights throughout the room are fantastic. Each little light has a built in dimmer giving you full control of the brightness. The bed was blissfully comfortable. The desk is huge and in the double bed rooms there is the only platform I have ever seen in any hotel which will actually hold a full sized suitcase. Very nifty indeed!

In the morning we ordered an omelet from room service. Nirvana. They bring it with little red potatoes with perfectly sauteed onions and bell peppers. Three of us who were up early shared it.

The hotel restaurant charges $18 per person for the breakfast buffet, and for all six of us, that's a hefty bill. $108. Before drinks and tip. Add $30 for drinks and a 30% tip and you're talking $162.84 for a breakfast buffet! Since I paid $60 per room and $18(!) for self parking, breakfast would have been more expensive than the two rooms and parking. We headed off to IHOP.

If I was going through Charlotte I would definitely stay here again, for the right price. Thank you Priceline!

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