This was the least expensive of the several hotels located in a row in this area of Birmingham. After staying there, I can see why. Being a resident of Memphis, TN, home of Holiday Inn, this property did NOT meet my expectations for a Holiday Inn Franchisee.
Things started off well. My wife and I were going to Birmingham for the Jimmy Buffett concert, and her Mother had met us at the hotel from West Georgia. We had booked a King room for us and had booked a double Queen for her mother and our two girls, aged 4 1/2 and 10 months, to stay in. They were able to give us adjoining rooms, which was great. However, this meant that our King room was a Handicapped room. This did not appear to be a problem, as the hotel appeared to be FAR from full. I called the hotel about 4 days prior to arrival to confirm the reservation and the special requests I had made (crib in the room and extra pillows). The young woman at the front desk when we checked in on 2/25/12 was very friendly. We requested late check-out on Sunday, and she said that was no problem, that we could check out as late as 2 PM. Our plan was to spend the morning swimming in the pool and visiting with Grandma, so this would be perfect... or so we thought. We loved the layout of the hotel, and the decorating was very nice. Comfortable, modern, and nice-looking.
When we got to the rooms, all appeared to be fine. Again, the decorating was very nice, the equipment all appeared to be in good working order, etc. However, after our 10 month old had been walking and crawling on the carpet for just a little while, her clean pink socks were very dirty brown, as were the knees of her pants. Ewww.... the rest of us wore our flip-flops in the room for most of the rest of the stay, and didn't let her crawl on the carpet as much after that. Also, the extra pillows that I had requested for our room were not there. Speaking of which... instead of even standard size pillows, let alone King pillows, as I would have expected, the pillows on the beds were about half the width of a standard size pillow!?!?! This may be very "fashionable" and looked good to the designers, but they ended up being VERY uncomfortable for sleeping! "Funky", my wife said. So, anyway, I called down to the front desk, and asked for "some extra firm pillows", as there were two soft and two firm half-size pillows on the bed. There was silence on the line. I realized I may have been unclear, so i said "What I mean is, that I had requested extra pillows, and I need additional FIRM pillows, not soft pillows. Finally I got a response of "OK" and that was the end of the conversation... not "Yes sir, we'll send them right up. Sorry about that." as I would have expected. It then took at LEAST 2 hours for the pillows to show up. I don't know exactly how long, since by then my wife and I had left for the concert.
While we were at the concert, her mother took the girls downstairs to "Kem's Restaurant" (in the building) for dinner. She said the food was good, not spectacular, especially for the price (which seemed high), and she said the service was "excruciatingly slow". She said it appeared that there was only the one server, and she struggled to keep up with the number of patrons. One of our reasons for booking this particular hotel was that they had an indoor pool. After dinner, she took the girls down to the pool to swim, only to find that it was, in her words, "FREEZING", and the surface of the water was covered in hair and what looked like an oil sheen. She refused to let our daughters get in the water, and alerted the front desk clerk. She was told "Yeah, the pool isn't heated." This is something that should be made VERY CLEAR on the hotel's website. An indoor pool in February that is not heated, is NOT going to be swimmable for most people, especially not children. Honestly, I would not even have considered this hotel for this trip if I had known that.
The next morning when we got up and went down to breakfast at "Kem's", (we decided to give it a second chance) again the service was very slow, but again, there was only one server, and she was hustling to keep up with the number of patrons in the restaurant. She was very friendly and obviously working hard. I don't fault her. However, some of the silverware packets had two forks and a knife, others had a fork, spoon, and knife. The spoon in my packet was filthy, and there was no container of sweeteners or salt & pepper shakers on the table. The coffee was lukewarm at best, not hot as we expected. The food portions were decent, but the food was realy rather bland and tasteless, and overpriced. $2.69 for a glass of orange juice?? Really? At least the kids' meals were free.
After breakfast, we went to look at the pool, after hearing Grandma's description from the night before. When I got to the pool, it was obvious that nothing had been done to address our concern from the night before. The water was VERY cold, and in the shallow end there were MULTIPLE globs of hair and oil floating on the surface. I refused to get in or let my children use the pool. I went to the front desk, and eventually was able to inform the person manning it about the condition of the pool, and that the front desk had been alerted the previous evening by my mother-in-law. The attendant said "Yeah... Maintenance doesn't come in until after 6... I guess they'll clean it then." I said "6 PM?" They replied "Yeah." I said "Well that doesn't help us at all, does it?" There was no response of any sort, so I walked away. While waiting for the clerk to (apparently... it was really unclear what was going on) solve an issue in the computer for another guest, the daily "book" was open on the counter in front of me. It may have been rude of me to do so, but I couldn't help myself reading the notes. One of them was that "customer complained that the whole 4th floor (which was the floor we were staying on) smelled like someone had been smoking pot. I had noticed an unusual odor, especially in the hallway, myself, so this caught my eye. Reflecting on it, I believe that may have been what I smelled as well, but it's hard to say.
I went back up to the room, and we began packing up (as there was no reason to stay just to let the baby's clothes get filthy from crawling on the carpet), and tried to explain to my 4 1/2 year old why she couldn't swim as she was promised. Yes... THAT went well. I had put the "do not disturb" sign on the door. There was a knock. The very friendly and smiling housekeeping staff person said she was not told that we had late check-out and apologized for bothering us. I told her no problem, as we wouldn't be staying much longer anyway.
On our way out the door, as I dropped off the keys at the Front Desk and got my receipts, the same housekeeper happened tp be there leaning against the desk. She told the Front Desk clerk "Nobody told me that these nice folks had late check-out, so I disturbed them." The clerk said "Well it was written in the book." There was a little more back-and-forth on the subject while we were standing there. I don't know on whose side (housekeeping or front desk) the responsibility for passing on the information lies, but obviously the communication model isn't working. Nor is it generally good practice, in my opinion, to have such a discussion in front of the guests.
Overall... I just couldn't recommend this hotel to anyone or bring myself to stay here again. I'll pay the extra money to stay at either another Holiday Inn down the road that is cleaner and has a clean, heated, indoor pool, or at one of their competitors' properties in the future.
No room in this hotel is going to have "a view". It's either the Lowe's across the...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC