I have been a Tripadvisor member for many years and have benefited greatly from the Tripadvisor reviews, but I have not previously reciprocated with a review. However, my level of annoyance with the Excelsior Ernst in Cologne has provided me with the motivation for submitting a first review. I booked my reservation approximately six weeks in advance and I arrived at the hotel at 2:30 PM. I was informed that a room was not available and that check-in time was 3 PM. OK, that's standard, but I am on the road about 100 days per year and rarely have I had to wait until 3 PM for a room. However, since they were applying the rules strictly, I will too in this review. I returned to the hotel at 3 PM and was ushered to a room with no air conditioning on a busy street and I was told that I should keep the windows open if I wanted to cool the room. It was a very hot Spring day in Cologne and thus I returned to the front desk and asked for a room with air conditioning, which should anyway be standard at a hotel of the level which the Ernst claims. At this point it was explained to me that they were fully booked by a group, which had just booked several days ago, and that there were no other rooms available. I commented that the hotel did not appear very busy for a hotel that was fully booked and the desk person said, oh, we have fifty more guests from the group checking in later. So, they had fifty guests, who had just booked several days ago, checking in later, but they did not have a room available at 2:30 PM for a guest who had booked six weeks ago. I was not getting a good impression. They next took me to a room in an extension of the hotel that had been tacked onto the back of the main building. This section had an atrium lobby that was like a sauna. The room however had AC, and I said it would be OK, not knowing until several hours later that the AC could not keep up with the heat, so it was windows open all night on a busy street anyway. This wing of the hotel had the air of a no-man's land. Despite the hotel purportedly being fully booked, there appeared to be almost no one in this wing other than me, and perhaps for good reason: the wing was ugly and it had the air of being unused, with creaky banged-up mystery doors that lead to service areas. A few minor points, one of the double sink taps spewed out steaming hot water and the water temperature could not be adjusted. The other tap worked. The toilet seat in the bathroom of the first room I was shown was falling off, and at least this was not a problem in the second room. However, the feeling I had was that I was being shunted around to substandard rooms which were normally not pressed into service unless the hotel was mostly booked, and that this was being done so that they could accommodate the large group. This was reinforced with every contact I had with any of the staff, who all made a point of saying that they were fully booked because of the group (apparently bankers) who had just booked several days before. After a night of poor sleep in a hot room with the windows open, and noise from the street, I contacted Marriott and found out that they had rooms available for what would be my second and final night in Cologne. I informed the front desk of the Ernst that I was checking out. This was around 9 AM in the morning. The person at the desk seemed a little dismayed but said, as though she was making a major concession, that they would not charge me for the second night. Not charge me! On what basis would they charge me? I don't recall anything thing in the reservation details that committed me to two nights. For a lawyer, I am admittedly a little lax about these details, except when it is for my client, but in any case any obligation to pay for a second night would have been conditioned on the hotel's ability to provide a room at the level and condition that was represented, and the apologies that I received from the hotel staff, orally, and by subsequent email, indicate that the hotel dismally failed to do so. I thought playing the card for the second night charge was going just a little to far. I generally like older hotels with character, and I am willing to accept some short comings for the experience. However, the compromises in quality, service, and integrity at the Ernst were not worth the experience. By the way, the Marriott was quite nice and also well located; and that's the hotel I would recommend in Cologne. At the Ernst I was told that the AC was not yet up to speed because it was the first hot day of the year. At the Marriott the AC was running as it should be, first hot day or whatever of the year, and no excuses for anything. Here's to being a more frequent reviewer in the future.
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- Also Known As:
- Excelsior Hotel Cologne