Stayed at the Hotel San Carlos for 5 days/4 nights while attending a trade show at the Phoenix Convention Center. It's definitely old and has a unique character if you like that sort of thing. Personally, I'd prefer large, clean, modern rooms with working plumbing and computerized reservation systems that work. It's supposedly haunted, but nothing seemed supernatural while I was there.
Our company had contracted for about 60 rooms at $89/night well in advance, but the hotel overbooked and quite a few of our staff were told that we had no reservation and would have to go to another hotel. Fortunately, our event planner was there and she threatened lawsuit since we had a contract. She had to spend about 4 hours in the lobby taking care of details, but most of our staff were given rooms eventually. I'm sure they had to bump quite a few other travelers. The desk staff seemed confused by their own computer system and didn't really know what was going on.
One positive of the hotel is the location. It's only 3 blocks away from the convention center and easily walkable. But the entire downtown area seemed to be under construction and was quite noisy round the clock. The downtown area is populated by quite a few homeless folks and while were were in town, there were two reported muggings between the convention center and the hotels. I wouldn't recommend walking alone at night around the area.
The Hotel San Carlos is a very old hotel (1928), and while it appears to have been renovated, there are still quite a few things that need updating. Very tiny shower with cracked tile and old fixtures. The plumbing is questionable (scalding water from the showers every time a toilet flushes, no water pressure on my cold sink faucet). Really enjoyed the 2 inch dead cockroach (well, twitching and on its back anyway) that showed up in the tiny bathroom on my last day. Rooms are very small, no thermostat in the room. Since the entire building has a central air system, you either open or close the room vent. I could swear I smelled cigarette smoke coming from the vents. Quite noisy as well. My 7th floor room (the top floor) must have been directly underneath the main air conditioning unit which vibratated the walls and hummed very loudly around 1:00 am and 4:00 am. Foam earplugs are a great thing to pack with you, but I left mine in my other suitcase. Bed was small but comfortable. TV only had about 14 DirectTV channels working, a couple of HBO channels were snowed out.
Continental breakfast was included, which consisted of Raisin Bran, a few bagels, muffins and OJ. Nothing to write home about. We were there for 5 days and didn't find too many dining options within walking distance. Arizona Center (about 4 blocks away) has a Hooters, Lombardi's (Italian) and Sam's (southwest). Saw a Quiznos and Subway near the hotel, no sign of a McDonalds or other fast food. A Circle K gas/convenience store is 3 blocks walk from the hotel, but don't do the walk alone at night.
One other note, our Director was given a suite which turned out to be just two regular small rooms with a door in between. At least his bathroom had a tub, but there was a 12" step up into the bathroom for some reason.
I have no problem with quaint old hotels that try to take you back in time to a golden era, but this one is using age as an excuse for low grade accomodations. I doubt that Gary Cooper would have put up with this hotel back in the glory days. Invest in some modern upgrades like better plumbing and modern computers; just keep them hidden away if you really want to give that historical feel.
Next time, I'll gladly pay the difference to stay at the Hyatt.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Hotel San Carlos is Phoenix's only historic bouitque hotel and has been since 1928. Each of our 128 guest rooms has been individually decorated. Hotel San Carlos is convenietly located in the heart of downtown Phoenix's financial,goverment,and entertainment distric, just steps away from many fabulous local Phoenix Attractions.Walking distance of the convention center. We look forwards to having you stay with us and experience a touch of Phoenix history during your stay at Hotel Sand Carlos.The Hotel San Carlos is Registered with Green Chambers of Commerce! ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- San Carlos Hotel
- San Carlos Phoenix
- Hotel San Carlos Phoenix, Arizona