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“Moldy rooms, bad beds, & terrible breakfast”

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Clarion Hotel Conference Center North
Ranked #26 of 71 Hotels in Lexington
Reviewed 16 February 2014 via mobile

I stayed at this hotel last week and found that some of the rooms that numerous coworkers and I stayed in were infested with mold so badly that several of us became ill with sore throats, severe congestion, and coughing. As soon as we walked into our room near entrance J I could smell that musty stink of mold with an odd paint smell mixed in, which I can only assume was their attempt to use Killz paint to hide any visible signs of fungi. When we would leave the room I would be able to breath much better, even in some of the hallways and conference areas, and had no problems at all in a friend's room directly across the hall from mine. I am happy to say that at least the mold in my room was hidden unlike my boss' s where it was said to be very visible and she was extremely ill from it.

Other delightful aspects of the hotel included beds that were what I can only imagine sleeping on a broken down cardboard box would feel like and room heaters that would only blow extremely cold air unless it was turned off for a while then turned back on and down to 61 degrees and slowly adjusted up to 68 degrees. Interestingly enough, if set higher then it blew air so cold it felt just like the below zero wind chill outside then for random short periods hot air would blow for a few minutes and it felt swampy. The free breakfast "buffet" was minimal and included decent scrambled eggs, odd tasting shredded potatoes with a rubbery texture, sausage links that I think may have been made in a Chinese dog treat factory, mediocre instant sausage gravy, hard biscuits, stale pancakes, and waffle makers that didnt have much waffle batter so don't go hungry! Oh and the cutest little shot glasses to drink juice out of! Bins of oatmeal, cereal, and stale white bread were also available to complete your morning dining experience, yummy! The attendants that were cleaning up were mostly very pleasant and attentive and deserve to be tipped even if the food is free, as it should be.

When we checked in Tuesday evening the two females working didn't exactly provide the best customer service, but I'll let that slide since later in my stay one older and one young gentleman assisted me with kind and fast customer service on seperate occasions that made up for the attitudes of the others. I was disappointed that the coffee machine in the lobby had espresso as an option, which I severely needed after rolling around in my cardboard bed trying to breath for two nights, but it was sadly unavailable. As for the Tempurpedic beds advertised, I got to sit on one that my friend had requested and found that these factory rejects were far from what anyone would ever believe to be the real deal. We did have some excitement during our stay as the fire alarms went off several times one day. Not sure if the dozens of high school students staying there had something to do with that or if there was something triggering these lengthy periods of squealing sirens, but that was fun!

I only went to the The Sports Page bar for a few minutes for a work sponsored event and found that the wings and fruit that they had available for us were pretty darn good, but the meatballs and cheese sticks should have been avoided. The bartender was super nice and attentive but the drinks were expensive at nearly $6 for well drinks in glasses not much bigger than the juice shotglasses at breakfast. I decided not to eat lunch at Cortland's buffet as planned after hearing horror stories from other guests.

One major piece of advice to anyone staying there would be to wait to unload your bags until you find out if your room key will actually work because you don't want to have to drag your luggage around for what could be a very, very long walk to the front desk. Also, request a downstairs room because as far as I could tell there aren't any elevators. I liked that I had a refrigerator and microwave in the room, which not everyone did so request one of those rooms if you have to stay here. The location seemed to be pretty good since it was next to the freeway and only minutes from a lot of great shopping and eating.

All in all its a huge and attractive facility on the outside, but there are some serious renovations that need to be done and changes that need to be made. I would start with finding a way to actually remove the mold instead of just paint over it, get real Tempurpedic beds for everyone, and work on that sad food selection and this place could have more potential to be a delightful choice for a conference facility and hotel. I do appreciate that a majority of the staff I dealt with did exhibit good or great customer service.

Stayed: February 2014, travelled on business
1  Thank kamacel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Clarionlex, General Manager at Clarion Hotel Conference Center North, responded to this reviewResponded 19 February 2014

I am so sorry to hear that you were unsatisfied with your stay. I would love to speak to you directly to discuss these matters. We pride ourselves on providing a positive customer experience and would love to talk with you directly to ensure we are addressing these matters quickly.
While I can't be certain without talking with you I believe the room that you stayed in was a room with a Serta mattress. We do offer two mattress options since not everyone likes a Tempurpedic mattress. We offer a Serta and a Tempurpedic mattress "Classic" option. I apologize if you felt this was not a real Tempurpedic as it may be different than the Tempurpedic mattresses you have experienced.
In regards to the fire alarm, I apologize for the inconvenience however we always follow procedures to ensure the safety of our guest.

Once again i apologize and I hope to hear from you soon.

Sincerely,
Melissa McGuire
General Manager
859-233-0512
mmcguire@clarionhotellex.com

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Reviewed 23 January 2014

My niece and I hosted a watch party for 63 people for the UK vs. U of L basketball game on December 28, 2014. The staff of the SportPage became like family as we had stopped by a couple of weeks prior to the game to make sure they were aware that we would be there. We had family and friends come in town from Western KY, WVA and surrounding communities to watch the game and to spend the night. We had the best time and everyone wants to make this an annual event. We can't thank Paula, Freddie, Erica, Ashley and Melissa enough for their service and kindness and during the game and after. The rooms were clean and the beds very comfortable. The children/teens in our group enjoyed the play area. We will definitely be back to the Clarion and the SportsPage .

  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled with friends
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Thank Margaret R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Clarionlex, General Manager at Clarion Hotel Conference Center North, responded to this reviewResponded 27 January 2014

Thank you for choosing Clarion Hotel and The Sports Page to help host your event. We are so pleased to hear that everyone enjoyed themselves and we can't wait to see everyone again.

Thank you,
Melissa McGuire
General Manager

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Reviewed 21 January 2014

We picked this hotel since the hotel (?) connected to Rupp Arena was sold out. We didn't plan on spending much time in the hotel since we were in town for the Luke Bryan concert but since that ended up being postponed till next month we actually had more time on our hands. This is a very clean nice hotel although the numbering system was a little confusing as I'm use to room numbers matching the floor number but that is not the case here. We were on the 1st floor but our room number was in the 500's. Room was very spacious and clean plus we were upgraded (since they were slow) to a Tempurpedic bed which was great. We wished we would have remembered our bathing suit as there is a very large indoor pool plus spa and gameroom. Our stay included a very tasty breakfast buffet at the restaurant there. We did not visit the bar but it seemed very nice. Only downfall was that we requested a late check out which was granted for only 30 minutes (since they were busy) BUT at 12pm (normal checkout time) our key cards quit working and we could not get back in the building and had to walk all the way around in 15 degree weather. Overall we enjoyed our stay and plan on rebooking for our visit next month. Lots of great wineries nearby made our trip outstanding.

  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled with friends
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Thank Hoosiergirl71
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Clarionlex, General Manager at Clarion Hotel Conference Center North, responded to this reviewResponded 27 January 2014

Thank you for the great review. We appreciate your business and look forward to seeing you next month when you return to Lexington. I am so pleased that you found things to do in the area since the concert was cancelled.
In regards to the keys I apologize they are pre-programmed upon check-in with the original departure date and time.
Once again thank you for choosing Clarion Hotel.

Sincerely,
Melissa McGuire
General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 January 2014

We stayed in the main part of the hotel (a suite w/adjoining king room). Rooms were very clean, memory foam beds, large pool, great play area. The staff was very helpful with anything we needed. We got the "stay and play" package and it was well worth it as we had 7 teens with us. Breakfast was wonderful. Wifi worked just fine. All in all a nice place to stay.

  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled with family
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Thank A M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Clarionlex, General Manager at Clarion Hotel Conference Center North, responded to this reviewResponded 27 January 2014

Thank you so much for choosing Clarion Hotel and for your wonderful review. We pride ourselves on offering a good clean room with great amenities. I hope that we will see you again in the near future.

Sincerely,
Melissa McGuire
General Manager

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Reviewed 25 December 2013

Stayed two nights, Tues and Wed, Dec 17 & 18. Wifi was very slow the whole time. Spoke to the general manager on Wed morning and she was going to contact the company that provides the wifi. Had issues getting smart phone to work in room, worked fine in the hallway. On Thurs morning several guests were at front desk complaining about slow wifi. Two males at front desk laughed and commented about everyone knowing how fickle the internet is.

Room Tip: get room near desk and ask for general manager if wifi is extremely slow
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  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled solo
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1  Thank EmmausDan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Clarionlex, General Manager at Clarion Hotel Conference Center North, responded to this reviewResponded 27 December 2013

I am so sorry for the issues you experienced with the wifi. Since we spoke I have been working closely with our provider to corrrect any issues with our new service. Customer satisfaction is our number one goal and we appreciate you bringing these issues to our attention.
Thank you for choosing Clarion Hotel we appreciate your business and look forward to seeing you again soon.

Sincerely,
Melissa McGuire
General Manager

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Reviewed 22 December 2013

after staying here last march we thought we'd try again and were not disappointed, this time was even better, we got room 108 on the main floor and it was very good, the bed fantastic, no noise from the next room, staff friendly as ever, check In and out easy what more can you want. breakfast was good. we ate at Cortlands for dinner and Larry our server was friendly, attentive but not intrusive, the food was great, especially I believe the burgoo?? sorry about the spelling , it's a stew an so good . we plan on making this our to go place back and forth on our snowbird swings

  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank rosrog
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Clarionlex, General Manager at Clarion Hotel Conference Center North, responded to this reviewResponded 23 December 2013

Thank you so much for choosing Clarion Hotel to be your stop over location. I am pleased to hear that our staff provided good service.
Once again thank you and we look forward to seeing you again soon.

Sincerely,
Melissa McGuire
General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 December 2013

Once a legacy Holiday Inn, with an original ‘Holidome,’ l booked this hotel partly out of nostalgia and partly out of the friendly professionalism of its sales staff. This property has graced the north end of Newtown Pike for many years and has seen lots of traffic however still looks good for its age. Some notable upgrades off the lobby that otherwise looks nearly the same, include two televisions mounted over the front desk area, a self-serve rental car kiosk to the side of the desk area, 24 hour coffee (from a machine), an updated business center pass-through, and a mini sundry store. The other upgrades of note since converting years back from a Holiday Inn include a better maintained ‘fun center’ (previously ‘Holidome’), and a free breakfast buffet (more on that later).

Having known the hotel well prior I arranged to have my father’s room in the main portion of the hotel as this historically has been the area with the upgraded rooms featuring Tempur-Pedic beds, yes that brand of memory foam bed that we all know so well and is actually headquartered like a few other companies (like Lexmark, Jiff, and others) right here in Lexington.

The room:
Lighting in the room was more than adequate with a desk, floor, and two table-side lamps. The in-room refrigerator / microwave combination was helpful as my father visited for nearly two straight weeks and this was his home away from my home during his visit. The in-room coffee maker is the single cup (non-carafe variety) which is sanitary and although takes getting used to is superior to others. Let think about it, how are all those mini coffee pots washed by housekeeping each day at other hotels… you surely know they are not going through a dish washer and being sanitized. The furniture seems well built and although likely old still looks decent. The office desk chair was very worn and was a disappointment as it squeaked and squealed as one sat or tried to wheel around and felt like it would hardly support another guest but indeed survived the visit. The sofa was comfortable, and believed to be a pull-out couch as well, however there was not a chair in the room, like a comfortable seating chair. This was a must for my father who sometimes cannot sleep at night and sleeps in a recliner at home. I asked the staff and management and magically they produced a recliner chair as a very kind gesture. One member of the maintenance team reported he did not know there were any chairs like that in the hotel thus it was a special find and not to be expected when you book your room – FYI. Jaime in sales aided with the booking and he especially was wonderfully helpful and courteous. The bed, as noted before, was a Tempur-Pedic bed. My wife and I splurged on an upgraded version of this ‘classic’ memory foam bed at our home and now we swear by them. My father has a terrible back and thus this nice upgraded beed ensured his stay was much more comfortable.

Food / Breakfast:
Not as expected – much better. Most major company franchise hotels these days offer some elaborate breakfasts as each brand seems to try and ‘one-up’ each other. I have always hated the cheap plates and plastic-ware at these breakfast off-lobby sorts and was so pleased that this Clarion does breakfast right. The daily buffet changed slightly each day with bacon or sausage, self-made waffles, cereals, hot oatmeal and toppings, biscuits and sausage gravy, eggs, hash-browns, and likely a few other goodies I am forgetting to note. The food is placed on made in the USA China, thank you for that, real silverware, and mugs for coffee. The staff at the breakfast area were attentive and kind. This hotel has some familiar faces which have been in service at this hotel for years and years which is likely a testament to management and taking care of loyal service.

Service:
Prior to booking the reservation process was smooth and easy. Given the duration of the stay booked I spoke with sales prior to finalizing the reservation. In an age of mindless online travel agent bookings I was pleased to book directly with the hotel.

Travel / Booking Tips:
I highly recommend ‘you’ book this and any other accommodation directly with the business rather than a third party. Think about it, a middle man makes money and takes a cut, why not deal directly with the business? Expedia and other travel websites take a large cut of your dollar and the hotel makes less, sometimes much less, per room. Research online, use Kayak or others, but when booking deal whenever possible with the hotel directly.
At this hotel I would book the ‘main building’, and ‘first floor’ as there is not an elevator. Other less glowing reviews are from guests who booked and stayed on the fringes of the hotel, on the farther wings which are believed to not be as upgraded. There seem to be miles of hallways at this hotel, however booking the main building means you use the main entrance, area close to all needed points within the hotel such as the breakfast, restaurant, and fun center.

Utilize your club membership, points are always great and also many hotels offer some small ‘thank you’ items. This hotel offered a later check out and also calls were complementary, as I understood.

Overall:
Would book and stay again and recommend you do as well.

Room Tip: - 'First floor' if you have any issues climbing stairs... as there is no elevator. - 'M...
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  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled with family
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Thank NewSouthernYankee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Clarionlex, General Manager at Clarion Hotel Conference Center North, responded to this reviewResponded 20 December 2013

Thank you for choosing Clarion Hotel. We appreciate your business and your wonderful review. I am so pleased to hear that you enjoyed your stay and everything went smoothly during your stay. I hope that we get the chance to see you again soon.

Once again thank you,
Melissa McGuire
General Manager

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Clarion Hotel Conference Center North

Address: 1950 Newtown Pike, Lexington, KY 40511-1332 (Formerly Holiday Inn Lexington North)
Phone Number:
Region: United States > Kentucky > Lexington
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#5 Best Value Hotel in Lexington
#18 Business Hotel in Lexington
#22 Family Hotel in Lexington
Price Range: £62 - £113 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Clarion Hotel Conference Center North 3*
Number of rooms: 296
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Enjoy well-appointed accommodations and exceptional amenities at Clarion Hotel Convention Center North. We’re close to many exciting attractions including Kentucky Horse Park and the University of Kentucky. With a free shuttle to and from Blue Grass Airport and over 13,000 square feet of meeting space, our hotel is ideal for any type of travel. We are also near The Red Mile Race Tracks, Lexington History Center, Mary Todd Lincoln House, American Saddlebred Museum, Jean Farris Winery, Equus Run Vineyards, Georgetown College, Commonwealth Stadium, Fayette Mall and Transylvania University. Enjoy relaxing and exciting on-site recreation, whether you’re traveling with kids or a kid at heart. Our FunDome Recreational Center features an indoor pool, basketball court, video arcade, and plenty of fun for adults too. You’ll never miss a minute of the action with our on-site sports bar. Plus, you can even bring Fido along with you and enjoy our pet-friendly accommodations. All of our spacious guest rooms feature flat-screen TVs, hair dryers, irons and ironing boards, coffee makers, microwaves, and refrigerators. Long-distance travelers will appreciate our guest laundry services. Some rooms have sofa sleepers, desks, and activity tables. Get together at the Clarion Hotel Conference Center North. Lexington hotels like ours provide the social atmosphere that makes it the perfect place to meet up with friends family and colleagues for any business or special occasion. Book now! ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Holiday Inn Lexington
Lexington Holiday Inn

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