I was in Durham for a job interview and the company had booked me at the Sheraton Imperial so I really did not have a say in where I stayed. That being said, I do have the Starwood Preferred Guest(SPG) Gold status, thanks to the Amex Platinum Card,and paid a little extra to be upgraded to a King Suite on the SPG floor. First the positives..the hotel is clean (but did smell of chemicals in the public areas... don't know why they can't use something more subtle ). Our check-in attendant was very friendly and the room itself was very close to the elevators and the parking so bringing in luggage was very easy.The room service food was very good and there are quite a few restaurants that deliver food to the Sheraton so you do have some choices if you want room service but would like some variety.
However, that is where the positives stop. here are the negatives
1) Room - The King suite did not have a Microwave... it is perhaps the only hotel that I have stayed in ,where a king suite on a Preferred Guest Floor lacks a microwave... it became a pain because I had my family with me (including a 6 month old infant) and we had to make sure that no matter what his mood , we finished eating food right away because of the lack of microwave..
Also, the bedroom and the living room areas had no doors/partitions for additional privacy .. I would expect this in a $200+ Suite.
There was no Mini-Bar or snacks in the room and the beds were almost too soft to the point of being uncomfortable.
2) Service- Despite the pleasant check-in experience , the service was very unpredictable and just rude on some occasions ... on one occasion , I tried to get sneakers from the car to go to the Fitness center and suddenly the access card stopped working and I was locked out .When I called the front desk from the public access phone , they said " let's see if we can send someone to let you in "... 5 -10 mins later, someone lets me in.. no apologies.. no offer to help .. asks me to go to the front desk and resolve this...keep in mind that I was using the rear exit and it is a little walk to the front desk. At the front desk, I am told that this happens a lot when the access cards are near the cell phone (First , no one ever told me this and second, me and my wife spent the rest of the stay worried about where the cards were placed relative to the cell phone.. we certainly did not want us to be locked out with our Infant in 90+ degree heat).
I was surprised that still , no one cared to apologize .. I was asked for identification (luckily, I had my wallet or things would have become more complicated). I was also told that normally, they charge $7 for access to the fitness center but because of my room, it was free. A hotel of this size and in this location should not charge money for access to the Fitness center .. period .. so if you need access to fitness center, you need to pay more to upgrade to a room with free access or pay $7/person/day .
I got new access cards and could get back into the hotel from the rear entrance but now , I couldn't get into my room.. I did have a word with the manager and it is only because of the fact that she sent me a written apology and issued me a new set of access cards quickly that I am giving the property even 3 stars.
3) Food - There was complimentary breakfast in the Club Lounge on the 9th floor , exclusively for SPG guests but again , it is only served from 6-9am on weekdays and 6-9:30am on Weekends ,so if you are in the area for pleasure or have family , you really need to be up early to take advantage of the complimentary feature..we did end up ordering room service breakfast but on at least one occasion , they forgot sending any salt/pepper/Ketchup with the Omelette and the Hash Browns and on another , the toast came without any Jam/Honey as described on the menu.
To sum it all up,I would not stay at the Sheraton again... The service is not consistent, the rooms lack amenities and you need to pay to have access to the fitness center.. I am sure there are other hotels in the area that would provide better value for money.
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- Also Known As:
- Sheraton Imperial Hotel Durham
- Sheraton Durham
- Durham Sheraton