I have stayed several times before in this hotel when it was still the Clarion and enjoyed my stay very much, so I expected great things in the newly renovated Holiday Inn. I was VERY disappointed. Problems in order of level of inconvenience:
1) No hot water: The first morning of my stay, I arose at 6am and could only get a trickle of hot water in the sink, and the same was true in the shower. I showered with intermittent hot water - quickly jumping under the trickle when it warmed and out again when it turned cold. As I left the hotel that morning, I mentioned the lack of hot water to the desk clerk who then yelled to a maintenance staff person standing nearby that the hot water problem was everywhere, not just on the top floors (I was on the 15th floor). She said she had been sending people to 7th floor. The second morning, I was relieved to have good water pressure, but there was no hot water, and once again, I took a quick less than lukewarm shower. As I was leaving that morning, other guests were reporting to the desk (saying second morning in a row), and the clerk was giving them key cards to what I assume were vacant rooms on the 7th floor where presumably there was hot water.
2) Problems with wi-fi: When I checked in, I asked about wi-fi and whether I needed an access code and was told I did not. When I got to the room and tried to connect, it said I needed a password, so I called the front desk and was given a code with an emphasis from the clerk that the first letter was uppercase. It did not work, so I called back and she apologized and told me to try again with a lowercase first letter - that worked, and wi-fi worked well all evening. The next evening, I needed to do several hours of work online and was unable to get connected. I called the front desk, and a clerk confirmed she could not connect with her phone and said she would have someone reset the router and to try again in 10 minutes. I tried several more times later, but it never worked for more than a minute or so before disconnecting again. I spoke with other guests the next morning who had been frustrated by the same situation. I could have just set up a hotspot with my phone, but the Verizon signal in the hotel was very weak as well. I had to stand by the window with my phone to get a decent signal.
3) Nonworking safe: I wanted to use the safe in my room to stash things during the day. The safe was located just a few inches off the floor with instructions printed on it. I actually had to lie down on my belly to read them, and nothing I tried worked. It was a nice safe - allowing me to either enter a PIN or swipe a credit card, but it did not function. I called the front desk and they sent up a maintenance person who discovered batteries had not been installed. He left and returned with batteries, and it worked fine after that. He was polite and efficient - just seems like batteries should have already been checked.
4) Noise: I have stayed in this hotel's rooms near the elevator before and have never been bothered by noise, but during this stay, I could hear the roar of the elevator going up and down all the time. I don't know how the walls could have gotten thinner during the renovation, but it is a good thing I am not a light sleeper.
5) Questionable cleanliness: There were soap/water spots on the bathroom counter, and sticky spots on the desk.
6) Uninformed staff: When I checked in, I asked the desk clerk about the free downtown bus loop - the R-line and whether it only ran in one direction; she said she thought so and tried to confirm it with the other clerk who also said she thought so, but neither of them could say so with certainty. One would think that hotel employees would be better informed about public transportation guests will use. Another example is the situation mentioned above with wi-fi passwords - first told there was not one, then given wrong one, and after third inquiry, getting the correct one.
All that said, there were positives - the renovated decor is nicer (but I care less about that than hot water and working wi-fi). The bed was comfortable, and the TV and heating system worked well. I did not try the restaurant, but I can say I was disappointed that the breakfast buffet the Clarion was famous for is no longer. During past stays I had enjoyed a made-to-order omelet and wonderful buffet of hot foods and fresh fruits every morning of my stay. I looked at the menu in my room and decided not to bother based on descriptions. All in all, I have to say that the Clarion was a well kept secret, and the Holiday Inn is in need of serious improvement. My rating of good value is based solely on the fact that I received a discount rate through a conference I was attending. The regular rates are not warranted for the poor service and accommodations.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Newly rebranded to the Holiday Inn Raleigh Downtown, you will find all of the modern conveniences within our historic building located in the heart of Downtown Raleigh. Just blocks from NC's State Capital, Raleigh's Convention Center, the performing arts, fine dining and nightlife. Our hotel has completed its full renovation including guestrooms, restaurant and lounge, business center, fitness center, exterior entrance and all function space. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Clarion Hotel Raleigh
- Clarion State Capital
- Clarion Raleigh
- Raleigh Clarion