After several previous visits to Erie and bypassing this hotel as a result of the reviews, after some more recent mixed reviews (with some positive instead of all negative) as well as an option of a superior (i.e. more renovated) room, I took a chance on it and had a reasonably good experience. I visit Erie a couple of times a year and always wanted to stay downtown, but the options are very limited with one nice expensive hotel, two dumps...and The Avalon. I'm pleased to report that my stay was not as bad as many of the previous reviews led me to believe it may be. There are good, bad and lots of odd things to report.
The Good: The location is great -- right in downtown Erie, in a lively area and just a block or two away from several great bars and restaurants, most of which are reasonably priced. My first impression was a positive one, thanks to Destiny, the front desk clerk on late night duty. She was welcoming and helpful despite what appeared to be a busy and rough night (100% occupancy and a rowdy wedding there that evening) and printer problems. The first impression of the room was equally good, revealing new carpet, nice bedding and a valid attempt at making the rooms appear contemporary. The room is also very spacious and the desk had several outlets built into the wall. There was a refrigerator and microwave in the room, which is somewhat uncommon for a downtown full-service hotel. The fact that parking is free is attractive as well.
The Bad: While many aspects of the room were freshened, others less obvious yearned for attention like the beat up window sill, the lack of a flat screen television (in a "superior" recently renovated room, no less), and most significantly the gross grout in the bathtub. Considering it's a tall (around nine stories) downtown hotel with a large ballroom and pictures indicating it's classy, it's a bit of a surprise to have room keys with the phone number to the local Domino's as well as a plastic stand-up sign on the nightstand with the Domino's menu, as if this were the Super 8. WiFi was free, but while I was able to see and connect to the signal, it didn't seem to want to allow me to connect to the Internet. I didn't have time to investigate it further and just did without using my laptop that night. While my floor's hallway was fine, I happened to walk down the second floor hall, which has many conference rooms, and the condition of that hallway was terrible to say the least.
The Odd: Where to begin? There was a security guard on duty wearing a collared shirt with a giant "SECURITY" plastered across the back as if he were working a concert. Step off the elevator and the numbers pointing left and right directing guests to their rooms are the kind that you buy at the hardware store to stick on your mailbox (yes, really). The little refrigerator in the room clearly used to be a minibar fridge. The spacious room had an alcove near the door that clearly was designed to be a closet and would make a fine one, but there was no shelf or hanging rod in it (in fact, there was nothing at all in it) -- instead the hotel opted to a giant piece of (apparently relatively new) furniture in the center of the room that had a hanging closet on each end and housed the old television in the middle. LED lights were strung around the upper edges of the elevator in an attempt at cool, while the stainless steel doors were very scratched up and the elevator's buttons and signals were very old school.
Overall, I give this hotel some credit for trying and putting some money into the place, but it needs more, so hopefully they'll continue. And hopefully future renovations will include some improvements to the bathrooms, especially in the superior rooms for which guests are paying more. And if you do stay, I strongly recommend paying the extra for a superior room to minimize the chances of having an unpleasant experience.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Avalon Hotel is, without exception, a luxurious conference quality hotel. Located in the heart of downtown Erie, our exquisite ballrooms & smaller private rooms will accommodate 20 to 1000 for showers, concerts, receptions, conventions, meetings & much more! Whether you are looking for a modern traditional wedding, daily meetings with custom menus or overnight accommodations the Avalon is the place to be. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- The Avalon Hotel Erie
- Avalon Hotel Erie