I recently attended a conference in Lancaster. I was going to book the Marriott Convention Center, but to my dismay, it was, of course, full. That was the best thing that could've happened. Checking out some reviews on this site, I decided to take a chance and book the Cork factory. Please use this review to help you decide if the Cork Factory is right for you.
Customer Service: the day that I was traveling, I sent an email to cork factory reservations and requested a room on the 4th floor. I have read that the 4th floor is the quietest floor. They were not able to grant this request, but they upgraded me to a jacuzzi suite! I certainly lucked out. I booked through hotels.com, so I wasn't charged extra for this as it was already paid for. I felt as if this was outstanding customer service. I didn't really need any special requests or need of any additional service while I was staying, so I can't comment on that.
Decor: this is the Cork Factory's strength. Hands down. This is the most unique hotel I have ever been to. From the moment you drive up and see the brick exterior and smokestack, you know this is a different experience. Then, you set foot in the lobby and notice the rustic tiled floor with brick walls and plenty of odd but appropriate decorations. It's dark, but classy, stylish dark. The stairwells have all brick walls as well, with hardwood steps. Completely clean. I could've lived in the stairwell; you actually enjoy being there.
The hallway ceilings are high and wooden, and all air conditioning vents and pipes are black and visible: but it's contemporary and adds additional charm. If it were a typical rusty lead pipe, I wouldn't want it to be there, but it totally adds to the rustic charm of the place. This was also the same in my room.
The walls in the room that happened to be exterior walls of the hotel were completely brick. Not fake backsplash tiled brick, real thick bricks and mortar. Again, rustic and charming. I love brick and was thrilled that the walls were real brick. The bed was very comfortable.
The bathroom was stunning. Perhaps it was because I had a suite, but it was the best part of the room. Gorgeous grey and multicolor tile lined the floor and walls around the shower and jacuzzi. Brick exterior walls, and an Asian-inspired (I think) copper mirror frame. It was just stunning. It was tough leaving this bathroom behind.
The restaurant had the same sort of a rustic feel to it, with grey stone walls. I was only here once for a continental breakfast, but it was relaxing, cozy, charming.
Breakfast: speaking of breakfast...they offer a free continental breakfast. I tried it on my last day. It is your typical fare: fruit, pastries, donut holes, bagels, juice, etc. The bagels were fresh, large and very tasty. The donut holes were obviously frozen or refrigerated, as they were a little cold and not fresh. I did enjoy the bagel very much, but the rest was standard continental fare. I recommend a toasted bagel and some fruit.
I read some comments about hearing through the walls. It's true that the walls are thin and I could hear people walking above me a bit, and louder noises through the walls. It was not a gamechanger, and certainly didn't detract from my stay. If I had a very noisy neighbor, then I might be upset. But, the hotel was very quiet most of the time.
Location: I walked to the convention center in about 15 minutes or so. I would walk southwest until I hit queen street, then took that south to the convention center. If you are driving downtown, you'll be there in a few minutes. The hotel has a great pub (Quib's) across the street. Great beer and fish & chips.
I am so glad that I was unable to book the convention center hotel. The Cork Factory is simply charming (have I said that before?). I really enjoyed the brick and tile and ceilings. It's just so unique. It doesn't have any normal hotel feel at all. I can't imagine ever staying anywhere else in Lancaster. I would very much recommend the Cork Factory.
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