I traveled to Columbia on business, and found that the major hotel chains were 100% booked. The only rooms my colleague and I could find were at Claussen's. I stayed on a Sunday-Thursday in July. Several circumstances have led me to write this review. I am not a complainer, but I can only take so much. The hotel staff has not responded to my concerns with a whole lot of professionalism, even though they have had a great deal of time to make it right during my 4-night stay. No one from management has even contacted me or been available during non-work day hours. (The manager was on site 9-4 pm, but my business meetings meant I was not available from 8-4:30).
At first, I was excited to try this converted bakery, and experience a boutique hotel atmosphere. My initial impression of the queen suite room was nice: the room was sleek, modern, and charming. I enjoyed the separate living/work space from the bedroom up the spiral staircase. Although the location is a nice walk-able area with lots of restaurants, and from the outside, it appears the hotel has made a good effort to be competitive, I took issue with three major issues during my stay at Claussen's that showed me why this hotel is cheaper than the major players.
Here are my three issues, in order of inconvenience they caused:
1) Noisy neighbor(s): The hotel, and more specifically, all the queen suite rooms are on the end of the building nearest the Norfolk Southern railroad tracks. And I mean RIGHT NEXT TO the tracks. Trains pass at ALL hours of the night and day, and blow their horns just as they cross at Green Street. I stayed in that room three nights and none of them were a good night's sleep, even with earplugs and white noise. Expect to be woken multiple times a night because even after the engines pass, the whole room rumbles with the rest of the passing boxcars. Also, the nearby restaurants and associated traffic meant lots of extra noise late into the night. The parking lot behind the building, and right outside room 214 is a flood light to add security, because as you will read some other reviewers mention having had cars being broken into, or damaged. Though this was not my experience with my vehicle, the light also flooded my room, as the blinds were futile to block most of it. A simple change to black out curtains against the window rather than the large wooden blinds would be a great change.
2) Palmetto bugs. Google it. I discovered the unwelcomed roommate the second morning in the bathroom during my 4 night stay. This, along with the trains were more than enough for me to ask to move rooms at 8am that day, but the hotel staff at the front desk didn't even take me seriously. He said he would try to get me a new room for that night, but he didn't bother to relay my change room request to the next front desk attendant at shift change, nor any management to make it actually happen. I had to ask a second time at 4pm, and by then, they said they had no rooms available. So, I then spent a third night in the same room, dealing again, with wakeful sleep due to the trains, and the fear of finding more bugs.
3) Missed Breakfast: The delivered complimentary breakfast was nice the 1st two mornings of my stay, with no issues. However, when the hotel was at 100% capacity the third morning of my stay, my order never came during, and past my selected delivery window. I had to call the front desk and alert them to the issue. My colleague had the same experience, and though we were able to get breakfast eventually, it was on our way out the door for our business meetings. The staff should have at least called our rooms during the time we were expecting breakfast to let us know they were running late, or done something other than nothing at all. A proactive approach would have led me to leave this off my review.
Bottom Line: Perhaps some guests will find the train quaint, perhaps some guests in the south are used to bugs, and perhaps some guests don't have high expectations, but for business travel with tight deadlines and meetings all day, I would not recommend this hotel.
My next stay in Columbia will be at a major chain with proper customer service.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Experience Southern Hospitality at it’s finest in the heart of Columbia, South Carolina. Listed on the National Historic Register, The Inn at Claussen’s blends historic grandeur, exquisite service and eco-friendly amenities in perfect proportion. Once home to Claussen’s Bakery we are now a 29 room Boutique Inn, just steps away from some of the best dining and shopping in South Carolina. Whether you’re taking a quick vacation or getting down to business, we have all the modern comforts to help you get away or stay connected. At The Inn at Claussen’s you can always expect your breakfast to be delivered to your room in the morning, a glass of wine in the evenings and gracious hospitality around the clock. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- The Inn At Claussen`s Hotel Columbia
- Hotel At Claussens
- At Claussens Hotel