Nine-story RI (150+ suites) located by Freemason area. Walk to eateries, shops, & sights.
1-Bedroom, 2 Queen Beds on High Floor
• Large spacious bedroom with 2 queen beds, 2 full-size dressers & floor-to-ceiling windows in living room & bedroom. (Abundant space for 1 person, roomy for 2 or 3, comfortable for 4, cozy for 5.)
• Gorgeous floor-to-ceiling windows with city view. See beautiful stone building church, Epworth United Methodist, at corner of Freemason & Boush streets. View top of ship, USS Wisconsin. (Also overlook parking garage across street.)
• Top segment of window opens -- allowing in fresh air & traffic/ city sounds. Even with window closed, muted city background noise comes through -- even on higher floors. (Heard street noise, but not hallway sounds.) Not a problem if background city noise doesn't bother you; if you require absolute silence, may be problematic. (Also, depending on your perspective, charm of occasional church bells ringing.)
• Smaller/ narrower living room with non-swivel, flat panel TV mounted against wall -- excessively high, so if you sit on sofa, tilt your neck upward to view screen. Likewise, uncomfortable to try to view TV if your sitting at desk. Proportionally small TV for size of room. (Likewise for bedroom TV except it swivels & is mounted on bureau -- comfortably viewable from both beds.)
• Long kitchen table with 4 seats to fit 4 people snugly. Handy having 2 separate designated dining & desk tops. Lots of surface to spread out on. Enough outlets for multiple electronic gadgets.
• Goldilocks-perfect queen beds -- not too hard, not too soft -- just right.
• Free Internet/ WiFi. (Rare dip in connection strength.)
• Two quick elevators -- minimal waiting. (Female elevator voice announces in a high intonation, "Going up" & lower intonation, "Going down." (May give kids a giggle.))
• 2 wire soap dishes mounted on corner wall (furthest away from shower head) -- allowing soap to stay *dry*. (Wish all hotels would mount soap dishes on far side of shower spray.)
• Ice maker & ice cube tray in freezer. (No need to roam halls for ice machine.)
• 1st-floor exercise room: 2 ellipticals, 2 treadmills, bicycle, & weights. Towels & water provided. (Empty wipes container eventually replaced with full container.)
• 1st-floor guest laundry: row of 5 washes ($1.50), row of 5 dryers ($1.50) by exercise room. (Exercise during wash & dry cycles -- dashing between laundry room & exercise room.)
• 2 computers & printer (next to lobby in comfortable seated area) to print documents & boarding passes.
• Mermaid iconography/ sculpture throughout city. (Little ones may enjoy "mermaid spotting.")
• Local transport, Norfolk's light rail (The Tide) goes around the hotel, & the station (York Street/ Freemason) is a 3-minute walk from door.
• Still $18 (+ tax) self-parking in above-ground garage across street.
(Representative of Other Suites or Lack of Routine Maintenance or Just This One Suite?)
• Can hear "ding ding" of light rail around hotel, but depending on where you're situated in building, depends on how faintly or loudly you hear it and/ or be disturbed by it. (Ask front desk for quieter rooms.) (One late afternoon helicopter LOUDLY hovering nearby for 15+ minutes; initial excitement turned to irritation. Occasionally hear blare of sirens: fire engines, police, & a car alarm.)
• Not quite sure if housekeeping missed cleaning room altogether or had a only brief amount of time to tidy up just enough to pass it on to next guest; wasn't typical of my experience at this RI. Water sitting in un-dryed Pyrex bowls; unclean silverware; well-worn, teflon scratched cookery (due for replacement); spec of dish liquid in left tiny bottle; hastily wiped smear (of food?) streaked across coffee table; un-vacuumed carpet (bobby pin, visible debris); coffee pot merely "rinsed" -- nothing more; soiled pot holders in drawers with utensils placed on them; paper towel roll with few sheets left on it with no replacement role; ditto for kleenex & toilet paper (fortunately new tp roll under bathroom sink). Annoyances that don't affect functionality, just makes you wonder if housekeeping had time to properly clean & re-supply room or if this is RI's new standard of cleanliness/ service.) Irksome, after unpacking & settling in after a long day's travel; clean up digs & scrounge for supplies. Not the way you want to spend your time -- especially if you're off to work (or touring) next morning.
• Wall heating/AC unit between living room & bedroom that clicked on & off (repeatedly for several minutes) so LOUDLY that it can awaken you from a sound sleep. (Don't recall repeated clicking happening elsewhere.) Ended up turning off & keeping AC off after 1st night, so as not to be awoken again.
• Toilet runs periodically out of the blue, but stops quickly, without intervention. (If you're sleeping on bed closest to bathroom, periodic running is disturbing.) Also, continual fan-like sound running in bathroom, but didn't see a fan.
• Weak water pressure in shower/ faucets. (Not problematic, but if you require forceful shower spray, stronger water pressure may be on lower floors.)
• Bathroom door doesn't close; shower head not firmly fastened to wall, wobbles when aiming it; hint of mildew on tub/ shower. (Nothing earth shattering, just disappointing level of maintenance for such a new hotel.)
• No luggage rack. (Extra bed (if not in use) serves as mega luggage rack if you prefer not to unpack & place items in drawers.)
• Typical hint of nicks & dings on furniture, hall walls -- that's seen lots of comings & goings. (Nothing outrageous.) (Interesting gashes in a lampshade. Just a curiosity, a head scratching wonderment as to how such injuries are inflicted on innocent lamps.)
• Extra sheets/ blanket (for sofa bed) typically in bag (in closet) appeared to be already folded into sofa bed. (Not a problem.)
• Bathroom & bedroom sink lights not working initially. Before resetting circuit breakers (on bedroom wall) or calling maintenance, ensure "Master Power Switch" (by front door) is flipped on.
• Kitchen light (directly above sink) when lit, turned from a low hum to a loud buzz the longer it was lit; stopped using light. Other lights nearby illuminated area enough.
Overall, bit of let down because earlier visits were better; anticipated consistency in quality. None of this takes away from overall newness/ modernity of RI & its ideal location.
Free Hot & Cold Breakfast
(6:30am-9:00am on Mon.-Fri.; 7am-10am on Sat., Sun.)
• Standard, hearty hot & cold RI fare with little variety & minimal rotation. Mostly daily rote of scrambled eggs, sausage patty/ ham, potatoes, oatmeal -- occasionally a biscuit egg sandwich for a change. (Long-term/ repeat guests familiar with other RIs more frequent & varied rotation may be disappointed not seeing: breakfast wraps, spinach/ egg sandwiches on whole grain English muffins, sausage hash, etc.) If staying more than a few days, monotony of sameness gets to you. (If on strict budget, tough it out by closing your eyes & think of $ you're saving -- especially if you're feeding several family members.)
• Faux whole grain bread & bagels. Lots of processed white flour, starchy, carby: muffins, bagels, breads, cereals. Pretty much identical or near-same across RI brand with few exceptions.
• Same cut fruit each morning with an occasional change. (Other RIs rotate more frequently: pineapple, honeydew, cantaloupe.) Lack of rotation seems to be norm. Served same type of green, unripened honeydew melon as other RIs, just cut into smaller pieces; but ripe tasty cantaloupe.
• Run out of regular coffee shortly after opening -- each & every morning. (Putting out 2 canisters of regular (instead of 1) could help & even 3 instead of 2. If you need coffee pronto, you may be better off making it in your room.)
• If you arrive around weekday opening time (6:30 am) there can be a slow-moving, backed-up queue inching along kitchen entrance by juice/ hot food area. Appears quite a few guests are trying to get breakfast before they have to dash off to work/ play. (Opening breakfast a half hour earlier (6am) might allow people who have to be on the road a chance to eat.)
• No plain yoghurt (just sweetened/ sugary ones), no boiled eggs, saw yoghurt parfait (granola, blueberry) only 2 times during entire stay. (Wished for healthy foods: plain, unsweetened Greek yoghurt; assortment of fresh, in-season fruits; real whole grain bread; boiled eggs.)
• Depleted items slowly replenished or not at all. (Modus operandi appears to be guests inform kitchen staff of empty/ missing items: coffee, cut fruit, bananas, yoghurt, eggs; staff replenish *after* request.) Not a problem if you're on a relaxed schedule. If you really want a particular food, ask for it, then stand there & wait. If pressed for time, grab what you can (bagel, banana) & eat on the go.)
• Comfortable, spacious, bustling seated dining area.
Free Full Dinner
(5:30pm-7pm; Tue., Wed, & alternating Thur.)
Depending which week you arrive, either have a meal 3 days per week (Tue, Wed, Thu), or 2 days (Tue, Wed.).
• Standard RI evening fare such as: nachos, burgers, sausages, fajitas, etc. with much appreciated weekly *rotation.*
• Beautifully presented salad: iceberg lettuce with shredded carrot, cabbage, tomato, cucumber, green pepper, onion, cheese, etc. for each meal with choice of dressings. (Nice decorative touch showing care/ effort.)
• Dessert: brownie bites, chocolate chip cookies. Soda fountain beverages for drinks.
If traveling as a couple or family, recoup parking fee expense ($18+) by partaking in supper the 2-3 days it's served (as well as breakfast each morning).
Nearby Groceries/ Eateries
For evenings when RI isn’t serving meals or if you’ve time/ inclination to prepare meals in your furnished kitchenette, drive to grocery or get takeout at eateries:
• 5-10 minute drive (1 mi/ 2 km) to Harris Teeter grocery (on Colonial Ave.).
• 5-10 minute walk (0.2 mi/ 0.3 km) to Freemason Abbey Restaurant (excellent soups/ salads) on W Freemason St. (kitty corner from stone church at corner of Freemason & Boush St.). You might be able to see stone church from your room window.
Pick up "Downtown Norfolk Dining Guide" (& menus) at front desk for list of nearby eateries to walk or drive to; plenty of options to suit various tastes & budgets.
Approx. D R I V E Time (Depending on Traffic)
• 25 min. (11 mi./ 18 km) to Norfolk International Airport (ORF); no RI airport shuttle.
• 35 min. (20 mi./ 32 km) to Virginia Beach (I-264E).
• Minutes to Rt 58/ 337, Rt 460, I-264, I-64,...
Norfolk rush-hour traffic can be painful: ensure you've mapped out your commute *before* booking hotel to see in you've a reasonable commute. Allow yourself extra travel time initially until you become familiar with route & traffic patterns/ congestion. (Save yourself a river of tears.) GPS helps if you get stuck in traffic & need an alternative route pronto. TV channel 46, "Norfolk Traffic Channel," shows live video feeds of traffic at designated roadways, & relevant road/ traffic information before leaving room for daily trek.
Upscale, newer RI with hints of wear. Accumulation of suite's peculiarities may irk or not faze you at all. Spaciousness, floor-to-ceiling window view & downtown location trumps annoyances -- petty or egregious.
Overall, comfortable for short or long stays whether traveling with family, as a couple, or alone on business.
(Interesting places to walk to/ explore noted in earlier review posted in April.)
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Located on Brambleton Ave in Downtown Norfolk, VA, the Residence Inn by Marriott Norfolk Downtown offers ideal accommodations for short or long stays in Norfolk. Guests will be at ease when relocating or traveling for a long-term project in Norfolk. The Norfolk hotel's studio, one, and two bedroom suites offer separate living, eating and sleeping areas with full kitchens. Plug in your laptop and enjoy free wireless Internet while watching the Flat screen TV in your suite. Enjoy free breakfast daily, evening "Mix" various nights of the week, a grocery shopping service, a heated indoor pool and on-site fitness center. Residence Inn is close to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters, EVMS, Dominion Enterprises, and Norfolk Southern. You'll be blocks from Norfolk's top eateries, nightlife, culture, and shopping. The Spirit of Norfolk, Chrysler Hall, Scope, the Norva, Ted Constant Convocation Center and MacArthur Center Mall are all located a short distance from the hotel. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Residence Inn Norfolk Downtown Hotel Norfolk