I'm a Pittsburgh native, and on and off resident of Charleston, who has stayed in this hotel many times during my "off" times from Charleston, and through several incarnations.
This property was originally a very nice, full service Holiday Inn. I first stayed here in the mid-90s when an employer put me up there for training, which was being held in the hotels conference center on the main level. As I recall there was still a restaurant and bar in the upper levels, my stay was pleasant, although at that time the hotel was obviously starting it's decline. The upper level restaurant and bar closed sometime after that.
I stayed subsequently at the Holiday Inn several times, which was a very hit or miss experience. You wanted riverfront views because, well, those were nice rooms. But on sunny days the old, tired HVAC units couldn't keep up and the rooms would get unbearably hot. If you landed a city facing room in winter, similarly, the rooms would not stay very warm. The elevators became very poor and slow, and generally the hotel declined greatly. It did have a decent outdoor pool, but that too became rather spartan, and even getting a clean towel out there was a problem. Bankruptcy followed, or at least the company that owned the hotel was in bankruptcy, and it showed in this hotel as it reached a very sad, sad point as far as service and quality.
The only food service available was on the main level, was very dated, and limited in hours, with night time offerings being inconsistent, and limited to the small bar area.
The mayor and many others were involved in trying to get someone to buy this property out of it's declining fate, and apparently after several years they were successful in finding a suitor/buyer.
I stayed at the hotel during the "renovation phase" in which it became a Ramada Limited. The renovated half of the hotel at a time, so to speak, and despite staying in a hotel that was constantly a work zone, the hotel became much improved at that point. The elevators were still slow, but once you were lucky enough to get one of the rooms that had already been renovated (during the Ramada Limited "phase" you would first get one of the older rooms, then at some point they had renovated rooms availables), they were quite nice.
I remember once I was assigned a room right next to the half-way point, and the room had been renovated for the most part, but there was a temporary construction door just past my room, and there were heavy duty electrical wires running electricity into the room, clearly on a temporary basis, with TV and lamps running on power strips plugged into the temporary lines. But one could see that the room had been nicely renovated, and the hotel was clearly on the upswing.
As I now am back to being a part time/half time resident of Charleston, I have not had, or needed, the opportunity to stay at the hotel much. But I managed to get in one stay before moving back to town and after the hotel renovation was complete, and the Sheraton Four Points name was installed.
They moved the pool inside. I wondered about that move, as I always thought it would have been very easy to just toss an atrium roof over the outside pool, renovate that area, and run with a very nice renovated pool. But I suppose for year round use, a new, centrally located pool, was in the cards. I wish they would give this same treatment to the Sheraton Four Points at the Pittsburgh airport. The outdoor pool there has clearly seen better days, and there's no pool in winter.
The rooms are now, as can be expected from brand new Sheraton rooms, top notch, with premium bedding, and rank among the best in the Four Points brand. There is a true sports bar and restaurant now finally giving this hotel a place to eat, drink, and/or watch a game without thinking you're making a mistake by not going out to any of the very closeby bars and restaurants that used to offer so much more. Sometimes you just want to get where you're going and relax and unwind without going back out if you've been on the road. This renovated gem now allows that without feeling you're getting left out.
I've read the reviews regarding the staff, and have to say I have not had similar experiences. In fact, I think many of the front of the house staff are holdovers from previous incarnations of this hotel, and I have always found them extremely friendly and helpful, even when they were hampered by the state of the hotel. I am sure those that remain from past years are quite proud now of their workplace, which clearly wasn't the case in past conversations I had with a few of them.
The parking is a bit of a sore spot. It used to be $6 for parking, which the staff would often waive. What people need to understand is the parking garage, I believe, is city owned. So if the hotel doesn't charge you for it, they are paying for it out of pocket. The increase to $10 is a bit much, I would agree. But, if you go to most other downtown hotels in other cities, you will pay for parking. If you go to big cities, you will pay MUCH more for parking. The last time I stayed in 3 and 4 star properties in downtown Pittsburgh it was much more. The Hyatt charged me $25 a night. In DC, Baltimore, NYC, you're going to pay $25-$30 a night. I think in Cleveland I even had to pay $18 and that was 7 years ago. So consider you're getting free wifi, bottled water, etc., and that parking at other downtown hotels elsewhere cost much more, and pay the $10. There are other options as well, such as parking somewhere else and walking in, but do you want to do that? The Marriott and Embassy are in the same boat. They charge for parking. If you want free parking, stay at the Holiday Inn Civic Center, Best Western, etc. But don't expect as nice of a room or a view.
I've written a lot of reviews here and there. Mostly on Priceline and other discount websites that I use as a frequent traveller. But I felt compelled to write this one after giving a friend some advice and recommending this property due to what this hotel means to Charleston.
Yes, Charleston had some nice properties before. The Charleston Marriott has always been a pretty high quality hotel. The Embassy Suites was for some time clearly the best hotel in Charleston. The renovated Ramada Inn in South Charleston, which is now a full service Holiday Inn, is not also one of the top hotels in Charleston as far as quality and amenities.
But THIS property was hugely important to this town, which has in the last decade or so made considerable improvements and investments in it's riverfront, adding the sheltered stage, and renovating the crosswalk over to the stage and that area. This hotel sits on the river, in a predominant place and centerpiece of the city. It NEEDED this!
With it's central location and riverfront views, and the festivals that occur on the river, downtown Charleston again has a primier property on the river, and not the embarassing hotel that it once became.
So kudos to the Sheraton Four Points and it's new owners, for a job well done. And a thank you from the city for helping to restore a little glory to a once proud, now proud again property.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Take in everything that West Virginia’s capital has to offer at the Four Points by Sheraton Charleston. Our riverfront location provides easy access to the State Capitol, the Charleston Civic Center, the University of Charleston, and the Charleston Town Center shopping mall. Take advantage of our free on-demand shuttle service to and from Yeager Airport (CRW), which is 10 minutes away.Admire beautiful Kanawha River or downtown views from one of our 176 guest rooms and suites. Get plenty of free extras, like High Speed Internet Access, bottled water, and a daily newspaper. Take care of business at the spacious work area with an ergonomic chair, or watch your favorite show on the 42-inch flat screen TV. Get a great night’s sleep in one king-size or double Four Points by Sheraton Four Comfort Beds™.We have everything you need for a productive business trip or a fun, active vacation. Stay in touch with the office in our lobby’s open business center. Or swim laps in our new indoor heated swimming pool and work out in the expanded fitness center. Watch the game at the family-friendly Recovery Sports Grill, or head to the quieter lobby lounge for grab-and-go breakfast or an evening cocktail.The Four Points by Sheraton Charleston can host a range of events, with nearly 9,000 square feet of total space. Let our professional planning and catering teams help you stage a successful, memorable event. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Ramada Charleston Downtown Hotel Charleston
- Holiday Inn Charleston
- Charleston Holiday Inn