Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Stay Report: DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel & Suites Houston by the Galleria (July 2017)

Stay Report: DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel & Suites Houston by the Galleria (updated)
comment below and let me know your thoughts :)

I have been to the Galleria area in Houston many times and have tried many hotels in the area (see previous blog post) - some good, while others not so much.  I like to try new hotels, but also sometimes try and revisit hotels I have previously stayed at that I enjoyed.  One such hotel was the DoubleTree by Hilton Houston Galleria.  I had previously stayed here in September 2014 and at that time we were upgraded to a suite which was extremely spacious and very comfortable.  I found a really good deal so decided to try the hotel again.  Below are my reviews from 2014 and the updates from July 2017

It was extreme chaos when we checked in. This hotel is located near the Galleria so one would expect they should be able to handle crowds - no! The lines were long and the check-in process was very cumbersome. When we finally got to the front, there was no greeting, no apologies for the wait, nothing - and no smile on any of their faces (there were 3 people working in the lobby checking in guests, and none of them were smiling). The check-in was taking a really long time, and no explanation was given, so I asked 'is everything ok'. The attendant replied 'I am looking for a room' and went back to staring at the screen. No customer service at this hotel. When we finally finished, no cookies were given; I had to ask for the cookies even though they are supposed to be given upon check-in

Update: the hotel has undergone renovations so the lobby looks and feels brighter and bigger now.  The lobby contained the business center (two computers with free printing), a bar, and plenty of lounge spaces.  There were still only 3 check-in desks, which seemed a bit small, but check-in went smoothly.  We were greeted as Hilton Honors members, given complimentary cookies, and given the keys to our room.  The attendant did not provide any additional information about the hotel, which was a bit surprising.

All the rooms at this DoubleTree are Suites so the room was very spacious and clean, and the beds were very comfortable.   As you enter, on the left hand side is a galley kitchen, which is a bit outdated but provides a very large fridge.  There is a counter that is connected from the kitchen to the main sitting area, which also has a round table with 4 chairs.  Next to that a sofa-bed/couch with a coffee table in front of a chest with drawers on the bottom and a TV stand on top. Next to the TV stand in the door to the bedroom.  As you enter in the bedroom, you face one of the 2 beds.  If you turn to your right, you go through the open closet (with a safe and iron and ironing board) to go into the bathroom.  In between the two beds was a night stand and in front of the beds was another chest with drawers on the bottom and TV on top.  There was also a desk in the room.  Overall, the furniture was outdated and so was the carpeting, but the beds were spacious and comfortable.

Update: as with other parts of the hotel, the rooms have received an upgrade.  The basic
layout of the suite remains the same, but the furnishings and decor have been updated.  As you entered this suite, on left was the kitchen with a full-size fridge, stove, microwave, sink, and counter space which held the coffee maker.  The kitchen was enclosed and on the other side of the wall was the sitting room.  This room contained a dining table (with 4 chairs), a chest with drawers on the bottom and a TV on top, a desk, and a sofa with a table in front.  The sofa turned into a sofabed.  In the next room were the two beds (which were large and comfortable), a nightstand in the middle (which contained lamps that had plugs on them) and again a chest with drawers on the bottom and TV on top.  Behind the bedroom was an open area which contained the closet (with iron and ironing board), the safe, and storage space.  There was also a decent size bathroom with a sink, toilet, tub, and amenities including shampoo, and hairdryer.  Each of the chest with TVs had a side panel on them to connect other devices to the TV.   

Parking - there are two parking options, self park or valet - there is a charge for both. We choose the self-park because we have a big car, but given the location (near the Galleria in Houston) you would assume there would be ample parking; nope. There is only a 3-level car garage with the first-level reserved for valet, leaving only 2-levels for self-park and these two levels were ALWAYS full. Parking here was a pain, inconvenient, and definitely not worth the money. 

Update: this is an area where there were no changes and it was still a pain. The hotel still charges for parking, and on the weekend - where there are many meetings and parties - the parking lot gets very full very quickly.  It is fine on other nights, but they really need to figure this out to make the hotel really great.

The gym here is small and needs to be remodeled. The gym is located on the 3rd floor, right next to other rooms; it looks as if they took out one room and replaced it with the gym. The gym had 4 treadmills, bikes, weights, and exercise balls so that was good; but the location and layout was extremely tight and uncomfortable.

Update: again an area where there seems to be no change.  The gym still has decent equipment but the location is not good.  There is also an outdoor pool which was very popular with guests.

you have to pay for wi-fi. In today's time, this is just unacceptable to have your guest pay for wi-fi. Its complimentary at Hampton Inn and other Hilton properties, so why not here!

Update: Hilton provides complimentary wifi to its members.  The free wifi was good and provided fast speeds for checking email and for watching videos (on youtube, did not try other streaming sites).

Overall, the location of the hotel, the comfortable beds, and spaciousness of the suites were the only positive.  The inefficient staff, the lack of parking availability (especially when its paid parking and when there are large groups) and no wifi were the negatives.

Update: there have definitely been some improvements to the hotel.  The hotel has been renovated and now the hotel looks more modern and fresh.  The service at the hotel has also gotten better.  The spacious rooms remained the same, but the interiors and the bedding have been updated to provide a nice and relaxing room.  The parking and the gym situation both need to be updated - and the elevators need to be faster.  We spent a lot of time waiting, with other guests, for the elevator.  The improvements the hotel has made turned the decent hotel into a good hotel, but there are still other improvements that need to be made to go from a good to a great hotel.

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