Thursday, July 25, 2013

DENVER: Sheraton Denver

I spent four nights at the Sheraton Denver while attending a conference recently and was pleasantly surprised by most aspects of what might appear to be a typical corporate/business hotel.

Exterior, I. M. Pei Tower and walkway
The Sheraton Denver is actually two buildings connected by a covered walkway above Court Place. When I was there, the high one July day reached 99 degrees, so the air conditioned passageway was most welcome, as it would be during the winter, when temperatures often dip well below freezing.

My room was in the I. M. Pei Tower, built in 1959 and designed by its famed namesake architect. A placard in the room explained that the building was a forerunner of “green” building practices, as “the structure and fa├žade are made from elements from the excavation.”

The rooms, the placard continued, are representative of hotel architecture and size of the time in which the hotel was built, which explains why my room, while nicely furnished with all the modern amenities and well-appointed, was smaller than any U.S. hotel room in which I’ve stayed other than in New York City. The 10-foot ceilings, however, kept the somewhat cozy space from feeling claustrophobic.

Tower guest room 1132
Rooms included the usual flat screen TV, safe, iron and ironing board, work station with multiple AV inputs, and three Internet options. Guests could select basic service, estimated at 1 Mbps, for $9.95 a day, 3 Mbps service for $11.95, and 5 Mbps service for $13.95. I chose the 3 Mbps service, which actually measured 4 Mbps as measured by www.speakeasy.net/speedtest. While the price seemed a bit high, at least good connectivity is available, as it should be as we enter the second half of 2013.

While pretty properties are nice, it’s the service that can make or break a hotel experience. From the beginning, service was very good at the Sheraton Denver.

Upon check-in, I neglected to ask for a bathrobe so called for one when I reached my room. About 10 minutes later, I receive a follow-up call from Guest Services asking whether I’d received the item I ordered. I had not, so the attendant said she would call them again. The fluffiest hotel robe I’ve ever worn arrived within minutes.

Guest room work station
Without exception, staff was friendly and welcoming. Everyone I passed in the hallway, lobby, or other common area smiled, greeted me, and often asked if there was anything they could help me find. The large property can be a bit confusing to navigate at first, so the proffered help was appreciated.

Two service “misses” stand out.

When I attend a conference, I spend a fair bit of time working in my room between sessions, and I hate returning an unmade room after several hours in sessions. Accordingly, I’ve adopted the habit of calling to request an early visit from housekeeping just as I’m about to leave the room. My request was honored promptly the first morning but required a second call the second morning when I returned after two hours away to find the room still hadn’t been made up. The third morning was like the first: my request for early service was answered promptly.

However, on both the second and third mornings, I also reported that the shower drain was running slowly and asked if maintenance could fix it. As you can conclude, it didn’t happen after the first call … or the second. Not a huge issue, but it does show a lack of attention to detail.

Guest room bath
In other areas, housekeeping staff did a great job of keeping the place picked up. Room service trays, glasses, and other detritus left in the halls were whisked away quickly instead of being allowed to sit for lengthy periods, waiting for an overnight collection.

There are several bars and restaurants on site, and the food at Katie Mullen’s, the Yard House, Zoup! and the 15/50 Lounge was very good, if typically hotel-expensive.  The catered food at two receptions I attended was less impressive. In general, it tasted as though it had been prepared too far in advance, then kept warm or cold too long.

The Sheraton Denver is located right on the 16th Street Mall, which offers complimentary shuttle buses, and is within easy walking distance of several restaurants that are more interesting and reasonably priced than hotel fare. I particularly liked The Delectable Egg, about ½ block north of the hotel, which claims to be the home of the Denver Omelet. Regardless of that refutable claim, their egg-based breakfasts were quite good and easier on the expense account than the hotel, as were Einstein’s Bagels a couple of blocks down, and Johnny Rocket’s just across the street. In addition, the free shuttle buses can get you very close to Coors Stadium if you’re there during baseball season and you have an inclination to attend a game.

There is a business center on site, the shared Internet kiosks known as Linked@Sheraton, a fitness center, pool, and the usual amenities.

All things considered, if you need to be in downtown Denver and can get a rate that makes you – or your comptroller – happy, the Denver Sheraton is a fine place to stay.

Visit my main page at TheTravelPro.us for more news, reviews, and personal observations on the world of upmarket travel.



Photos by Carl Dombek
Click on photos to view larger images

1 comment:

  1. Chuck Schuringa, Hotel ManagerAugust 2, 2013 at 12:43 PM

    Boy your name does say it all! You are quite the pro at traveling! We greatly appreciate your feedback on your recent stay with us. We are continuously working to make each visit for our guests memorable and having input from our travelers allows us to do just that. We are delighted to hear that above everything else, our staff was friendly and welcoming. We take pride in our associates and feel that their efforts are what make this hotel great. We have connected with our housekeeping department to let them know of the challenges you faced during your staff. We hope that if you ever find yourself in Denver in the future, you allow us to welcome you back to our hotel. Thank you.
    Chuck Schuringa, Hotel Manager

    ReplyDelete

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