Sacramento: Homewood Suites - Natomas

We have stayed at this Homewood Suites several times in the past when visiting family. On our most recent visit, it seemed that the property had changed, and not for the better.

Sign at entrance
We have stayed at this property in the past for a couple of reasons: the extra room and the mini-kitchen provided in its suites, and its location, which is convenient for our purposes. Those things haven’t changed.

The physical property is generally well-maintained and the rooms have all the things today’s travelers expect: a comfortable bed, bathroom with Neutrogena amenities, a hair dryer, an iron and ironing board, generous closet, flat-screen TV, work desk, separate dining area, sofa and chairs.

The mini-kitchen has a fridge, range, basic dishware and cookware, and complimentary coffee and tea. Elsewhere, the property offers a pool, fitness center, sport courts, business center, conference/meeting room, and a larger lobby with fireplace where families or colleagues can gather.

The property offers breakfast in the mornings and a social hour with nibbles, beer and wine in the evenings. While I didn’t visit the social hour during our recent stay, the breakfast offerings seemed to lack the variety we’d seen in the past. What was on offer was fresh and tasty, and the people attending the breakfast area were among the most pleasant and cheerful at the hotel, but there seemed to be far fewer choices than during other visits. There are restaurants close by for guests who want more choices but if you choose Homewood Suites at least in part because of its breakfast, be advised.

Most notably, the quality of the hotel’s overall service seems to have declined from previous visits. I have worked in the hospitality industry (including at Hilton properties), and travel extensively. Because of that, I probably have higher expectations than many travelers. I am also keenly aware that good service can help offset other negatives, and that poor service can make even the best property less desirable.

We experienced a number of minor issues which, taken individually, probably wouldn’t be worth mentioning but as a whole show a lack of attention to detail.

Most of the issues were with housekeeping. First and foremost, housekeeping failed to check and shut off the alarm after the previous guest checked out. As a result, it went off at 5:30 a.m., jarring us out of bed on our first morning in town.

Entrance to Homewood Suites
Other “misses” included not emptying an overflowing trash can, leaving dishes from the breakfast buffet in the guest room instead of returning them to the kitchen, and failing to empty and clean the coffee pot.

Another area that was substandard was the free Wi-Fi. It was spotty and frequently went out during our three-day visit, and we were away from the room more than we were there. Imagine how frustrating that would have been for someone trying to work from their room.

Most telling, however, was the attitude of the desk clerk upon check-out. When I brought my issues to his attention, he didn’t even offer an apology for the inconvenience. Understand this: an apology is absolutely the least anyone in the hospitality industry should offer when a guest expresses a lack of satisfaction. In this case, EVEN THAT DIDN’T HAPPEN.

If you are a traveler who doesn’t place a high value on excellent service, this hotel will probably be just fine. However, if you insist on excellent service as well as pleasant physical surroundings, it might be worth considering another hotel.

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Photos by Carl Dombek
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