Arriving at the hotel after a long day’s travel, I couldn’t wait to get to my room. I was excited to check in and get ready for my first official conference, where I didn’t short myself (i.e., only go during the day and for the “necessary” days. I arrived on Wednesday and was booked until Sunday… five glorious days child-free! I went straight to the desk, knowing my hotel room from my roommate, provided my card and went upstairs.
I entered the room, dropped my bag and washed off. I chatted with my roommate who started to report the issues she had thus far. In the two hours before I arrived, my roommate spent some time sitting on the floor waiting for the front desk to replace her card. After she settled into the room, she laid on the bed to watch some television to await my arrival. Alas, the television volume did not work. At a mere level of 56, it was silent. A second call to the front desk.
By the end of this conversation, I realized that I was sweating ~ a little warm for a hotel room. I took a look at the thermometer, only to see that it was a scant 65 degrees… or it should be. I asked my roommate if she was also hot. She was happy that I asked since she was wondering if she was having her own “personal summer”. I laughed and said for sure, it was not just her. A third call was made to the front desk.
The front desk assured me that someone would be on their way. After watching some television, we realized that no one had come to the room. Another call. We were again assured that someone was on their way.
I took a shower to prepare for that evening’s activities as my roommate started applying her makeup. I got out and still no visit to our room. A third call for this (fifth call total) was made. We were told someone would be there any minute. Ever tried getting dressed and made up while getting dressed? Not a fun or pretty thing to do. We did the best we could, only to be met by the maintenance man as we were leaving the room. We explained the situation, and we left him in the room to fix the temperature.
The conference provided a banquet, complete with an open bar and hors d’oeuvres. The snacks left much to be desired, but the major disappointment was that the accommodations seemed to be set up for a quarter of the people who were in attendance. The first night probably had 120 people, but there was seating for maybe 40. Even worse, there wasn’t a standing bar either, you know like an area to set your drinks, but not sit down. Just 40 seats and everyone else was left to their own devices. For most, that meant that they returned quickly to their hotel rooms with their drinks and plates instead.
We returned to our room several hours later, to an even hotter room. We called for the sixth time only to be told that according to the front desk, we were not in the room, therefore, nothing was done to fix the problem. Are you kidding me? So, now we have lying to add to the mix. Not sure if it was the maintenance man or the front desk, but our nearly 90 degree room during record breaking temperatures in Long Beach was not the way that I wanted to spend the rest of the weekend.
Jennifer let me know that there was nothing that can be done even though we were left in an obviously hot room without relief. I’m normally good in these situations, but my roommate was an Hilton Honors member and I figured that she would have more leverage. I gladly hung up, and she called immediately back. This time, Brian was more accommodating and helpful. We were able to get a new room on a higher floor and free breakfast for the rest of our stay.
We gladly accepted the room change and requested a bell boy to help us with the move. Although the bulk of our room problems were over, we couldn’t quite put difficulties behind us. Our room keys inconsistently worked. I replaced mine twice, as did my roommate. A staff member berated my roommate for putting her phone too close to her key card. Then his key card didn’t work, forcing him to use the master key to get us into the room. Our new room was much larger, but noticeably lacking a shower bar (with holes indicating where the bar should be).
The breakfast and the bar food were phenomenal. The bar service was slow, admittedly short-staffed by the manager.
Yet, the biggest disappointment of the weekend was the conference food. I’m not sure how the kitchen for the bar and the kitchen for the conference was so vastly different, but as someone who was there strictly for the conference, I’m not sure that I would return for any other food. You certainly wouldn’t know that they were capable of more.
At our final dinner, the entree of bland chicken and salmon went uneaten and the cold, oily bread pudding was straight out refused. Needless to say, the bar was packed after the dinner banquet.
Upon check out, I examined the bill. Even though both my roommate and I let the front desk know that we were splitting the bill equally, the entire charge ended up on my credit card. This may not have been as big as a deal if they had not placed a hold of 100% of the total bill at the outset without letting me know that they were going to do so. Often, I’ve been charged for incidentals for the stay, a few dollars per night in case we tear up the room (as if that were to happen for me). But the entire amount of over $700 without notification!?
- Location, location, location…. only a few minutes to the Queen Mary and downtown Long Beach.
- Clean – All of the rooms were very clean and neat.
- Bar – OMG! The Beef Sliders were absolutely delish!
- Cocktails – Original drinks were great. I loved the Ginger Martini, when it was fresh pureed ginger
- Rooms – there were plenty of rooms for all of our events.
- Room charges – there are no room service or mini-bar charges. There isn’t an alcoholic mini-bar, but they do provide water which in other hotels can cost you up to $5 a bottle to drink. Here it’s free.
- No shuttle – shuttle service is only to downtown Long Beach, the shuttle doesn’t go to the nearby Long Beach Airport
- Shuttle (part 2) – there’s only one shuttle driver, so if you have a large group or are there with a conference, the shuttle is virtually useless. It’s easily a 45 minute wait
- Conference food – yuck
- Technology – old and needs upgrading (key cards!)
- Renovations – they weren’t complete. There was an obvious place where the carpet had not been cut to the appropriate size and the walls were in complete
- Customer service – mediocre at best. Brian seemed to be the only person really willing to help. Most weren’t accommodating at all.
Overall, I was highly disappointed in Hilton Long Beach. I’ve stayed in my share of Hiltons and by far this one was the only one that I felt like I would actively consider not returning to. After declaring that the hotel was newly renovated, it was not equipped to deal with a conference of our size (which I would argue was relatively small) and tried it’s best to make up for their mistakes, instead of doing it right in the first place. At this time, my recommendation would be to go for convenience, location and cleanliness. Hopefully, in the next year or so they could get things together, but I will have a better review.