Providence Biltmore Stay
Reservations were made online at the hotel website at a savings when compared to other online booking sites. A room was acquired on the concierge level of the hotel at a good rate when compared to other available rooms.
Upon arrival to the airport in Providence, Rhode Island, it became clear that no hotel provided transportation would be available for travelers arriving at the airport. This was not clearly noted beforehand on the website or during the registration process. For the cost of the hotel room per night, why isn’t transportation provided like some of the other less expensive establishments right down the street? A call to the hotel staff at the Biltmore indicated that a ‘shuttle’ would arrive every hour on the hour. The hour mark came and went with no ‘shuttle’ ever seen. A second call to the Biltmore staff indicated that the ‘shuttle’ was actually a van (maybe white or maybe red, which is it, they didn’t know) that arrives at the airport. The van parks with the taxies at the other end of the ground transportation area. Again, no signs indicated this. Another hour goes by and a red van arrives. At this point there is quite a large group of people waiting, many having experienced similar problems. Unbeknown to some of the other travelers and myself a prepaid ticket costing $9.00 for one-way travel to downtown Providence is required to board the van – information left out in both conversations with the hotel staff. A rush was made to go back into the airport (carrying all the luggage because it can’t be left unattended) to purchase a raffle ticket stub from a very rude receptionist. The van was packed full of travelers with no room to spare and some were left at the curb for another hours wait. The van combines stops to the Biltmore, Westin and another downtown hotel.
The check-in process went smoothly.
The quality of the room at first glance was quite nice (an eloquent décor); however, shortly after settling in several deficiencies were noted. The one and only overhead light was missing the fixture to it. This left a harsh pinpoint light trying to illuminate the entire room. Hotel management was notified, but failed to fix the fixture during the four-night stay. Use of the overhead ceiling fan that was part of the same fixture was quickly discontinued for safety reasons due to the severe wobbling and noise coming from the unit.
There were several large unsightly chips in the bathroom tub. Cracked tiles and missing caulking were also highly visible in the bathroom. The hair drier looked as if it had been through a trash compactor and lost the fight. The toilet barely worked when flushing. Although there was a vent present in the bathroom, there was no means possible to turn on, if it worked, the vent to help eliminate steam from a shower. The supplied iron had severe deposits on the plate that could have damaged a clean white shirt.
One of the floor light fixtures didn’t work at all, while others were temperamental in their ability to hold good contact to complete an electrical circuit. A Tieback to the wall for the curtain was missing on one side and was tied into a knot by the maid staff each day. All that is needed to fix it was an inexpensive cup hook. The view out the window from the third floor room looked directly onto the flat roof of floors below. Water was constantly standing with trash and bottles thrown about.
The biggest problem with the room was the lack of heat. During my stay in August, the temperatures were reasonable cool. After running the heat for a while (the air conditioning had been running previously before entering the room), the room seemed to be getting even colder. The heating feature did not work on the air-handling unit. A call placed to the Biltmore staff indicated that the heat was ‘turned off’ for the season. The cold temperatures were tolerated for the remainder of the stay – there was no other choice. Although it should be noted that there was a significant temperature difference between the hallways and the room itself, indicating heat was available.
All of the above mentioned problems could be fixed, just attention to some of the details and the obvious are needed. If these were problems with one room, what about the others? Inspection of other floors (throughout the hallways of the hotel) indicated the older age of the hotel and the lack of quality repairs over the years. If the entire hotel looked as well as the lobby, it would be a major competitor to the new Westin across the street.
The concierge room was a nice feature, but the options for the continental breakfast was limited.
The DVD player supplied within the room was also a nice addition, but there was a lack of quality, recent Hollywood movies available in the concierge room.
If I do stay in Providence again, I will elect to stay at another location.