I find Kimpton to be an interesting group of hotels; although increasingly I find their brand values inconsistent.
I like the way they innovate; with options like the new eStandby Upgrade program providing a low cost way to access their premium inventory, if it is unsold. Equally the InTouch loyalty program provides benefits that make joining a no-brainer, free internet access and a $10 mini bar credit are both welcome and mean I will usually check if there is a Kimpton in any US city I visit.
This is fine, if you are only booking half a dozen US trips a year; but as I spend increasing amounts of time travelling in America, the absence of an intermediate loyalty level is a frustration and having gained such a status with a couple of other schemes, now challenges loyalty to Kimpton. Unfortunately the company don't yet have the coverage in terms of locations, offered by a major chain, so I am unlikely to be able to reach the 15 stays or 45 nights for Inner Circle status, based on their current footprint.
When it comes to their hotels whilst many venues are outstanding others, at least in terms of the actual accommodation, fall a long way short of their normal standards. Amongst the uber chic Ink 48 in Hell's kitchen and Epic in Miami as well as modern boutique venues like The Muse in New York and Hotel Palomar in DC, there are a number of locations that would politely be described as tired and needing work, to bring them up to the benchmark the group usually achieves. Hotel Monaco in San Francisco and this establishment the Hotel Madera are obvious examples.
On arrival the reception area gives an impression of being just too small and there is only space for a single guest to check in at one time. This immediately creates a claustrophobic impression and it sadly lacks the character and panache of many Kimpton lobbies. This is more like the entrance for a small serviced apartment complex, rather than a boutique hotel. The space needs something to deliver a certain, je ne sais quoi, to make it more engaging.
I took advantage of the standby upgrade to take a balcony room, given it was cold and windy December day, this was more for the additional space than the balcony itself. The main room was spacious with a large desk, occasional chair and a large couch.
In contrast the bathroom was a bizarre arrangement, with the hand basin being opposite a hanging space, outside the bathroom itself, which in turn is just too small for the bath and toilet together. The space would have been far more practical as a wet area with a shower behind a glass partition to separate the space from the WC. It is clear that a small amount of money has been spent in this area e.g. new taps for bath, shower and movement sensitive lights, but this renovation could have been better thought out.
Room service hours are very limited and certainly not in line with normal practice within the group. The Firefly restaurant is without doubt the jewel in the crown of the Madera, even if the rest of that crown could do with a polish. See my separate review on Firefly for more detail on this delightful place, which excels with both its cuisine and its libations.
It was suggested to me that a more compact room service menu is under consideration. Personally I'd consider this a retrograde step. Such a change would be OK perhaps for a 24 hour room service option but given the strength of the restaurant I think it would be a shame to limit what is available during restaurant hours.
Room service that finishes at 9:30 and that only Monday to Friday does not really fit with the brand proposition offered by most of the group.
Like so many Kimptons TV choice was via LodgeNet, although on this occasion HBO was included. I have found restrictions in the LodgeNet service an annoyance in other of their establishments although I gather these may be phased out in the near future. This would be good for their customers. If LodgeNet’s bankruptcy gives Kimpton the chance to exit this arrangement I for one would welcome it.
There were a few other small points which suggest this abode has yet to benefit from the full Kimpton touch, dated and more disconcertingly, loud, air based heating together with an unusual intercom wireless phone, that I just could not work out. Overall it is a strangely constructed building an Kimpton face obvious challenges in converting this to an hotel which is consistent with their particular style.
I had a very unfortunate incident with the mini-bar attendant, who despite my telling him I had not used anything, insisted on inspecting the equipment. Yes I had looked because I had a "Raid the mini bar" card provided as part of the groups loyalty plan, but just because you consider the options, is it right that a guest’s honesty is questioned? So much to it being an honour bar!
To be fair, on raising this with the management they were clearly appalled and moved swiftly to address the situation. Apparently this service is outsourced and the local team were clear they would ensure no repetition. In my experience, with occasional exceptions, Kimpton benefit from a quality management team who do listen to their customers and genuinely appreciate feedback.
Perhaps Hotel Madera has been recently acquired by Kimpton and has yet to have the full make over, whatever the reason I can't help thinking they should perhaps establish a junior brand to identify where the full Kimpton experience is not in place, that said for all its curiosities the hotel offers good value for money if you know what to expect.
Take advantage of the In Touch loyalty program and check out the eStandby upgrades
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dear ianx1london, Thanks for taking the time to give us feedback. We take honest comments from people like you very seriously. It pains us to hear the not-so good stuff, but it helps us learn and improve! I truly apologize that this visit did not meet your Kimpton expectations. I would love to speak to you further about this, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can discuss all of your comments in detail. Thank you for your patience and I look forward to speaking with your further. Sincerely, Modi Ahmed
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.