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“over-priced and smelly.” 2 of 5 stars
Review of The Clarendon Hotel and Spa

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The Clarendon Hotel and Spa
4.0 of 5 Hotel   |   401 West Clarendon Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85013   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #16 of 174 Hotels in Phoenix
Tucson, Arizona
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“over-priced and smelly.”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed December 30, 2012

I stayed here 2 nights ago with my partner. When I booked my room online, I did a quick search for a coupon code and got my room for $10 less than what the Clarendon website was advertising. It clearly stated on my reservation and on the Clarendon website that the reservation included a $10 breakfast voucher for each person. This was one of my main reasons for choosing this hotel rather than another one nearby. Unfortunately, staff refused to honor it, giving a bunch of various excuses and assured me I could afford to buy breakfast at their restaurant. Certainly I could, but why would I want to spend more money there with this poor customer service?

There was a horrible smell outside the hotel in the courtyard area, the room was marginally clean (grime on lightswitches, vents), and absolutely TERRIBLE lighting in the room, the worst I have ever seen. A sketchy back door that should have been closed and operated only with your room key, but was propped open with a rock. And 3 cops in the lobby obviously investigating something. Oh, and when we arrived we were informed the pool and hot tub were closed. So, with tax, we paid $135 for a room that looked clean only because it's so dark in there you can't see anything, and got no extras except for snacks and water, which please note, are not in your room like a normal mini bar-- you have to ask for them at the front desk. I've stayed in many hotels in Phoenix and I've never been compelled to write a review before until now because this one was so bad! Would I be angry if I had paid $50-60, no. But when they are charging well over $100 and there are many other hotels in the area at a similar price that are much nicer, I don't know why anyone would choose to stay here. I will say that when I called about our heat not working, someone promptly came upstairs and fixed it.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ben B, Owner at The Clarendon Hotel and Spa, responded to this review, January 4, 2013
Sara,

Thank you so much for your review - I'd like to address the items in your review and let all of the other readers out there know that we take these reviews seriously.

Sorry that you are angry over the issue you encountered with breakfast. You stated the following:
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"When I booked my room online, I did a quick search for a coupon code and got my room for $10 less than what the Clarendon website was advertising. It clearly stated on my reservation and on the Clarendon website that the reservation included a $10 breakfast voucher for each person."
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Yes, you are correct, The Clarendon website states that you get a breakfast voucher for booking online, but only for reservations made ***directly on the hotel's website***... did you see the voucher mentioned on the website where you found the cheaper rate? I think the error you made was that you saw something for free on one source, then went to another source and booked your room assuming that one offer was good, no matter where you booked. That's not the case - as you probably know, hotels pay a significant percentage to third party booking sites, and want to drive business directly to their own websites... and we do this by offering breakfast vouchers. The good news for those reading this review is that we'll match rates for The Clarendon that you find on other sites, and as long as you book directly with us, you'll still get your breakfast vouchers!

Regarding the marks on the light switches and vents, there's no excuse for that... and I think I know the cuprit - the person who cleans our carpets also cleans out the air filters at the same time... the waste water for the carpet extractor is always grimy, and I'm guessing it transferred over to the light switches and vents... he probably cleaned the carpets in a room that was already marked clean. We'll address this and come up with a better system.

The smell from the courtyard is gone, and the doors to the parking lot were propped open for 3 days... this is true. However, this is the first time since 2007 that we've kept these doors open, and it was because the county required us to re-seal the pool deck, and the sealant was strong smelling.

The police officers in the lobby... I'll have to think back on that... we have zero tolerance for any activity, and I believe this was a day when a drunken guest the night before fell through our front door and broke the glass. Otherwise, we have very few issues where police would be called... it would mostly be for identity theft or something of the like, which just means that we're watching out for the safety and security not just of our guests, but the general public... you should be *elated* that they were there, not suspicious, but you could just be one of those persons who has disdain for those who are here to serve and protect the public.

We just replaced our lighting with LED light bulbs, and I'll check out some of the rooms and will add additional lighting as quickly as I can where we see fit. I'll find out what room number you were in and will

Regarding the total you paid, that's a lot less than any other hotel in the central Phoenix market, unless you're staying at a 1 or 2 star property, and keep in mind that our taxes here are almost 20%... in addition to that, you mentioned "and got no extras except for snacks and water, which please note, are not in your room like a normal mini bar-- you have to ask for them at the front desk"... first off, let me correct you and state that you "got" more extras than that - parking, which is free at The Clarendon but can cost $57/night in midtown/downtown Phoenix at some properties... Internet, which is free at The Clarendon but can cost $24.95+tax at nearby hotels, unlimited bottled water, which can cost $12/bottle at nearby hotels... minibar snacks, which are ***unlimited***, hence the reason they're at the front desk, where at nearby hotels a package of M&Ms is $12!!! So be fair, you can't say you "got no" extras for the price paid.

You can certainly sense my frustration in replying to this review... but I have to be a bit firm on this... I feel that you didn't get your way, and in retaliation, you decided to be a mean human being and write a negative review. We have a lot of truly wonderful things about the hotel, and if you weren't happy you should have asked for me... we are in this business to make the neighborhood better, create a sense of community, create a positive experience not just of Phoenix, but all of Arizona (even Tucson!), make guests happy, fulfill their needs, and exceed their expectations... we're not in the business of making people unhappy. My card is at the front desk, and has my mobile number on it, which guests are told that they can call 24/7 with any issues that they may have... and I'm serious about that. The good news... in almost 9 years of owning The Clarendon, which I started from my home equity loans and credit cards, I've only had guests call my mobile a handful of times.

There are guests who "get it" and understand that we're different and that we're about the experience, about the weekly rooftop yoga, the weekly flamenco dancers, the underwater speakers, the 1000 stars that twinkle in the bottom of the pool at night, the beds and linens which are the same as you'd find in 5-diamond properties, etc., etc.... then there are those who just like to eat in chain restaurants and stay in chain hotels. I feel that the true essence of travel is to experience things that you cannot experience at home, otherwise why bother traveling... but I think you're more of the person who enjoys staying in beige-on-beige hotels that are the same no matter where you travel, and eat at the same restaurants that they could find at home with food that comes straight from frozen bags to deep fat fryers. There's nothing wrong with this, mind you, it's just different. I'm very sorry that you felt your experience was so terrible.

Sincerely,
Ben Bethel
Owner/General Manager
The Clarendon Hotel
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780 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (170)
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English first
Brooklyn Center
Top Contributor
99 reviews 99 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 37 cities Reviews in 37 cities
46 helpful votes 46 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 26, 2012

We discovered the Clarendon and its onsite restaurant Gallo Blanco Café by chance while mistakenly staying at one of the chain hotels in the area. This error will not be repeated and we look forward to staying at rather than dining in the Clarendon during our next visit.

As suggested, while in the area we dined at the Gallo Blanco Café and as a result were able to explore the Clarendon’s property, meet assorted staff and get a feel for the Clarendon’s hospitality. A review of the restaurant was done separate from this overview of the hotel.

During one of our three delicious meals (a late lunch) it was suggested by the attentive staff that we take in sunset from the hotel’s rooftop deck. Taking the elevator to the fourth floor then walking up one additional flight of stairs we were pleasantly surprised to find an expansive deck which included piped-in music, comfortable benches, heaters for the winter chill and covered tables. It appears there is a bar area which can be set up and the deck provided a decent view of the setting sun across the valley.

The pool and its extra-large Jacuzzi are located in the central courtyard of the hotel. Brightly colored and inviting, the courtyard features a glass waterfall which takes up the width of one side and extends from the second floor.

During the second of our visits to the Gallo Blanco Café (breakfast) we explored the bar and lounge area of the hotel. Retro, eclectic furnishings, local art, computer access and more await the guest and visitor as well as a nice view of the aforementioned pool and courtyard. It was during this second visit we discovered the rates for a night’s stay were as reasonable if not better than the local chain we were staying it. If I remember correctly, a night’s stay also yields a discount voucher for the Gallo which is an excellent thing indeed!

We enjoyed one final visit to the Clarendon for dinner at Gallo. The attentive staff provided top-notch service, specialty drinks and we had the made-to-order guacamole, which was fantastic. One more swing by the front desk for a chat with staff and we were convinced that during our next stay in Phoenix we’ll be staying at, not near, the Clarendon!

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 15, 2012

Fun, chic, relaxing experience all rolled into one hotel. The food at the restaurant was outstanding for dinner and breakfast, and the staff was as nice and helpful as you could find in any 5 star hotel.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled on business
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ben B, Owner at The Clarendon Hotel and Spa, responded to this review, December 17, 2012
Thank you very much for your review - I started The Clarendon in 2004 without any prior experience in the hospitality industry - just a great desire to improve my community while creating a unique experience for my guests and making sure everyone would leave loving Phoenix and Arizona!

Sincerely,
Ben Bethel
Owner/General Manager
The Clarendon Hotel
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sedona, Arizona
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 12, 2012

This was a GROUPON test on our part. We've stayed in Phoenix at many hotels and were more than surprised to find all the amazing amenities this hotel offered in the rooms. At first we were put near the elevator and requested a quieter room which they front desk was able to accommodate since it wasn't sold out. We are looking forward to our next stay in Phoenix so we can check out the restaurant and top deck. Two thumbs UP!

Room Tip: For the quietest room ask for one near the parking lot which is away from the pool area and has no s...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled on business
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ben B, Owner at The Clarendon Hotel and Spa, responded to this review, December 17, 2012
Thank you so much for the wonderful comments! I really appreciate it! Keep in mind that we're always making The Clarendon a better and better place to stay every day!

Sincerely,
Ben Bethel
Owner/General Manager
The Clarendon Hotel
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Stillwater, Minnesota, United States
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 12, 2012

The Clarendon Hotel was a delightful departure from the generic hotels! The retro style was charming and interesting. We spent several days there and enjoyed the rooftop bar, pool, original artwork, fabulous food and the room itself. Great linens and decor in the room, along with a Keurig coffee maker, I-pod dock and Philosophy toiletries! I travel to Phoenix frequently and the Clarendon will be my new "go-to" hotel.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ben B, Owner at The Clarendon Hotel and Spa, responded to this review, December 17, 2012
Thank you for the great comments on EVERYTHING! ;-) Keep coming back and watch us get even better and better.... as the smallest and most intimate hotel in Central Phoenix, we're here for YOU, the guest, and want to make sure you have an awesome time while in Phoenix and Arizona!

Sincerely,
Ben Bethel
Owner/General Manager
The Clarendon Hotel
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
millburn, nj
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 9, 2012

What a cute hotel. Definitely worth the price. Clean, great pool and interesting decor. The hotel staff were very sweet and professional. Major highlight is the attached restaurant. AMAZING food and appeared to be a cool place to hang out at night.

Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ben B, Owner at The Clarendon Hotel and Spa, responded to this review, December 17, 2012
Thank you for the wonderful comments on both the hotel and the restaurant - it's nice to know that we're on the right track!

Sincerely,
Ben Bethel
Owner/General Manager
The Clarendon Hotel
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tucson, Arizona
1 review
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 3, 2012

My husband and I drove up to Phoenix from Tucson to visit some friends and we needed a reasonably priced room near their house. I must say we were pleasantly surprised. The staff was friendly and inviting. The room was clean, but it was a bit small, however, since we were staying for only one night, it wasn't a huge issue. From the moment we walked in the room, we loved the atmosphere. There was jazz music playing which really helped us unwind and prepare for our night out. Little details like the Keurig coffee maker and the Philosophy toiletries really set the Clarendon apart from chain hotels. The decor was hip and modern and I must say, the bed was unbelievably comfortable. My husband always has a hard time sleeping in hotel beds, but he slept like a baby! The bedding is absolutely fabulous! Also, there was an oil air freshener in the room that smelled amazing! I would love to have that scent for my own house. The sky deck was gorgeous and stayed open until midnight, however we were disappointed that the bar up there (and the one downstairs) closed at 11! On a Saturday night in Phoenix, we expected it to be open until at least midnight. Other than that, everything was great! The Clarendon will definitely be our go to place from now on whenever we're in town.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ben B, Owner at The Clarendon Hotel and Spa, responded to this review, December 17, 2012
Thank you for your wonderful review! To respond to a few of your comments:

* The beds are Sealy Posturepedic Encore Plush 720 coil beds with a "tufted" pillowtop... I spent about 3x as much as most hotels would spend on their beds, and it's the number one compliment each and every morning.
* Linens are 305 thread count linens, we triple sheet the beds, and simply enclose a down blanket between the top two sheets (this way, you know everything's being changed, most hotels never, ever, ever, ever wash those blankets).
* The scent is essential rose oil... while not cheap at around $1100 per gallon, we dilute it with a base oil to make it last longer... I'm glad you liked it. Smell is your strongest link to memory, and rose is one of the most gentle and comforting scents out there. I got this idea while staying at the Taj Palace hotel in Mumbai in 2011. The lamps are on a dimmer switch, so if a guest arrives and it's too strong, they can just turn it off and the smell will quickly go away... but most people like it!
* The rooftop bar hours - we'll work on that, but we also want our guests to enjoy peace and quiet at night... in Phoenix, many things close early, I think because there are so many wonderful outdoor things to do all day long that most people come in and retire for the evening early.

Looking forward to your next visit - come back soon!

Sincerely,
Ben Bethel
Owner/General Manager
The Clarendon Hotel
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Clarendon Hotel and Spa

Address: 401 West Clarendon Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85013
Location: United States > Arizona > Central Arizona > Phoenix
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#4 Spa Hotel in Phoenix
#5 Luxury Hotel in Phoenix
#19 Romantic Hotel in Phoenix
#33 Family Hotel in Phoenix
#56 Business Hotel in Phoenix
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — The Clarendon Hotel and Spa 4*
Number of rooms: 105
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Clarendon Hotel and Spa is located in the heart of Phoenix, close to the convention center, museums, parks, shopping, theaters, sports venues and concert halls. Walking distance to two Metro rail stations - $4 for a 24 hour pass, the system runs 24 hours (except 1am to 4am Monday through Thursday) and provides direct access to Phoenix Sky Harbor airport. Full service spa on site, gorgeous rooftop SkyDeck overlooking the city skyline and surrounding mountain ranges, wonderful pool and jacuzzi, and great Mexican restaurant. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Clarendon Hotel Phoenix

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