My wife and I stayed at the Alden Suites Resort for a week in mid-February. The hotel was listed as a 3 star property, one of the choices with Southwest Airlines vacations packages. We reserved a 2 bed poolside suite on a 4th night free promotion. The package price (Non-stop flight from Albany NY to Tampa + 6 nights) was attractive.
Large room (Room 612) with small 4 burner stove/oven, full size refrigerator, microwave, dishwasher.
Separate sitting area with balcony & flat screen tv.
2 Full sized beds in a bedroom with plenty of drawers and ample closet space
Lots of towels for shower and beach
The facility (not the room) on the deep beach front that stretches for miles
Free covered secure parking
The Bad: 1970’s Motel room decor/ambiance
The Bedroom. The Bedroom is situated by the entry rather than by the balcony. This makes no sense. The outside door opens next to the beds, so outside noise, including conversations of people passing by comes right into the room. Curtains need to be closed at all times for privacy and security, making for dismal lighting in sunny florida.
The Bedding. The beds are okay but the bedding is motel quality at best. I suspect the bed covers and blankets would not stand-up well to UV light inspection.
The Bathroom. Kind of dingy and a bit gross. When we checked in we were told that all rooms had been updated in 2008. I shiver to think what they looked like in 2007, because the rooms, though large, were lacking any decorative imagination. The bathroom has a shower with black fungus growing in the caulking. The shower controls make a loud groaning sound when you change from bath to shower, and the shower head is the most basic, wobbling like a new born's head.
The Tiny Balcony. The property is sandwiched between a couple of more luxurious resorts. The poolside balconies do overlook the pool (which is lit like a high crime area in the night. Nobody used them after dusk). They all (all the poolside rooms) also overlook a very noisy AC unit, pool pump, garbage bins and the next door parking area/restaurant back side. The balcony furniture (2 plastic chairs and a small coffee table) is very cheap and weathered. Not only would you not want to sit and relax on the balcony, but you'd probably hesitate to dry wet clothes on the cheap worn-out chairs.
The Staff. The maids were very nice and did a good job maintaining and stocking the rooms. The front desk staff were also nice and efficient. The front desk 'revenue' manager was a twit. The day after we arrived I called to request another room, perhaps one in an area that didn't overlook the noisy AC, Garbage Bins, etc. When I mentioned that the room didn't look like the pictures in online brochures, the Revenue Manager told me that they couldn't control what the travel agents posted on their sites. I said that they didn't look like the pictures on Alden's own site. He said the pictures (3/room) they had on their site were a composites of different rooms. He then went on to say that there were beachfront rooms available, if I wanted to upgrade for an additional $120/night. That's right $120/night !!!! So, they left rooms empty rather than offering them to guests (staying for 6 nights) at a reasonable upgrade cost.
The Bottom Line. I wouldn't recommend this hotel for for couples looking for a comfortable, memorable hotel experience. The room we stayed in was large but it's ambiance was more like a motel room for a group of college students looking to pack a room for a spring break.
Go for Beach facing rooms.
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
I am sorry you did not enjoy all aspects of Alden Suites, but please allow me to comment on a few of your observations:
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1) We are rated 3-diamond by AAA, and their standards have been very strict to maintain the 3-diamond rating, even made tougher in recent years. Our last AAA inspection was in May 2012, when the inspector again awarded Alden Suites the 3-diamond rating.
2) The Suite you occupied (612) has:
a) New carpet, sofa sleeper, and easy chair (all installed one year ago)
b) 2 BRAND new thin screen TV's, one in the bedroom and one in the living area, both 37 inch TV's
c) The remainder of the furniture, fixtures, and equipment were renovated in 2007, and will be addressed in the next year, although it is not 1970's decor, it's 2007 decor.
d) The bathroom is large by hotel standards, with an outside the bathroom vanity / sink
e) The balcony is very large, respectively, and the balcony furniture , as evidenced by your own photo, is attractive and not made of "plastic" They are standard beachfront aluminum chairs with vinyl strapping.
f) The garbage bins referred to belong to the Coral Reef Hotel next door
Thanks for taking time to compose a review,
President and part owner
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.