This property should be getting 5 stars but for a few bothersome issues. I almost left 3 stars just for the downers listed below.
First, the positive. This property was purchased from Comfort Suites and renovated in 2012 so the remodel is still somewhat fresh. We were warmly greeted and checked in by Brandon (who I spoke to on the phone the prior day and seemed a bit overwhelmed and put me on hold quite a long time). We are Marriott Gold Elite members so we were upgraded to a junior king and our room was nice with a small sink and fridge. The tiled bathroom is a bit small but the shower was comfortable. After we checked in, our cheap TV remote with taped in batteries did not work. I called the front desk and a young man came up and replaced it right way. These remotes are very cheap and are hard to click through the channels. We stayed here 3 nights and housekeeping did a good job. Small pool, fire pit area (really, a fire pit in Southwest Florida?) and exercise room looked nice but we did not use. The location is right off I-75 in a newer upscale area of North Sarasota/Bradenton convenient to Ringling Museum, beaches, parks, etc. all around 20-30 minute drive. We conveniently walked across the parking lot to World of Beer and got a beer and wine but its primarily a young crowd and very loud with live bands on the weekend. They are building a huge new upscale shopping mall right across the street with Saks Fifth Avenue, Dillard's and Macy's as the anchor stores opening in fall 2014.
Now, the downers. 1.) First, the coffee. The hotel Bistro is a Starbucks monopoly. You cannot get regular coffee at the bistro. Yes, there is coffee in the room made by Royal Cup called Barista which tastes like Starbucks more bolder roast (ashtray), yuk! Plus, the creamers and sugar in the room never lighten or make the coffee taste good. I had to drive 10 minutes each way to the Dunkin Donuts at the Hess station down University past Lockwood Bridge Road each morning just to get coffee! PLEASE management offer a medium or light roast in the Bistro or free in the lobby. 2.) The Bistro itself. This self serve order model doesn't work. Either provide a Continental self serve breakfast or make it full service ordering from the table. The first morning we were there (Saturday) there was a hotel patron trying to make her mind up and continually changing her order being served by 3 Bistro employees. We were running late getting to the beach. Finally, we were served at the counter and the older middle aged woman with dark hair was slow as molasses and seemed flustered with a mini rush. Then, I was forced to buy a Starbucks coffee and threw most of it out later. it took me almost 10 minutes just to get a piece of lemon pound cake and another 5 for an egg sandwich which was not very good. This experience ruined my morning. We never returned to the Bistro the rest of our stay resulting in lost hotel revenue. 3.) Slow/Rude Staff. The aforementioned person in the Bistro seemed unapologetic and unconcerned with her speed or our schedule. Lastly, I had to make a urgent trip to a local pharmacy and excused myself to the mature front desk lady with short gray hair and glasses while she was helping another patron. I asked her where a local pharmacy was located and she got angry and frustrated while snapping at me saying it was down by the Home Depot. Somebody in management there has to tell the Bistro and Front Desk employees they may have to multi-task at times or humbly/politely diffuse a situation. I guess that's what customer service is. 4.) Bed was a bit on the hard side but I still slept well.
Too bad, with some adjustments and changes this place could be 5 stars.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Newly renovated hotel, featuring 134 spacious suites, a refreshing lobby experience with Bistro and spaces for working or relaxing. Your rate includes a heated pool & hot tub, high speed wireless internet access, fitness center, 24-hour business center, 100% non-smoking, parking, HBO, ESPN and 24 hour coffee service. Suites feature pillow top mattresses, 2 phones, LCD flat screen TV’s, radio/alarm with MP3 connection, wet bar, refrigerator, microwave, iron/iron board, hair dryer and much more. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Comfort Suites Sarasota / University Park Hotel University Park
- Comfort Suites University Park
- University Park Comfort Suites