My husband and I recently stayed at this newly renovated Extended Stay Hotel in Princeton-West Windsor for one night only. Originally, we planned to travel with one of our three dogs and at the time we planned our trip, this hotel had the best prices for pet-friendly hotels in Princeton. I later learned that the Hampton Inn & Suites, which is about 2 miles north on Rte. 1 also accepts pets, so... Should that fact matter to you, it's good to know 'cause we ended up at the Hampton and it was great.
The location, the pricing, the option for taking a pet, the recent renovations and a few other factors determined our choice to stay at this hotel when we planned a Christmas trip to be with family, etc. We got a great online rate for four nights but boy-oh-boy...am I glad we didn't PRE-PAY for our stay. Based on the reasons we traveled and our current desires & needs, we would have had an awful visit had we pre-paid 'cause then we would have felt obligated to remain here for the duration.
Husband and I arrived at night, quite late actually (near midnight) because we traveled nearly 12 hours to reach Princeton for the holidays. The hotel is poorly marked and even with a Garmin GPS, we kept passing the hotel in the dark of night. Continually managing the Jersey "jug-handles," and accidentally taking exits that placed us further west, we finally found the hotel entrance and unloaded our vehicle.
Initially, the automatic sliding glass door was locked and there didn't appear to be a lobby or anyone present to check us in. Perplexed, we banged on the door and a very nice young man in a coat, eating a bag of potato chips buzzed us in and confirmed that I'd called earlier telling a coworker "we were going to be quite late." The entrance creeped us out a bit because it was not very clean, extremely small, poorly ventilated and kinda dark. The check-in desk was a very small & confined area, so initially we weren't sure we were in the right place. We chalked the experience up to our late arrival, thanked the guy for the room key and went up to our room, which was on the second floor.
When we entered the room, my husband and I were speechless because the room looked nothing like the photos we had viewed on-line (neither did the lobby, now that I think about it). Our room was large enough but stark, dark, steaming hot (95F degrees) and a bit malodorous. I am very very very sensitive to odors, smells and fragrances. I was quick to dismiss the original hallway odors as being "my problem," because the hallway reeked of "cooking odors." Well, the odors were not that easy to dismiss, so exhausted my husband and I entered the room and OPENED ALL THE WINDOWS, even though it was about 20F degrees outside.
Despite being advertised as "new & totally renovated," this hotel is just not a very pleasant place to stay. I do recognize that as leisure travelers, perhaps our expectations were not met with a hotel that caters more to long-term guests. Nonetheless, I felt the entire place was extremely depressing.
Upon entering the room, we encountered a small kitchenette that look tired with cheap white formica countertops & thin, white cabinets...you know the kind...the bottom-of-the-line product offered at The Home Depot or Lowe's. The striped window drapes were short ones that ended a few inches above the window. The flimsy bedspread had stains on it, as did the sheet on the mattress. Worst of all were the pillows, which looked like pillows you might sit on, not sleep on...I mean, these things were really really beat. I didn't know if I was more afraid to sleep on the bedspread or under the covers. Embarassed to state this, I just took off my shoes and slept fully dressed on the mattress with the covers barely over me.
As exhausted as we were, my husband and I decided to tough it out but not for the intended 4-5 nights. On a funny note, I took my flat pillow and folded it in half. I then moved near my husband and hogged a corner of his folded pillow as well as his shoulder, so I might be able to get some sleep. Needless to say, we both woke with neck aches in the morning.
The shower, which was also uninviting actually was the highlight of our stay. The shower-head and water pressure were phenomenal but I felt creeped out entering the shower. While clean (despite a long black hair on the shower floor), I was afraid I might actually "crack" the thing because the shower was one of those molded-units made of very flimsy tan fiberglass...you know the type. Praying, I hoisted myself in and took a very quick shower. My husband and I laughed at the small towels 'cause neither of us are thin anymore. The towels were barely thick or large enough to dry our hair!
Well, the story goes on and on but I think you get the picture. With the bare essentials provided, I imagine this hotel might suit the needs of a guest or traveler with very few demands. However, for our leisurely Christmas visit, we opted out after one night and checked into the Hampton Inn & Suites just up the road on Rte, 1, which for us was much much nicer.
As we left and explained that we were staying elsewhere, the gentleman at the front desk was very kind and helpful. He asked my husband "how our stay was." Because we really are nice people, my husband politely said, "Well, our pillows were kinda flat," to which the kind man replied, "Yes we're aware of that and we're getting new ones soon."
Say no more.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
January 15, 2013
Thank you for taking the time to review your recent stay. Given our company's commitment to superior guest satisfaction, I was disheartened to read that your stay wasn't 100% satisfactory. Please understand how truly sorry I am.
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Please know that we have strict quality control standards that are meant to prevent an unacceptable situation like yours from occurring. All rooms are regularly cleaned and disinfected upon a guest's checkout as well as during applicable periods of the stay, then inspected by a manager who determines if it meets our quality standards. Obviously, your experience indicates that our system broke down. In response, I have met with hotel management and staff to find out why and to determine a system for preventing a repeat occurrence.
Although it is unusual for a guest to have the experience you did while staying with us, we would like to use your account to help us make our hotel even better. Again, I am deeply sorry that you did not have a completely enjoyable stay at our hotel, and I promise that we are focused on total guest satisfaction every day. Please don't hesitate to reach out to me at this hotel or to our guest relations team directly by visiting our website and clicking the Contact Us link at the bottom of the page. I do hope that you will let me demonstrate our redoubled efforts in the future here or at any of Extended Stay Hotels(sm)' other locations throughout the U.S. and in Canada
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.