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“please do something about the parking” 4 of 5 stars
Review of The Hotel Alex Johnson, an Ascend Collection hotel

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The Hotel Alex Johnson, an Ascend Collection hotel
3.0 of 5 Hotel   |   523 6th Street, Rapid City, SD 57701   |  
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Ranked #20 of 52 hotels in Rapid City
Nemo, South Dakota
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“please do something about the parking”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 26, 2012

we have stayed at the Hotel several times and were never told about the valet parking or the so called free parking a block away unless they mean the parking garage two blocks away on the top, uncovered. Christmas weekend my 70 year old husband had to walk to the parking garage up three flights of snow covered stairs in sub-zero weather to get out car.
As usual, our room was less than pristine. Dust everywhere, long black hair on the bathroom floor and I had to take the bed apart and re-make it. It was made so badly, I wasn't sure it had been changed from the last guest.
On the plus side, the Hotel is beautifull, the walk to the garage is wonderfull in the summer, and the young lady working in Seattle's Best Coffee Christmas morning made my day. She was very nice and helpfull.
Will I stay again.......yes, but in the summer and hope the Housekeeping Supervisor acutually does a room check.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GMAlexJohnson, General Manager at The Hotel Alex Johnson, an Ascend Collection hotel, responded to this review, January 2, 2013
Thank you for taking the time to write this review. I have shared your review with my staff and department heads to help us become stronger from learning from our missteps. We strive extremely hard to insure that each and every guest to our property receives the highest quality service and products, returning home with a very favorable impression of the Alex Johnson. However, on occasion we fall short of the high standards we have set for ourselves and I appreciate the fact that you have taken the time to bring this to my attention. I hope we meet and exceed your expectations on your next visit.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (157)
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Copenhagen, Denmark
Top Contributor
76 reviews 76 reviews
26 hotel reviews
Reviews in 31 cities Reviews in 31 cities
63 helpful votes 63 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed December 26, 2012

Back in its day, the Hotel Alex Johnson was the place to see and be seen in Rapid City. This would have been in the 1930's. My mother recalls coming here as a young teenager for a formal dinner. The architecture and lobby still retain the old world charm, with its open timber construction and large river rock fireplace. This is clearly the "grand old hotel" of Rapid City. But in order for it to compete, a lot more needs to be done. I get the sense that a good effort was made toward it, but then the owner ran out of interest or money (or both). The rooms need to be renovated up to 21st century standards. The good news is that the wifi worked great. But the bathroom floors were stone cold, and it took the water a good 4 minutes to warm up. The fixtures were old, and the towels worn. The small walk-in closet had no light, so it was difficult to use. Some of our pillows were lumpy. The TV programming is obviously aimed at pushing pay-per-view, as it's difficult to navigate through the menu in order to get into the free, local stations, and this navigation is necessary every time we turned on the TV. And a bit quirky, someone decided it was more important to have a little miniature refrigerator and microwave sitting in the corner, than to be able to close the doors of the armoir (these little Sam's Club appliances block the ability to close the doors!). The most beautiful part of the hotel is the lobby. Our visit was at Christmas, so there was a large (fake) Christmas tree, that maybe someone was given a total budget of $10 to decorate. It donned a large bow at the top, with ribbons streaming down from there, and a few bows hapharzardly placed through the tree. And lights. Period. The hotel staff need a little training as well. Our room was regularly not cleaned up until late in the afternoon. Being in Rapid over the Christmas holiday, we had questions about what places might be open to serving meals. There is no concierge service at the front desk, and the ladies there are not interested in being helpful beyond their jobs. They didn't seem to know whether the street parking on the street would be free on Christmas Eve, or if we would have to continue to have to walk the two blocks to the city garage over the holiday. And they had no idea what restaurants might be open on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, nor did they care to help us find out. But they did recommend the restaurant/private club up in the 10th floor of the hotel, "Vertex". So, we had an early Christmas dinner up there. Again, a good stab was taken at making this unique space a great club, but it fell short. The decorating is an upscale version of a 1930's club, but the lighting in our room glared in our eyes. Our waiter was very friendly, but we basically needed to hold his hand to get the place running. We were the first customers, and I needed to ask him to light the candles and clean the tables; my husband asked him to turn down the music so we could talk. A special Christmas menu had been prepared by the chef, but throughout the meal when we had questions about it, the waiter had no knowledge of it - he kept going back to ask. The kitchen is down on the 2nd floor, so the food is slow in coming, and the water is lukewarm, as it's held in thermoses on the 10th floor. The food was very disappointing as well... and by Rapid City standards was very expensive. The soup was too salty, presentation unkempt, veal tough, desserts sickeningly sweet. I rarely give a negative review, but the Alex Johnson needs help, and I really hope that it will get it, because it's a beloved institution to the Black Hills area.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GMAlexJohnson, General Manager at The Hotel Alex Johnson, an Ascend Collection hotel, responded to this review, January 2, 2013
Thank you for taking the time to write this review. The Historic Hotel Alex Johnson is still a "Grand Old Hotel" and we have spent millions on updates and modernization while still keeping the "Old World Charm" and we will be spending even more to get it to the level we want to be at in the future. I have shared your observations and experiences with the hotel with my department head to help us learn from our mistakes and insure this does not happen in the future. We strive extremely hard to insure that each and every guest to our property receives the highest quality service and products, returning home with a very favorable impression of the Alex Johnson. However, on occasion we fall short of the high standards we have set for ourselves and we appreciate the fact that you have taken the time to bring this to our attention.
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London, Canada
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 25, 2012

If you are into haunted hotels, this is an aweosme place to stay. I drove all the way out to alberta from ontario through the states with my mom and this was by far my favourite hotel that we stayed at. Not only is it neat to hear all the haunted stories and to even experience it a little ourselves, but it is a beautiful hotel for the price that we payed. The rooms were gorgeous and the bar on the roof was even more cool. It is really a very unique building and it great to walk around through if travelling by. I highly recommend this hotel to any type of traveller.

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled with family
    • 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GMAlexJohnson, General Manager at The Hotel Alex Johnson, an Ascend Collection hotel, responded to this review, December 26, 2012
Thank you for your recent review. The Alex Johnson in Rapid City is a great property to headquarters out of while you explore the Black Hills. It is the only Historic Hotel in Rapid City and is conveniently located in the heart of downtown close to amazing shopping and dining experiences along with the new Main Street Square. Our resident ghost are as friendly as our staff and they aim to please the vistor's searching for the paranormal.
I appreciate you taking the time to write the review and I hope you can make a return trip to the Alex Johnson and the Black Hills in the near future
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Minneapolis, Minnesota
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 24, 2012

Overview: We stayed at the Alex Johnson during the thanksgiving day weekend, part of a long weekend road trip from Minneapolis. The location in downtown Rapid City is ideal for day trips to see the local sights. We chose this hotel because we were bringing our dog along, and the hotel is furry-friendly. Kind of - this is not really the hotel's fault, but there is literally nowhere to take your dog to go to the bathroom. The kid (and yes, the staff does seem to be very young, but accomodating, friendly, and helpful) at the front door directed me to the adjoining graffiti covered alley. Not exactly the most ideal, but we dealt with it.

Staff: Friendly, helpful, and yes, young. But not incompetent, like some reviews say. Like when we couldn't get the TV to work, the girl at the front desk shared the secret: unplug then plug the tv back in. For the most part, we did not interact too much with them, save for checkout and check in and a few questions here and there, which is a good thing. Housekeeping gets a ding for the long black hair on the shower wall that was there when we checked in, and when we checked out.

Amenities: Very dated and a lot worn. It was cold and windy during our trip and you could literally feel the wind through the window. The carpets are pretty worn out. We upgraded to the executive suite, which is really just a room with a small sink and dorm fridge. The bathroom is tiny, one of the tiniest we've seen, but we made do. Everything but the TV was very dated. The whole hotel, save for the lobby, could desperately use an update.

Food/Drink: The attached Irish pub was a good place to relax and have a drink. The food served is typical bar food, which is fine with us. Upstairs is a more private upscale bar/lounge, with rooftop access. At night, there are various neat fireplaces outside on the roof that would be fun if it were not so cold during our stay. There is an excellent restaurant called Talley's across the street that serves some really good food - I could eat the Migas all day. There are some ok pubs downtown, Firehouse Brewing gets bonus points for the TSO-inspired christmas light show outside. A few so-so bars and restaurants are within a few minute walk.

Parking: There is a 3 story parking garage/ramp about 2 blocks from the hotel. You can get a free pass from the front desk. There is also on-street parking, but metered. The front entrance to the hotel has a generously sized drop-off/pick up area that is very convenient.

Location: As stated previously, it is really the location that makes this hotel very attractive. It is quite literally in the center of the tiny city, with roads in/out of the day trips we made almost every day. I say almost because we scrapped one day trip to explore the tiny downtown. It was small business Saturday, with the annual night Holiday Parade occurring that night, which gave a very neat vibe to the city. There are an abundance of small shops and businesses in DT Rapid City. The center of the town has what looks to be a pretty new public skating rink that always had some activity going on. I remember thinking Whoville at one point.

If you're like us, and you like to stay in a city, but want to be able do the touristy things (Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Badlands, Custer Park, etc) as well, this is about as good as it is going to get in Rapid City. Bottom line is that the hotel was well priced for what it provided, and did it's job of providing us with a place to stay at night. A step up from the Best Western-ish family value chain hotels, with a really good location.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GMAlexJohnson, General Manager at The Hotel Alex Johnson, an Ascend Collection hotel, responded to this review, December 26, 2012
Thank you for your recent review. I appreciate you taken thge time to write about your experience at the Historic Alex Johnson and to let us know in what areas we can improve on. The Historic Alex Johnson is centraly located in the beautifully renovated downtown area close to a abundance of shopping and dining options. It is a ideal location to hub and spoke from to all the area attraction like Crazy Horse, Mt. Rushmore, Custer State Park just to name a few.
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Perth, Australia
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
18 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 20, 2012 via mobile

We stayed 3 nights here and thoroughly enjoyed every moment. You couldn't ask for more professional and courteous staff. The room was clean and comfortable and the hotel is right in the middle of town with restaurants, bars and shopping nearby. If we are ever in Rapid City again we would not stay anywhere else.

Stayed December 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.
GMAlexJohnson, General Manager at The Hotel Alex Johnson, an Ascend Collection hotel, responded to this review, December 21, 2012
I appreciate you taking the time to write about your recent stay with us at the Historic Hotel Alex Johnson. With our Old World Charm, conviently downtown location and our modern amenities we are the perfect place to call home while you are in the Black Hills area.
Thank you for letting us serve you during your recent stay and I hope you make a return trip in the future.
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Senior Contributor
39 reviews 39 reviews
25 hotel reviews
Reviews in 28 cities Reviews in 28 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 19, 2012 via mobile

I travel a lot for business so I'm always staying in hotels. This was a nice change from your everyday average hotels. This building is older but has a lot of history that makes it unique. When you stay at this hotel they give you a key card that grants you access to the vertex sky bar on the top floor of the hotel. The bar is nice the food is ok but overall very expensive.

  • Stayed December 2012
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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.
GMAlexJohnson, General Manager at The Hotel Alex Johnson, an Ascend Collection hotel, responded to this review, December 21, 2012
Thank you for your recent review. I appreciate you taking the time to post about your stay. The Historic Hotel Alex Johnson, with our Old World Charm and Modern amenities is the perfect place to head quarter out of when you are on the road for business or pleasure in the Black Hills.
Thank you for choosing the Historic Hotel Alex Johnson and we look forward to serving you again in the future.
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Sturgis, South Dakota
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 15, 2012 via mobile

We attended a Christmas party in the Lincoln room and the food was fabulous. The bed in the room was also nice, I slept very well. What a great location for a banquet, you are close to many pubs and restaurants both in the AJ and within a few blocks.

  • Stayed December 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 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.
GMAlexJohnson, General Manager at The Hotel Alex Johnson, an Ascend Collection hotel, responded to this review, December 17, 2012
Thank you for your recent review. The Historic Alex Johnson is a great place to host your next event. With our ideal location in the heart of the newly renovated downtown Rapid City. We are close to a plethora of dining and shopping choices. I am glad that you had a enjoyable time and we look forward to serving you in the future.
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Additional Information about The Hotel Alex Johnson, an Ascend Collection hotel

Address: 523 6th Street, Rapid City, SD 57701
Phone Number:
Location: United States > South Dakota > Rapid City
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 Suites Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#10 Business Hotel in Rapid City
#17 Family Hotel in Rapid City
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — The Hotel Alex Johnson, an Ascend Collection hotel 3*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Since 1928, the historic Hotel Alex Johnson has welcomed visitors from around the globe. Located at the heart of Downtown Rapid City, the Hotel Alex Johnson is an easy 25-minute drive from Mount Rushmore and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Hotel Alex Johnson includes 143 rooms and suites and houses the Vertex Sky Bar, Paddy O'Neills Irish Pub, Seattle's Best Coffee, Chubby Chipmunk Hand-Dipped Chocolates, AJ's Wicked Salon and the Alex Johnson Mercantile. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Alex Johnson Hotel
Alex Johnson Rapid City

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