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“Walkable Freemason Area • Floor-to-Ceiling Windows • City, Rooftop, Ship-Top Views • 25 Min. to N(ORF)olk Airport” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Residence Inn Norfolk Downtown

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Residence Inn Norfolk Downtown
3.0 of 5 Hotel   |   227 West Brambleton Avenue, Norfolk, VA 23510   |  
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Ranked #6 of 39 Hotels in Norfolk
Baltimore, Maryland
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72 reviews 72 reviews
72 hotel reviews
Reviews in 52 cities Reviews in 52 cities
304 helpful votes 304 helpful votes
“Walkable Freemason Area • Floor-to-Ceiling Windows • City, Rooftop, Ship-Top Views • 25 Min. to N(ORF)olk Airport”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 3, 2013 via mobile

Upscale, newer, 9-story Residence Inn (RI) with hints of wear in (150+) suites. Receive a suite with an accumulation of peculiarities, become irked; receive a trouble-free suite, have difficulty parting.

Hotel borders tree-lined, historic Freemason area -- lovely side-walk friendly neighbourhood for tranquil, after-work or after-dinner strolls. Easy-to-walk-to eateries, shops, & harbour sites. You won't lack places to roam.

In nice weather, bypass routine treadmill tedium (in on-site gym) & opt for exploring the city & waterfront sights on foot. Spot cheerfully decorated mermaid sculptures along way.


1 Bedroom Corner Suite, Mid-Level Floor
===============================
If staying days, weeks, or months, rooms are convenient, fully equipped suites -- mini-condo-like living with perk of prepared breakfasts each morning.

Interesting how each time you visit a hotel (based on your suite's unique features, quirks, condition) how much that 1 room affects your entire stay & influences your perception of the hotel as a whole. (This go-round, the suite was a trouble-free W o W.)


Suite Niceties
-------------------
• Uniquely spacious living room & bedroom. (Space a claustrophobe can revel in.) Abundant for 1 or 2 people, roomy for 3 or 4 -- even comfortable for 5. (Don't get sense of walls coming in on you or being cramped by furnishings.)

• Spectacular floor-to-ceiling windows (in living room & bedroom) increase sense of open space -- allows in full sunlight. From mid-level floors facing York St./ harbour side of hotel (not W. Brambleton Ave. side), view nearby buildings (Monticello Antique Shop), rooftops, parking garage, & top of ship, USS Wisconsin. (Scenic city views from higher floors: stone church (Epworth United Methodist) at corner of Freemason & Boush streets....)

• Suite properly cleaned & re-supplied. (No unpleasant surprises, no hunt for basics or need for re-cleaning.)

• Air conditioning worked properly -- quietly (without repetitive clicking that drives you to turn off AC).

• Didn't hear a bathroom fan -- grateful for silence.

• Perk of additional closet in living room (in addition to closet in bedroom) keeps luggage out of way & sight. Living room closet lacks clothing rod, but good for storing large/ bulky items (suitcases) on floor. Didn't miss not having luggage rack.

• Kitchen table (with 2 seats) for dining & a separate desk (with office chair) for work. Handy having 2 separate designated dining & desktop spots to allow enough area to s p r e a d out. Enough electrical outlets for numerous electronic gadgets.

• Convenient full-size fridge with icemaker & ice tray in freezer. (Thankfully, no roaming halls daily for ice machine.)

• Countertop microwave (instead of wall- /cabinet-mounted) eats up kitchen counterspace -- not whine-worthy considering abundance of other niceties.

• Comfortable king bed -- not too hard, not too soft -- perfect for restful sleep.

• Both flat-panel, swivel HD TVs appropriately (height) mounted on bureaus -- not on wall. (Wall-mounted TVs can be neck-achingly high in some suites.) Enough TV stations, good reception/ image quality.

• Free Internet/ WiFi. (No connection difficulties.)

• Bathroom shower/ tub combo had 2 wire mesh soap dishes mounted on corner wall (furthest from shower head spray) -- allowing soap to thoroughly air dry by not sit in non-draining soap-dish puddle. (Wish all hotels would mount wire soap dishes on far side of shower spray. Seemingly insignificant detail but appreciate not having to bathe with tiny, meltingly soft bar of disintegrating soap.)


Minor Moans to Grumbles
-----------------------------------
• No longer provide dishwashing liquid, even after requesting. Inconvenient/ impractical -- especially if you've only a few items to wash & don't want to waste water/ electricity running dishwasher. [If a cost-cutting measure, savings is probably illusory. Guessing energy/ water expenses to run dishwashers (with few items) are costlier overall than price of dish liquid.] This RI was like others -- freely supplying dish liquid in tiny bottles; hope hotel re-evaluates decision & brings back miniature Palmolives. (In meantime, shampoo works till you've a chance to purchase dish soap. Paul Mitchell may be delighted his rich shampoo lather thoroughly cleanses any dish type -- balancing moisture & adding volume to cookware -- serving as a luxurious cutlery wash....)

• Squeaky bedroom door easily remedied with oil.

• Ironing board cover/ pad due for replacement. (Appreciated fully functioning new iron.)

• TVs' HDMI inputs are disabled here, so set-top boxes (Xbox, Roku, Apple TV, ...) can't output their displays via HDMI. Use last century technology, a VGA cable, as workaround. (Although hotel is aware of disabled HDMI inputs, they've said there's nothing they can do.) Norfolk RI is the only hotel in travels (so far) where HDMI inputs are disabled.

• Occasional hit or miss housekeeping. Most times service, once in a while not -- no apparent rhyme/ reason. No biggie, just odd. Either call or go down to front desk for requests -- helpful, prompt fulfillment.


Hotel Niceties
===========
• 1st-floor exercise room: 2 ellipticals, 2 treadmills, bicycle, & weights. Towels, water, equipment wipes provided. (Don't recall if earbuds provided for built-in TVs; good to bring your own just in case.)

• 1st floor laundry room down same corridor as gym/ pool rooms. (Exercise during wash & dry cycles -- going between laundry room & exercise room.) 5 washers ($1.50); 5 dryers ($1.50). Deep basin washer held full load & dryer completely dried full load.

• 2 computers & printer (by lobby front desk in comfortable seated area) to print documents, boarding passes.

• Minimal elevator wait. Two speedy elevators deliver you in 2 shakes of lambs tail. Brief morning/ evening rush hour wait. (Female elevator voice announces in a high intonation, "Going up" & lower intonation, "Going down." May provide a giggle to little ones.)

• Sturdy, solid trolley/ luggage carts easily moves heavy equipment/ suitcases. (Seemingly minor point, but appreciated if you've used a rickety/ flimsy cart laden with equipment/ baggage.) Wish all RIs would migrate to robust trolleys.


Nearby Conveniences
=================
• Still $18 daily self-parking at York Street Garage (above ground) directly across street from hotel's door. Costly (6 days = $108) but convenient. [In perspective (perhaps rationalisation), parking fee can balance out with 'free' daily breakfasts plus 2 to 3 'free' weekly dinners. If traveling with several family members/ friends, recoup the $18 by dining-in on RI's cost-included meals rather than dining out at local eateries. Save significant out-of-pocket $, €, £, ¥ if traveling as couple, family, or friends.]

• Proximity to enjoyable walking areas. Charming, tree-lined Freemason historical district -- dripping with rows of beautiful flowering trees (fronting homes & buildings) along both sides of cobblestone streets. A step back in time. Excellent for relaxing after-work or after-dinner strolls. Return to genteel, serene beauty: old historic buildings, wrought iron fences/ gates, attention to architectural detail & landscaping -- visual treats. If simple pleasure is 'your thing,' you might enjoy peacefulness of Freemason. (Won't regret bringing camera.) An official-looking historical plaque mounted on a home (down Bute St) notes: "On this site in 1897 nothing happened." A welcomed chuckle.

• Local transport, Norfolk's light rail (The Tide) goes around the hotel, & the station (York Street/ Freemason) is a brief walk (couple minutes) from hotel door.

• Mermaid iconography/ sculpture throughout city. Youngsters & adults may enjoy "mermaid spotting."


Breakfast
========
6:30 - 9am (Mon - Fri)
7 - 10am (Sat, Sun)

Hot Breakfast Foods
----------------------------
• Standard HOT EGG/ MEAT DISHES (*rotation* improved): spinach, egg, ham English muffins; egg, sausage, cheese biscuits; biscuits & gravy; in addition to standard scrambled eggs. (Hope for additional options: breakfast burritos/ wraps, sausage hash, french toast... Saw sign for breakfast burritos, but didn't see any.) MEAT rotations: thin round-sliced ham/ Canadian bacon; small sausage patties (particularly flavourful).

• POTATOES: potato pancakes; seasoned potato wedges (or cooked in some way that made them tasty). (If you've had dry, unseasoned, flavourless wedges at some RIs -- you'll appreciate these); potato with veg (onion, green & red peppers). [Several sequential days, the typical 'potato pan' was filled with solely chopped/ cooked veg (onion & red/green peppers) -- think potato was missing. (Don't recall seeing sole veg mixture served elsewhere.) Noticed the potato-less veg pan was typically full/ untouched -- as few guests scooped mixture on plate. Not complaining; ideal for us veg lovers -- not necessarily everyone else.]

• HOT FOOD TOPPINGS (self-add): salsa, shredded cheese, sour cream, fresh chives....

• HOT OATMEAL with self-add toppings: raisins, walnuts, brown sugar.

• WAFFLE MAKER with self-add toppings: strawberry (in syrup), blueberry (in syrup), chocolate chips...


Cold Breakfast Foods
------------------------------
• COLD CEREALS: Special K, Fruit Loops, Rice Crispies, Frosted Flakes.

• CUT FRUIT: CANTALOUPE fresh most/ all times (except 'off'/ spoiled just 1 time), PINEAPPLE, HONEYDEW. Sequence of several days where just cantaloupe was out, then sequence of several days where just pineapple was out, etc.. (Didn't see *daily* alternating/ rotating amongst the 3 types of cut fruit.)

[Clarification: *DAILY* ROTATION, a small, seemingly petty point, but deeply appreciated by guests who steadily breakfast at same hotel (or same brand (RI) of hotel, which serve *identical* breakfast foods) for days/ weeks/ months at a time. Short-stay, periodic guests may not notice or experience 'identical food fatigue' because RI's selections may be sufficiently varied for their length of stay(s). 'Food fatigue' can be experienced by frequenters of brand breakfasts who solely eat the same limited food options repeatedly over lengthy, sustained periods of time. Routine, long-term RI guests (dining primarily on finite options) aren't ungrateful or persnickety -- merely 'fatigued' from unwavering, limited food choices provided at each & every hotel across brand. *Anything* brands can do to ROTATE/ VARY their menus is genuinely appreciated. (Because not all long-stay RI travelers have time/ budgets to shop & prep their own meals (or breakfast out each morning), they come to know brand food choices intimately.) A glimpse of *any* variation from the routine -- a fresh blueberry or a real strawberry -- brings a tear of joy.]

• WHOLE FRUIT: Appreciated abundant ORANGES & APPLES, but didn't see BANANAS for nearly a week. (Can't help but hum, "Yes. We have no bananas. We have no bananas today," while approaching the whole fruit/ oatmeal nook. Little do you realize how much you miss the humble fruit till it's no longer there.) Eventually, bananas appeared & earth resumed rotating. Having all 3 choices out at once is greatly appreciated variety & an easy to grab 'to-go' fruit when rushed.

• YOGHURT PARFAITS: Saw only couple times. Wish they were available daily. Or, leave out bowls of granola, PLAIN UNSWEETENED YOGHURT, & strawberries/ blueberries (preferably fresh) for guest to make their own parfaits. Sugary/ sweetened single-serve fruity yoghurts (Yoplait, Activia) are available, but no alternatives for guests who can't handle that much sugar. (Wish plain, unsweetened yoghurt became a routine option.)

• WHITE FLOUR BREADS/ PASTRIES: Same faux, whole grain, carmel-coloured bread, & lots of white-flour carbohydrate-laden bagels, English muffins, sugary mini-muffins (breakfast "desserts"), white flour tortilla, as served at many RIs. Always hope for real WHOLE GRAIN breads/ bagels etc. that are served at upscale RIs. (Sign notes 'whole grain' bagels, but did not see one (ever) -- only white flour & raisin.) Available spreads: Jellies, peanut butter, butter....

• No hard boiled eggs -- not problematic, but would be nice additional option.

• BEVERAGES: Regular COFFEE, decaf, various TEAS, hot water, COCOA, creamers, sweeteners... Great varieties of teas displayed in tall dispenser boxes. [One day, 1/3 of boxes empty; 2/3 boxes had tea bags. Another day, 1/3 had tea bags, (some with only 1 bag); 2/3 were empty. Toss or refill empty & near-empty boxes.] JUICE fountain machine: orange, apple, water, tea. (No cranberry.) MILK in single-serve containers.


Breakfast Service
------------------------
• At times, Gatehouse eatery bustles with guests & food gobbled quickly; attentive kitchen staff replenish timely. Even if you have to request an item, you're not left waiting endlessly. (Much appreciated improvement: multiple coffee dispensers out, increased rotation, & increased variation in types of hot foods.) But, replenishments *uneven* over various days -- sometimes prompt refillings, sometimes lagging. (For guests on a schedule, waiting isn't an option, so you go without.)

• Uneven also best characterizes breakfast service as the morning progresses. (Understand uneven fits & spurts of guests coming & going throughout morning challenges predictability/ pacing/ quantities of foods.) Can worsen later into morning as crowds ebb & flow. At worst, delays in keeping up with replenishment, sparse remnants left to pick over, messy/ unclean areas from previous guests, hot food lids left open, no cut fruit, no milk, no featured hot food item, etc. (You'll either find what you're looking for or you won't. They'll either be a crowd or there won't. Everything will be clean & in its place or it won't.)

• Adding another hand or 2 to kitchen staff might help with consistent service *throughout* breakfast, and training/ guiding existing staff (meandering as if at a loss). Attentiveness of varying/ alternating kitchen staff determines replenishments -- some (busier than a 1-armed paper hanger) attuned to monitoring & refilling dwindling foods -- another wandering aimlessly (repeatedly passing by empty bowls/ containers apparently unnoticed).

[Proactively lifting hot food lids to see what remains, noticing & promptly refilling empty fruit bowls, missing milk cartons, etc. are seemingly self-evident tasks, but may need to be explicitly explained. Oversight/ 1-to-1 training could gently guide uninitiated staff towards attentive/ proactive behaviour. Replenishing 'as you go' rather than waiting until a particular item is thoroughly depleted might be a more manageable, guest-friendly approach in keeping all foods *consistently* available *throughout* mealtime. Nonetheless, overall breakfast service is improved from previous stays. Can't go without note: routinely observed an extremely efficient, bustling kitchen staffer continually in motion, re-filling, re-checking, alert & good-naturedly attentive to guest needs, continually sliding in & out of kitchen with something in one or both hands -- apparently doing the work of 2 people. Astonishing, amazing, awe-inspiring.]

• For onslaught of weekend crowds, additional tables with waffle makers are placed in dining area to allow waffle-lovers to indulge. Guests have room to make their waffles in an uncongested area; helps relieve traffic jam in (smallish) food dispensing area as well. (Brilliant layout. Hope other hotels follow suit.)

• Typical gathering/ clustering of pre-6:30 am guests who need to hit the road early. Maybe hotel will consider modifying opening breakfast time (or at least open eatery doors a few minutes earlier, say 6:15) for those who need to grab something & get out the door pronto & simply don't have time to stand in the morning queue.

• Minutia but important: serving spoon *with holes* belongs in cut fruit bowl where fruit liquid can drain through slits before scooping fruit onto plate. Serving spoon *without holes* belongs with breakfast gravy so gravy doesn't leak through holes, splatting on counter.

• Signs need to represent what is *actually* present ('no' breakfast burrittos, 'no' whole grain bagels) or be removed/ modified. Empty containers (tea boxes, food bowls,...) should be removed or replenished -- not sit out endlessly.


Dinner
=====
Sometimes 2 days per week (Tue, Wed)
Sometimes 3 days per week (Tue, Wed, Thu)

• Hours vary between: 6-7:30 pm & 5:30-7 pm.
Calendar menu on fridge notes specific times for particular days. If dinner is a priority, be attentive to VARYING TIMES, so you don't arrive too early (sit & wait) or too late (miss out entirely).

• Good VARIETY & ROTATION -- not stuck in rut of predictable sameness. (Repeat/ long-stay guests are grateful for full balanced meals with variety & rotation.) Subjective tastebuds: surprisingly flavourful meals many times, standard quality other times, occasionally/ rarely a dud (attribute to poor-quality source ingredient).

ENTREES:
SPAGHETTI & MEATBALLS, toasted/ buttered bread (no grated cheese); HAM, mashed potatoes, broccoli; CHILI DOGS & CHEESE; SOUP & CRACKERS (a flavourful concoction of rice, veg, tomato base.); MEAT STRIPS & taco shells; RAVIOLI; FAJITAS; HAMBURGERS full-size & tiny with matching size buns. Tiny ones fun for kids. [Didn't care for type/ brand of burger meat. Can't explain in meaningful way other than it's unlike any burger meat have had anywhere else -- ever. (Maybe poor quality; couldn't finish burger (not in habit of wasting food). Maybe palatable to others.) Everything else was good: baked beans, sliced tomatoes, cheese. Condiments: mayo, ketchup, relish, mustard. (Didn't see pickles.)]

FULL FRESH SALAD:
at each meal, a much appreciated option for non-meat eaters. Lettuce (with shredded purple cabbage & carrot), small round tomatoes, cucumber, onion, broccoli, green pepper, jalapeño peppers, shredded cheese, bacon bits, Caesar & Italian dressing packets. [Noticed inordinate amount of water at bottom of huge salad bowl. Once top layer of lettuce removed, remaining lettuce sat in pool of cool water. Grab lettuce with tongs & drain/ shake off water. (Grateful lettuce is thoroughly rinsed, merely needs to drain more before serving.) At times, excessive seeds were in chopped green peppers. (Seeds need removing before pepper is chopped.) Maybe rushed? Short-handed?]

DESSERTS:
Either chocolate chip COOKIES or BROWNIE bites. When they're gone, they are gone. Maybe a crumb or 2 to hint at what you've missed. (Didn't see dessert refills.) Choc chip cookies appear freshly made -- 1 warm cookie piled atop another in a tempting semi-molten mound. Humorous to watch little one attempting to pluck a single cookie out of melded mound only to struggle prying it away from its hot-chocolate glued neighbours.

SODAS:
Mini Shasta half-size cans: cola, diet cola, lemon/ lime... [Didn't see ice tea, lemonade, punch, beer, wine. Saw soda fountain machine (Pepsi, Dr. Pepper, Mountain Dew, Mist, water), but didn't see anyone using it. Maybe out-of-order; no sign indicating out of service.]


Dinner Food for Thought
---------------------------------
• If you want a complete meal (with entree, sides, salad, dessert, drinks) best ARRIVE EARLY in dinner hour for full selection. Further into dinner time, foods dwindle & may or may not be replenished with same item or an alternative. (Appears both replenishments/ substitutions are limited; once they run out, that's it. Empty bowls disappear 1 by 1 & eatery doors shut.) Don't recall many upscale RIs like Norfolk, not having food up until closing time. Disappointing.

• Wish hotel would either INCREASE QUANTITY of entrees or PROVIDE SUBSTITUTES for all missing foods up until scheduled closing time. Finding little to nothing 30-45 minutes before scheduled closing is disappointing. Perhaps indicator of chef's ability to cook appetizing meals, which are gobbled as quickly as served -- just need *enough* tasty entrees *throughout* mealtime. (After seeing empty bowls, having to make alternative, on-the-spot meal plans is disheartening -- especially after a long, tiring day; you just want to sit, relax, eat & not have to go back out for food or settle for a frozen dinner.)

• If fortunate enough to partake in a full dinner, you can SAVE $ (recoup $18 parking fee) -- especially if feeding several dining companions & enjoy *convenience* of 2 to 3 weekday dinners.

• If you've a discerning palate, this isn't haute cuisine, but some meals are surprisingly good (ham/ mash, soup... ). Suspect cook's doing something non-typical/ non-standard (for RI brand) to make some meals unusually FLAVOURFUL; don't know if it's cooking method, seasonings, talent. [Hope chef shares techniques (train cooks at other RIs) to improve taste of meals brand-wide. Can't overstate how much a tasty, satisfying meal is anticipated (& appreciated) by weary, hungry travellers. A bright spot in a long day.]

• Having dinners a steady *3* days a week *every* week would be ideal -- along with maintaining consistent, non-fluctuating dinner hours.

• Spacious gatehouse eatery with abundant tables/ comfortable seating can fill at peak times. If overflow of diners, can bring meal back to room to dine/ work in peace or eat while watching your shows or in the company of loved ones.


Generic Hotel Gripes Morphing into Wishes
=================================
• At times, guest-room hallways overheated -- shvitz to & from room. A touch of AC in halls would be suitable for high-heat of summer -- not refrigerator cold, just a minimum of coolness, so you don't think you're outside sweltering in 90+ temps. *Consistently* cool hallways (keep air circulating/ breathable) at minimally cool temp for everyone's comfort.

• Placing non-slip rug(s) along smooth/ slick corridor floor outside pool room & along past laundry room. Non-skid rugs absorb water dripping off pool guests who apparently haven't dried off. (Good reason to ensure a towel's available for you poolside.) The trail of puddles & wet footprints along the length of corridor are a hip-break slip waiting to happen.

[Not talking small drips, dribbles, & a few delicate footprints -- talking sloshing puddles trailing full length of corridor & into elevator. (Do guests really need to be reminded to dry off.) Not a 1-time occurrence. Impractical to have staff (mop-in-hand) at-the-ready, standing in hall waiting to swoop behind dripping swimmers. Non-skid rugs seem reasonable alternative considering an unwary guest can slip in the blink of an eye -- well before staff has a chance to notice (never mind mop up) puddles.]

• Having trash receptacles by elevators (on each floor) minimizes guests leaving unsightly empty bottles/ rubbish by elevators. (Seeing trash leaves poor impression -- especially to newly arrived guests. Having elevator door opening onto empty bottles lined along window sill doesn't scream 'nice' hotel.)

• Don't remember from previous visits, but on recent afternoon arrival, no coffee/ tea available at Gatehouse across from lobby. (Could have used an instant 'grab & go' quick pick-me-up; ended up making coffee in room.) Disappointedly discovered standard, convenient, throughout-the-day, beverage service is not available here. (Most RIs typically have Gatehouse coffee/ tea available *throughout* day -- not just at breakfast & dinner.) Hope all-day Gatehouse beverages will be instituted here for future guests.

• Can periodically hear "ding ding" of light rail around hotel, but depending on where you're situated in building, depends how faintly or loudly you hear it. (If sensitive to sound, request quieter room at check-in.) After awhile (or several visits), you can get used to "ding ding" to the point of no longer hearing it.


Nearby Groceries/ Eateries
=====================
For evenings when RI isn’t serving meals or if you’ve time/ inclination to prepare food in your furnished kitchenette, drive to grocery or get takeout/ dine at eateries:

• 5-10 minute drive (1 mi/ 2 km) to Harris Teeter grocery (on Colonial Ave.).

• 5-10 minute walk (0.2 mi/ 0.3 km) to Freemason Abbey Restaurant (excellent soups/ salads) on W Freemason St. (kitty corner from stone church at corner of Freemason & Boush St.).

Pick up "Downtown Norfolk Dining Guide" (& menus) at front desk for list of nearby eateries to walk or drive to; many options to suit various tastes & budgets.


Approx. D R I V E Time (Depending on Traffic)
==================
• 25 min. (11 mi./ 18 km) to Norfolk International Airport (ORF); no RI airport shuttle.

• 35 min. (20 mi./ 32 km) to Virginia Beach (I-264E).

• Minutes to Rt 58/ 337, Rt 460, I-264, I-64,...


Recommend
==========
Comfortable for short or long stays whether traveling with family, as a couple, or alone on business. Room spaciousness, floor-to-ceiling window views, & downtown location trumps any petty or egregious suite quirks or hotel disappointments.

Hits home how luck-of-the-draw room assignment -- subtle room variations (layout/ design) -- truly affects your day-to-day stay. Get a room that seamlessly fits your needs & you're content, get one peppered with nit-noid quirks & you're irritated.

[Downside of 'striking it lucky' with room assignment: once you receive an outstanding, trouble-free suite that suits you perfectly, you'll inevitably compare other (lesser) rooms to it, and bemoan why *all* rooms aren't like that bit of heaven. (O, the woes of being spoiled.) Grateful for the occasional treat.]

(Numerous interesting & scenic places to walk to/ explore noted previously.)

  • Stayed August 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
RIDTWN, General Manager at Residence Inn Norfolk Downtown, responded to this review, September 9, 2013
Thank you for your detailed and in-depth survey. This is great insight to the hotel and a nice tool to use with our team on ways to improve our product and service.

You may be happy to hear we have starting ordering Palmolve again. We will have the dish soap available at the desk for anyone requesting the product.

We also added starting today hard boiled eggs and cottage cheese to our weekday breakfast. I will look into a sugarless yogurt and a better whole grain product. We have buritos daily but they are a make-your-own and the shells are located near the salsa and sour cream. The onion and pepppers are placed out on the day the item is a feature item. It appears we need to move the signage down by the burito shells.

Again, you point out so many things we are doing right and a few items could improve on. We really do appreciate the time you spent to write your review.

We hope you have a chance to return to Norfolk and visit us again.

Sincerely,

Linda Markert, CHA
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    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
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English first
1 review
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed July 30, 2013

On 7/24/13, I booked a King Suite at the Residence Inn Norfolk for Saturday 7/27/13. My reservation was for a one nights stay through booking.com, as booking.com is the site I use faithfully for all my personal and professional travels where hotel accommodation is needed and or required.
My reservation details where then emailed to me where I was guranteed a rate of 179.usd with a 13% tax for the night; parking fees not included all charges to be collected upon check in with other applicable charges for incidentals.  
The card that was used at the time of booking was a master card which is in fact my debit card connected to my personal Checking and Savings account with Suntrust. Upon check in I was greeted by Guest Clerk "Justin" who retrieved from me my photo I D and debit card used at the time of booking.  My card was then swiped by "Justin" and I was given my key cards minus a receipt. During this transaction I inquired about any additional fees associated with my stay ie; holds etc. as well as parking fees required. I was told by "Justin" I was only being charged $40 for  incidentals and that my stay would be charged upon check out, also that parking was $18 for the day.
I then proceeded to the room with my family and lightly unpacked as we were headed to the ocean Front to return later, where my spouse and I planned a night out to enjoy the town of Norfolk.
We left the Hotel apx. 45 mins to an hour after arrival. While out on the ocean front I decided to check my account where to my surprise I was charged $250 as well as a secondary charge of $40. Upon our return to the hotel later that evening I proceeded to the front desk to inquire about the charges.  I was again greeted by "Justin" and the service I recieved was complete opposite of the seemingly intuitive guy who was ever present before any issue arrived.
I told "justin" about the charges and then ask him for some sort of explanation, right off the cuff he proceeded to tell me in an extremely dismissive way that "MARRIOT WAS NOT" responsible and that he had no idea why I was charged the $250 and that it was booking.com that charged me the $250. As patient as I could be and in a state of confusion I ask him had he ever have this happen before he replied "No" in a very short manner and proceeded to tell me that I was the one who booked through a "third party vendor" and that he was not responsible for initiating the charge. At this point im asking him again stating "im confused because booking.com does not and has not ever charge me any booking fees, holds, or any other charge. Etc." He then replied "well maybe they made a mistake I don't know". He gave off this argumentative disposition neither truly concerned, unapologetic and very condescending. Feeling frustrated and bewildered I asked if there was any one else available who could possibly help me, he informed me that there was not and that he was the only one there and he was indeed the supervisor. During this exhange the phone begin to ring and without excusing himself or rendering any type of compassionate assistance he simply walked away proceeding to answer the phone. I was left standing there for apx 3-5 mins forced to listen to "justin" engage in conversation with either current or potential guests feeling as if I was literally ready to cry out of sheer and utter dismay at the way I was being treated, an absolutely substandard way and through "Justin's" implications because i'd book through a "third party vendor" it was not his problem. 
Once off the phone he walked back over to the desk and at this point another couple had arrived and was standing off to the side of me, my spouse joining me at the desk as well. I asked "Justin" if I could just have a print out of my charges so I could call booking.com and dispute the charges if neccesary, at this time  "justin" stated he could not give me any such statement because it wasnt an actual charge but a Preauthorization made by booking.com replying "you're not being charged, its a preauthorization and you'll get your money back from any holds in 3-5 days. I then explained that because my personal debit card had been used the money was taken out of my available balance, I anticipated the charge of 179.plus 13% tax plus the $40 for incidentals but now I have more charges and without explanation "justin" then replied reiterating "well in 3-5 days the hold will release" and also corrected me stating "and actually its 14% tax". I was taken aback because he was completely sarcastic and uninterested and I just couldn't believe he had no genuine interest in helping me yet had the audacity to correct me; not even considering that this what was stated to me in my reservation gurantee. 
At this time to my complete surprise another clerk came from the back and proceeded to help the other guests. "Justin" then stated all he could do was show me the screen where it shows "Marriott" didn't charge me so I replied ill just screen shot it, but immediately declined and wrapped up the 10-15 minute exchange by saying never mind, ill just call booking.com and proceeded to walk away and to add more insult "justin" called out "oh, dont you want your screen shot?".
I was appalled to say that least. I was being treated as if id done something wrong and was not deserving off any empathy or understanding. I went up to the room retrieved the number to booking.com and proceeded to go outside walking the sidewalks around the hotel extremely upset on hold waiting for a customer service rep.
I then got "Jacob" from booking.com who I explained the aforementioned situation in which he reaffirmed what id initially knew  to be true; that it was indeed "Marriotts" charges which was also confirmed through my bank statement. Jacob ensured me he'd contact the hotel.  I waited on hold and once he returned he confirmed the charges and stated because they were in hold there was nothing he could do, I felt overwhelmed and hopeless and wanted to check out of the hotel more than willing to drive the 2 1/2 hours back home as my stay was ruined and the experience was terrible, but was told by jacob I would still be charged. Jacob honestly tried his best but his hands were tied he did however assure me my complaint would be documented and forwarded to the proper entity.  That night I went back up to the room where I stayed up half the night crying and weary.
We opted not to go out because I was completely immesirated. I awoke the next morning to a pinted receipt placed under the door again shocked considering I was refused one apx. 7 hours before. I then proceeded downstairs hoping to speak to the head manager, my eyes just couldn't believe it....here stood before me "justin"! I asked was he responsible for the receipt he said "no" I asked was there someone available to speak to and at this point the main factor not being so much about the charges as it was his flagrant disrespect and utter lack of Customer service skills. He informed me that the Asst. GM was there and without even missing a beat stated again that basically there would be nothing the Asst. GM could do because again "id book through a third party vendor".  The Asst. GM came out  and I asked for a private area to Converse in regards to my stay and the treatment I was receiving. We went into a office where I stated my claims and was simply offered a free parking pass and a half witted apology being told my experience would be used as a teaching tool because "justin" was unaware of the booking policies with booking.Com and treated my transaction as if id booked through Travelocity in which he was familiar with triggering an over charge, which still at the time of this email is still on hold.
My family and I decided  to pack up first thing and solicited my eldest son to shower and dress, to my amazement there was only two wash cloths available and considering my treatment thus far I absolutely did not want to further my stay by asking for anything. So we literally was stuck sharing wash cloths.  This prompted me to do a further inspection of the room considering we slept on top of the made bed and did not get "comfortable" during our stay. To my complete horror the bed was actually made over a incredibly filthy and stained fitted sheet. There was a dry rotted used sponge left under the sink made available to wash dishes with had we needed to as well as a dirty trash bag where you could visibly tell instead of pulling the prior trash the house keeper lazily just scooped the trash out. This completely added insult to injury triggering me to now have to correspond with the general manager and even regional manager and owner if need be.
To share a piece of my background, my daughter Amarria at only 7 years old died 18 months ago while in school from anaphylactic shock after another child gave her something she was allergic to. I have since lobbied with delegates as well as the Governor of Virginia to have a law passed in her name designed to protect food allergic children and parents. My daughters Law "Amarrias Law" was passed April of last year.

If you can imagine I am still grieving  tremendously as my life is faced with a multitude of challenges and between my advocacy work coupled with my career as a nurse I don't have much time to steal time away with my family and when I get the opportunity to do so; to be treated this way and to have this type of experience was significantly distressing to myself and my family. My travels have taken me all around the world and I have NEVER been treated with such disregard.

Furthermore, I will NEVER stay nor RECOMMEND The Residence Inn Marriott Norfolk to anyone and will strongly advise against anyone made known to me interested in staying there! 
On the way out I allowed my children to grab a bite to eat from the free breakfast buffet, which was the only thing left to salvage on this trip.
Attached you will find a photograph of the disgusting bed that we unknowingly slept on.

Very dissapointed consumer,
Laura M. Pendleton

  • Stayed July 2013
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
RIDTWN, General Manager at Residence Inn Norfolk Downtown, responded to this review, July 31, 2013
Thank you for completing the review.

We do miss the boat sometimes and with your stay we definately tipped the boat over. Since you I spoke I do hope you feel we have rectified the problems you experience while here at the hotel.

Sincerely,

Linda Markert. CHA
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Cape May, New Jersey
1 review
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 29, 2013

We are Kazakhs traveling to Norfolk to visit our family. Normally when I come to a hotel, I have to translate the hotel's policies into Russian for my family to understand. Fortunately, the boy in the front Jessy greet us with smile and could tell us about the hotel and the nearby restaurants in our mother tongue. This itself was rare experience.
He gave us recommendation to Freemason Abbey, which was tasty place to eat. We came back, and the family swam in the pool and sat in the jacuzzi.
The room was lovely and clean, and when we asked for more pillows, Precious was quick to deliver and very friendly.
Breakfast was plentiful and delicious. Love it. Jessy checked us out. Work all the time? He gave recommendation to Mahi Mah's at the Virginia Beach, and told us which waitress spoke Russian, Aiya. Great recommendation. Also print out the Google Maps directions in Russian!

  • Stayed July 2013, 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
RIDTWN, General Manager at Residence Inn Norfolk Downtown, responded to this review, July 31, 2013
Wow! I didn't even know Jesse spoke the language. I do know he is well versed in several languages.

We are happy you had the opportunity to visit our area and had a chance to eat in some of our local restaurants.

We do hope you have another chance to return to Norfolk.

Thank you for taking the time to complete the survey.

Best Regards,
Linda Markert, CHA
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Kindsbach, Germany
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 19, 2013

For the past 4 years, I have stayed at this hotel 3 times for a total of about 6 or 7 nights. I really cannot think of a better hotel experience. While other hotels might be more sophisticated, the set up of this hotel is superb. Each room is a mini apartment with a small kitchen, living room, and separate area for sleeping. I personally love the modern style of the room.

In my visits, the staff have been more than friendly; the free breakfast quite suitable; and the location pretty central to Norfolk. It is just on the outside of downtown and easily accessible to anything you need.

All in all, I would stay in this or similar hotels any time I travel.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with friends
    • 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 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
RIDTWN, General Manager at Residence Inn Norfolk Downtown, responded to this review, July 23, 2013
Thank you for your review.
I see you have traveled from Europe. I do hope you had a chance to speak with Maria on our team here. She is from Germany and such a treasure to have on our staff.

If you return to the area we do hope you come back to see us.

Best Regards,

Linda Markert, CHA
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Ashburn, Virginia
Top Contributor
87 reviews 87 reviews
29 hotel reviews
Reviews in 34 cities Reviews in 34 cities
33 helpful votes 33 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 17, 2013

Rooms were well appointed and appeared either new or newly remodeled. Staff had room ready for a slightly early check-in, which was appreciated. Parking is a tad inconvenient; using a public structure across the street, but this is common in urban locations and no fault of the hotel.

Location is not within walking distance of local attractions, but not more than a mile or so. Enjoyed the modern design of this RI, as opposed to may which are apartment or villa style.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled on business
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
RIDTWN, General Manager at Residence Inn Norfolk Downtown, responded to this review, July 19, 2013
Thank you for your review.

We are happy you enjoyed your time in the Norfolk area and had an opportunity to enjoy the hotel. If your travels bring you back to the area we do hope you choose the Residence Inn Downtown for your hotel of choice.

Sincerely,

Linda Markert, CHA
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Portsmouth, Virginia
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 16, 2013

Pet friendly, free wifi, continental breakfast, nighly appetizers, fitness center, laundry room, immaculatly clean, fabulous customer service, walking distance to downtown restaurants/ entertainment, amazingly comfortable matresses- excellent stay! Stayed in a king studio w/ my husband and pup in between military moves for 30days. Couldn't have been more pleased!

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled on business
    • 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 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
RIDTWN, General Manager at Residence Inn Norfolk Downtown, responded to this review, July 23, 2013
Thank you for taking the time to write a review.

We are very centrally located to a variety of our major attractions. The view of the Elizabeth River/waterfront harbor from our higher floors is amazing.

We do hope you have an opportunity to come and visit us again. Have a great summer.

Sincerely,

Linda Markert
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Washington, D.C.
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
37 helpful votes 37 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 12, 2013

My family and I traveled here for a long weekend in late June. The location of this hotel is good in that you're a few blocks away from the waterfront area in Norfolk, and then you can hop in a car and head east for 15 minutes and you're at the Atlantic Ocean. It's a nice blend of urban and beach within a few minutes.

The hotel doesn't have parking, but there is a garage that is literally a few steps away that cost us $16 per day. Not ideal, but since I live in an urban area paying for parking is quite normal; to have the proximity to downtown this is literally the price you have to pay.

The common areas of the hotel, from the waiting area to the breakfast area to the indoor pool were all in great condition with a bit of flair in the design. Basically the entire ground floor is devoted to the lobby/check-in, the pool / fitness center, and a lot of seating. With the (complimentary!) evening receptions and breakfasts, you'll find this area fills up pretty well with people.

The room we had was very nice: a one-bedroom unit with double beds and a pullout sofa in the living room. Full kitchen with a dining table for 4 as well as a work desk with chair were also in the living/dining area. The bathroom did lack a fan, but the sink and vanity were separate from the toilet/shower which is nice for multiple people getting ready for the day.

We were on floor 9 and had a southerly view of downtown Norfolk and the harbor. If you like views ask for a higher floor.

The staff were very helpful and kind. It was a good trip, and the kids are already asking when we'll go back!

Room Tip: Higher floors with a south view will get you nice water views of downtown Norfolk
See more room tips
  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
RIDTWN, General Manager at Residence Inn Norfolk Downtown, responded to this review, July 14, 2013
Thank you for your review.

We are very lucky to have a nice extended stay hotel in a downtown area. We are very close to many attractions as well as great shopping.

We do hope you have another chance to stay at the Residence Inn Downtown.

Sincerely,

Linda Markert, GHA
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Additional Information about Residence Inn Norfolk Downtown

Address: 227 West Brambleton Avenue, Norfolk, VA 23510
Location: United States > Virginia > Norfolk
Amenities:
Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#4 Romantic Hotel in Norfolk
#9 Family Hotel in Norfolk
#10 Business Hotel in Norfolk
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — Residence Inn Norfolk Downtown 3*
Number of rooms: 150
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Residence Inn Norfolk Downtown Hotel Norfolk

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