Dates of Stay 8-10 February 2013.
This was a last minute decision due to the Blizzard of 2013. We originally were to rent a car and drive to the northwest suburbs, but that looked highly improbable 24 hours in advance and actually turned out to be such; actually we could have gotten there but getting back would have been an adventure plus a lot of work clearing snow and getting out of a plowed parking lot with walls of snow. We had flights that could not be changed to a reasonable departure/return date (had to fly within the next 5 days), and we had a now non-cancelable hotel reservation on Thursday night (since it was less than 24 hours away) and a prepaid reservation on Saturday at the Hilton Airport, for which we were actually later able to receive a full refund of the prepaid amount so that was good. The Hampton Inn reservation in the suburbs was cancelable up until 6 pm on Friday. I called the Hilton Back Bay on Thursday morning and explained my situation. They agreed to allow me to cancel up until noon on Friday without charge in case the blizzard turned out to be a dud, but since it turned out as expected or even more severe, I didn’t cancel. After my stay there, I still wonder if they would have kept their word and let me cancel had circumstances been different, but I think they would have given how well they treated us. We arrived around noon since I called Friday morning to let them know that we would definitely be there and to see how early we could check in since the weather was beginning to develop. They were very kind on the phone, and I have no complaints with any member of the staff except the first person I talked to on Thursday morning who didn’t know how far the nearest T stop was from the hotel-she said at least 30 minutes in broken English, and I knew I had an airhead on the phone so I hung up since I had not given a name at that point and called back and got someone with some sense. I am not sure if she was actually at the hotel or in a reservations office somewhere else; if she was a hotel employee, the subject never came up while I was there. We were upgraded to a corner room on the 15th floor-Room 1505. It would have been nice to have been higher but with the storm we would probably have had even lower visibility than the little bit we had as the storm developed. It was very windy, and there were some scary moments, but everything turned out ok. There was a small balcony, but it could not be accessed although I think that the window by the bed could have been opened, but we didn’t for obvious windy/air pressure reasons. The room was nice with a king sized bed, bedside tables with lamps with outlets in their bases, a nice easy chair with a little round table, a desk with lamp and a 2nd phone, a 3 drawer dresser with large tv on top, and a stand with a fridge inside and coffee maker and ice bucket on top. Ice machine was to the right just steps away past the elevator bank on the left. They gave us 4 bottles of water at check-in plus there were 2 more in the room. There was also water in the Diamond Lounge at breakfast to take. All that was missing was a microwave. We might have bought a pizza Friday afternoon before 2 pm when everything in the neighborhood started closing had we had one, but it wasn’t a big deal. There was a closet with hangers, iron and ironing board, and a good sized safe. The bathroom had shower/tub combo, sink, and toilet. Top quality amenities were provided. There was more than ample hot water, and it arrived very quickly, even on the 15th floor. The towels were also large and soft. Everything was clean, and I had no complaints with the furniture or room set up. My complaint was with the satellite tv. Due to the storm, there were times when we received no channels, not even the local ones. I realize it was difficult for them to keep the satellite on top of the building snow free (they did try by what the lady at the front desk told me the next morning-I wouldn’t want that job in the blizzard), but it just proves that cable is better than satellite when weather is involved. They did their best with the satellite. We ate dinner in the restaurant the first night since nothing else was open except the one bar with bar food at the Sheraton across the street. They were both overpriced so we chose the one at the Hilton so we could receive some additional points. I asked if there was a discount for Hilton Honors Gold members, and they said no. They should give a discount to entice their loyalty members to eat there because if it weren’t for the weather, I wouldn’t have eaten there. Actually, I had reservations at a French restaurant in Kenmore Square, but they called to cancel about 1 pm once they realized that they had to close. The subway/commuter trains stopped at 3:30 pm, and cars/taxis were prohibited after 4:00 pm so the only way to get around was to walk, and with the weather and the fact that nothing was open except a video store and a chocolate shop in the Prudential mall, there really was no where to go. At the 40 Dalton restaurant in the Hilton, there was a waitress who was out of sight more than not, a bartender who served and cleared more than the waitress, and a banquet manager who was helping out the most. Based on the service, I think she would have been slow even if they were fully staffed and the restaurant was emptier. Obviously, the hotel was mostly empty since there were only about 25 people in the bar and restaurant. The lobby was mostly empty too, and I rarely saw any customers at the Starbucks. I found the food to be surprisingly good. We had the clam chowder and the cod entrée, but the prices were too high, even for Back Bay Boston, and I’ve already made my comment about the slow service. Given the circumstances, I really have no major complaint. Because we were Gold, they gave us coupons for free continental breakfast. It is supposed to include 2 hot items per the hotel’s response to a previous TripAdvisor reviewer, but there were several choices, including scrambled eggs, scrambled eggs with veggies with cheese (1st day), scrambled eggs with meat and cheese (2nd day), bacon, sausage, and oatmeal. They really tried to make their loyalty members comfortable. For $10 more, one could have the full buffet on most days, but these mornings our selection in the private Diamond Lounge was better without the extra $10. On Sunday, a lady pretended to be a cow and began to breastfeed two tables away, and I got an udderly full view. What’s next, plopping the baby on the table in between and changing the diaper, poop smells and sights included? Unless there is an emergency, some things are better left out of public view. Service was more than fantastic with the nicest, most attentive lady in charge, but just be alert at the toaster as bread gets stuck and burns! Due to the weather, they were going to be flexible about check out time, but since public transportation was still out of service all day Saturday and driving was prohibited until 4 pm, I called down before 8 am to see how much for us to stay Saturday night. They said $109, which was fantastic and $34 less than we paid for Friday night. We opted to not have housekeeping service, but they offered, but I just asked for more towels, soap, and shampoo. They offered to help me get my prepaid amount back from the airport Hilton, but other than forwarding my phone call for which they charged me $1.25 plus tax for a local call even though I could have made the call on my cell (but they did reverse the charge once I complained upon seeing my bill that was put under the door), they didn’t have to assist further since the airport Hilton was very understanding and only put up a little resistance at first before going above and beyond to help me since I had to talk to the Priority Club reservations/billing office as well. We had to take a taxi to the airport on Sunday since public transportation was still not available, and that costs us almost $25 with fare, toll, and tip, which was a little higher than I expected, but he had to drive more slowly through snow until we reached the main road. I questioned the toll charge since there is none from downtown to the airport, but he said they charge 50% of the rate from the airport to town so I wonder if they do the same for those arriving-but I don’t plan to find out and I doubt it knowing the reputation of taxi cab drivers! Like many others, we had a rescheduled flight, but we had received not only a confirmed seat on the afternoon flight but also an upgrade due to our Platinum status on Delta. If I have to stay in downtown Boston or decide just to make a weekend trip for fun, I would definitely consider staying here. It’s close to Fenway, and there are many nearby restaurants I would like to try like the Summer Shack next door plus more along Boylston St., but they were closed due to the blizzard. Thanks to a great, professional, dedicated staff who were working much overtime and had to be tired although they were all full of energy and always there to help (except waitress in 40 Dalton). They also called several times to make sure everything was ok with room and service, and at least one, but usually more, would always say hello in the lobby. I can now say that “I survived the Blizzard of 2013”.
stay as high as possible-15th floor was good
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.