So I stay at a lot of hotels and maybe I'm a little more critical than the next traveller but a seriously folks, if this is the #9 hotel in Richmond, then Richmond has some real need for upscale hotels.
Let's start by acknowledging that Embassy Suites markets and caters to business travelers. Business travelers generally travel with more than a collection of blue jeans, shorts, and tee shirts. They travel with suits, dresses, etc. Often those items have been cleaned and pressed and need hanging space. The 2 room suite has a very small wardrobe to hang garments in. The wardrobe is so small I was unable to even hang all of my suits in the wardrobe and the items I did get in the wardrobe were so compacted, everything came out wrinkled and creased.
Like all Embassy Suites, the hotel offers a freshly cooked breakfast including made to order omelette's, usually a very nice amenity. Again, this property supposedly caters to business travelers. In the real world business begins at 5, 6, 7AM. The breakfast is not even scheduled to begin until 6:30. Please note I said SCHEDULED to begin. After several days at the property, I can tell you that 50-60% of the breakfast setup is complete by 6:30. One day, I was grabbing a cup of coffee as I was running late for the office at 6:35AM and I watched another guest waiting to order an omelette. He was told by the "chef" that it would be a few minutes. Realistically, you couldn't actually sit down and eat a made to order hot breakfast until 7:00AM most days. If I didn't have to be in the office by 6:45AM, that might work but as a real life business traveler, the "complimentary breakfast" is worthless at 7:00AM.
If you are not familiar with Embassy Suites, they are generally designed as a big open square. All of the rooms open on to a central atrium filled with trees, plants, etc. This atrium is where the breakfast and evening manager's reception are held. Because everything, including entrance to all rooms open to the atrium, all noise created in the hallways and atrium reverberate and echo. Normally with a business crowd, this is not a problem, a few plates clanging in the early morning and social chatter in the evenings. I've come to learn, completely different story Friday and Saturday nights. The "Business Traveler Hotel" becomes "Pre-Teen Soccer Team Central". Literally hundreds of teens and families invade the property running up and down the hallways, yelling, screaming, playing around, etc. Unfortunately the parents are no better. As a perfect example, after being started back to wide awake at the ripe old time 6:20AM Saturday morning, the one day of the week, I actually try to sleep in a bit, I cleaned up and went down to grab a bite of hot breakfast. As I was sitting there trying to eat in some sort of peace at 7:25AM, the soccer mom at the next table thought it best to communicate with her children hanging over the railing on the fourth floor by yelling across the atrium. While I had already had my counting sheep ended hours earlier, I'm quite certain that a guest or two found their slumber end precisely at that moment.
One last general note about the amenities, the hot breakfast I have been able to eat on the weekends was flavorful, fresh, and the staff pleasant. There is a decent variety. The pastries (donuts and Danish) leave something to be desired. They are a step below the mass produced boxed pastries you'll find at the grocery store, hard, not extremely fresh, you get the idea. Everything else works just watch the fresh bananas, many are over ripe. The evening manager's reception includes free "adult beverages" so of course, that works. The snacks are a little repetitive, dips ( some I couldn't even figure out what they were, some sort of cheese spreads), salsa, and crackers. They served some spicy seasoned peanuts one evening. It would have been nice if they labeled them. I thought they were BBQ Corn Nuts until the first small handful nearly heat peeled my taste buds from my tongue. I will undoubtedly ask first next time...
On to the room and the real reason I don't find this anywhere near a top rated property. With the exception of the undersized wardrobe, when first built, furnished, and maintained, this was a 3.5 to 4 star property. Note the caveat, "When First Built". The rooms are now tired, furnishings show considerable wear, maintenance and cleaning leave plenty to be desired. The first thing I saw when I entered the room was a small oval coffee table. As you can see by the photos, it is nicked, scratched, and chipped and this was a preview of what was to come.
The wet bar area which includes the sink, microwave, and mini fridge is past it's prime. The doors don't actually meet and close anymore, again see the pictures. The doors are marked up, cracking, and they overlap as the right door doesn't sit straight anymore. At some point in a previous life the property had to change to lighting as evidenced by an abandoned light switch that now has a mere cover plate. Now you see an aftermarket switch attached to the cabinet near the location of the prior switch. When you flip the switch two small round under cabinet puck lights illuminate. Unfortunately they also illuminate the exposed wires and connectors that also travel along the underside of the cabinetry. Just what I want to see, exposed wiring. As I begin to turn toward the restroom I am greater by the worn fraying carpet surrounding the tiles at the wet bar. See that picture as well.
On to the bath area. I won't call it a room because it's not. It is literally an area approx 4 x 4 with a miniature commode, retrofitted vanity, and shower stall. The commode is so small, the average adult will find it to be almost child size. After 30 seconds I figured out why the commode is so small. If it were any larger, the door would not be blue to open all the way. Literally, the door to the bath area opens and comes within 2 inches of hitting the front of the commode. When opened it does hit the edge of the shower stall. The vanity, while it matches most of the furnishing in the remainder of the room is also very dated, nicked, scratched, etc. it appears at one point in time, there were additional doors or decorations on the front of the vanity that has since been removed to created storage. That would be fine but the retrofit is horrible with exposed edges, and just looks bad. If you enter the area, move to the far right corner so you can actually close the door, you can see behind the door in the corner between the door frame and the shower. Undoubtedly, this is NEVER cleaned because the area is so small, the housekeeper can't get equipment in there and still close the door. Please see the picture and you will see why I say this is surely never cleaned. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.
As I moved to the bedroom, I found the same nicks and scratches on the night stand and desk, see those pictures as well. No need to continue pointing out the poor condition of the furnishing. The best place that immediately appeared to plug in phone charger, etc was in a plug near the in room coffee pot. Too bad the plug was broken and when you went to push your plug in, it also moved inward so you were unable to use it. Of course, because it was moving, I'm not sure you would want to use it anyway for fear it would short out. The bed was a typical Hilton Sweet Dreams bed, I believe, which usually offer a comfortable sleep. I say I believe this was a Sweet Dreams bed at least at some point in its life. The bed, like the remainder of the furnishings has seen better years, unfortunately for me, I think those years were in the late 90's.
The last thing I wanted to mention was just a minor annoyance. I happen to be a Hilton Honors Diamond Member (top tier 60+ nights per year in a Hilton Property). Most Hilton properties, including this one, advertise special amenities to Diamond members. One such amenity is a special snack upon arrival. Some properties ask at booking while others ask at check in. This Embassy Suites did neither but upon arrival at my wet bar area, "my special snack" was waiting. Even had the pictured sign which read in part, "Your beverages are waiting to be enjoyed. As a Hilton HHonors VIP benefit, we have placed your requested beverages in the refrigerator for your convenience." Two things, first, look closely at the pictures of the sign, it was reused, has oily stains on the front, wrinkled, and food particles stuck to the back.....ugh.. Second, they never requested my beverage of choice and the only beverages in the refrigerator were two bottles of purified water. For those that don't know, purified water is basically filtered tap water that is bottled and not something I drink so they are sitting in the ice bucket to be recycled and used for the next HHonors VIP.....
You can say I am critical and picky but having spent a lot of nights in a lot of hotels, this is much closer to my bottom ten instead of any top ten. Stay here if you wish. You have the pictures so you decide if I am exaggerating. I just found out I may have to extend my stay in Richmond. I looking for a different hotel.