Let me start off with the positive -- the W Midtown is a modern hotel with spacious, nicely furnished guest rooms; great bath amenities from Bliss (including face wash!); and numerous bars, restaurants, and attractions within walking distance. If your plans are primarily based in the Midtown area, this hotel could be a good choice. But if you're attending a multi-day event downtown (like Dragon Con), you may want to think twice about booking this hotel -- the first couple days of our stay proved to be a comedy of errors (only it wasn't very funny at the time). If you have the patience to slog through my full review -- the good, the bad, and the ugly -- read on...
We had initially tried to book a stay at the W Atlanta Downtown for Dragon Con 2013. My husband booked online at the same time as a friend of ours; our friend's reservation went through, while my husband was informed that his reservation was not accepted as there were no more rooms at the W Downtown...so he was offered a room at the W Midtown. Since this hotel is quite a distance from the convention area, he asked if a shuttle would be provided -- and when he was assured there would be, he went ahead and booked the room. We were planning to arrive the night Dragon Con registration opened (Thursday); the reservation agent said he could only book under the Dragon Con rate code for Friday - Sunday nights, but assured my husband he would give us the lowest rate for the Thursday night stay. As a result, we ended up with two separate reservations; and my husband didn't realize until check-in that he was charged $269/night (plus taxes) for Thursday night, when the Dragon Con rate was $195/night. An extra $74/night for the same room? Not a good way to start off our stay...
Our first impressions of the hotel itself were generally positive; the lobby has a funky, modern vibe, and check-in was fairly efficient. The desk clerk assured us we would have the same room our entire stay (despite the two separate reservations); she handed us our card keys in a sleeve that was clearly marked #1606, and a bellman escorted us to our room. Unfortunately, neither of our card keys worked; so the bellman let us in with his key, helped us settle in, and promised that he would have the keys reprogrammed and sent right back up. (And indeed, a few minutes later another staffer arrived with our new keys.) We were happy with the room, which continued the hotel's modern, funky vibe -- with black and charcoal furnishings and a few small splashes of colorful patterned wallpaper. (I've posted a few pics with this review.) I liked that they had a few types of pillows on the bed -- a foam pillow and a feather/down pillow on each side. Since I'm allergic to feathers/down, it was nice to have foam pillows already in the room. As with most hotels, the minibar items were ridiculously overpriced; but in addition to the pricey bottles of "designer" water, the W thoughtfully provided a complimentary 16.9 oz. bottle of Nestle PureLife water, and replenished it daily. (A welcome touch!)
We slept well that first night...until we were awakened the next morning by another guest repeatedly rattling our door and trying to get into our room. Apparently he had been assigned to our room and given a valid key; I'm just thankful we remembered to engage the safety locks before we went to bed. (Can you imagine having a stranger walk in on you while you're asleep?!) A few minutes later, we got a call from the front desk informing us that there wasn't supposed to be anyone in this room (#1606) -- when he looked us up, he informed us that they had us down for room #1605, but said he would transfer our reservation to the correct room. (That explains why our cards didn't work the previous day; but someone should have noticed and corrected the issue when our keys were reprogrammed and sent back up.)
The next unpleasant surprise occurred when my husband went to catch the shuttle to Dragon Con -- and discovered there was no shuttle. Instead, the W offers "free" rides in an Acura (subject to availability) in return for completing a survey. And while the driver did take him downtown that first morning, he informed my husband that they do not offer pickup service and would not be providing rides to Dragon Con the rest of the weekend because of the crowds/traffic. So instead of being able to walk or take a free shuttle to the convention events, we had to purchase MARTA passes to get back and forth during the day, and pay for taxis every evening after the trains stopped running. This added significantly to our expenses and commute time, and it's definitely something to consider if you'll be attending a conference or event downtown.
That evening (Friday), after a long day at the con and a sweaty walk back from the MARTA station, my husband stopped at the desk to ask a question about the room billing. While we were there, the clerk informed us that she needed to reprogram our keys (again) since we were now under the second reservation. (Huh?) When we finally arrived back at our room -- planning to grab a quick shower before heading back out -- we discovered that housekeeping had never serviced the room (even though we had both been out since mid-morning) and all of our towels were still wet. So we went back down to the desk; the clerk asked if we just wanted towels sent up, but my husband wanted the room cleaned (considering what we were paying and all we had already been through, he felt we deserved a clean room). So we headed to the lobby bar for overpriced drinks while we waited for the room to be serviced. We checked back after 30 minutes, but housekeeping was still working on the room. By the time we finally got back into our room, we were too tired to go out -- so our Friday night was a bust.
In light of all the disappointments and frustration we had experienced -- without anything more than a cursory apology from the desk clerks -- my husband sent an email to the hotel's GM the next morning outlining our experience. To the W's credit, he received a reply that same day (a Saturday); a member of hotel management responded with an apology, and said that he would apply one night's credit to our stay (alas, it wasn't for the more expensive Thursday night) and had deposited bonus Starwood points to my husband's account. He also said he would be available that day if my husband wanted to stop by and discuss the issues in person; but as we were downtown for the con all day, he didn't have an opportunity to do so.
The rest of our stay was (thankfully) rather uneventful; there were no further intrusions into our room, and housekeeping DID service the room the next couple of days. (Our only other minor complaint was that they never replenished the soap/shampoo/shower gel until we finally left a note the 3rd morning asking them to do so -- the small bottles quickly ran out as we had been taking showers twice a day.) Checkout went smoothly, and the valet staff was able to hail us a cab with almost no wait -- so we were quickly on our way to the airport once we checked out.
Overall, we liked the hotel and probably would have been perfectly happy here if our plans were focused on the Midtown area. We recognize that the hotel's reservation agent was the one responsible for the initial miscommunication (or outright lies?) regarding the Thursday night rate and shuttle availability, so we don't blame the on-site staff for that...though it did contribute to our dissatisfaction with the hotel, and the transportation issues negatively impacted our first Dragon Con experience. I'm still not sure how the hotel assigned another guest to a room that was already occupied; that could have resulted in a serious safety and security issue, though thankfully it didn't. And while we realize that housekeeping oversights can happen in a hotel of this size, other hotels we've stayed at have checks and balances to to avoid that (I've seen supervisors checking in on each room to ensure it's been properly serviced). We do appreciate the hotel's prompt response to my husband's emailed complaint; the credit they provided helped to offset the MARTA/taxi expenses and the $74 upcharge for our Thursday night stay. All in all, I'd say this is a good hotel that could be great if they're able to learn from/improve upon negative experiences like ours and avoid similar issues in the future.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The W Atlanta Midtown Hotel offers the coolest stay in the heart of Atlanta's hottest neighborhood, conveniently located near the Fox Theater, Piedmont Park, and some of the chicest clubs. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- w Atlanta Midtown Hotel Atlanta
- w Hotels Atlanta
- w Hotel Atlanta