As soon as you enter the Menger Hotel, you can sense history around you. The lobby area from the check-in desk through to the old part of the hotel and the Colonial restaurant is beautiful. The enclosed garden is charming and the swimming pool area is a beautiful little oasis. The Colonial Dining Room is pure elegance and a wonderful place to eat. And of course the location is perfect for visiting the Alamo which is practically next door.
As for the rooms, well I'm sure the more expensive suites are charming and elegant with a historic feel to them, but the lower price rooms are just not up to a good enough standard if our room was a typical example. On walking in, it felt tired and jaded and the furniture looked worn out. The bathroom was small and while the tiled areas were clean and bright, the bath itself was in a sad state. Obviously re-enamelled in the past, the surface had deteriorated and was cracked and chipped around the plughole revealing the original enamel underneath. The painted walls in the bathroom looked as if an amateur had done the job. The only good thing about our room was the bed which was extremely comfortable, however that was of dubious value.
The real problem was the noise. At first we thought it was the air conditioning but after turning it off there was still a lot of noise. Listening more carefully, we realised that we were directly above what must have been the laundry room and they were running an industrial size machine down there because when that mother got up to full spin, it felt as if we were ready for takeoff. The machine stopped running before we got to bed on the Friday night but on the Saturday, it ran until 2 in the morning - I know because it kept me awake until then despite the fact I was really tired. If there's one thing I expect from a hotel, it's a reasonable nights sleep and I certainly didn't get it.
Now I've seen one review on TripAdvisor which basically says that "it's an old and historic building and you have to take the rough with the smooth". Well I'm sorry but I disagree. A room with a dull colour scheme and some worn reproduction antique furniture does not contribute to the quality of a guest's experience and this is the problem I have with the Menger; it's all very well for a hotel to trade on it's historic past but the quality of accommodation has to be consistently good for everyone, regardless of how much they've paid or which room they're in. I've stayed in hotels that are just as old as the Menger but they've worked hard to modernise rooms while keeping touch with their historic past. It's not easy but it can be done.
To sum up, I would come back to the Menger to eat in the restaurant but I won't be coming back to stay and if you are staying here, avoid getting room 2100 and the rooms either side of it. If anyone from the management is reading this, please consider using room 2100 for something else!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Historic 1859 hotel next to Alamo, 1 block from Riverwalk. Originally built in 1859, The Menger Hotel is located in central San Antonio, one block from the famed Riverwalk, the Children's Museum, and the Buckhorn Museum. Nearby points of interest also include the Rivercenter Mall, Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, and San Antonio Central Library. The hotel's Colonial Room Restaurant serves American regional cuisine for breakfast, lunch, dinner and brunch. The historic Menger Bar, a replica of London's House of Lords Pub, features cherry paneling and booth seating. Room service is also available.The Menger Hotel's tropical courtyard garden looks out onto an outdoor heated pool. On-site recreational amenities also include a spa tub, a sauna, and a fitness facility with cardiovascular equipment. The full-service Alamo Plaza Spa offers spa treatments including massages, scrubs, facials, and a Finnish sauna. More than 11,618 square feet of flexible function space accommodates up to 750 guests and includes the Plaza Ballroom, 9 meeting and conference rooms, poolside rooms, and a terrace that overlooks the Menger Court. Valet parking is available (surcharge). Complimentary wireless Internet access is offered in all public areas. The Menger Hotel is a smoke-free property.Built in 1859, the five-story Menger Hotel is next to the Alamo and just one block from the Children's Museum and the shops at the Riverwalk; the arts community of La Villita is four blocks away. The hotel features the Colonial Room Restaurant and the historic Menger Bar, a replica of London’s House of Lord’s Pub. Additional amenities include an outdoor pool, a spa tub, and a spa offering European-style treatments. ... more less
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