My girlfriend and I were excited to have a 4 night vacation here starting 3/24 and checking out 3/28. We took advantage of a promotional offer for 2 nights + were going to pay for 2 nights on our own. Upon making my reservation I opted to upgrade to a "Terrace Suite" which was the most expensive, nicest sounding suite except for a $2600 a night "Governors Suite". The pictures on the website looked great. We were surprised.
Check in as at 4:00 PM. We arrived at 4:30. There was only 1 bell hop available and there were 4 cars waiting to get luggage on a cart. Additionally there was multiple people walking in to check in that parked elsewhere. I entered the hotel to check in. I was informed that our room was not yet ready (we are 30 minutes LATE of the official check in time mind you). The clerk advised that there was another room on the "Spa" wing that we could have if we did not want to wait. I confirmed with the clerk of our upgraded suite, he acknowledged that and we said we did not feel like waiting. He pointed us in the general direction of the elevators, gave us our keys and we were off.
I returned to my vehicle, the bell hop came back a few minutes later and began loading our luggage. I asked about valet. He informed me to just go park it around the corner that all parking was free and I quote "If I valet it for you I will just drive it to right there and park it and it costs $8". I went and parked nearby and we began our trip to our room. The elevators could not be more inconveniently placed for anyone staying on this "Spa" wing. I used the "MapMyWalk" application on my phone and it turns out from the check in desk to the elevators is 0.15 of a mile, and from the elevators to the casino escalators is .20 of a mile. For anyone with health issues or elderly people this has to be a surprise, we did not mind it but it was just inconvenient.
Our first impressions of room 5214 is that it was the smallest suite I had ever been to in my life. The bathroom layout is horrible, it is a long hallway broken into sections. 1 section has a single sink vanity, the next section is a mirror/chair for putting on make up, the shower was a plain jane regular shower/tub combo and finally at the end of the hall is a single toilet for the room. The shower is an embarrassment. The pictures we saw online of the "cheaper" and more "basic" rooms looked to have better amenities then this room. Our excitement quickly turned into us questioning us envisioning staying here that evening more less the rest of our stay.
On the hotels website the description of the "Terrace Balcony" sounded awesome. I was looking to get fresh air out there and read a book. When we first opened the balcony door all we could hear was loud humming. I look over the balcony there is a giant row of industrial air conditioners right there! I wish I could upload the video I took to document the loud humming and clicking these units would alternate making. Also the view from the balcony leaved little to be desired.
Trying to make the best of a depressing situation we ventured into the casino to try and clear our minds. If you are into slot machines I would not recommend this casino. This is not because of winning or losing money, gambling is gambling but because of how old the majority of the machines are. I would say easily 80% of the machines there are at least 3 years old, which when it comes to slot machines is equivalent to dinosaurs! There is no new good exciting cutting edge machines here! If you enjoy "classic" slot titles, then this is the place for you. If you are into new machines do not waste your time. I did not bother getting on the table games, they looked pretty standard and were busy.
We did have a normal/decent free buffet dinner. The venue was pretty busy but nothing to complain about, nothing above standard either.
We returned to our room to relax. I needed to complete some work on my laptop. I had not really thought much of internet access as free wifi is pretty much standard everywhere (McDonalds even). Much to my dismay I found out I had to purchase wifi access at a rate of $3.00 per hour or $9.99 for a 24 hour period of access. Having work I needed done I opted for the hour of wifi. The connection was spotty (3 out of 5 bars sitting on the love seat in the room). I ran a speedtest while I was connected and it maxed out at 1MB/s which is laughable.
During this period we watched the tiny (42") TV's in the room, the "Guide" button never worked on the TV's so you had to flip through channels using the channel button.
There was a filled minibar in the room, we looked at every piece of literature in the room could not find a price guide for it. We called the front desk they sent one up 20 minutes later. $3 was the cheapest item that was for a can of Coca Cola. $11 was the highest price item which was a Jose Cuervo miniature. We decided we would walk to the gift shop as I seen from earlier going to the buffet they had cold drinks.
The gift shop was a typical tourist trap. A lot of overpriced junk trinkets. Now when we walked in I observed a person at the register that remained at the register for about 5-10 minutes before they left making small talk with the workers. This will make sense later. We browsed the entire store, grabbed some cold drinks, bought a cross and another small gift. While we were browsing a gentleman came in to purchase 1 pack of cigarettes, pretty simple right? Well he lingered around for 5-10 minutes at check out also before leaving. When we finally went to check out, I used a Discover card. The point of sale system they had for cards was one of the ancient dial up card swipers. After around 10 minutes and 3 attempts of the machine getting "connection failed" (I have all 3 failed receipts) I asked if we could just get the items charged to the room. She informed me she would try to figure out how to do it. I offered if they needed my room key to be swiped or something for the charge. When I offered this, the second salesperson working there commented "Oh my I would not do that if I were you". I inquired as to why, and I was told "You never know she could be a bad person". This second salesperson seemed to be under the impression I was meaning to give my room key as collateral, and that it was a possibility the original sales person would go to our room and rob us or the such. Why would employees ever even suggest anything negative like this to a guest. We provided my last name and room number and that was sufficient enough to get it charged to the room. I would imagine it would of been easy to give a different room number and made up name and another poor guest would be stuck with a charge, very disappointing experience in that gift shop.
At this point we decided we wanted to get the hell out of this hotel. I did not feel like driving back home to Albuquerque though and wanted to do it the next day. On the way back to the room I stopped at the check in desk, explained we were supposed to stay 4 nights but that we wanted to check out the following morning instead. The clerk did not even bat an eye, made a couple of clicks and said "Ok you are set to check out tomorrow". Not even an inquiry as to why or if anything was wrong.
We slept and took it easy in the morning. We had a knock on the door at 9AM. It was housekeeping and they said "You are checking out today are you ready to check out we want to clean the room". What the hell? Check is out 11AM. After this happened we packed quickly and got the hell out of this hotel.
My only charges for the stay were my wifi and the gift shop purchase. We still had 1 night that would be totally free. It says a lot about your hotel if someone does not even want to stay there for free!
We will never be returning to Buffalo Thunder for any reason. Thank you for ruining our plans of relaxation and enjoyment!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Report response as inappropriate
Thank you for taking the time to review your March visit to Hilton Buffalo Thunder and please forgive my delayed response to your comments. I am truly sorry that we failed to meet your expectations for a relaxing weekend and have shared your experience with all of my department heads. As you can see from the majority of reviews on our resort, we usually succeed in providing outstanding accommodations and customer service to our guests. In your case, we obviously failed.
If you ever change your mind about a return visit, I hope that you will contact me personally, as I would like to have the opportunity of changing your opinion of our property.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.