This review has taken me a long time to write. My boyfriend and I had such a horrible experience at this hotel that we can barely even talk about this vacation without first highlighting for everyone how terrible this place is.
My boyfriend and I were sitting around one dreary February day and decided we really needed a vacation. He told me about Pensacola and how beautiful it is. With all of the good memories he had of his last visit, it was hard to say no. We promptly booked our flights and gave the Hilton call.
We booked a Gulf View Room for 4 nights and ordered the Romance Package which we were told includes a bottle of Champagne, Roses and a full American breakfast. While we were on the phone I made certain to tell them that our flight would land at 11:30 and we would be at the hotel by 12:30 at the latest. I explained that we would be coming from Cleveland, Ohio and our trip would be long and asked that our room be ready when we got there. We were assured that there would be no problem with this and that our room would certainly be ready upon our arrival. With everything good to go, we were incredibly excited.
One day prior to our trip, I called again to make certain our room would be ready as soon as we got there. I was once again assured there would be nothing to worry about and that we would be taken good care of during our stay. Feeling confident, we rested easy, popped out of bed and headed to the airport.
Upon arrival in Florida we were thrilled. The trip was stressful (we had been travelling since 5am) and we couldn't wait to relax and have some fun. We hailed a cab and headed to the Hilton. Our ride there was awesome and the driver we had was 5 star.
When we got to the hotel there was no one outside to greet us. It was a bit chilly and windy, but still no help with our bags at all? In Cleveland our hotel staff stands outside in -10 degree weather to help guests with their cars and bags, I can't imagine the staff in FLORIDA was so freezing they couldn't say hello.
At this point we were incredibly exhausted but still very excited and headed inside.
We approached the front desk to check in. It was 12:05 pm. We were told that our room wasn't quite ready and that we would have to wait, but that it wouldn't be more than 30 min. Neither of us are very demanding people and we understand the stress of working in the service industry so we thanked them and sat down. After an hour of waiting I politely approached the woman at the front desk and asked if our room was ready. She coldly replied that the room was still being cleaned and we would have to wait. "It shouldn't be more than 30 min" we were once again told. I explained that we had informed the hotel on 2 ocassions that we were arriving at noon and that we had been told our room would be ready. Her response? "We never have allow guests to check in before 3pm, but your room should be ready soon. About 30 min actually."
I went and sat down with my boyfriend and told him what was said. We were both very upset. After another half hour of waiting, he went up to the front desk and asked to know what was going on. We had been waiting for 2 hours (or 4 sets of "Just 30 min") and the hotel was not busy at all. We had seen maybe 3 other people who were guests since we got there. They offered to take our bags and have them waiting in out room for us whenever it was ready. He got yet another estimate of 30 min. He asked to speak to a manager but was assured that this time we would get our room soon.
At this point we knew we were going to be waiting for a while so we went to the bar that was next to the lobby. We sat down and my boyfriend ordered a drink. I asked the bartender to make me something fruity, and that she did. Our bartender was absolutely amazing. Her name was Erin Black and she is the only reason I gave this hotel one star. She made excellent drinks, gave awesome food recommendations, great advice on where to go in town and was all around warm, kind and awesome. She was one of two people we met the entire stay we had there who knew what good customer service is and applied it while at work. The time started passing more quickly once we sat down with Erin and the next thing we knew, it was 5:00pm!!!
My boyfriend and I went up to the front desk again and demanded to speak to a supervisor. We had been waiting for our room for FIVE HOURS. After insisting and arguing with one of the front desk girls that she go get her manager, he magically appeared. He informed both of us that they were "incredibly busy" (they could not have been and that our room had been in the process of being cleaned (for 5 hours???). He told us that he would call housekeeping and have them clean our room right then (I thought it had been cleaned already???) and then we could go up to it. We finished our drinks and closed out our tab at the bar and waited another half hour for our room.
Just to recap: weeks before our vacation we called and told the Hilton we would arrive at 12:30 at the latest and they told us we wouldn't have any issues. One day before we arrived I called again to remind them we would be there at 12:30 at the latest and they again said we could have our room as soon as we got there. Then, on the day we got there we arrived at 12:05 and waited FIVE AND A HALF HOURS just to get our room.
When we finally got to our room we noticed something was missing. There was no Champagne to be found nor were there any flowers. My boyfriend called the front desk and they apologized and then basically hung up.
The rest of our stay was characterized by the same disorganization and rudeness. Every time we ordered room service we were treated like we were inconveniencing the Hilton staff. We would wait about an hour and then answer the door for someone who definitely hated their job. The portions of food were incredibly small. Even the night we ordered ice cream to our room it took over 30 min and it was less than one scoop.
During our stay in Pensacola, I somehow got an eye infection. I called my doctor and he asked where the closest pharmacy was to our hotel so he could send my prescription there. Not being from the area, I called the front desk and asked if they knew where the closest pharmacy was. They gave me the address and I had my prescription sent there. I also asked them if they could order a cab. They told me they had a great driver that could take us to the pharmacy and they would call our room when he arrived. He was there promptly and seemed really nice at first. He was incredibly chatty and we connected with him in that we were all from Ohio. As we continued down the road, our driver pointed out to us that the pharmacy we had chosen was about an hour away. To pass the time he started telling jokes. They were innocent at first and then 25 min into our drive he started with sexual jokes and then moved on to the racist ones. I'm not sure about anyone else, but as far as I'm concerned, I never want to hear the words "darkie" and "n*gg*r" from my cab driver. Not just because it's not something you should never say while you're at work but also because I'm black. I'm not sure he noticed that as my skin tone is relatively light and my hair was straight at the time, but either way it made both myself and my boyfriend incredibly uncomfortable. And don't forget, we still had about an hour and a half to go. By the time we got to the pharmacy we were so uncomfortable that we considered calling a different cab to take us back to the hotel. Ultimately, we decided that our game plan was going to be to just not respond to a word this guy said to us the entire way back. You would think he would have gotten the hint, but no luck. He talked the entire way back about everything from politics to religion. I have never been more thankful in my life to get out of a cab. When we got inside we told the person at the front desk about the last two hours. Their response? "Oh, really?" That's right Hilton. I asked you where the closest pharmacy was and you sent me to one that was an HOUR away from the hotel- with a racist cab driver whom you call one of your best. That cab ride by the way, $70!
The last slap in the face from Hilton came when we were checking out. They made sure to mention that they had taken the Romance Package off of our bill. Ya know, we were there for 4 days and we really would have liked to have had our Romace Package. We never asked them to not do it. We even called to mention that they hadn't. They asked how our stay was and we told them that we were both incredibly disappointed. They didn't ask if there was anything they could do for us and quite frankly they didn't even act as if they cared. They just responded with a "We hope to see you again" Why? So you can take our money and try to ruin another vacation of ours?
All in all our vacation was good - not because of the Hilton, but IN SPITE of it.
We plan on vacationing on Pensacola Beach again, but there's a hotel next door that looks pretty nice--Oh wait, they're owned by Hilton too. Never-mind.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- At our beachfront hotel in Pensacola Beach, Florida – recently named No. 5 of all U.S. beaches by TripAdvisor – we treat every guest to an extraordinary experience, from the minute you check-in to the moment you check out your private Gulf front balcony. All of our stylish and comfortable rooms come with a view, because there’s water in every direction – whether you’re looking at the Gulf of Mexico or the Santa Rosa Sound. Even our wide-open lobby feels aquatic – decorated in shades of blue, with glass chandeliers like floating bubbles and floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking our pool deck, which leads to the beach. Which leads to the beach … there is so much to do here, whatever you like to do. Relax. Dine. Swim. Shop. Explore. Pensacola Beach and the inland City of Pensacola are home to beautiful scenery, exciting arts and culture, interesting history, boundless outdoor adventure and culinary delights to please any palate. We’re located on one of the world’s whitest beaches, in the center of everything. When you stay with us, you’re within walking distance of the most popular local restaurants and attractions. We’re also the best place on the island to host your meeting, special event or beach wedding. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Hilton Pensacola Beach Gulf Front Hotel Pensacola Beach
- Pensacola Hilton
- Hilton Garden Inn Beach Pensacola