I am a frequent business traveler, having spent >200 nights a year on the road for over 10 years, with experience in a dozen major global chains. 3- and 4-star properties are the norm for my travels.
I have stayed at this property about 20 nights on 5 separate occasions for the past 6 months. All I can say is, don't stay here. And definitely avoid using the facility for meetings.
Your best alternative: Stay at the Crowne Plaza City Center in Tel Aviv, and commute via train (1h 5 min from the station at the Crowne Plaza to Beer Sheva's central station 3 blocks from this hotel - NIS30 each way). Pay about the same, and get a real 4-star experience in Tel Aviv instead of this headache hotel. There are other options on the train line in Tel Aviv, including the Leonardo City Tower, that are also good choices.
The hotel overall has little in it's favor.
When you walk in, you notice the dated-but-definitely-4-star decor, and the lobby area looks relatively clean. However, dig deeper and the lack of maintenance, noise and cleanliness are showstoppers. Most business traveler amenities are there, but of lower-than-expected quality, ridiculously high price, and/or require inconvenience to use. (Laundry? Irons? Internet? Telephone? Business lounge? Warm shower in the morning? They're present in theory; not always in practice, and none are at expected service/price levels.)
The inattentive service is obvious from the start, as the desk clerks serve you when they're ready to -- and lines often accumulate at the front desk as this is a frequent stop for tour buses. Check-in/out takes too long, and their processes don't handle tours well. Service is similar in the restaurant for breakfast -- I often see the restaurant manager prodding the staff to respond faster, but the staff don't seem to "get it".
On 4 stays, the rooms were reasonably cleaned. The tiles in the bathroom need a serious scrubbing to address grout stains (mildew?) in every room, but otherwise the rooms are OK. Expect mattresses on the hard side, similar to 3-star European chain hotels. The cleanliness issues I describe below generally do not apply to the guestrooms.
On one stay, the corner room I was assigned was a dilapidated trap that needed to be gutted. If you feel uncomfortable, ask them to switch.
Whatever you do, don't go digging into corners of the public areas. You don't want to know what you'll find. Trash and piles of dirty dishes are hidden everywhere -- in service areas, stairwells, and ironing rooms (at least that's what they call them -- one hasn't had an iron in it for more than 5 weeks). Stairwells are grungy with a layer of dirt.
But the worst are the public bathrooms on the meeting room/restaurant level. They aren't cleaned nearly often enough, nor well enough, and of the 8 times I've used them on several different stays, they smelled like open pit outhouses about half the time. The bathroom walls are not part of the regular cleaning routine, and the brown smudges and drips linger there for your enjoyment. The entire rest of the facility -- restaurant, hallways, meeting rooms, business lounge and even that "clean" lobby -- has the light grunginess of a staff that tries to clean, but doesn't know how.
Roughly every other night, the hotel hosts a wedding, bar mitzvah, night club, or other major event. When these are hosted around the pool, the back side of the hotel is noisy as if the band were in your room -- even on the top (12th) floor. Always ask for a room on an upper floor on the front side (since lower floors get street noise).
The property originally opened as a Hilton, but it switched to the Leonardo brand many years ago. My hypothesis (and it is only a hypothesis) is that they fired all the maintenance staff then, and never looked back. Doors with missing security devices, door jambs obviously repaired, noisy A/Cs and dorm-size fridges, dripping toilets, and intermittent water have all served to keep me awake at night. Wear-and-tear is evident everywhere, with dings in walls, threads coming out of carpets, bent ceiling tiles, scratched surfaces, and worn-out doors and jambs. In a meeting room today, I even pulled an electrical box out of the wall trying to remove my laptop power.
I take much less issue with what I see in the guest rooms, if you just need a bed to sleep. (But I don't even want to think about what a swab test would turn up...)
In summary, the best alternative in town is sleeping on a park bench at night. At least that makes an overpriced stay at the Leonardo Negev an equally compelling, although not superior, option.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- If you are in the Beersheba area on business, then Leonardo Negev is the perfect way for you to combine business and pleasure in the capital of the Negev. Leonardo Negev is the only hotel located in the heart of Beersheba, and offers all that you need to turn a business trip into a true pleasure. The hotel’s prime location near Ben Gurion University, the government complex, and the mall, and only a short drive from the Omer industrial park, makes staying at LeonardoNegev a relaxing and amiable experience. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Beersheba Golden Tulip
- Golden Tulip Beersheba