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“Sub-Par”

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Sheraton Birmingham
Ranked #33 of 79 Hotels in Birmingham
GreenLeadersSilver level
Atlanta, Georgia
Level Contributor
20 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Sub-Par”
Reviewed April 21, 2013

Let me start by saying we got a room at a good rate as part of a group booking ($129/night). Although I read the poor reviews, I opted to stay here because it’s connected to the Convention Center, which is where our volleyball tournament was.

Thanks to the other reviewers, I at least knew enough not to pay $20/day for valet parking. Instead, I was able to park at one of the metered spots (free on weekends) beneath the underpass, across the street from the hotel. If, however, you’re here during the week, just use the parking deck (which is apparently $12 day “with in/out privileges” or $8 without). When we entered the unimpressive and crowded lobby, we encountered a line about 10 parties deep. However, the check-in desks were well-staffed and the line moved quickly. Again, based on previous reviews, I had requested a room in the newer section (i.e., Atrium), but was told by the check-in clerk that I did have one of the newer rooms, though it was in the tower.

When I saw how small and dated the room was, I called Guest Services to try and secure a room in the atrium but was told the hotel was sold out and that even if there was a room available it would be more expensive, which made no sense to me (I mean a double is a double…there is no distinction on the website between rooms in the tower or the atrium. Perhaps that meant that since we had a group rate, they booked us all into the undesirable tower and would charge more for a decent room. (I tried again the next day to no avail.) I also called about getting a mini-fridg in the room. “No problem”, I was told, “but it’s $25 day”. Come on, $25 a day for a mini-fridg? Instead I filled the garbage can with ice (since the ice bucket is miniature-sized) to keep a few things cool.

Okay so the room was small, bland and frankly, it didn’t feel very clean. Maybe it was because the beds (though made) looked lumpy, the lampshades were askew, the carpets stained in places, hairs were left in the sink… or all of the above. I will say the beds were fairly comfortable. (There I found something else that was good.)

There is no free wifi in the rooms. Maybe it’s me, but I would rather pay a higher rate and have everything included than a lower rate where I feel like I’m being nickled and dimed for every single thing.

Also the bathroom in our tower room was very small. I had to laugh when I read the manager’s comment in response to another reviewer’s complaint about the size of the bathrooms. The manager countered that bathrooms in Europe are equally small. Of course they are, but guess what? We’re not in Europe. If you’re offering me a view of the Eiffel Tower, a small bathroom might seem like a good trade-off. If I’m overlooking highway in downtown Birmingham, not so much. Secondly, the toilet made the weirdest moaning noise after being flushed. It also continued to run at times until you jiggled the handle. Finally, the shower was “lukewarm” at best when turned all the way to the hot position.

There is not much of anything around the hotel (besides the convention center and the Westin). So on Friday night, we took a $16 taxi ride to dine at Gian Marcos, which was very good Italian restaurant set in a residential neighborhood in Homewood. On Saturday I called Guest Services to get a recommendation for a place we could “walk to” for lunch. They told me there really wasn’t much but could recommend the Pub at the Westin (found this very odd since Sheraton has its own restaurant, but since they are both part of SPG, I guess it’s all in the family). By the way, skip the pub at the Westin. It was overpriced and underwhelming.

There is a very nice outdoor shopping area not too far from the hotel (about a 12 min drive) called The Summit. The Summit also has several restaurants (chains but decent food). This is where we should have gone for lunch and instead had dinner that evening.
When we came back to the room Saturday evening, it appeared the maid may have been there, thought I wasn’t sure at first because only 1 of our 2 beds was made. My daughter had her own blanket and pillow on lying on her bed, but I don’t know how this was any excuse for not making it. Also, one of trash cans hadn’t been emptied clean.

To add insult to injury, the hotel assigned rooms on our floor to a bunch of high school prom-goers. (What age do you have to be to rent a room anyway?) I should have known something was up when I saw a big “Quiet Zone” poster as I stepped off the elevator. I mean really… did you think a sign was going to deter teenagers from congregating in the halls and letting their doors slam about a hundred times from 2:30 – 4 a.m.?

I will say the Concierge desk was helpful the few times we requested assistance over the weekend. They pestered the cab company Friday night for the taxi which was running late. On Saturday, they provided a sheet with a number of shopping areas (though didn’t seem to be knowledgeable about any of them). And on Sunday, the woman at the Concierge desk went above and beyond the call of duty to help us retrieve a lost item from Lost and Found (she personally walked us to the lost and found location).

Breakfast options in the Tower included a small counter in the lobby with Starbucks coffee, tea, cereal, fruit, and a few other options. Or you could walk over to the Atrium where there was a buffet in the hotel restaurant or some “grab and go” choices directly across from the restaurant (including a chicken biscuit which rated far inferior to Chick Fil A according to my daughter). I also walked into the gift shop early one morning (I was the only customer at the time) and tried to make the eye contact with the gift shop employee. She never even picked her head up to greet me.

In summary, I found The Sheraton completely lacked any charm. (If I had a room in the Atrium, my experience may have been somewhat different, since a friend told me the rooms were larger and nicer). But from the moment of our arrival, I just felt like I was part of a herd.
If you’re attending anything at the Convention Center, it is definitely convenient. But even then, I would think the Westin is a much better choice and has the same connection (actually all 3 are connected to each other). I wouldn’t stay here again even with the benefit of the connection. Overall, it was sub-par and disappointing…not what I would have expected, especially being an SPG member.

Room Tip: Don't take a room in the Tower.
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
Thank travelbugs53
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mark N, General Manager at Sheraton Birmingham, responded to this review, April 29, 2013
Dear Travelbugs53,

Thank You for taking the time to provide us with the feedback about your stay with us. I want to apologize for the inconveniences you went through at our hotel. I'm sorry that your experience left a negative impression. Rest assured that your comments have been passed onto the Hotel Management Staff to prevent similar occurrences from happening in the future.

Warmest Regards
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (192)
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English first
Level Contributor
40 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed April 21, 2013

This Sheraton is VERY dated. The carpets stained, the ceiling tiles in bathroom stained. No outlets for charging phones and electronics. They only have 3 elevators for such a large hotel...unbelievable. The valet charged us twice $20 for all access ($40). Valet did credit it after we made the request. It took valet a LONG time to get the car. If you use valet parking I would suggest that you call first or you will be waiting at least 20 minutes. They only had one front desk clerk with many large groups checking in. The only plus I can give this hotel is the location. We were there for a function at the convention center and it was very convenient to walk across the breeze way. I will have to think long and hard about staying here again.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank 0268johnson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mark N, General Manager at Sheraton Birmingham, responded to this review, April 29, 2013
Dear 0268johnson,

Thank you for reviewing our hotel. I apologize that your stay was less than perfect. At Sheraton Birmingham Hotel, we strive for friendly and attentive service and we are sorry that you did not receive this. Although there were obstacles, I hope you will return and give us another opportunity make your stay positive and memorable.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Columbus, Ohio, United States
Level Contributor
28 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed April 21, 2013

Pretty average hotel but there are no restaurant's nearby, despite the downtown location in the Convention center area. The food served at the reception was not up to any Sheraton standards. Coffee and tea were out during meeting breaks and no one was bothered about refilling.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank NeeG1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mark N, General Manager at Sheraton Birmingham, responded to this review, April 29, 2013
Dear NeeG1,

Thank you for taking the time to review our hotel. It is regrettable that your stay with us did not meet the expectations that previous Sheraton Hotels have provided for you. One of the major purposes of online reviews is to highlight areas for improvement and your feedback provides our hotel with valuable information that we can review to improve on for the future.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Laurel, Maryland
1 review
Reviewed April 20, 2013

I would recommend this hotel to anyone, the serivce was exceptional. One of the front in supervisor was very helpful,when it came to anything we needed to know about the hotel are discouts for crew he was right on it. Thanks alot Ahmad Sukar for a very pleasant stay.

Room Tip: If you're in the downtown area i recommend this hotel.
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank ron b
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mark N, General Manager at Sheraton Birmingham, responded to this review, April 29, 2013
Dear ron b,

Thank you so much for your positive comments. More importantly, thank you for taking time to personally recognize Ahmad Sukar. We appreciate everything and look forward to your return.

Regards
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
knoxville, tn
Level Contributor
44 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
Reviewed April 17, 2013 via mobile

I stayed two nights recently at this beautiful hotel. However, I experienced a first in all my years of travel. I had to leave early each morning. Each morning there was no COLD water in the shower. I have had showers with no hot water. This one, though, was so hot I couldnt even stand in it. I turned the knob all the way both ways and no change. I had it almost shut off, but still no cold water!!!

  • Stayed April 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank gstutn91
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mark N, General Manager at Sheraton Birmingham, responded to this review, April 29, 2013
Dear gstutn91,

I would like to apologize for the inconvenience that you experienced. The level of service you experienced is absolutely not what we strive for at Sheraton Birmingham Hotel. The information you have provided will be communicated to the Leadership Team to help with improvements.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Atlanta, Georgia
Level Contributor
74 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
Reviewed April 15, 2013

If you are doing business in downtown Birmingham, this is a good location -- close to everything. The hotel room was nice and comfortable -- pretty much what you would expect in a Sheraton anywhere. If you like Sheratons, you will likely like this one.

The service was a bit spotty. The days I was there the Club Lounge for Starwood elite members was closed. In my bathroom, the tub lacked a stopper -- I had to call twice to get one brought up -- and then wait while it was installed. When I went to print out a boarding pass at the Business Center, the printer hooked up to the computer didn't work. I tried three computers before being told there was some kind of new wifi and none of the printing worked. The clerk let me borrow a computer used for checking in guests -- and it loaded slowly, kind of like the computers you think of about a decade ago. So all in all, there seemed to be lots of litle things that didn't have the kind of ''fit and finish'' you would expect at a top-flight hotel.

The pricing also seemed a bit high. Valet parking was $20 -- the room rate was $129 plus taxes, so that seemed pretty high. I got breakfast one morning and it cost $20 for cereal, toast and coffee (including tax and tip.) You normally could get a full buffett for $20 at most Sheratons in cities the size of Birmingham (maybe even in Atlanta or New York.) I should note while they had a buffett cookware set up, there was no buffett the day I was there (not sure what it is normally priced.) It seems like the strategy is to offer reasonable/low prices on hotel rooms, and make it up by overpricing incidentals.

None of this was overly bad, and if you are an SPG member by all means try it (or the nearby Westin, which could be better, haven't tried yet.) But all in all, it makes me want to try another hotel next time I am in Birmingham.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Steve M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mark N, General Manager at Sheraton Birmingham, responded to this review, April 17, 2013
Dear Steve M,

Thank you for posting your feedback from your recent visit with us. I am sorry to hear of your disappointment with our service during you recent stay, especially with the delayed response from our Maintenance personnel. Please be assured that I have personally brought this information to the attention of management to ensure that other guests do not experience a similar lack of service.

I hope we have the opportunity to welcome you back soon to experience the service you deserve.

Regards
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Southest US
Level Contributor
19 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed April 15, 2013

I had more "issues" at this hotel than any other place I have every stayed. EVER.

I called in advance to see if I could get a refrigerator for my room. It takes 48 hours for someone to return your call, if they even return it. Never heard from them. Glad I packed my cooler.

My non-smoking floor room smelled like smoke. The hotel was full (of teenagers). I was hesitant to ask to be switched because I was on a quieter, preferred floor. They said they would send a maid up with some air freshener. Never saw anyone!

The bell hops NEVER gave us tags/tickets for our luggage and the hotel was packed. Valet service kept asking for a ticket. Very annoying.

I got to take a cold shower one morning. I really don't like cold showers! Especially on a business-oriented trip.

The rooms are ok, but in the bathroom there was "gunk" caked on the wallpaper and a dusty old fan that didn't work so it got nice and humid in there. I couldn't even stand to take my shoes off to relax.

The only pros I can think of are that this hotel is connected by a breezeway to the parking deck and conference center, so the location is easy for that. They seemed to be at capacity and clearly could not handle that amount of guests in their hotel. I did not eat or buy beverages inside the lobby, but the lines for coffee/restaurants/snacks were really really long. I only stayed here for location, and will go with my regular, dependable hotel group next time!

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank frugalbutfab
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mark N, General Manager at Sheraton Birmingham, responded to this review, April 17, 2013
Dear frugalbutfab,

Thank you for taking time to provide us with feedback on your stay with us. I am sorry you were disappointed with your experience. I would like to apologize for no follow-up on your requests. We pride ourselves on our guest service and value feedback from our customers. We are sorry to see that you were disappointed with your stay and will use the information you’ve provided to prevent similar situations from occurring during busy times.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Sheraton Birmingham

Property: Sheraton Birmingham
Address: 2101 Richard Arrington Jr Blvd N, Birmingham, AL 35203-1101
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Alabama > Birmingham
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#2 Green Hotel in Birmingham
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Sheraton Birmingham 3.5*
Number of rooms: 757
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Sheraton Birmingham Hotel has 123,000 sq ft of updated event space and is connected by skywalk to Birmingham/Jefferson Convention Complex. We're home to Birmingham's largest ballroom (25,000 sq ft). ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Sheraton Birmingham Hotel Birmingham
Birmingham Sheraton

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