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“nice concept, a little worn”

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The Clarendon Hotel and Spa
Ranked #14 of 174 Hotels in Phoenix
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed March 14, 2012

Overall, we thought the Clarendon has a great concept--an urban hotel with lots of amenities--but is maybe a little worn around the edges. We're rating it a 4 because we got such a great price with our Groupon. If we had paid more, we probably would have rated it a 3.

Pros:
- Nice location not far from many areas of Phoenix.
- Great pool and Jacuzzi. It was really nice to come back to the hotel after the day's excursions and relax in the Jacuzzi for a half hour or so before heading out for the evening.
- Spacious rooms. So much so, that we wish they'd made the rooms a little smaller and the bathroom a little bigger (see cons).
- Our room was remarkably light, despite just one small window.
- Very friendly, helpful staff.
- Lots of freebies, including bottled water and snacks. We really appreciated the bottled water, which was generously doled out.
- Good price. We had a Groupon and paid only $70 a night, including the $20 resort fee. Even without the Groupon however, the regular rate (which was around $150 per night when we made our reservations back in December) would have been great for Phoenix during March (when many hotels jack up their rates for spring training). I would be surprised to find a hotel in March with these amenities for less than $300 a night.
- Quiet. Some noise from foot traffic in the hallway and housekeeping in the morning, but overall it was very quiet. We specifically requested a quiet location and, thus, did not have a room overlooking the pool, but even if we had been overlooking the pool, I don't think noise would have been a problem. There weren't any raucaus pool parties while we were there.
- Free access to Golds Gym in downtown Phoenix (about a ten minute drive). Far superior to even the best hotel fitness centers.
- Free WiFi, although the WiFi was slow.
- Rooftop deck with bar on Fridays and Saturdays. They also offer Yoga up there once a week, although we weren't able to take advantage of it.
- The room was adequately clean.

Cons
- Our bathroom was miniscule--two people really couldn't stand at the sink at the same time. There was no counterspace whatsoever. Also, the tub had a plastic surround, making a small space even smaller. And the bathroom was definitely looking worn. I ended up showing at the Golds Gym one morning--the locker rooms there are significantly nicer.
- Bath towels were worn and they were kind of stingy with them. We had only one hand towel, two bath towels, and a couple of wash clothes. If you took a shower later in the day and wanted to take another shower the next morning, you would have to ask for fresh towels. I generally expect at least three, if not four, bath towels and at least two hand towels.
- Our bathroom was not well vented. There was a fan but it didn't seem to work. There also weren't many places to hang towels or other things (e.g., bathing suites) to dry, so nothing dried in there.
- The pool area furniture is also a little worn. I think it's time to replace the cushions.
- The fitness center in the hotel itself is just sad. The treadmill wasn't working when I was there. If you stay here and want to work out, you should plan on heading over to Golds Gym. Bring your own lock if you want to be able to store stuff in a locker while you work out.
- The staff didn't really seem to know where the Golds Gym was. I got just vague directions from them and then when I couldn't find it (and couldn't find a listing for it with information), the staff couldn't help me other than to look up the phone number for me. I would have expected the front desk to have a map to the gym that they could have given me, with the gym address and hours on it, and maybe some information on parking and that the entrance to the gym was around back on the second floor. Barring that, I would have at least expected them to know this information. Perhaps a staff field trip is in order. This is probably less of an issue, however, if you have a smart phone (I do not).
- Housekeeping starts early on the fourth floor and they are a little noisy (doors opening and closing, vacuums, carts moving up and down the hall, and chatter). It probably would have helped if the doors to the room were properly sealed (we could see a frame of light leaking the whole way around our door at night when the light was off). But if you want to sleep in, you might want to request a room on a lower floor.

Upon check-in, they offered to upgrade us to a room with a pool view and I'm glad we didn't bother. The windows in the pool view rooms are just as small and as the window in our room and it didn't seem like they'd be worth the extra cost. You'd have to actually be standing at the window to see the pool and, if you had your blinds open, everyone that walked by could see into your room.

Incidentally, we had no problem at all using our Groupon, but we purchased the Groupon six months before our trip and reserved our room four months in advance.

Room Tip: Rooms without a pool view are probably the quietest, but I don't think the pool view rooms would...
  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank Momrath
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ben B, Owner at The Clarendon Hotel and Spa, responded to this reviewResponded March 15, 2012

Thank you *so* much for your review! I'm glad that it was 4 stars, and I'd love to have the opportunity to address some of the things you mentioned in your review - things that we're already working on:

* Bathroom size - you had the largest room type, which oddly has the smallest bathrooms... I agree, they're small in the suites, but the really large rooms (almost 500 square feet) do make up for it. I've thought long and hard on how I could make these into really huge bathrooms, but structurally we're really limited in what we can do.
* Towels - we had towels backordered for a while - cotton prices in the height of the economy were about 600% more than they are today... now that the cotton prices have plummeted by 85% and the economy is returning, everyone is ordering linens so we faced a long wait. Thankfully all new linens arrived in the past week or so, and are making their way into rooms as we speak.
* Bathroom fan - we are replacing the fans, and in the meantime the louder ones were disconnected, this is in the works as well.

Thank you again for your nice review - it was very thoughtful and considerate, and I appreciate when people are constructive with comments and feedback, it makes the world a better place! ;-) We're also working on re-cladding the entire exterior of the building, which will have the hotel looking really incredible when finished...

Sincerely,
Ben Bethel
Owner/General Manager
The Clarendon Hotel

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1,108 - 1,114 of 1,353 reviews

Reviewed March 13, 2012

The beds are great, the pool is charming, the light rail makes the location good, the restaurant is first rate and the staff are friendly and helpful. Noise around the pool a bit annoying at times. Yoga on the roof deck a nice touch. The decor is fun. The roof deck is a bonus by the way. I recommend it - especially for the money!

  • Stayed: March 2012
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1  Thank onmyway403
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 12, 2012

The service at The Clarendon is top notch. I slept on one of the most comfortable beds ever. The bar has two great drinks that I tried: a white sangria and a spicy Bloody Mary. You can order drinks and some food at the bar and take it out to the pool. The restaurant is pretty good. The Heard Museum is nearby. Also, a breakfast place called the Good Egg is nearby, so is a Starbucks.

  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled solo
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1  Thank jojoluvscr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 9, 2012

LOGISTICS
The Clarendon is located in Central Phoenix which means it is not in "downtown" Phoenix, however everything you will likely want to get to is within reach of the close-by light rail or a 20.00 cab ride. You can use the light rail to get to and from Sky Harbor Airport as well as to and from downtown Phoenix, and downtown Scottsdale (bar district, ballpark, etc.) is about a 20.00 cab ride.

HOTEL/ROOMS
Do not let the outside of the hotel or reviews referring to "cinder block" room discourage you from staying here as it almost did for me. The rooms and the entire hotel is decorated with a minimalist/modern, but very hip flair. There is very cool art throughout the entire hotel as well. The rooms are clean, the beds are comfortable, the decor is nice, and the technology is up-to-date. My room had a nice flat screen TV, an Apple friendly radio alarm clock with docking/charging stand, free water bottles, and a view of the main attraction - the pool. Get a view of the pool it is worth the extra dollars - there is a cool waterfall feature that run the entire length of the wall, and there is generally a buzz about the pool area. There is a 100 person jacuzzi (really like a small pool) that is popular as well. Free strong WiFi signal is also available throughout the entire hotel premises.

My only complaint about my room (329) is that the window shade was missing the pull chain, so I couldn't open it to let the full light in.

THE SCENE / NIGHTLIFE
Not much happens in Central Phoenix - especially on week nights, but if it is happening it is probably at the Clarendon. The hotel has a small bar area that is located adjacent to a very popular restaurant also located near the hotel lobby area. The scene is a mixture of happy hour crowd - young and old, as well as patrons waiting for tables at the restaurant, and locals. I highly recommend Wednesday evenings to catch the weekly Mexican band / dancing display show, That isn't the right term for it, but it is a huge draw and the place was packed to see it. Fun to watch and listen to.

SERVICE
I found all of the staff from front desk to restaurant/bar to be excellent, but then again I generally try not to be a jerk when I am dealing service staff. I believe you reap what you sew, and some of the negative reviewers make me wonder.

Stay here - you wont regret it.

Room Tip: Get a room facing the pool.
  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled on business
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4  Thank reinsiedl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 9, 2012

I stayed at The Clarendon on the front end of a business trip. I loved this hotel! It is so much better than the standard cookie cutter hotels- (of which I had to move to one for my conference). I was dreading the move.

I booked through a third party site after reading the reviews. First of all the lobby is wonderful as is the front desk staff- My room was not ready so I grabbed a YUMMY lunch in the restaurant. After finishing, the room was still not done so I just read while I waited. Not a big deal! Since I had to wait, the offered my an upgrade which I gladly took!

I had a corner suite and it was awesome. Fridge, Kuerig, Sound Machine(which was so appreciated since I use one at home), desk area, and nice bed. There were SOME area that were not vacuumed in the corners and could have wiped down a bit more but overall, I was very satisfied.

The pool area is awesome. I wanted a few days to chill out, catch up on books, and relax in the sun. The pool chairs are so comfy, the environment is so "chill". Loved the music. In the afternoon, they would bring out bottled water and otter pops which was a fabulous treat and nice touch!

They did not leave me any new toiletries(philosophy products!!) so I called and they brought me some. I also noticed that my K-cups were not filled. Again, no biggie, I went down and picked out which ones I wanted. I also had leftovers from my fabulous lunch the day before and requested (on a whim) a microwave. Delivered. Since it was just me, I knew I would have more leftovers. It was great to have since I ordered pizza that evening. The food at the hotel is awesome by the way!

The only complaint I would have would be on the taxi service they use. I went shopping and the taxi charged me $6 more than the other one from the mall. I did see the driver upon departing the hotel give cash to the gentleman who order me the taxi. Bothersome. I just called another taxi service from the mall and used him the rest of the trip.

There were some internet problems in my area and when i was working poolside on my laptop for a signal(not a bad office), the owner came over and asked me about my internet and what room I was in and what issues there were. He informed me they were working on the problem. It was done that evening. Again not a big deal since there was a signal I could use by the pool.

The $20 fee was no big deal- I did not have a car for parking but you also get the bottled water in your room, internet(which per day at the hotel I moved to was-$13 for internet for 24 hrs and $6 bottle water). You also get the awesome k cups and snacks in the evening. The other hotel had the awful cheap coffee makers with 1 powder creamer packet. The rooms there were $225 per night for JUST A ROOM.

If you want a 5 star hotel with the same great price as The Clarendon with all the same great amenities, let me now where you find that. Some people go into a hotel on a 3 star budget with 5 star expectations. This place is great for the price and for what you get! A hotel with personality and pizazz!

Read all the positive reviews because they are spot on. There was a photo shoot going on while I was there. The hotel is very cool and I find it an honor to have been staying where people want to have a photo shoot. If you don't like what you see- don't look.

I would stay here again and hope to in the future with my husband and daughter. If you want to get around in town-rent a car. Not a LOT to do around the hotel. Again, I wanted a place to land and relax. It was exactly what I wanted.

  • Stayed: January 2012, traveled solo
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2  Thank jencot
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 8, 2012

I live in Phoenix and stayed at the Clarendon for a one-night downtown getaway with my girlfriend. Based on our experience, I'd recommend stopping by for a drink and a taco, and to look around and enjoy the cool, funky ambience and then leave. In fact, I'm convinced that the management and staff there don't want you to stay anyway.

First and foremost, don't buy a Groupon for this place, ever. I followed the instructions to book online and the website didn't accept the code and didn't have the capability of showing me what dates were available. When I called reservations (3 different times) the desk person (yes, you really are a desk person at a hotel) was not able to tell me any dates I could book with the Groupon because they "don't have access to that system". At the Clarendon, apparently you can't make a reservation by calling reservations. After going around and around with this and never getting a straight answer, it's apparent to me that Groupon's are accepted or declined on the whim of the manager on any given day. When I was finally granted the privilege of using it, they still said no Groupon rooms were available but they could convert it to a gift card and I could apply it toward the room that way. I'm not making that up; that really happened. By the way, this was a Wednesday night and walking back to our room late that night we saw many rooms with the window-shades open that we're obviously empty. On, check-out, I was under-credited for the groupon, no, excuse me, the gift card by $80 and I had to ask the desk person (yes, you really are a desk person at a hotel) to adjust it correctly. Don't buy or try a Groupon here.

On a positive note, the decorators have done a nice job making the most out of this old hotel. It's visually appealing; with just the right amounts of retro vibe and modern urban funk. The room was crisp, clean, and quiet, and the bed was very comfortable. Free Wi-Fi with no passwords or hassles at a hotel, imagine that! The restaurant, lounge, pool, and rooftop deck are all unique above-average features.

Now for more bad stuff: The air-conditioner units are way over-complicated. I'm guessing most people don't want to set timers and programs on a remote in their hotel to get air, especially in Phoenix. There's something to be said for a simple thermostat. Forget convenience here. You have to go to the desk and talk to a snotty desk person (yes, you really are a desk person at a hotel) to get anything; ice, pool towels, snacks, you name it. Except coffee, and when the in-room coffee maker didn't work in the morning we weren't a bit surprised and had a good laugh and didn't even consider calling about it.

So, for us the Clarendon didn't get the basics right and that's why I can't recommend staying here. Customer service, air, things like that. The staff are very busy being cool and have attitudes that far exceed the reality of their surroundings. In a sense they're getting their wish... if you treat your guest like a nuisance, eventually they'll go away.

  • Stayed: February 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank Jeff D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ben B, Owner at The Clarendon Hotel and Spa, responded to this reviewResponded March 12, 2012

Thank you for your review, I appreciate all reviews, especially less-than-stellar ones. We use these reviews to quickly implement changes in service for areas that we fall short.

Regarding groupon - we're shying away from groupon as many people didn't read the restrictions and directions for booking. Just as with an airfare sale on Southwest Airlines, lower rates are only good for a certain room type, for a certain number of rooms every day. We only have 105 rooms, and 6 different room types, so the groupon rooms sometimes sellout ahead of time. I'm sorry that you had a bad experience with groupon, and while that is now reflecting on us, it just makes me want to never offer a groupon again due to the issues that arise.

Thank you for the comments on the decor, the cleanliness, the beds, wi-fi, restaurant, rooftop, pool, etc., etc. I'm really glad you enjoyed those things. We're working on re-cladding the building in gorgeous copper and all-new windows as soon as this summer.... soon the exterior of the building will start to be one of the coolest buildings in Phoenix.

For the air conditioner, yes there are a lot of options on the system's remote control... but the important ones are: set the unit to "auto", set the fan to "auto", and set the temperature. That's really it... if you want to dive deep into the system, you can have the air blow on you, away from you, turn the fan on "super quiet" mode, and even turn on a plasma air filter with an ionizer. We'll have to put some instructions on the back of the remote to clarify this - the instructions are already on the sheet that's given to you at check-in. We're probably the only hotel in Arizona with this advanced of a system, this clean of a system, and we don't throttle the temperatures. If you want 64 degrees, you're going to get 64 degrees... at other hotels you could lower the temperature to 68 degrees but that's just a trick as most of the systems will read 68 when they'll only lower the temperature to 76.

I'm not sure why the front desk person was snotty over the snacks, I'll address that immediately - there's no reason to be rude over giving away snacks. Please let us know what room you were in so that we can fix the coffee maker - we use Keurig machines, have backup units at the ready in case one isn't working, but I haven't heard of a broken unit in about a year or so. They're much better than a standard hotel coffee maker - trust me, I've been through a lot of hotels, and I'd never drink coffee from a hotel with a traditional coffeepot and glass mugs - those usually get cleaned with a toilet brush!

Again, thank you for your review... I am meeting with staff immediately to get these issues addressed and will take care of these things right away.

Sincerely,
Ben Bethel
Owner/GM

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Reviewed February 26, 2012

We have stayed at the Clarendon several times when visiting our daughter in Phoenix. The staff is very friendly and efficient. The rooms are nice and the beds are comfortable. We enjoy the pool and the roof deck is very pleasant (although I miss the comfortable seating that has been replaced with wooden benches). The location is perfect for us.

  • Stayed: February 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
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Thank BNeel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ben B, Owner at The Clarendon Hotel and Spa, responded to this reviewResponded February 27, 2012

Thank you very much for the review! Regarding the new redwood deck and benches upstairs, we are planning on getting some cushions for the redwood... it keeps slipping my mind, but I'm putting it on my list now so that you will have them ready for your next visit!

Thanks!
Ben

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Additional Information about The Clarendon Hotel and Spa

Address: 401 W Clarendon Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85013-3411
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Arizona > Central Arizona > Phoenix
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#4 Spa Hotel in Phoenix
#6 Luxury Hotel in Phoenix
#14 Romantic Hotel in Phoenix
#26 Family Hotel in Phoenix
#46 Business Hotel in Phoenix
Price Range: $119 - $310 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — The Clarendon Hotel and Spa 4*
Number of rooms: 105
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Clarendon Hotel and Spa is located in the heart of Phoenix, close to the convention center, museums, parks, shopping, theaters, sports venues and concert halls. Walking distance to two Metro rail stations - $4 for a 24 hour pass, the system runs 24 hours (except 1am to 4am Monday through Thursday) and provides direct access to the Phoenix Sky Harbor airport SkyTrain. Full service spa on site. El Techo, our gorgeous rooftop SkyDeck overlooking the city skyline and surrounding mountain ranges, and the Oasis pool area with heated pool and jacuzzi and the world's largest outdoor water wall. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Clarendon Hotel Phoenix

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