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“charming with a historic flare”
Review of Union Hotel

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Union Hotel
Ranked #3 of 5 Benicia B&B and Inns
Reviewed April 6, 2011

My husband and I stayed there for one night in April. In short: very charming, historic hotel, rooms are just the right size, very clean, extremely friendly staff, in a heart of historic Benicia with walking distance to boutique stores, cafees , various restaurants and the trail along shoreline (with picturesque marina).
At night the main street was quiet, but next time we would choose the room facing away from the main street. Excellent restaurant adjacent to the hotel (historic as well). A little gem in this
undiscovered town.

  • Stayed: April 2011, traveled as a couple
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Thank jola61
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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66 - 72 of 87 reviews

Reviewed November 28, 2010

I spent a romatic birthday weekend at the Union Hotel. I especially loved the water views and the great service. I will definitely return soon.

Stayed: October 2010, traveled as a couple
Thank pebbleholly
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 25, 2010

Selected this hotel based on their website info & pics- definitely not what was represented. Got there as a late check-in at 11 PM after driving 13 hours, needing to sleep before an incredibly busy next day. Instead, was greeted by a bar street party only one block away with blaring music that lasted until 2 AM (when I finally made a call to the police about it). No mention on the website or any warning that the bar does this regularly on weekends. Pics show just the hotel building itself with no info re how it is situated in the center of the bar/nightlife district of Benicia ('downtown' isn't descriptive enough for this level of noise).

As for the accomodations, the room was ice cold with no visible means of heat- turns out there was some kind of wall unit hidden by the draperies, but no mention of it in any of the info provided in the room & the drapes were down to help mute the noise unsuccessfully (they could have had it warming the room even slightly prior to my late arrival if they had cared). The phone had a problem dialing out on some numbers so couldn't call the 'emergency' number for the innkeeper, the jacuzzi tub was old, blanket on the bed had holes in it, couch fabric was dirty, floor carpet grungy looking instead of just 'antique', one of the posters on the 4-poster bed was leaning like the tower of pisa. It looked like it was still in the 19th century or that the pic on their website had been taken years ago. I've stayed in overseas no-star hotels that were nicer looking.

Next morning, no innkeeper at check-out to make a complaint to (just the Latino housekeeper) and found out that they had already charged the wrong credit card the day before against my specific instructions when I had made the booking. Had to spend time and gas trying to find an alternate hotel to stay at for the next night away from the area I was traveling to, so put me off my schedule by another 2 hours.

When I got back home, tried to finally speak to the innkeeper about getting a partial refund for all the problems, but she couldn't do it without talking to her 'boss', who proved to be a mystery owner/manager who refused to speak to me directly or give out any contact information or even her name! Ended up with a whopping 10% refund for all my troubles- nothing like still paying $120 just to stay up all night and freeze!

Don't book this hotel unless you plan on dancing in the street all night or want a REAL 19th century experience!

  • Stayed: October 2010, traveled on business
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3  Thank SD P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 14, 2010

First off, the pictures on the Union's website were misleading. My room seemed like an older/less appealing version of what i saw in the photos. While checking out, I asked for a receipt. Sounds simple enough.The woman at the front desk said, "I don't have time for this, I have to make breakfast". She walked away. I sat in the dining room and waited for her to ask me what i would like to eat( I had seen her ask several other guests). I waited a good amount of time, without being acknowledged, before heading to the Holiday Inn for my meeting( Where I enjoyed their lovely breakfast and good customer service). I will be traveling to Benicia quite often for business, but will not be staying at the Union Hotel.

  • Stayed: July 2010, traveled on business
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2  Thank N62
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 26, 2010

I would have to totally agree with the last post, this place could quite possibly be the worst hotel ever.

I traveled to Benecia on business and could not have been more displeased with my experience. I showed up at the hotel at around 5:30 pm and much to my surprise there were no hotel staff to greet me, only an envelope outside with instructions on how to enter the premises. Being a woman and traveling by myself, I felt very uncomfortable with this situation. I followed the instructions and went inside, only to find my room key sitting there for the taking. I proceeded to my room which was quaint and fairly nice, so I was thinking I might be able to forget the hotel's earlier transgressions. This being a short fused trip, I left home without my cell phone charger. I was just going to have my husband call the room directly, but again the hotel failed. They have simple instructions for direct dialing of the room, but when you follow their simple instructions the phone system is unable to connect you. Both my husband and I called the Inn keeper cell phone number to no avail, so we both decided to leave messages trying to get further instructions on how to use the direct dial system. After nearly 2 hours of waiting for the return call, which never came, my husband felt that it would be best if I sought out a new hotel. I took his advice and moved to the Holiday Inn Express, which is a beautiful property several blocks away from the Union Hotel.

Do not waste your time or effort with the HORRIBLE Union Hotel, just book the Holiday Inn first and you won't be disappointed.

  • Stayed: May 2010, traveled on business
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3  Thank CW1003
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 17, 2010

My girlfriend and I went here for our two year anniversary, and the Union Hotel's website advertised as having a jacuzzi tub, wireless internet service, heating and air conditioning, bottled water, and a daily continental breakfast. Nothing was up to par. The jacuzzi tub's drain didn't work, so we resorted to holding down a washcloth over it so it would hold the water in, but then after the tub was only about two thirds of the way full, the hot water ran out! We gave it a few minutes and then started to fill it again but by that point the water was lukewarm at best so we gave up.

I brought my laptop with me because I needed to get some work done (the same laptop I am writing this on, just hours after I left Union Hotel), but the wireless connection didn't work at all. It allowed the computer to connect to the network, but couldn't even pull up one website for more than a few seconds before displaying an error screen. I just got home and sure enough my laptop works just fine with no problems at all so I know it was an issue with the hotel and not my computer.

Frustrated with these issues, my girlfriend and I decided to go out for dinner and hoped everything would be better by the time we got back. When we got back, it was uncomfortably warm in our room so we decided to turn on the air conditioning. After trying every possible switch on the machine, we quickly realized it also did not work.

By that point we were both pretty fed up, and we knew we needed to notify somebody about all these problems. No employees were at the hotel front desk or lobby since our arrival, so we called the emergency after hours cell phone number displayed at the front desk.To our great surprise, no one answered that phone and even after I left a detailed message describing our many concerns I never received a call back from anyone or a visit from housekeeping to make sure we were alright.

In the morning, we still hoped to make it an enjoyable stay and wanted to make the most of a bad situation. Per the hotel pamphlet we picked up at the front desk, all we had to do to get the breakfast included in the stay was call the front desk to place our order between 8am-10am. This was at about 9:15 am on Saturday morning but when we called to order breakfast, no one answered that phone either!

We decided to just move on with our day and so just went downstairs to turn in our keys. There was still no one to be found at the front desk, and the continental breakfast was the same stale bread and orange juice left out from the night before (we knew because we went down there the night before to get the after hours emergency cell phone number and saw the old juice and bread just sitting out there).

Finally, after a few minutes of waiting, a lady came out from the back and apparently she had no idea we had called with our room issues and also were trying to order breakfast. We briefly told her about our experience so she proceeded to call her boss to let them know. After speaking with her boss, she said they could offer us another night for free, but by that point the last thing we wanted to do was to stay there any longer so we politely declined. She then said they could give us a 10% discount on our room, which I guess is better than nothing, but I told her that the only reason we had not already left the night before is because we couldn't speak to anyone and knew we would have a very slim chance of getting our money back even if we did leave. At that point, we figured we might as well at least try to enjoy the bed, especially because it was getting very late.

All in all, our overall experience was the worst I have ever had at a hotel. I planned this to be a relaxing romantic weekend with my girlfriend but it turned out to be a huge waste of money since practically none of the amenities advertised functioned properly. We could have easily spent $40 less at the Best Western with a working hot tub, high speed internet and a decent breakfast but instead took a chance at an old fashioned hotel in downtown. We have nothing against Benicia, in fact we loved everything else about our trip there, but I will definitely be spreading the word about the horrible experience we had at the Union Hotel in Benicia, and I would NEVER recommend this hotel to any of my friends or family. Heck, I wouldn't even recommend it to a stranger!

Disappointed from Northern California,

Charles & Erica

  • Stayed: April 2010, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank CharlesM26
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
unionhotel, manager at Union Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded April 23, 2010

Thank you for describing your experience in Lupine. We immediately called a repairman to check and adjust the drain and the AC unit. We also scheduled a technician to test the internet connections. Regarding phone calls, I instructed the inkeeper on call to let me know in advance if she is unable to receive calls so that they could be answered by another employee. Thank you again for your thorough review.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 18, 2010

The Union Hotel is an antique gem in the lovely, quiet town of Benetia by the Bay. The front office staff is friendly and helpful. The room was clean, comfortable, and charmingly decorated. The complimentary breakfast was delicious and prepared as ordered. The only slight negative was the rather noisy heating unit, but even it did not lessen our desire to return.

  • Stayed: March 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank make_time_to_live
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Union Hotel

Address: 401 1st St, PO Box 874, Benicia, CA 94510-3207
Location: United States > California > Benicia
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 5 B&Bs / Inns in Benicia
Price Range: $128 - $162 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Union Hotel 3*
Number of rooms: 12
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Union Hotel, a unique hotel in the San Francisco Bay area, is nestled on the edge of a calm bay in Benicia, California close to nearby scenic attractions of Northern California. The city of Benicia is home to a bustling marina, antique shops, art studios, restaurants, historic landmarks and shopping. Our Inn is in the Bay Area, located near the Carquinez Strait, which is part of San Francisco Bay. The comfortable décor of this Benicia, CA hotel is reminiscent of California's past and is highlighted with touches of European elegance. In the middle of the nineteenth century, this beautiful cream-colored hotel welcomed guests from all over the world with warm hospitality. The tradition continues today at the Union Hotel in lovely historic Benicia. Each luxuriously appointed guestroom features a private bathroom with Jacuzzi, distinctive amenities, private phone lines, and period interior. Some suites feature spectacular water views and spacious bathrooms with Whirlpool Jacuzzi tubs for two. Guests on business can enjoy wireless internet service, voicemail, private phone lines.A combination of beauty, history, and comfort has created a distinctive place to stay at The Union Hotel, a Northern California Inn. Whether you are visiting the San Francisco Bay Area for a romantic weekend getaway, honeymoon, anniversary, relaxing vacation, or business trip - we hope to see you at The Union Hotel. ... more   less 
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