Stayed one night at the Ritz-Carlton Denver as a friend was coming into town on a short visit and we thought we would try out this new property. I live locally, and rarely does one have an opportunity to stay at hotel so close to home – so I welcomed my friend’s visit as an excuse for a stay.
I’ll try to review the hotel with an eye to the property itself (which is quite lovely), as well as to my own experience there – which had some unfortunate snafus along the way, ranging from small mistakes to a rather embarrassing situation.
First the hotel: This is an urban property that I suspect caters largely to a business crowd in town during the workweek. It’s ideally located close to Denver’s financial and judicial centers; as such, it’s squarely a hotel – not a resort – but they have done a great job with the physical space and given it a hip décor that really works.
I got a great weekend price for the room, as I think that a lot of hotels are struggling right now to keep up their occupancy rates. I booked through American Express’ Fine Hotel & Resorts program for Platinum cardholders (upgrade, b-fast, late checkout and an $85 food and beverage credit) – making the room rate even more competitive. Upon check-in I received an upgrade from a standard room to a one-bedroom suite on the 11th floor (room 1119).
The room itself was awesome – and I honestly think I haven’t seen as nice a room save for one or two hotels I have stayed at around the globe. The room had a large living room/sitting area, plus a separate bedroom and walk-in closet. Two large, flatscreen TVs (one for the living room and another for the bedroom) and a Bose stereo system were part of the mix. The decoration was stylish without being over-the-top or too trendy and the bathroom was incredibly inviting: Large, marble, and complete with Bulgari toiletries. I think I counted about 15 towels in the bathroom, which had a separate deep soaking tub and a walk-in marble shower with a rainfall showerhead. Absolutely no complaints about the room – it truly was great.
The spa facilities of this hotel are also terrific; the spa is small, but decidedly hi-end and full-service. We arranged for a couple of treatments and were impressed with the place. The men’s locker room facilities have showers, an excellent steam room and a hot tub, along with a nice relaxation space to wait in until your treatment commences. Prices were reasonable for a RC, and the personnel were friendly without being overbearing. I had a body scrub/Vichy shower treatment (was surprised that a spa this small had a water treatment room), and my companion had what she described as one of the best massage-and-wrap treatments she has ever received. A treatment gains you all day access to the facilities, so we took advantage of this policy and went back later in the day to have a steam and shower.
LOL – so with all this positive feedback, why a less-than-perfect rating? This is the second part of my commentary, and readers ought to take it with a grain of salt that this was just one night’s stay – and I suspect that the errors were flukes rather than the hotel’s standard.
I arrived a couple of hours earlier than my companion and killed some time checking out the hotel information booklet in the room, from which I discovered that guests staying on the 11th and 12th floors had access to the Club Level lounge. I knew that I hadn’t booked a club access room specifically, but thought that with my upgrade to a suite on the 11th floor that this may have been included. I tested out my room key in both the key-restricted elevator and the passageway from my floor that granted access to the hotel’s club – and it worked … so I proceeded to enter and enjoy the club’s snacks and complimentary alcoholic beverages.
The club’s host introduced herself and asked for my name so that she would know how to address me, and I was pleased with the atmosphere and the amenities. When it came time to meet my companion and come back to the hotel, and after getting her luggage situated and unpacked in the room, we returned to the club for some drinks. About 30 minutes later, the club host approached me where we were sitting and said that my access had been a mistake (she admitted the mistake being the hotel’s, not mine), and that if I wanted to continue to use the club it would be an additional $100 charge. Though she was very nice about it – bottom line it felt as though I was publicly being being kicked out, and to add insult to injury she exchanged our room keys for new ones (presumably non-club access).
I found the experience rather humiliating – and feel that the better way to have approached the situation would have been for the hotel staff to (privately) pull me aside and say something along the lines of, “We apologize - there’s been a mistake regarding your access, but it’s our mistake and we invite you to continue to use the Club Level with our compliments.” The quoting of a fee + the exchange of keys just made me feel as though I had done something willfully wrong or that I was trying to cheat the hotel. As I said, I knew that I hadn’t reserved a club room as part of my booking (and told the host that) – but the hotel’s literature, upgrade policies and key access procedures (as well as how they handle this type of error) should be reassessed if this is likely to happen to someone else. I’m a semi-frequent guest at RC properties, and felt that the lost revenue for the hotel (for a mistake on their part) should have been outweighed by the risk of potentially off-putting a guest who may rethink their relationship with the brand for future stays.
Another hiccup was room service the following morning. Our spa appointments were for 9a – and breakfast in the restaurant and for in-room dining ended at 10a. Because of this, we called room service at 8a and asked if we could place an order for delivery to our room at 10a after our spa treatments were finished. They answered in the affirmative, so we placed our order and came back to the room after our treatments. By 10:45a the food had not yet arrived and so we called room-service to see where it was; we received an apology and told that the food was already on its way. Another half hour went by and we called again to check on status; this time they told us that our order had been confused with another room and that they were just now making it. The food finally arrived at 11:30 (1.5 hours after its intended delivery time) – and the order was incorrect. Another call got the correct order to the room within 20 minutes – but at this point it was nearly lunchtime and we spent almost two hours waiting in the room for our food. The room service delivery man was nice and apologetic and told us that the entire order was being taken off of our hotel bill (he didn’t know that we received free breakfast anyway) – but it was a frustrating experience for a 5-star hotel.
The final mistake was that even though my booking included a guaranteed 4p checkout (something that I specifically addressed during check-in because we were going to stay late and I needed to take my friend directly from the hotel to the airport for an early evening flight), our keys stopped working at noon (standard checkout time). I had to have the floor security person let me back in the room, after a maid I tracked down had told me that I would need to exchange our keys for new ones at the front desk.
So, all-in-all, a mixed bag. The hotel and the staff are really quite pleasant and I think that what I experienced was an anomaly given all of the good reviews of this property. I do have another reservation for this hotel in June that I’m going to keep – and hopefully the second time around will be a charm.
Safe travels to all!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Surround yourself with majestic Rocky Mountains and down-to-earth cosmopolitan delights. The Ritz-Carlton, Denver is the city's first and only AAA Five-Diamond hotel, bringing luxury to a new altitude. Whether you need to spend the day close to downtown's Financial and Business District or you want to take in the offerings of LoDo or Larimer Square, you are always just steps away from the very best that Denver has to offer. The Ritz-Carlton, Denver features 202 spacious guest rooms including 47 suites, 32 Club Level rooms and one Ritz-Carlton Suite. With the largest, newly renovated, guest rooms in the city, our Denver hotel provides sweeping views and luxury to match. The Ritz-Carlton Spa is an award-winning facility with a salon and is open to the public; the Spa is the perfect for a relaxing escape in the heart of the city. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- The Ritz-Carlton, Denver Hotel Denver
- Denver Ritz Carlton
- Ritz Denver
- Ritz-Carlton Denver