I was on a last minute business trip from West Florida to the Winter Park area but could not locate a hotel, so drove back down I-4 and was relieved to find the Ramada Grand Hotel. After climbing the stairs at the front entrance, I was immediately impressed by the huge lobby and downstairs dining area. Check-in seemed to take ages but the girl was very pleasant (sorry, I did not get her name). I was surprised to be told that there was a $5 'resort fee' which I had no intention of utilizing.
When she gave me my room key for # 219, she told me it was towards the rear and to take my car round there, where I would have less to walk. I could not find # 219 and after walking along a corridor, I met an employee and we ended up back at the front desk. He asked a young manager where # 219 was, as the receptionist was busy with another guest and he directed me in the opposite direction, right across the beautifully tiled lobby to a corridor which was screened off from view. BTW, the receptionist overheard the manager and said she thought my room was at the rear. Not a big deal but it seemed rather strange.
As I turned into the corridor, it became rather obvious why it was not visible from the lobby - it was rather dingy looking and the carpet was badly stained in many places. I found my room and just dumped my stuff and headed out to look for a buffet restaurant.
When I returned, I started to notice that the room was not in the best of condition. Every metal fitting, including the bedside wall lamps were all rusty (only one of those was working). The carpet obviously had not been vacuumed. The tiled shower wall was filthy with black and pink mold and was so revolting that I decided not to take a shower in the morning. The tub stopper was of the type which normally would be lifted to allow water to drain and pushed down to seal. This one was loose as there was nothing for it to be fixed to and was just lying in the tub. Loose paint was flaking on the bathroom ceiling, possibly because the extractor fan did not work. I took plenty of pictures of these conditions and hopefully will be able to post them after I complete my written review.
One rather trivial thing I noticed in the bathroom was that although soap, shampoo and conditioner had been supplied, they were all of different unheard-of brands, made in China and none of them mentioned Ramada. It looked like they had either used some free samples or had bought them at the local dollar store. Not what you would expect in a well known hotel chain. Oh, and only one bar of soap - the small one for the vanity unit but no larger one for the shower/tub. There was one wash cloth, one hand towel and what appeared to be two large bath towels but no floor mat, so maybe one of the towels was to be used for that. By this time, that did not matter as I had already decided against using the shower.
I decided to leave a note about these shortcomings for the housekeeping staff and that's when I discovered that the room only had furniture (plus an ice bucket and two paper cups). I could not believe it! No pen or notepad! No phone book! No hotel 'welcome' folder! No TV guide! No room service info! No pizza or food order info, etc! No internet guide regarding the hotel network! Not even a Gideon Bible! I went through every drawer and found them all empty and there was nothing lying around on any of the nightstands or dresser. The only printed items were the safety notice on the door and the aforementioned soap and hair products. Also, I realized that there was no coffee maker nor were there any of the usual sealed plastic cups that are normally placed in the bathroom.
I then tried using my laptop and although I connected to the hotel network easily, I could not get on the internet. There was no popup or anything to explain how to do so (I have had no problem in using many other hotel networks). So I went back to the front desk and the girl said she might have to reset something to get it to work. While there, I told her about most of the complaints I had about the room and she offered to try and find a pen and some paper. I had to explain that I already had my own pen - it was just the principle that none of the usual items had been provided. I thought I was hearing things when she again said she would try and find me a pen, so I had to explain yet again that I didn't actually need one!
She also said that they didn't provide coffee makers as they had the restaurant where coffee could be obtained - no doubt for a price. Breakfast was available for $6.99 (I think she said) and it was buffet-style. Anyway, whatever the girl did seemed to work okay and I was able to get online without any problem.
By now, someone will be asking why I didn't insist on another room but the reason was that I needed to get to bed ASAP as I was getting up at 5.30am the following morning. Plus, I had no reason to expect that other rooms would be any better. BTW, when I checked out the following morning at 6.15am, there was no sign of any activity in the restaurant so no breakfast! (I didn't feel like giving them any more money anyway).
The only positive note about my review is that the bed was very comfortable and I managed to sleep fairly well but even though my trip was supposed to last three days, I had no intention of staying another night at the Orlando Grand Hotel/Ramada Grand Orlando/Ramada Orlando Downtown or whatever they want to call it. I've been using hotel & motel rooms in Florida since 1993 and this was the worst experience I've had so far.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Ramada Downtown Orlando is centrally located between the downtown Orlando financial district, the Orlando Citrus Bowl and Universal Studios Orlando. The hotel is at the intersection of I-4 and John Young Parkway in Orlando, FL providing quick access to all areas of Orlando, FL. Ramada features Standard Double Bed rooms, Deluxe King Bed rooms. The property is under new ownership and is preparing to undergo a full renovation. AT this time the bar and full service restaurant is closed, but we still serve a hot breakfast buffet. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Ramada Plaza Orlando Resort East Universal Studios
- Ramada Universal Studios
- Ramada Plaza Resort Universal Studios
- Ramada Orlando
- Orlando Ramada