I hadn't even heard of Grand Rapids before the International Trumpet Guild decided to bring its 2013 conference here. I so enjoyed my visit to this nice city and this beautiful and unusual hotel.
As others have said the Amway Grand Plaza gets the best of both worlds with its utterly gorgeous historic building linked to the shiny modern glass tower at the riverside. The foyer at the Pantlind end is really something to see - just sit in there and soak it up ... it's crazy but it feels like you are in the Train Bleu in Paris or something. C'est magnifique! And it's set in a nice downtown area right by the river: you can really feel at home here.
I can't comment that much on the food as I mostly ate out, but what I did have - a couple of official catered event and meeting things - was great. The little snack bar or cafe down near the entrance is unglamorous but very pleasant and I got a little addicted to its delicious salads; the riverside restaurant is beautiful and the one rushed lunch (my fault, not theirs) I managed in there was great. The big bar downstairs is very striking and has a nice atmosphere.
My room was very comfortable and well appointed, and looked after nicely by the very pleasant housekeeping staff. I could have done with some direct ventilation - no window would open a millimetre, which can make it feel a bit claustrophobic, and on a warm night you either have to get too hot or have the AC going on and off all night. I know there must be various concerns about having things that open but I would have loved to have a real breeze in the room once or twice.
On the subject of the room I must congratulate the Amway Grand Plaza on providing the only hotel alarm clock radio that I have ever really understood and felt confident about programming! :) It even plays your iPod too. Nice one.
The conference facilities were excellent. We are not a quiet conference (ah, you noticed that?) and talkthrough between rooms can be a problem but it seems to have been well-managed or largely avoided. Some of the older rooms are stunning - I'm thinking of the Pantlind and Imperial Ballrooms in particular: they are both spectacular and the latter was a real architectural treat. Oh and the glass lift up to my room - great ride!
I mentioned the staff. They were unfailingly polite, pleasant, helpful and friendly - a very nice mixture of efficient/professional without being too formal. I think this was pitched just right - they are wonderful ambassadors for the hotel. I may have fallen in love just a tiny bit with the lady in the shop. :) Her pleasant manner and good humour really made my day.
In summary - this was a very nice stay in a great hotel. I will need to find an excuse to return to Grand Rapids and stay here again one day. Thank you.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- When does the hotel become the destination? When the moment you walk through the door you feel as if you've been transported - by the elegance, the details, and the gracious service. When your every expectation of what a hotel can be is exceeded. Welcome to the Amway Grand Plaza, Curio Collection by Hilton, where every stay is marked by a memorable moment. Whether it's a stroll through the Pantlind Lobby, the great view from one of our Glass Tower rooms, the classical architecture, or your first bite of one of our signature entrees. The Amway Grand Plaza is much more than a hotel. It's a true destination. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Amway Grand Plaza Rapids
- Hotel Amway Grand Plaza