A fair amount of out-of-town colleagues regularly stay at the Element in Ewing/Hopewell/Princeton (it’s not actually in the heart of any of these towns in New Jersey but close enough; it’s convenient to the area’s pharmaceutical belt and for weekenders, to Sesame Place, just over I-95 in Pennsylvania). Our company has had a bunch of meetings here (not to mention the adjacent Courtyard by Marriott), but living in the area I’ve had no reason to stay here.
When Hurricane Irene passed by (August 2012), our town’s mandatory evacuation, and the Element’s pet-friendly policy, made it our home of choice for a few nights and I have to say – it was marvelous. Clearly overwhelmed at check-in (it took 45 minutes to get to the front of the line and even at 3 p.m. rooms were not ready until 4 p.m. or later) you had to forgive because the staff tried so hard and the place was so accommodating. I now know why my out-of-town colleagues prefer it here – rooms have a living area, sleeping area, and, the all-important kitchen area, with full dishwasher, a fridge that’s nicer than ours at home, and a coffee machine.
I’m a big fan of Element, an eco-oriented Starwood property, but not so much because of the eco-orientation. Having stayed in other Elements, I think its approach is perfect, whether you’re on business or not. Rooms are wonderfully thought-out, good lighting, easy Internet (free by the way), DVD players, generous flat screen with DirectTV, love all of that.
And adore the kitchen and the generous bathroom (though to be honest, as a tub person, I have to endure a shower, but a very nice shower it is!).
Only minor kvetch: If you’re going to provide a dishwasher, provide a sample size of dishwasher detergent. And it’s nice to have coffee and sweeteners and such but it would also be lovely to offer sample sizes of salt and pepper for folks who are “cooking” in. The in-house "shop" on my visit was poorly stocked, and I'm not sure if that's because of the hurricane, but I was intrigued by a fellow guest, with whom I shared an elevator. He had bags of goodies from a reasonably convenient Whole Foods was sporting a full watermelon. My only question: Do you have a good knife? I'm afraid to say that he did bring his own :)
This property is outstanding value for money in an area more known for its Ramada and Red Roof Inns.
One note: across the street is the Courtyard by Marriott, and the rooms at the Element are better, no question. But the Courtyard has had a brilliant makeover in the lobby, serves meals from 5 – 10 p.m. (quite decent bar food and salads, plus good wines by the glass); nab a booth with its own flat screen. We had a blast tonight, watching US Open tennis, reading the NY Times, drinking wine and eating salads.
The Element makes an attempt at hospitality and it’s a valiant one (happy hour from 6 – 7:30 with enough food to make dinner if that’s your desire) but its lobby is breathtakingly loud and kind of cold. But since the Courtyard’s an easy five minutes away, no big deal to get dinner.
All in all, I’d stay here again in a heartbeat (but would either bring my own groceries or venture across the street to the Courtyard for the bar scene).
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Element Ewing Princeton is near central NJ destinations like Merrill Lynch, Johnson & Johnson, and Sesame Place. Our eco-friendly hotel has guest rooms with full kitchens and 2,100sq ft of event space ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Element Ewing Princeton Hotel Ewing