I'll begin this review by sharing that we are lifetime SPG Gold members and have stayed in a LOT of Westin/Sheraton hotels over the years. I've also never taken the time to write a hotel review before. That said, bar none, this hotel took care of us (as SPG Gold) better than anywhere else we've stayed.
We took our two kids to Columbia last weekend on a whim for a change of scenery. Part of what makes this hotel great is the location: we walked down to the capitol building and the zoo + kids' museum were less than 5 mins each by car. Lots of restaurants and other venues nearby, also. A+ for the location.
Upon arrival, the valet informed us it was $22/day for valet parking, but pointed out the nearby garages and free street parking literally right in front of the hotel (we parked on the street). Check in, as we've come to expect from Starwood, was quick and easy. The key for us was being upgraded to a club room and subsequent access to the club lounge. This is an older, almost boutique, hotel, so these amenities made a huge difference, especially when traveling with two kids under 10. The club lounge was hands down the best one we've been in. Afternoon "appetizers" consisted of grilled chicken breasts, penne pasta with sauce, wild rice, green beans, dinner rolls, dinner salad, fresh fruit, snacks, a dessert tray and complimentary wine (emphasis on the complimentary wine!). There are also two mini-refrigerators with many other types of beverages and yogurt. Breakfast consisted of scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, Canadian bacon, pancakes, grits, pastries, biscuits, etc. The beverage machine also lets you make multiple types of coffees, espressos, capucchinos, etc. Combine all this + a relaxing atmosphere + flatscreen tv (the Olympics were on) = a superb club lounge. It is quaint, but the service and amenities are impeccable.
Why such a big deal? Two reasons: First, this hotel doesn't have a pool, so anything novel for the kids is a plus. Second, by having dinner (with wine!) and breakfast in the lounge, we probably saved well over $100, which definitely helped our weekend getaway costs. I can't tell you how many times we've gone into other sprawling Sheratin/Westin club lounges only to find warm bottled water and a few granola bars.
Other hotel stuff: even in late July, the rooftop bar was nice. Cooling fans + shading + cold drinks helped mitigate the heat. Nice views of Columbia, but again, the service is what makes the rooftop bar great. Manager take note: Cleveland was the best. We went right at 5pm and had a few drinks (kids in tow), and the bartenders were very accommodating. The Vault martini bar also looked cool, but was a little crowded by the time we got there. Had it been just my wife and I, we would have stayed for a drink.
I am a business owner / CEO and we collectively travel a good bit. I can tell when a place is really "doing it right", and this hotel definitely is. Whatever the manager is doing to find, hire and train the right people, keep doing it. Helpful hint to other SPG managers: take note. Again, I've never left a hotel review before, but felt compelled to do so in this case. Thanks again and we will definitely be back!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- This sophisticated hotel is 1.3 miles from the South Carolina State Museum and 3.1 miles from Riverbanks Zoo. Modern rooms and suites with vaulted ceilings and hardwood floors offer free WiFi, desks with ergonomic chairs, flat-screen TVs and coffeemakers. Some rooms add whirlpool tubs. Club rooms provide access to a lounge with complimentary breakfast and evening appetizers. There's a restaurant that serves breakfast and dinner, a trendy martini bar in a historic bank vault, and a hip rooftop lounge/bar. Full service Starbucks Reserve store in the lower lobby with fireplace and lounge chairs. Additional amenities include a 24/7 business center and a fitness center ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Columbia Sheraton