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“Great hotel, bad design”

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Fairfield Inn & Suites Charleston North/University Area
Ranked #22 of 59 Hotels in North Charleston
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed July 8, 2013

We selected this hotel based on our past experience with Fairfield Inn which has been excellent. This property was great but fell short of that mark. I got a strange vibe from the front desk staff upon check in, her greeting didn't sound sincere and she had a strange look on her face as if she was forcing her smile throughout the check in process and her tone of voice was as if she was reading off of a script. It made me feel very uncomfortable. We were not greeted as a rewards club members as we have at other properties. Our room was really great, on the first floor and was very spacious. It was perfect for what we needed for the time we were there. It was a handicap room which made the bathroom area a little awkward, but understandably so. There were two hooks on the bathroom door one low and one high. I caught my elbow on the low hook and it broke the skin...this made me nervous because the hook was right at the eye level of our four year old so I had to make sure he was careful anytime he was near the bathroom door. It seemed to be a strange place for the hooks since the door swung out and not in. There was plenty of other wall space and they could have been put in another location. The room was clean except for some moldy spots in the shower and an errant bobby-pin on the floor. The King size bed was outstanding! Two great nights of sleep. The mattress in the pull out sofa was horrible. My son reported that he could feel "sharp things" poking him in various spots, although the sofa looked new this mattress had clearly seen much better days and needed to be replaced. The extra linens also did not go with the pullout and were too big, but we made them work. There was also no in-room safe which always makes me nervous.
The major problems were with the breakfast and the breakfast seating area. We booked with the fact that breakfast was included in mind and the breakfast at the last Fairfield Inn we stayed in was excellent. However, this breakfast was not. It was not the same quality, amount nor variety that we had seen at other locations. This one did not have fresh fruit and meat items that we had seen in the past. Calling this a hot breakfast was a big stretch. The morning we ate there the only hot items besides make-your-own waffles were scrambled eggs and biscuits and gravy. Since we arrived at 9 am and breakfast ended at 9:30am many of the items were already almost out, including yogurts and pastry items. The breakfast area is tucked back in a strange corner and is extremely awkward. The area was very busy and trying to get in and out was a nightmare. I was trying to assist children with getting items they themselves could not reach and others seemed to be annoyed with my constant back and forth in the small space, but it was unavoidable. The seating area is even worse. Outside of a long tall counter style seating area, there is hardly adequate seating. There were two tables that sat 4 people and the rest, 5 in total, only sat two. When the four of us arrived for breakfast there was no open tables large enough to fit us so we had to split up and sit at two tables. It was annoying because there was a group of 3 who were not eating breakfast who were just sitting and chatting which could have been accomplished at the couch seating area by the fireplace but they sat for quite awhile as others were forced to stand and eat, very rude. By the time I assisted by children and went back for food there was already a long line at the waffles which was really the only item I wanted. Many of the items were almost out since it was getting close to 9:30am. I ended up grabbing some eggs while I waited to get to the waffles (the eggs ended up giving me a horrible stomachache all day) At exactly 9:30am the kitchen attendant ran out and grabbed the stack of plates so that no one else could get food if they didn't already have a plate. Needless to say I never got my waffles. Then she madly started putting food away while people were still trying to get breakfast, this seemed really rude especially when people had been waiting to get to certain items that were blocked due to the crowd. There was an elderly couple who got upset, put their empty plates to the side and left. A gentleman asked the attendant for ketchup and was denied because she "already put it away". It was ridiculous. They had also run out of coffee but the attendant was too busy putting breakfast away to get more. Based on this bad experience we ended up not eating breakfast at the hotel the next day and went out to try to find something on the way to the aquarium and there was nothing, the only two breakfast places we came across had gone out of business. So we ended up going to aquarium starving with no breakfast.
The Managers Reception that is held Monday through Thursday is held way too early in the evening. I am not sure who is drinking wine and beer at 5pm but it wasn't us. We eat dinner at that time and by the time we got back to the room and got kids settled, it was over. It would be much better served if it was held from 7 to 9pm instead.
The pool was small but nice when we had it all to ourselves...could have used a good cleaning though, the sides had a layer of scum on them.
The snack stand that was available had very reasonable prices, I expected to pay outrageous prices for full sized snacks but was pleasantly surprised.

Room Tip: Rooms on the first floor were extremely quiet. Handicapped room was very spacious.
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  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with family
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Thank parkerflyHI
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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155 - 161 of 209 reviews

Reviewed July 6, 2013

This is the second time around for me and my family staying here. I have to tell you this time we stayed longer and specifically picked this hotel because of my good experience last time, however this go around wasn't as good. I was hugely disappointed in the way we were treated by one of the staff members at the front desk. She was extremely rude to my mother and that was just not right. We had two rooms at the hotel and stayed for 5 days. The beds were good, nice location and was just what we needed. The problem with one of the rooms was that the tv never worked right. When my mother reported it to Melissa at the front desk she came down to look at it. When she couldn't figure out what to do she stated, guess you will just have to live with it. Not acceptable by any means. I went down the next day to speak with the manager and told the other girl what had happened she immediately got Matt on the job to try and fix it. Let me give kudos to Matt for being so nice and trying to get the job done for my mother and sister. Unfortunately he couldn't get it fixed. So for 4 days my mother and sister didn't have tv. I feel like the ball was dropped for this situation. Breakfast was ok, they ran out of food several of the days we were there so we felt like we had to rush to get the food. The room was so warm and so crowded I couldn't sit in there most mornings. The rooms are nice size and comfortable.

  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled with family
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Thank sasparilla97
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 2, 2013

We arrived on June 25 and checked out on June 29th. We had a great experience checking in, everyone from housekeeping to clerks were very friendly and accommodating. The one problem we had overshadowed our stay. The TV in our suite did not work. We reported the first night and the hotel clerk told us we would just have to "deal with it". I was traveling with my mother and my granddaughter and this was a big deal to them. The second day we have a new clerk come in and when she couldn't fix it, she called maintenance which is what the first clerk should have done. The maintenance guy could not fix it and had to have their service provider to come in and repair something on the box. This took 3 1/2 days. I probably won't stay in this hotel again when I return to Charleston because of this experience, They did give me Marriott Reward Points (2000) but I did not feel this was enough compensation for the aggravation of having people coming in and out of our room, great grandmother and great granddaughter disappointed because they couldn't watch their shows.

  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled with family
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Thank Vicki S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 2, 2013

We stayed the night of June 22nd and have no complaints! Everyone was friendly, check-in and check-out were easy and we booked two rooms at a super value. Rooms were nice and clean. Beds were comfortable, breakfast was good. Overall a great stay!

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled with family
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Thank HeatherD3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Katie R, Manager at Fairfield Inn & Suites Charleston North/University Area, responded to this reviewResponded July 23, 2013

Dear HeatherD3,

I hope all is well in Augusta! We really appreciate you taking the time to write such a wonderful review. We are so thrilled to hear that you enjoyed your stay and will make sure to pass on your kind comments to the staff. Thanks for choosing to stay at the Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Charleston North/University area. We hope was have the pleasure of welcoming you back soon!

Yours in hospitality,

Katie Register
Sales Manager
Katie.Register@marriott.com

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 1, 2013

I stayed at the Fairfield Inn & Suites June 29th for one night and my stay was amazing. I've never stayed at a hotel where everyone is so friendly and welcoming from the housekeepers, to the breakfast attendants as well as the front desk clerks and the general manager Hannah Fox. When traveling to Charleston this is where I will always stay. The hotel is clean and freshly smelled and the breakfast is awesome. What a great experience!!

Room Tip: Any room is great at this hotel.
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  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled with family
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Thank Lerea L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Katie R, Manager at Fairfield Inn & Suites Charleston North/University Area, responded to this reviewResponded July 23, 2013

Dear Lerea L,

Thank you so much for taking the time to share your experience with other travelers. We are so pleased to hear that you enjoyed your stay and all the great amenities the Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Charleston North/Univ. Area has to offer. We hope to welcome you back soon!

Yours in hospitality,

Katie Register
Sales Manager
Katie.Register@marriott.com

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 29, 2013

I arrived at Fairfield in north Charleston and was greeted by a friendly desk clerk. She quickly processed the two rooms I booked and gave me instructions to our rooms. The first room was fine. When we arrived at our second room and opened the door we were about knocked down by stale cigarette smoke. It was overwhelming. I called the front desk clerk and she told me to come back to the front desk and she will give me another room. When we got to the desk she then said "unfortunately that was the last room available". Then I heard the other desk clerk say there are other rooms open and then she said I can't use those rooms. I then asked for the manager. The manager Hannah Fox arrived to say I am sorry there are no rooms available. I said the room that was given to me was so overwhelming of smoke smell that there is no one who could stay there. She then said I have already checked all my rooms and none have any problems of odor. My husband then offered to walk back up there so we can talk about it. She then just kept arguing about this and then said we can open the windows. I said I was very disappointed that we have driven over 10 hrs to get here only to get a unacceptable smoky room. She then "somehow" came up with another room. Really? I know she had that room all along and was being difficult. I will never stay at any marriott chain again.
What happened to treating guests as if you want them to return. Hannah Fox, manager obviously needs some coaching for guest services. I will never return.

  • Stayed: June 2013
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1  Thank Kygirl808
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Katie R, Manager at Fairfield Inn & Suites Charleston North/University Area, responded to this reviewResponded July 23, 2013

Dear Kygirl808,

It is with my sincerest apologies that we did not meet all of your expectations and it is with sadness and regret that our team was not able to rectify the situation at first complaint. Furthermore, I do greatly appreciate your honesty and opinioned review.

In regards to the hotel, we stay 100% committed to Marriott's non-smoking policy. In fact, we charge a $250 smoking fee any time anyone smokes in the room and leave the room out of order until we can get the room smelling fresh again. We deeply regret that you were placed in a room with a smoky smell and have had a discussion with the housekeeper that this room should have been placed unavailable for sell.

Also, in regards to being placed in another room-- we were sold out that evening and did, in fact, have one room left. We also had one more guest arrival that was scheduled for the room that we ultimately moved you to. Our general manager made the decision to displace the arriving guest to another hotel so that we could move you to the one room we had left. The general manager was trying to provide you with the amazing customer service that we are known for and we apologize for the confusion that it has caused.

I hope you are able to visit us again as it would be a pleasure to welcome you back and to demonstrate our commitment to service excellence. Please contact me directly if you are planning a visit to the area again, and do not hesitate to contact me if I can ever be of any assistance to you.

With highest regards,

Katie Register
Sales Manager
Katie.Register@marriott.com

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Reviewed May 23, 2013

My family and I stayed at this hotel to attend a debutante ball in the area. The hotel was very clean and beautiful. They had complimentary breakfast that was really good. They also had courtesy computers for your use if needed. It was graduation time for the university located in close proximity but I didn't hear any guess being loud or wild. That is a plus.

  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled with family
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Thank SheShe25
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Katie R, Manager at Fairfield Inn & Suites Charleston North/University Area, responded to this reviewResponded June 11, 2013

We appreciate you taking the time to share your review with other travelers. We are so pleased to hear that you enjoyed your stay and all the amenities offered. We hope to see you next time you visit the Charleston area!

Thanks for choosing the Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Charleston North/University Area!

Yours in hospitality.

Katie Register
Sales Manager
Katie.Register@marriott.com

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Fairfield Inn & Suites Charleston North/University Area

Address: 2600 Elms Center Rd, North Charleston, SC 29406-9327
Phone Number:
Location: United States > South Carolina > Coastal South Carolina > North Charleston
Amenities:
Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#11 Family Hotel in North Charleston
#21 Business Hotel in North Charleston
Price Range: $96 - $173 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Fairfield Inn & Suites Charleston North/University Area 2.5*
Number of rooms: 79
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Also Known As:
Fairfield Inn & Suites Charleston North / Elms Hotel North Charleston
Fairfield Inn And Suites Charleston North / Elms Center
Fairfield Inn North Charleston
Fairfield North Charleston
North Charleston Fairfield Inn

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