Positives: helpful staff, pleasing to the eyes, clean rooms
Negatives: repair and functional issues, intermittent guest noise
We stayed at this location twice within a month, once in October, 2012, and most recently in November. Generally speaking, our visits were pleasant, due in large part to the professionalism and courtesy of the staff. When problems occurred, they were quick to respond with decisive and effective action.
The following narrative outlines both experiences. I apologize in advance for the length, but believe it necessary to reveal what other guests might encounter and to show how the staff solved problems.
OCTOBER, 2012 -
Our first visit occurred during a fall vacation. We stayed six nights. During that time we developed a good idea of this hotel's strengths and weaknesses.
We quickly realized the staff is this hotel's strongest attribute. Employees were pleasant, knowledgeable, and eager to assist. Front desk personnel filled all our requests, housekeeping was efficient...even attendants at the breakfast nook were pleasant. A lot of businesses say their "people are their greatest resource". This is a fact at the Desoto TownePlace Suites.
On the negative side, we noticed the physical property, while bright and clean, suffered from minor repair issues. We also observed a fairly high amount of guest noise, including "floor noise" from the room above ours. One resident literally hit the floor at 11:00 p.m. and continued moving around until 7:00 a.m., when the footfalls and stomping ceased. The sound wasn't so loud that it prevented sleep, but it did interrupt our rest by waking us intermittently throughout the early morning hours.
Interestingly, our room was next to the elevator. It never bothered us!
Apparently others heard noise and took action. During breakfast one morning we overheard a guest explain they eventually called the front desk.
Generally, the property was clean, but we did find frothy beige glop on ice from the first-floor ice maker. My wife works in food service and is very aware of issues ice dispensers can cause. We discarded that batch, made ice in trays (provided in the the room refrigerator), and bought a bag of ice from a convenience store the next day. We haven't gotten ice from that machine since.
Our king suite packed a lot of functionality into a small space: bed, side tables, sofa with ottoman, built-in desk, and kitchette. The bathroom is comfortably-sized but has almost no counter space for toiletries. An amply-sized closet adjoins the bath, but it lacked a luggage stand. We moved the ottoman into the closet to hold our bags.
We found room furnishings comfortable. Lights and appliances worked perfectly, and the television had a good selection of channels. The kitchen utensils were more than adequate for our week-long stay.
I loved their baggage carts; they are compact but functional and are much easier to guide than a traditional hotel cart.
Ongoing maintenance can be seen, but so can unrepaired wear and tear. We saw evidence of refurbishing in our room but the hall carpet was frayed. Flushing our toilet was a gamble. Most of the time it hesitated then "gulped" the contents, but about 25% of the time it gurgled and hissed and failed to empty. One of the bars on our towel rack fell out but we were easily able to put it back into place.
Once considered a luxury, breakfast is now all but expected at hotels. This property offers a small variety of cold cereals, microwave oatmeal, breads and pastries, and waffles. Two fruits were offered: apples and bananas. One "hot breakfast option" is available each day. During this visit we saw (1) scrambled eggs with biscuits and gravy (twice), (2) biscuits and plain gravy, (3) biscuits and gravy containing sausage chunks, (4) scrambled eggs with sausage patties, and (5) scrambled eggs with corned beef hash. The eggs always contained chives.
Drink options include the usual array of milks, juices, coffees, and teas.
Overall, our first stay was a great success. we had a very good time and were glad to have found such a nice hotel close to the people we see and things we do in Dallas...so much so that we returned a few weeks later for a one-night visit.
Experiences of our first visit were magnified during our second. We experienced "higher highs" and "lower lows". One situation, had it not been quickly resolved, would have have resulted in cancellation and a move to another hotel. To their credit, staff members were quick to provide a solution.
Check-in took much longer this visit. Several large groups arrived shortly before us. Some were affiliated with youth sports; others had attended a funeral, and yet another group appeared to have come for some sort of social event...perhaps a family reunion or large birthday party. I say this because balloons were taped outside of a room on the third floor.
I was seventh in line to check-in, and continually had to dodge loiterers in the lobby, maintenance staffers trying to navigate the crowd, and a group of caterers delivering food. The entire checkin process took about fifteen minutes.
Our reservation was for two rooms to accommodate four people. The desk clerk quickly processed payment and provided keys to one room on the second floor and another on the third, both in the west wing. We immediately went to examine facilities prior to settling in.
The temperature inside our second-floor room was very comfortable, but the third-floor room was warm and stuffy, even though the thermostat was set at 67 degrees Fahrenheit.
We tried unsuccessfully to adjust the thermostat downward. It remained at 67. We then turned the fan to "high" but the room became warmer. To make sure the air conditioner really was broken we stayed in the room about 10 minutes then returned to the front desk for assistance.
During that time I noticed cracks and buckled wallboard tape in both external corners of the room. I thought it strange that walls in this room, including the buckled tape, appeared to have been recently painted. Other details such as laminate flooring that stopped an inch short of the door jamb made the room feel as if it had been maintained by amateurs (like me!)
While waiting we also noticed a lot of noise from surrounding rooms, and wondered aloud if guests would be quieter during the evening. (More about this in a moment...)
After it became apparent the room would not cool, I returned to the front desk to wait in line again. The desk clerk, who'd obviously had a rough day, apologized profusely and quickly provided keys to a room in the east wing of the second floor...far from the noise we'd heard in the west wing of the third floor.
The temperature in our replacement room was excellent and the thermostat functioned perfectly. Furnishings and fixtures were in excellent condition. Everything, including the toilet, worked great!
In retrospect, it was the best of the four rooms we've occupied at this hotel. We were delighted with the solution, as we were afraid with the crowds they wouldn't be able to provide a cool room. Crisis averted!
A little guest noise could be heard in the hallway as groups of teens passed by, but that stopped by 11:00 p.m. The next morning we saw several families with children, tweens and teens emerge from nearby rooms. These people had been so quiet we didn't know those rooms were occupied!
The other two members of our party weren't quite so fortunate. They reported intermittent noise through the evening and into the morning hours. Both are heavy sleepers, but were awakened about 2:30 a.m. with "surround sound" clamor in the hallway and from the floor above.
They reported the situation to the front desk, awaited a half-hour, then called again when the party continued. It subsided about 3:00 a.m....they weren't sure why...but assume the staff intervened. (We appreciate and respect employees who are forced to deal with situations like this!)
Breakfast was similar to our first stay. The hot meal consisted of biscuits and sausage patties...no eggs or gravy. Interestingly, neither time were plain oatmeal packets available...only flavors such as Apple-Cinnamon and Maple. I'd have eaten plain oatmeal some days had it been available.
In our opinion, the Desoto TownePlace Suites is a two-star hotel with a five star staff. It provides a comfortable level of amenities for a reasonable price.
The facility is attractive...I loved photographing the property...but minor maintenance flaws and amenities keep it from being as exceptional as other Marriott properties we've visited. Most things we noticed are nuisances. The only critical problem we noted was the beige glop in the ice the first night.
The staff, however, compensates for these small deficiencies. They make the most of what they have to work with. Customers are valued and made to feel at home here. We appreciate their efforts. We've already returned once, and will again.
Final note: this hotel is visible from the highway but getting to it can be tricky. The building sits away from the frontage road and it's easy to overlook the primary turnoff. Fortunately, many surrounding parking lots are interconnected. It's easy to navigate through them if you miss the first entrance. Once you've mastered entry, you'll have no problem returning.
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- Also Known As:
- Towneplace Suites Dallas Desoto/Duncanville Hotel Desoto