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“Overall pleasant experience, EXCEPT at check-out”

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Country Inn & Suites By Carlson, Galveston Beach
Ranked #38 of 51 Hotels in Galveston
Reviewed May 3, 2011

We drove from Ontario, Canada to Galveston for an extended vacation on the Gulf coast, but since we were not sure exactly when we would arrive, we did not make any reservation. As it wasn't the busy tourist season, we did not expect to have any problem finding a room. The hotel was easy to find, since most of the streets in Galveston were laid out in a grid, with lettered avenues running east-west and numbered streets running north-south. We arrived at the Country Inn & Suites on a Monday evening and had no trouble getting a room with a king-sized bed. We did some research on the internet beforehand, and chose this hotel because it was a non-smoking facility and a relatively new building (only about 6 months old), at a central location close to the beach.

We got the room at a lower rate than what was posted online, with a CAA/AAA discount. The staff was very friendly and personable in general, and check-in was efficient.

The room itself was pretty clean and spacious and nicely decorated. The bathroom fixtures were clean. There was a coffee-maker, a microwave and mini-fridge. The carpet and the bathroom floor were also pretty clean. (We always take our shoes off when inside the room and walked around in sock feet, and my white socks stayed relatively white considering it was a hotel room floor after all.) It also helped that both the carpet and the tile floor were in light colour. It shows right away if the floor is dirty.

One major complaint about the room was the air-conditioning unit. It was quite noisy and blasted cold air into the room when it was running. You would freeze if you stood directly in front of it. Even though we set the thermostat at 77F, it didn't kick in until the temperature reached 78F, sometimes even 80F. The temperature fluctuation is a bit more than we are used to.

We stayed for a total of 10 days, and except for the first 2 days, the housekeeping staff did not sweep or vacuum the floors or clean the bathroom fixtures until the second-to-last day of our stay. Luckily we had tidy habits and the condition did not reach an intolerable level. We didn't raise this issue with the management right away because when we got back to our room, we just wanted to relax and did not want housekeeping to come and clean at that time. We just hoped it was an oversight and the room would be cleaned the next day, but it seldom happened, so we were a bit disappointed by that. Also, not every towel/facecloth was clean. Quite a few had stains on them. Most days we could find enough clean ones for our use, so we didn't complain about that either. But re-stocking of towels was kind of hit-and-miss. One day we actually had to go to the front desk to ask for clean facecloths because none of the "fresh" ones in our room was clean, and another day we had to ask for coffee because they forgot to re-stock in our room or re-stocked with decaf coffee instead of the real thing. However, the people at the front desk were always friendly and gave us what we asked for right away.

Nonetheless, these were minor glitches and we could put up with that, considering the price we paid for the room (below $60/night for the first 4 days -- Monday to Thursday, and $65/night for Sunday - Wednesday, but the rate went up to $159/night for Friday and Saturday nights). Breakfast was included and there were hot items including sausages and eggs, which were constantly replenished.

Overall, we were quite satisfied with our experience at the hotel, and that's why we kept extending our stay from the initial 3 nights to 10. HOWEVER, we were shocked to find at check-out that we were slapped with a $150 smoking fee because housekeeping apparently smelled smoke in our room one day. Rather than confirming with us whether we had indeed smoked in our room or not as soon as that was reported to the management, we were never made aware of that. The most insulting point was that my husband was asthmatic, and we chose this hotel explicitly because it was a non-smoking facility. When we raised our objection to this charge, we were initially told that there was nothing they could do to correct it because the manager was not going to be on duty until the afternoon, way past check-out time, and we had a long drive ahead of us to get home and couldn't afford to hang around to wait for the manager to show up. But we knew that if we had left then, we would never be able to get our money back over long distance negotiations. So we insisted on staying to wait for the manager. When she did finally appear, her attitude was too confrontational for my liking, and her tone of voice gave the impression that she believed we were guilty and her staff was never wrong. It was a case of "he said, she said", especially when we didn't even know when the smell of smoke in our room was reported. There was no way for us to counter-argue that, even if they couldn't smell any smoke in the room that day. The manager then said that she would wait for the head-housekeeper to show up for work and ask for a detail report of the incident, so we waited some more while refusing to pay the extra charge. Finally the manager relented and reversed the charge rather than having us wait any longer. She sounded more conciliatory at the end, since it was obvious that we would not back down until the matter had been resolved to our satisfaction. She even apologized for the agitation that it had caused us. I sincerely hope that this is a case of honest misunderstanding, and not an excuse to fleece the guests at this hotel.

As to the way this incident was handled, I have the following issues:

1. When a hotel guest was suspected of violating the rules of the premises, he/she was not confronted right away to confirm if this indeed had happened. Instead, the guest was just quietly charged a fine. If indeed the hotel's concern is to maintain a smoke-free environment, the first thing to do is to dissuade the guest from smoking in the room, if this were indeed the case, and not just to impose a fine at the end of the stay. This gives the impression that the hotel is more interested in collecting money from the guests than actually keeping the place clean and smoke-free.

2. There was not a manager on duty at all times at this hotel. At the time of this unhappy incident, there was apparently no one on the premises that could have the authority to make the decision to reverse the unreasonable charge. If there was ever any time where disputes needed to be resolved, it would be during check-out. A person-in-charge would also be required to handle any emergency that may arise at any time of the day or night.

3. As a hotel is a service-oriented business, the guests' satisfaction should be the utmost priority. To accuse a guest of any violations to the rules of the hotel is a serious matter and should not be undertaken lightly, without first checking and double-checking the facts.

4. During this confrontation, I had also called the corporate head office of Country Inn (Carlson) and asked them to help resolve this matter. However, I just got the typical brush-off, claiming no responsibility on the part of the corporate office because it is a matter between the individual franchisees and their guests. The tone of the "customer service" rep was on the verge of being rude and she was almost yelling at me for complaining to them! This does not bode well for the corporate image of Carlson at all, and I would hesitate to patronize any of their hotel chains from now on.

Pros: friendly front-desk, overall clean premise, bathroom amenities, reasonable rate, convenient location, free hot breakfast, well-equipped exercise room, view of beach from room, balcony for sitting outside

Cons: inconsistent housekeeping, free but unsecured wireless internet, suspicious extra charge

  • Stayed: April 2011, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank redmeadows
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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540 - 546 of 555 reviews

Reviewed March 21, 2011

Found this place late at night after The Holiday Inn Sunspree cancelled our reservation without informing us. The front desk staff was very accomodating and went out of their way to get us checked in quickly, even bringing up a rollaway bed promptly. They also went out of their way to help us get our rental car returned and shuttled over to the cruise ship terminal. The hotel room was large and very comfortable. Breakfast was good, also. Overall - a wonderful experience at the Country Inn. If we are ever back in Galveston, we'll stay here again with pleasure!

  • Stayed: March 2011
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1  Thank Luv2Travel043
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 31, 2010

comfy beds & pillows, very clean, great breakfast, eggs, sausage, potatoes, oatmeal,
various pastries & bagels, waffles, fruit, juices but breakfast area gets very crowded, not
enough seating. stay over christmas. spouse likes to stay up late so we got a suite, couch/chair with tv, able to close door so I could go to bed early. Did hear noise from rooms next to us, mostly kids playing/running & what seemed like a lot of doors slamming. That seem to die down after 10pm with no problems going to sleep. Small patio with what I describe as a side view of the gulf. Staff pleasant. Never heard any club noise. Overall like the hotel except little noisy at night.

  • Stayed: December 2010, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank raven_84
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 27, 2010

We stayed there for one night pre-cruise. The hotel itself is very clean and in good condition. The fitness centre is small, but Ok with good eliptical machines. The pool is indoor, but extremely small and gets crowded and noisy.
The early check-in was not available. The front desk employees could have been nicer. They were not rude, but had hard time going the extra mile.They seemed shocked when I asked if we could have our luggage stored till the check-in, but did store it for us.
The location is on Seawall, but in quite rundown area. Not pleasant at night.
We had a gulf view from our balcony. The view included a ghost of the hotel on the water which was most likely damaged by IKe.
Breakfast was good.

  • Stayed: November 2010, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank northernreflection
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 27, 2010

The Country Inn and Suites in Galveston, TX is in an ideal location for a family vacation; however, integrity and service was lacking during my visit. A suite was booked for 5 nights. The hotel’s amenities are par for the course for a Hotel of this price range. The problem began upon check out. We decided to leave early and return home due to approaching bad weather. We attempted to check out a day early after the 4th night. The Front Desk Clerk states at this time states that she is not able to check us out early since the original reservation was for 5 nights and that since she already had credit card information from the online reservation our card would be charged for the 5 night stay regardless of whether we stayed for or not and that no early check out is allowed. She stated she would in no way acknowledge our check out in any way and that was the policy. We asked to see the policy on several occasions and were refused each time. We called the national office of County Inns and Suites: Carlson World Wide. We were told there was no such policy exists and that this was an arbitrary choice of the franchise holder. The representative of Carlson World Wide advised that we simply dispute the charge which we have done. This speaks to a lack of integrity and honesty on the part this franchise owner and I would recommend that any fellow traveler give great thought before booking a hotel stay at this location.

  • Stayed: December 2010, traveled with family
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6  Thank Travelguy9945
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 7, 2010

My husband and I stayed here for a one night stay in a jacuzzi suite. Our room, 307, was beautifully decorated and very clean. Our king sized bed was super comfortable. We had a balcony view of the beach and seawall. The jacuzzi is an oversized tub that comfortably fits one adult. It is situated in the corner of the bedroom and was very relaxing after a busy day. This was our first stay at a Country Inn and Suites and will not be our last. The hotel was very new and nicely decorated. We did not partake in the free deluxe breakfast because the hotel was very full due to Dickens on the Strand and there was a large crowd in the lobby and breakfast area. We were very satisfied with our stay and would highly recommend this hotel to anyone needing a comfortable stay at a hotel one block from the seawall. Hotel was exceptionally clean and I am very picky when it comes to cleanliness. They did also have a nice indoor pool and hot tub as well as a work out room. If you choose this hotel you will not be sorry. I can honestly say it was one of the nicest moderately priced hotels that we have ever stayed at. The only minor flaw that I could point out was a stain on the carpet close to the bed and desk. No biggie but too bad since it's such a new hotel. One other minor nuisance was there is a latino nightclub next to the hotel and it did get rather loud from the music. This is not the hotels fault but if you're traveling with young children or are a light sleeper I would recommend a higher level room or a room that faces the parking lot to avoid the noise from the music. It didn't bother us but was definitely noticeable on a Saturday evening. Next time you're in Galveston check out this nice, new, clean hotel! You'll be glad you did!

  • Stayed: December 2010, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank luv2snorkel0524
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 1, 2010

Our stay in Galveston took us to the Country Inn & Suites. I chose this hotel because it was near the Seawall and centrally located. You couldn't beat the low price. The breakfast was more than just a Continental breakfast. It also included eggs, sausage, potatoes and waffles. The building was new so the furnishings are very nice.
The hotel says that each room has a balcony, but one side does have a view of the gulf and the other side has a view of the parking lot. The balcony is very small so we didn't use it.

  • Stayed: November 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank calhoun03
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Country Inn & Suites By Carlson, Galveston Beach

Address: 2818 Avenue R 1/2, Galveston, Galveston Island, TX 77550-7742
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Texas > Texas Gulf Coast > Galveston Island > Galveston
Amenities:
Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#19 On the Beach Hotel in Galveston
Price Range: $77 - $240 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Country Inn & Suites By Carlson, Galveston Beach 2.5*
Number of rooms: 60
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Also Known As:
Country Inn Galveston Beach Hotel Galveston

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