I stayed at this hotel because I wanted to be within walking distance of the convention center. The price was great @ $120/night and all of the other hotels were booked up.
HOTEL Layout: The hotel has all rooms on the 2nd floor and the rooms are arranged around a “horseshoe” with both inside and outside rooms. There is one really small room that was crammed into leftover space. I was moved to this room because my first room was unacceptable (more on that follows). I actually would have been happy in this tiny room which was probably 10 feet by 12 feet (including the bathroom). My first room was an “inside the horseshoe” room. The inside of the horseshoe is actually a patio where people can go to sit and smoke and talk.
The GOOD: The manager, John, and the young man who worked the front desk, James, go out of their way to make sure you are happy. If there is something they can do, someone they can call, or drive you somewhere, they are there to help. In fact they are so helpful and so friendly that I wish I did not have to write anything bad about the place. Unfortunately, this will not be the case. The rooms are good size and they have clean dinnerware, stove/oven, microwave, and refrigerator. The TV worked. The hotel is close to good restaurants and I could easily walk anywhere I needed to be. I like little hotels that are not the usual Hilton/Marriott/Four Season type of hotel. If it was not for the things listed below I would stay here again.
The BAD: 1) I called to verify my reservation a few days before my trip and it took them forever to find my reservation. They first told me that they had no record of a reserved room. However, they did finally find it. I had a friend who was going to stay there and they messed up his reservation and he ended up without a room.
2) The bed coverings were disgustingly stained and old. I removed them using two fingers, threw them in the corner, and immediately washed my hands. One of the sheets I had to use was marked “HCDC Dec 1989”. I assumed this meant Harris County Detention Center. I was using 20 year old sheets that had been recycled from a jail. Both beds had black pieces of something or plant material between the sheets. I had to dust off the beds prior to using them. They were not dead bugs and I could not figure out what they were. Maybe it was better that way.
3) There were two hangers in the closet.
4) The toiletry bottles looked as if they had been reused for many years. The printing on the bottles was worn off and the “safety seals” had been reused so many times that they hardly had any sticky stuff on them. Yech.
5) The bed was next to a window. This window looks out onto the patio area. The window coverings are slatted blinds which had large gaps in covering the window glass. Anyone on the patio can actually see into your room. So, for women, don’t get ready for bed or walk out of the shower at night when there is a light on – someone can literally be sitting outside your window and be looking in. I would not want my wife stay there. There does not seem to be a time limit when they close the patio. At 12:30am three people pulled up chairs outside my window (less than eight feet from my head!) and starting talking and laughing. I called the front desk – no answer. I did get an answering machine that told me the hotel was a 24/7 hotel. I went downstairs and found the night desk person sleeping in a little closet or room off the lobby! No desk person and no security! I plugged my ears with wet toilet paper and managed to get some four hours of sleep.
6) I complained the next morning and got moved to the really tiny room which was fine with me. When I got back in the afternoon the always helpful and friendly John said that he wanted to move me to a larger room on the outside of the horseshoe. He was very insistent because he wanted me to enjoy my room and my stay. John really does care about his guests. He also seemed to know about his sleepy night person. So, we go to the first big room and opened the door and obviously someone had used the bed! Woops. So, we went to the next room which seemed to be adequately cleaned. The bed covering was somewhat cleaner but the same black items were between the sheets. This room is on the Toyota Center side of the building (southwest).
7) I went to bed and thought – “How quiet.” Until - the trains started moving and blowing their whistles. The hotel is located about 1 mile from train tracks and the train people sure do love their whistles. This sound carried amazingly well. So, back to the wet toilet paper in the ears trick. While I had heard the trains in my first room it was more background noise than bothersome. In this second room I felt like a conductor was going to ask me for my ticket.
8) There is a “guest laundry” (washer and dryer) at the end of the hallway. Some inconsiderate person placed items in there which included metal pieces that clanked for an hour. Again, a simple rule that shut this area down at 9 or 10 o’clock would help.
I love smaller, friendly, non-corporate, off the radar hotels. This would be a great hotel if they had clean bed coverings and sheets, a few simple rules to limit the patio area and laundry to pre-10pm, and had a desk clerk who did not sleep during his night shift. The price is certainly great and the staff is very friendly and very helpful. I really think that John cares about his guests.
RECOMMENDATION: If you want to stay here make sure you get an outside room on the northwest side of the building. I am assuming that this would be the quietest area. However, I cannot guarantee that. The inside rooms are quiet unless there are people on the patio. However, there is no real safeguard against people looking into your room. It was disconcerting to have people right outside my window at 12:30am. I find this a real security problem and potentially dangerous. My wife would not stay here. Would I stay here again? Not unless I could get a northwest room and knew that I would have clean bed coverings.. The internet website labels the hotel as four star with noise resistant rooms, work desk (not in my room), and luxurious counter tops in spacious bathrooms (not really). I get to stay at four star hotels. This hotel is two star at best, with a four star manager and assistant. Again, John and James are great. It pains me to write a review such as the one I have written because I really liked John and James.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Athens Hotel & Suites is your home away from home when you come to visit beautiful Houston, TX. Book a room today for your next stay with us! ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Athens Hotel Houston