In some ways, the Omni Hotel is typical of the kind of business hotel I used to stay in 20 or 30 years ago. The rooms are spacious, comfortable, well furnished and suitable for a business person wanting to work quietly in spare moments outside of the office. The hotel has a restaurant, a bar, a well equipped gym and an outdoor pool. The hotel boasts conference facilities and a ballroom for functions. With our visit coinciding with the Christmas holiday season, we saw several parties take place and there was a festive atmosphere to the place. The elevators were very efficient and we never waited more than a few seconds for one to arrive. The breakfast buffet was very good with freshly cooked omelettes to order. Finally, the staff were simply outstanding; friendly, helpful and full of smiles and willing to go the extra mile to provide good service. Full marks all round for that but now on to the minus points…
Although the lobby area is very large and welcoming, other parts of the hotel look a bit tired and show their age. For example, the dominant colour scheme throughout the hotel appears to be brown. This may have been the standard a few years ago and presumably it's supposed to give the hotel a sober, business atmosphere but to me it felt a bit gloomy. Our room, although very comfortable also showed its age, particularly in the bathroom where some of the fittings seem old fashioned. For example the shower head looked as if it had seen better days and had a low water flow. The lever that switched the water between bath and shower was temperamental and it took me some time to get the shower working properly. The shower curtain seemed dull because it was coloured a light brown in line with the overall theme. Compared to modern business (and even budget) hotels in Europe, the décor in the Omni falls way behind the competition.
Hidden costs: Mrs G and I arrived at the Omni after a stressful arrival at the airport, transit through immigration and a car drive into Houston at peak traffic time. We just wanted to get to our room and relax so opted for valet parking on arrival… at 24 dollars per night as we discovered later. Self parking is a bit cheaper costing 17 dollars a night. You could argue that secure parking in other US cities (and most major European cities) comes at a similar price but somehow it just seemed excessive. I didn't realise until reading through some of the hints just now on Tripadvisor that free parking is available somewhere around the back of the hotel. Not sure how safe this option would be, especially at night.
The major rip off however is the charge for wi-fi access to the internet. More and more hotels (both quality and budget) offer cheap rate or even free internet access but the Omni charges 9.95 dollars per day except there is a catch that isn't obvious or made clear. The charge is actually 9.95 dollars per day per DEVICE. So Mrs G and I had connected with two different laptops plus a smartphone. Three devices at 9.95 per connection… kerching! To give the hotel some credit, we were able to negate the charges racked up over one week by signing up to a loyalty scheme (more junk mail on the way presumably) but seriously?
If my review seems over negative, it's not meant to be. I did enjoy my stay at the Omni and would stay there again, but I'd be interested to see how it compares with other hotels in Houston. Compared to European hotels, the Omni has a lot to learn in terms of general décor and ambience but on the other hand, the Omni could teach European hotels a thing or two about customer service. Overall I enjoyed the stay but those extra charges... ouch!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Discover a luxurious oasis at the Omni Houston Hotel. Situated on impeccably manicured grounds, the Houston Galleria hotel features the finest in Houston accommodations with 378 spacious guest rooms, including 33 luxury suites, all with sensational views of the city or pool area. Enjoy the nightlife at Black Swan. The Omni Houston Hotel is centrally located in the prestigious Uptown Post Oak/Galleria area and is just minutes from all of the excitement that Houston, Texas has to offer. You are just 10 minutes by car from the central business district and 30 minutes from George Bush Intercontinental Airport or 25 minutes from William P. Hobby Airport. Of course, our exceptional amenities and four-diamond service may make it hard to leave your room. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Omni Hotel Houston
- Omni Houston