Generally, I was very pleased with my stay at Doubletree Charlottesville. The online listings at the various sites portray the property accurately. My overall impression is that in 1970-something, this place was probably the super glitzy modern latest and greatest. Now it is outshined by newer, better competitors and not sure what it wants to be.
The Doubletree is not a luxury property. The lobby is pretty, but you park your own car, and schlep your own bags. While the service is pleasant and professional, and they will try to give you what you ask, they do not anticipate the guests and do anything without being asked. But it's not a hard-discount value place either. They offer a decent restaurant and bar with room service, upgraded finishes and furnishings in the rooms, a pretty pool and hot tub, and good fitness center.
The buiding looks like it must have originally been a sleek glass and steel modern beauty on a dramatic site fronting a heavily wooded ravine. It must have been beautiful, and I wish I could have seen it then. Sometime later, land must have been sold, and as an earlier guest's photos show, half the rooms have a view of Sam's club. The view from the other rooms and the public spaces is still quite nice. Then some corporate moron (hey, remember the 80s?) stuck styofoam stucco googaws and hideous flicker-bulb fake gaslamps all over the outside to try to class up the place and the interior soft furnishings are all corporate faux virginia colonial fox hunts and heavy drapes that don't go with anything, so the final appearance is just sad. I wish Westin had bought the property instead of Hilton. Nowadays, your experience is fighting six lanes of road rage to cross through car dealerships and megastore parking lots to get to your room where you most likely will leave the drapes closed through your whole stay. A once distinctive place now is essentially a roadside motor hotel. This is not the setting for romance, or any special event.
But I'm just an architecture nerd, and most of the travelling public isn't as interested in that so - moving along. Present management can't do anything about Sam's Club, or super-conjested traffic on Seminole Trail. So they need to really buckle down on what they can control if they want to keep their hotel in business in its present form much longer. My room was large and nice, but the bathroom impossibly small (pitfall of 70s design). In mine, the very nice granite vanity counter was about 14 inches from the toilet. Forgive my crassness, but guys will get the description, you have to practically stand in the bathtub to close the door so you can then stand in front of the toilet. And no, you can't just pee with the door open, because the door hits the curved towel bar and thus does not open all the way. There was plenty of room to build a seperate dressing area, and when housekeeping propped doors open during the day I could see that some rooms are set up that way. Why on Earth this wasn't done in every room, I don't get. I am a man who was travelling alone, so I could put up with the bathroom, but any ladies with makeup or couples should definitely discuss the bathroom layout with the front desk before accepting a room assignment.
My room was not properly clean when I checked in. Upon entering the door, it looked sparkling perfect. But once unpacked and settled in, I sat in the archair and saw goldfish crackers under the bed and desk. Okay, so they vacuumed in a hurry. I'll ask them to do better tomorrow. But when I turned down the bed to get in and saw (well bleached, so not nasty, but nonetheless still visible) bloodstains on the sheets I was not willing to accept that. Since it was a double and I was alone, and it was late, I slept in the other bed, which was perfectly clean and comfortable. I placed the "please change" card on the stained bed. The next evening, after being out all day, I returned to ind the room again looking nice, but saw my in-room coffee not restocked, those same Goldfish on the floor, and the same stained sheet on the bed. I went to the front desk right then (about 9:30 PM) and very politely explained that this needed to be remedied. I give kudos to the staff for far exceeding my expectations then. The front desk manager invited me to have a complimentary cocktail at the bar while she pulled a crew who was cleaning meeting rooms to go clean my room. Well, the conference crew cleans a room a HECK of a lot better than housekeeping. The new sheets could bounce a quarter, the rug was vacuumed wall-to-wall like they moved furniture, and even the light bulbs were dusted and the TV remote was polished! I hope these guys got some $$ in their pockets, because the room was not their job and they really showed somebody up. Doubletree stresses in their marketing that each and every employee is empowered to "make it right" and clearly they are. But that just ticks me off, because it shows they know how do do it right, but won't until the guest asks for it. Why isn't the room just clean like that when I check in in the first place?
I slept in a little late then went down to the breakfast buffet around 9:00. They say they serve until 10, and there were still plenty of patrons in the dining room. The waitress, Kathie, gave me unusually attentive service for a buffet. When my tiny plate was full, she took it from me and carried it to my seat so I could keep looking over the choices. She invited me to sit and enjoy my coffee while she waited for my order at the omelette station to be ready. Even though juice is on the self-serve buffet, she brought me another glass when I was low. She rocked! But as seems to be the Doubletree theme, her colleagues were working against her. The buffet line had several empty dishes in place, and at one point I had to ask for serving spoons so I could get my breakfast. If they want to pull the hot food and only serve continental after 9, fine, but don't advertise the full buffet as being available until 10. Omelette-cook dude rolled his eyes a bit because he was cleaning his station when I walked up, but again his job is to make me an omelette if I ask for it up until 9:59 and I don't owe him any apology for ordering one.
For my purposes, a just-for-fun solo mental health road trip, the Charlottesville Doubletree was just fine. When I am in the area, I would stay there again if they offer the same killer rate I got this time. But if I have to pay what Doubletree normally charges, they just can't compete with several other places in town.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Doubletree by Hilton Charlottesville is located just minutes from the University of Virginia, John Paul Jones arena, Charlottesville Regional Airport and Monticello. The Doubletree by Hilton Charlottesville was named one of Expedia’s Insider's Select Hotels and Reader's Choice Hotel by the Daily Progress. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Doubletree By Hilton Charlottesville Hotel Charlottesville