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“Palatial But Not Perfect”

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Renaissance Portsmouth-Norfolk Waterfront Hotel
Ranked #1 of 5 Hotels in Portsmouth
Certificate of Excellence
New Bern, NC
Level Contributor
7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Palatial But Not Perfect”
Reviewed August 17, 2008

Walking the long hallway between the front desk and the elevators in this large hotel is like passing thrugh a palace. The restaurant has a good view of the Elizabeth River and was nice enough to give me lunch though it was five minutes before closing time.
Since I am a Marriott Rewards member, I was put on the concierge floor (16), which was nice as it had a special lounge room for concierge floor residents that offered breakfast and snacks and drinks in the evening. The room was fine.
The staff was OK and one front desk gentleman was particularly nice, even giving me complimentary parking based on the fact I was driving a hybrid car. However, my room had a view of the shipyard part of the river, not the Norfolk city view that I thought (and my records show) that I had booked. I was charged as if I had the city view. Staff at the desk were not helpful about it, saying only that the Website would have indicated it and I could wait until one opened up. Unfortunately, I did not have my printed record with me to show them but I will be sure to have it next time. Also, when I checked out, the lady was going to charge me for parking until I insisted that I had been granted comp parking earlier.
All in all, you get what you pay for here - elegance and fine views, but be careful to establish the details of your stay early, bring hard copy proof of your reservation and remember the names of staff who offer any kind of discount.

  • Liked — The elegance, the location and views.
  • Disliked — The uninterested and at times unhelpful attitude of the front desk staff.
  • Stayed August 2008, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank enchantme
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DOSMPortsmouth, Director of Sales at Renaissance Portsmouth-Norfolk Waterfront Hotel, responded to this review, September 27, 2008
Hi

Thank you very much for your recent comment. We are always eager to hear how we are doing and ALWAYS have an open door for our guests.

You're right, the long hallway from the desk to the guest elevators definitely offers a palace fee. The hotel was designed to house very large conferences and move a great deal of people between meeting facilities. When the property was built, the designers wanted to blend the rich shipping and nautical history of our area with a unique brand design. If you noticed, the dark wood arches over the "long hallway" resembles the hull of 17th century tall ships.

Often times, hotel guests depart, or check out, later than expected. I'm sure you experienced this in the past. When this happens, things sometime do not go as expected. Typically, it takes housekeepers about 30 minutes to clean a standard guest room. Sometimes an early check in doesn't jive with a late check out. I'm glad that we were able to check you in to a concierge level room and I'm sorry that a Norfolk City View room wasn't available. It is our policy to ALWAYS offer to move you and your belongings to the appropriate room once it becomes available.

Marriott reward members make up the bulk of our frequent travelers. Each reward level offers perks and upgrades. If there is anything that we can do to make your NEXT stay with us even better, please don't hesitate to call us.

Thanks!
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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (196)
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English first
Houston, Texas
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed August 6, 2008

I could not agree with the prior review more - it was completely right on. The hotel is stunningly beautiful - upon arrival you will be delighted by the magnificence of the facility. From that point on it is a disaster. The staff is at best bored and at worst rude. I had an incident which is beyond comprehension. I spoke with Marriott customer service and then with the hotel's GM. He was very nice on the phone but there was no follow-up apology and I believe he thought his staff was "in the right."

I have yet to spend a night at the hotel when the in-room products were restocked properly.

This hotel desparately needs a new General Manager because the only consistency is the horrendous attitude throughout. This is a franchise hotel (not owned by Marriott) and Marriott should seriously consider pulling the franchise rights!

  • Liked — The facility
  • Disliked — The service and attitude of staff
  • Stayed July 2008, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
3 Thank HaddonTraveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
VA
Level Contributor
23 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
Reviewed July 20, 2008

We visited Portsmouth from our very nearby home city in order to attend the Bryan Adams/Foreigner concert and to celebrate my upcoming birthday. My DH chose the Renaissance because, frankly, there are limited accommodations available in Portsmouth and we are Marriott rewards members. The hotel is very attractive and inviting physically. The rooms are appointed nicely with upscale toiletries. It is conveniently located within walking distance to restaurants and historical sites in Old Town. My grave concern is over service and housekeeping. We were on the top floor of the concierge level of the hotel. When we entered our room it looked fresh and clean. I am stickler, though, and upon further inspection I noticed hair on the bathroom floor and in the tub so out came my handy wipes to finish the maid’s job. I also noted that the maid had lazily stuffed a few beige Kleenexes in with the white ones instead of switching out the almost empty box. We, of course, ran out Oof tissues later that evening. I didn’t let these small things get me down and we proceeded to go on a walk and to a lovely lunch at Brutti’s. Before the concert we freshened up and I decided to use the mouthwash provided for us on the sink counter instead of reaching into my bag for my own mouthwash. When I twisted the lid, I noticed that there was no safety seal on the actual bottle. Then, I noticed that the foil seal on top of the bottle had been punctured. I took it out to show my husband whose face turned white when he realized I had not used it. Earlier, he had the same idea but instead of confirming with me that I had indeed broken the seal, he just used it! Disgusting! The maid had not even bothered to switch out the previous guest’s toiletry items. This is unconscionable for a hotel of this caliber. My husband calmly called down to the front desk to report this to the manager on duty. The receptionist was truly appalled and said she would have him call us back. When he did, his attitude was insulting. First, he implied that he did not believe us because he said he would have to ask the maid what had happened. As if we could make this up... Then, he asked if we wanted him to send up more mouthwash. We are talking about a situation in which my husband could have gotten ill and this is the concern we were shown. Prior to checking out the next day, we left 2 messages for the Director of Operations who was scheduled to be on duty but was nowhere to be found. It is now 24 hours later, we have not heard back from him. I am a Marriott rewards member because I have had consistently good experiences in all of the various Mrriott brands we have stayed at. It is my opinion that if a hotel does not have excellent service, it doesn’t really matter what the physical condition is. When something goes awry, the hotel’s management should attend to the matter to the customer’s satisfaction and should also take responsibility for the occurrence! We have 5 nights at various Marriott properties scheduled in the near future. I certainly hope the service is considerably better than in this one.

  • Liked — location
  • Disliked — lack of management response to our concern
  • Stayed July 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank oliviaonthebeach
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
North Huntingdon, PA
Level Contributor
22 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
Reviewed June 21, 2008

We have stayed at this hotel previously. My husband travels to the area for business from time to time. The lobby is beautiful and the rooms are nicely furnished and comfortable. I found them to be very clean.

We have stayed at many other hotel chains and found this property a little disappointing. They nickel and dime you to death for everything. Wireless internet is expensive, they charge you for the newspaper, no cookies or coffee in the lobby. There is a charge for parking. There is no microwave and no refrigerator in the rooms. You may be able to get them but I'm sure there would be an extra charge.

The view of the water is nice but there isn't alot to do in the area other than shopping at some antique shops, children's museum and sports museum. We did go to the Virginia zoo and Busch Gardens from the hotel but traffic and driving in that area is crazy.

We may try another boutique hotel the next time we are in the area that offers free wireless internet, free parking, continental breakfast, etc.

  • Liked — The lobby
  • Disliked — Nickel and dime you to death.
  • Stayed June 2008, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank OfcSupport
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DOSMPortsmouth, Director of Sales at Renaissance Portsmouth-Norfolk Waterfront Hotel, responded to this review, September 27, 2008
Thank you for your response and choosing the Renaissanace Portsmouth Hotel. We are always excited to introduce our seaside city to out-of-towners and are very proud of our historical community.

I apologize if our hotel gave any impression that Parking etc. was a complimentary service. The Parking garage is a city owned and managed facility, not the hotel's. If we could provide parking as a complimentary service, we definitely would. In comparison, our parking rates are significantly cheaper than parking in downtown Norfolk (more than 18.00 per day for overnight parking.) As you may know, our hotel, like all other Marriott Full Service hotels, does not offer complimentary internet in our guestrooms. Internet is complimentary in the lobby and public areas and is disclosed at the front desk, and in our guestroom directories. Newspapers are provided as a complimentary service and is our brand standard for all guests.

While we don't have a coffee kiosk set up in the lobby, we provide complimentary coffee in the restaurant at the hostess station. This is a typical and standard service at all Marriott full service hotels.

You're right, maybe we need to call more attention to the services that we offer...however, they are present in the hotel.

When traveling to our area again, please don't hesitate to call us. We would love to have you back!

Our hotel is going through a "nip and tuck" in November and December-2008. We will be the newest and freshest hotel in the downtown corridor and are excited that our owners have committed to providing the best accommodations in the Hampton Roads area.

Thank you!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Arlington
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed May 21, 2008

When my husband said he had booked us a hotel in Portsmouth, I was not overjoyed (having lived in the area 15 years ago- havent been back since). My jaw dropped when we took the Portsmouth Exit. The hotel is beautiful!! The view from our room was great and the bed was so comfortable I didnt want to get up. I could not imagine 15 years ago such a first class hotel in Portsmouth. I didnt recognize anything in the area. Abandoned buildings were now restaurants, and shops. We ended up having dinner at the hotel one night (try the she crab soup) and then ate at the Flagship the next .. FANTASTIC. The entire area was clean and well maintained, it was a totally different city than I remembered

The entire staff from the front desk clerk to our housekeeper was friendly and helpful, they even remembered our name though we were only there for two days.

Stayed May 2008
Helpful?
2 Thank Wanderlust1801
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
nyc
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed April 8, 2008

I was able to get a deal for this hotel on Hotwire and paid half the rate, so i can't complain for what i paid. I don't think it is worth the full price. Its one of the few decent places to stay in Portsmouth if you won't consider a B&B. The room was clean, the bedding was good quality and comfortable but some of the service left something to be desired. When i checked in there was only one person at the desk to handle about 10 people. One irate woman- a guest at a wedding being held there jumped the line because her room was still not ready which prompted the one desk clerk to find a manager and solve her problem, then the manager promptly disappeared again- leaving a now even longer line to the clerk. A room service card left on the door was never picked up , and the quality of the food in the restaurant left alot to be desired. Portsmouth Old Town has some really good restaurants where you will definitely have a better meal.
The cleaning staff puts dirty glasses and cups in the hallways after cleaning the rooms- and on the two nights i was there no one came to pick them up all day/night. The hallway was lined with dirty dishes!

  • Stayed April 2008, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank emmayberry
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Maryland
1 review
Reviewed March 26, 2008

The staff was very polite. There is a lot of history at this Hotel. Many, many pictures from the past... Showing the History involved with this location. I was disappointed that with a discounted Hotel stay you don't get any of the perks of regular paying Customers for Example: The Bath Robe, Fresh Cut Flowers in your room, etc.

We had a very Restless night! The Hotel Lobby is decorated nicely but, the rooms decor is very old fashioned and out dated (especially the carpet and furniture). The room wasn't very clean and were in bad need of being throughly vacuumed and/or cleaned especially behind the chairs, around the bed and all the corners. OMG there was a 1/2" thick layer of dust under the TV (My husband has Allergies so he took a lot of Allergy meds during our stay).

Scared of ghost or do they make you uncomfortable? Well, there is a lot of paranormal activity in and throughout this Hotel. I felt something touch me several times in the room while trying to go to sleep. My Daughter and Husband seen many aparitions in our room and my Husband was followed and watched by many spirits during the middle of the night while walking to and from the parking garage.

He also seen many spirits down in the Lobby area close to the elevators. There seems to have been a lot of deaths in this Hotel dating way back before and during Slavery times. He saw dead Soldiers and Slaves dressed in old fashioned clothing.

We couldn't go to sleep peacefully until after 5:00 a.m. that's about when I last looked at the clock. We checked out about 2:00 p.m. (Thanks to Crystal she extended our check out time) and left and checked into the Marriott Hotel (which was newly Built) in Suffolk/Chesapeake, Virginia (I really wished we had stayed there both nights).

Portsmouth is a nice place to visit but, I will NEVER stay at the Renaissance Portsmouth Hotel and Waterfront Conference Center again even if it was FREE. No, Thank you.

Are you scared of Ghost ? If so, you might not want to stay there!

  • Stayed March 2008, traveled on business
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank ahall1000
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
drewchan, General Manager at Renaissance Portsmouth-Norfolk Waterfront Hotel, responded to this review, April 3, 2008
Dear Scared of Ghost,
I sincerely apologize for the poor housekeeping and attention to detail of your guest room. I appreciate you bringing it to our attention and assure you that housekeeping has been dispatched to the room you occupied to complete a deep clean. Concerning the ghosts.... what can I say? Our hotel was built in 2001and to my knowledge there have been no previous sightings by other guests. While I am not sure a claim of being haunted would be good for business or bad for business, I would not want our future guests to either be freightened or dissapointed, depending on their viewpoint.
Sincerely,
Andy Schiavone
General Manager
757-673-3001
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Renaissance Portsmouth-Norfolk Waterfront Hotel

Property: Renaissance Portsmouth-Norfolk Waterfront Hotel
Address: 425 Water St, Portsmouth, VA 23704-3801
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Virginia > Portsmouth
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 5 Hotels in Portsmouth
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Renaissance Portsmouth-Norfolk Waterfront Hotel 3.5*
Number of rooms: 249
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Blending traditional elegance and modern style, our waterside Norfolk, VA area hotel in the historic downtown district of Olde Towne Portsmouth provides calming comfort and soothing relaxation. The Renaissance Portsmouth hotel boasts a hip location overlooking the vibrant, revitalized waterfront and offers stunning views of the Elizabeth River. Set above the harbor, the Portsmouth Ballroom's unique outdoor terrace, part of the 24,000 square feet of Norfolk area hotel meeting space, provides a stunning reception area sure to draw rave reviews from your guests. This updated luxurious Norfolk, Virginia area hotel also features 23 meeting rooms including a 70-seat Amphitheater. Savor the atmosphere of this waterside hotel in Portsmouth at Foggy Point Bar & Grill, presenting a selection of fresh seafood. Visitors to the area can enjoy the unique experience of taking the nearby water taxi across to many of the Norfolk business and visitor destinations including the Norfolk Naval facilities. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Renaissance Portsmouth Hotel And Waterfront Conference Center
Renaissance Portsmouth Hotel & Waterfront Portsmouth

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