Let me say that I am a fan of creature comfort, and the higher my internal stress level the more perfect I want my surroundings. My boyfriend and I shared a Bellevue Club Hotel premiere room while taking the July bar exam, and the accomodations were everything I could have hoped for. The room provided a relaxing study sanctuary with a large bathtub, a fireplace, and room service - everything necessary to keep one's strength up for the bar! That is, imagine - taking the gruelling all-day exam. A pleasant walk back to your hotel. Fill the huge deep bathtub with hot water and bath salts, get out your study guide, and actually relax while cramming for tomorrow. Get out of the tub, wrap up in a soft, clean cotton robe, turn on the fireplace and sink into a nice big armchair. Open the french doors to let in a fresh breeze and continue studying, in perfect comfort. When you need a break, ring for some room service and keep reading while your dinner is brought to you. After dinner, study a bit more by your warm cheery fireplace. Then get in the wide, clean, soft, cool bed and fall into relaxed sleep until you wake refreshed for another exam day.
Yes, taking the bar is awful, but staying at a place like this will make it as painless as possible...!
The hotel is a convenient distance from the convention center, where the exam is adminstered. On a map it may appear a bit farther than other recommended hotels, but it really is just about the same. We didn't bother with the car service mentioned by other reviewers, because the short walk (about a mile) to the convention center on the cool summer mornings made a perfect warm-up for a day of test-taking.
Now, specifics of our stay: The front desk staff were frankly not the greatest. When we arrived a few minutes after our scheduled check-in time, we were told that our room was not ready because some housekeeping staff had not showed up that day, or something to that effect. Not impressive! And instead of offering, say, a drink in the bar while we waited for our room to be made up, we were just told we would have to wait thirty or forty minutes and that there was a mall nearby if we wanted something to do. We did not complain or demand anything more, but really, we shouldn't have had to. If you have to complain to get excellent service, then the service is not excellent!
Also, the hotel is a bit complicated - it is part of a fitness club. However, the person who checked us in did not explain what facilities were available to hotel guests, what the hours are, where to find the hotel's cafe, etc. ... A little more attention would have been appropriate. Is it "cold" service as some reviewers have described? Maybe - there seems to be a fundamental lack of understanding about gracious hospitality. We don't want fawning or officiousness or casual conversation, just attention to detail.
Besides this rocky start, however, the stay WAS excellent. The room was well appointed, the furniture was very comfortable, the fireplace was so nice! There was no real balcony, but there were french doors that made the entire room feel like the outdoors when we opened them up. The housekeeping was discreet and meticulous. The room was big enough that two completely-stressed-out-people managed not to get in each other's way...
Despite the fact that there was construction on the grounds at the time of our stay, we were never bothered by noise.
The bathroom was great, too - they keep the commode in a seperate room from the tub, shower, sink, and vanity - this is a nice touch. The tub was wonderful, deep and long. The l'Occitane products provided became my new favorite - imagine a hotel shampoo that makes your hair more smooth and shiny than your normal shampoo!
There is morning coffee in a common room on the first floor. The coffee was fine and there were plenty of newspapers provided every day, and the room was a lovely little room with a lovely little garden beyond - but every single day, the hotel staff saw fit to broadcast some truly irritating morning radio show interspersed with truly irritating pop music. Not appropriate!
The hotel includes two restaurants and a coffee shop. I don't remember which restaurant we ordered from, but the food and wine were fine and the room service was fine.
The fitness facilities looked top-notch but we didn't have a chance to try any of them.
In short, the Bellevue Club Hotel is so comfortable and convenient, it is absolutely perfect for the kind of focus and isolation you need while taking the bar - or any other miserable hard work that will take you all day every day during your time in Bellevue. Everything needed is at hand, and you will not be distracted by noise or discomfort. I give this four out of five because the service/attitude was imperfect, but the facilities themselves left nothing to be desired.