The Proximity Hotel is a bit of a conundrum for me. Certain aspects of it have been done really well, but there were some niggles that spoiled the overall effect for me.
I arrived fairly late at the hotel. I received a warm welcome and check-in was handled efficiently. I mentioned that the airline had lost my luggage and that I was hoping it would be delivered overnight. They told me they would look out for it and have it sent up to my room when it arrived. Surprisingly - with the benefit of hindsight - they didn't offer me any toiletries to replace the ones in my delayed bag. So when I got to the room I had to call down for stuff like toothpaste, toothbrush etc.
The room itself was quite nice - reasonably spacious, tastefully decorated in neutral colours with some seating & a desk. Free internet was provided, both wired and wireless, throughout the hotel & restaurant.
A few minor gripes with the room - firstly there wasn't much hanging space. The wardrobe was large enough for my clothes but had my wife been with me we would really have struggled. Secondly, although the bathroom was a good size with a large shower and double sink, there was no hanging for towels - so once I'd unrolled a towel to use, it was going to stay wet. That seems strange for a hotel that is trying to reduce its environmental impact as it meant I used way more towels than would have been the case had I been able to hang them up.
The bed was pretty comfortable and the room was quiet so I had no trouble sleeping, although housekeeping did seem rather eager to clean the room in the morning - maybe I should have put the do not disturb sign out, but I do think it's a bit unreasonable to knock on the door before 9am on a Sunday morning, especially when the hotel was hosting the wedding I had attended the night before.
The hotel is served by an attached restaurant called The Printworks Bistro. I had breakfast there each morning and the quality was very good, with reasonable prices - no breakfast buffet, but most of the a la carte entrees were $10-$12 which is fine for a hotel of this class. With coffee, juice & tip this meant breakfast ran at something like $15-$20 per person. Service inside was very good, but for those who wished to sit outside on the terrace the waiters didn't seem to pass through very often, meaning a long wait to ask for a refill etc.
Which brings me to one of my main gripes about the hotel. The place has Platinum-level LEED certification meaning it has made a real effort to minimize its environmental impact - water conservation, energy from solar cells etc. So why do they feel they need to pollute the environment by filling every open space in the hotel with piped music? Even the outdoor spaces suffered from it - so you couldn't hear the birdsong sitting on the terrace at breakfast, because the music was so loud! The staff seemed to have little control over it, because on one occasion we asked for it to be turned down, to no avail. I wandered the hotel on one day looking for any spot where I could sit and read a book in silence - the only place is the smoking area in the carpark. Apparently smokers don't deserve piped music. This really spoiled it for me, and when I mentioned it to the friends I was travelling with they were generally in agreement that it was unneccessary and spoiled the enjoyment of being outdoors. I ended up spending a lot more time in my room than I would have liked, simply to get away from the musak. This one factor would be sufficient to ensure I do not recommend this hotel to anyone.
There is a little pool which was a nice temperature but was again spoiled by the piped music. Supposedly there was a pool menu but in all the time I spent there I never saw any staff offering to take orders.
So, back to the subject of my luggage. When I checked with reception the following morning I was assured that it had still not arrived, so I logged into the airline's website and tracked it - which confirmed that it had indeed been delivered to the hotel. So I went back to reception with this information and they had another look (probably actually the first look) and indeed, there it was. So much for having it sent straight up to my room when it arrived.
It's all these little things that make the difference between a good hotel and a great hotel. I feel bad being critical, because the hotel was the venue for my friends' wedding and it was a lovely day. But from a purely subjective viewpoint I'd call this hotel a near-miss in the sense that it was pretty good, and many guests probably wouldn't even notice the things that annoyed me.
Just to finish off, check-out was almost seamless. A group of us had booked a van from the hotel to take us to the airport. We asked the front desk to get all our luggage loaded into the van - and gave them the luggage tickets. On past experience I have found that it is a good idea when this process is complete to check that all the bags are there - and on this occasion, they were not. Which is just silly. It would have been very upsetting to get the airport and discover some of the bags were missing.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Built to use 36% less energy and 30% less water than a comparable hotel, the Proximity Hotel offers a glimpse of the future while celebrating the past. Sustainable practices, custom-designed furnishings, commissioned art and innovative loft-like modern design await guests in every corner of the 147-room luxury "green" hotel and its adjacent restaurant. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Proximity Hotel Greensboro