Dec 132004

I’m in Portland today, and I’ll be taking the bus back to Seattle tomorrow morning. For the last two nights I stayed at The Benson. This is a four-star hotel that I booked through Hotwire. It was an awful stay. It was expensive, noisy, smoky, and the service was poor at best. I ended up staying an additional night in Portland, and I switched to the Vintage Plaza. The Vintage Plaza is between a three- and four- star hotel.

What’s interesting is that most people associate the number of stars with the level of service. But this isn’t really how stars are awarded in hotel ratings. Stars just refer to the level of amenities. For example, in a two-star hotel, you are guaranteed a private bath and a way to get to your room from the reception area without going outside. has some good articles on the star rating system as it applies to Europe.

In other words, stars are not a good metric for determining whether or not the hotel you want to stay in is good. You should be assured of the following in any hotel you stay in, if it is a one- star or a four-star:

  • A clean room
  • A smoking- or non-smoking-room as requested
  • A quiet room
  • A safe room
  • Courteous staff
  • Privacy

If you don’t get all of these items at any hotel, you are getting cheated.

I will write a note to the management and owners of The Benson when I get back to New York City. Some of the problems I encountered included:

  • A noisy room above a ballroom and down the hall from a suite of people having a party.
  • A new room with smaller beds….
  • and that had been a smoking room for the previous guest.
  • Assurances that an ozone machine would be used in my room to get rid of the smoke…
  • That wasn’t put in until the evening…
  • And was picked up by a porter at 10:45 PM who entered the room without calling or knocking first.

Never mind that the hotel also charged for Internet access, local calls, and Sunday newspapers.

I should have just booked the entire stay with the Vintage Plaza. It cost a little more, but I would be happier and perkier now.

 Posted by at 6:24 pm

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