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Old Dec 28, 10, 4:25 pm   #1
 
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Breakfast and managers evening reception at Embassy Suites

Recently I stayed in the Embassy Suites in two different towns. Some observations.
1. Can't help wondering How does the Hotel afford it? It must be costing them a fortune! People, after finishing their breakfast, were piling up plates for the lunch/snack later. They were filling thermos with coffee and empty bottles with orange juice. There are lots of hungry/greedy people out there.
2. No two hotel breakfasts (same chain) are the same. In another Hotel of the same chain, the service people were like hawks watching over who takes what and were actually dolling out portions.
3. The evening manager's reception had pretzels and nacho chips. From the amount of cheese that was consumed, I could see why we have an obesity problem.
4. In one Hotel, the room number was required (I guess they don't want next door conventioneers wandering in for free breakfast/drinks) while the other one didn't.
5. The car parking in both was exhorbitant. I guess, parking pays for the freebies.
6. More expensive the Hotel, less were the facilities, service, and amenities. The number of trash cans is inversely proportional to the price of the room. Besides, they hide them. Hunt for trash cans in the room.
7. If you look tired/dumb/foreign, the clerk would try to down load the worst room on you. The clerk keeps insisting that its all they've got. Like automobile sales, if you complain or insist on a better room, the clerk disappears and a "manager" appears who magically puuls out another better room.
8. (Gross!) Saw a huge ball of hair in a busy elevator-either someone had a haircut right in the elevator or the winter storm was more powerful than I thought!
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Old Dec 28, 10, 5:18 pm   #2
 
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Having stayed at many Embassy Suites hotels I see nothing surprising in observations 1-4. The brand caters to people who enjoy the extra space, the free breakfast, and the evening drinks. That's the value proposition ES offers. The fact they offer these extras at a price that's (sometimes) only slightly higher than traditional nearby hotels should make you wonder-- but it should make you wonder why those nearby hotels aren't cheaper when they offer so much less.

I doubt they're making it up on the parking fees. I've only seen ES charge for parking in predictable locations such as airports, resorts, and city centers, where all hotels are charging for parking.

Items 6-8 can happen anywhere. I don't see those as special to ES.
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Old Dec 29, 10, 7:09 am   #3
 
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I love staying at Embassy Suites for many reasons already mentioned.

Probably the most unusual/interesting/valuable ES experience was sort of a competition between the really nice hotel bar and the manager's reception (I think Dallas maybe). The bar had happy hour (2 for 1) from 4:00pm til 6:00pm with yummy hot & cold appetizers. Hubby & I went to the bar at 5:00pm, bought a round and snacked on delicious appetizers. Left a nice tip & walked over the the manager's reception to enjoy!

Worst snacks at an ES establishment was stale popcorn at a West Palm Beach ES (of all places).
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Old Dec 29, 10, 9:14 am   #4
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Originally Posted by darthbimmer View Post
The brand caters to people who enjoy the extra space, the free breakfast, and the evening drinks. That's the value proposition ES offers. The fact they offer these extras at a price that's (sometimes) only slightly higher than traditional nearby hotels should make you wonder-- but it should make you wonder why those nearby hotels aren't cheaper when they offer so much less.
I'm in an Embassy Suites right now doing a year-end mattress run. It's half a mile from a Hampton Inn that offers no free happy hour and a nasty prefab little breakfast. Oddly both properties are priced identically @ $129, so went for the ES although I generally don't like them... I find them dated, stinking of chlorine (owing to attached pool or lobby water features) and overrun with small children (as this one is now... big year-end youth hockey tournament nearby).

With dozens of children attacking the PM snacks and AM breakfast buffet like locusts, it must be a margin-shrinker indeed for the hotel's accountants.

At this ES you have to show your voucher and state your name to gain access to either freebie. Not always the case. I drank for free at the ES-SFO Airport this summer at the manager's reception, having wandered across the street from the dowdy and sad little Doubletree SFO.
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Old Dec 29, 10, 9:33 am   #5
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Breakfast is a draw for the hotel. Eggs cost them probably under a dollar a dozen, it's not a huge expense.

The parking in many cases if farmed out to another group, not run by the hotel, the hotel does not set the fees. Parking will be at whatever rate the neighborhood will accept. Many Embassy Suites offer free parking.

I've never had to hunt for trash cans in a room they are almost always under the desk and under the sink in the bathroom, nor do I agree they save the worst rooms for foreigners.

Embassy is a bit unique in the chain as many of the older properties had a life before they became Embassy Suites. That allows for many different room shapes and sizes, many different layouts, etc. For some people that's a good thing, for others it's a horrible thing, not knowing the room you are checking into is exactly the same as the one you left 600 miles ago or that breakfast will not be exactly the same.
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Old Dec 29, 10, 1:10 pm   #6
 
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There are certain locations that I actually like and others (most of them) that I avoid like the plague, usually because they are overrun with young children running around. If I know that I am going to have to complete some office work during the day, I will choose and ES for the extra space. As far as the breakfast goes, I am not a big breakfast person, so I would rather go by a Starbucks and grab a coffee that is at least drinkable (the Dowie Egberts Coffee at ES is really awful). As far as costs go, they utilize the cheapest liquor in thier drinks, so cost is usually less than .35-.50 cents per drink. The breakfast cost is usually around $2.50 pp. Add another $1 pp for the happy hour food buffet, total cost to the hotel is less than $5 pp per night. If 2 people stay in the room, that is $10 per room night. If thier average rate is $125 per night, then there is plenty of profit left over to support these amenities...

My favorite ES Hotels:
ES Orlando Downtown
ES Indianapolis
ES San Diego Downtown/Waterfront
ES Atlanta Downtown
ES Financial District New York - now closing )-:

ES to Avoid:
Any location other than downtown in Orlando
Niagara Falls - awful, they should lose thier franchise
ES Baton Rouge
Any ES whose photos still look like the older mediterranian style (usually means that they are still circa 1980 inside)
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Old Dec 29, 10, 2:46 pm   #7
 
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I'd say it is a fixed cost in their model and I bet they make it up on ccupancy over time...only a guess though.

We just stayed at the ES Denver Convention Center, just opend a week or so ago, this was by for the best that i have seen, both breakfast and drinks the night before.

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Old Dec 29, 10, 3:21 pm   #8
 
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I like ES because of the breakfast, the manager's reception, and the workout facilities.

My usual ES doesn't have the 'freeloader' problem the OP described. I think it is because it is filled mostly with businessmen from the local Fortune 500s. They also have free fruit "For Your Pleasure" at the front entrance all day long. You won't go hungry in that hotel so there is no need to hoard food. I always take a soda up to my room after b-fast. I always take a banana when I "come home" for the day. I make several trips to the Manager's Reception. All-in-all I suspect that I consume not more than $5 in fruits, veg, snacks, b-fast, and soda per day. Now if I had prepared this at home it would have taken $10-15 per day. But ES buys so much of it's stuff in bulk and little goes to waste since there are so many people. A box of crackers can cost me $3 and $1.50 of it will go stale. ES can buy a case of crackers for $15, none of it will go stale, and they will feed dozens of people off of it.

I recently was in an ES in Columbus, OH. The hotel was beautiful but you were required to have b-fast tickets and there was no serve yourself soda fountain. The entire time I felt like "my kingdom for a Diet Coke." They had 3-4 people working the b-fast and you literally couldn't find anyone to get you a Coke. If this had been my only ES experience I'd have written off the chain completely.

You do pay for the b-fast though. I've noticed when I stay alone I get one rate but when I bring someone I'm always quoted a higher rate. It looks to me that the cost of food per person is about $7.

One thing I will say for the chain is that it is in no small part responsible for my weight loss. When I started Weight Watchers last year travel was a big problem. But ES has great food choices. They can make you an omlette any way you need it. No oil? No problem. Egg Beaters or whites? Sure, which do you prefer? Need fruits and veg? We've got you covered! Tired of being subjected to other's poor programming tastes? You can have your own TV in the fitness center! Feeling peck-ish at 3PM? Care for a banana? Need a smart dinner? You've got a mini-fridge and microwave and we'll provide the crudités. ES nights are some of my best weight loss days. You can't get that at most other hotels.

Your experience is going to vary. I've found hotels tend to reflect their clientel and their region. People at my usual ES and Hampton don't take advantage of the "free" stuff. So there is no metering of supplies including booze. At other hotels where there is metering I can only suspect that there are/were people taking advantage. Pay parking would never work where I live (even in downtown). Free parking wouldn't work well in NYC.
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Old Dec 30, 10, 10:53 am   #9
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Originally Posted by It'sHip2B^2 View Post
...free fruit "For Your Pleasure" at the front entrance...


Bananas I presume.
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Old Dec 30, 10, 12:36 pm   #10
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In general the breakfast is the draw for families, but I'll have to admit seen lots of business folk in the evening reception, maybe why ES is using it to draw the business crowd.
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Old Dec 30, 10, 7:43 pm   #11
 
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You have to remember the ES has two separate business models. During the week it is business people, mostly one person per room. A lot do not even eat. I rarely see it busy in the mornings. At night the mngrs reception is nice, but once again not crazy. On the weekends it is camp embassy. Families looking for a good deal, free breakfast for four is worth 30 - 40 bucks plus a couple of free drinks at night. 100 -125 bucks a night is a decent deal. It is better then the alternative though. I often find very nice Hiltons downtown or near the airport on the weekend dirt cheap and deserted.
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Old Dec 31, 10, 10:55 am   #12
 
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OP...

Quote:
Originally Posted by It'sHip2B^2 View Post
I like ES because of the breakfast, the manager's reception, and the workout facilities.

One thing I will say for the chain is that it is in no small part responsible for my weight loss. When I started Weight Watchers last year travel was a big problem. But ES has great food choices. They can make you an omlette any way you need it. No oil? No problem. Egg Beaters or whites? Sure, which do you prefer? Need fruits and veg? We've got you covered! Tired of being subjected to other's poor programming tastes? You can have your own TV in the fitness center! Feeling peck-ish at 3PM? Care for a banana? Need a smart dinner? You've got a mini-fridge and microwave and we'll provide the crudités. ES nights are some of my best weight loss days. You can't get that at most other hotels.

Actually, nothing is more unpredictable as the workout facilities at these properties!!!! (All properties, I suppose.) Some of the workout facilities haven't been updated since the hotel was built. Some don't even have water or santi-wipes, so I always bring my own.

A few years ago, I stopped going to the ES. For the same reasons you mentioned above (being able to stay OP w/WW) is why I stay at the Homewood Suites. A full hot breakfast is wasted on me. Half the time, the ES don't have fresh fruit anymore and the Hampton Inn has a better selection of fruit. I don't eat a big breakfast....I take a few Vita-tops with me and, yep...you guessed it, Homewood Suites always has a TOASTER! I have a Babybel Light and some greek yogurt (don't ask me how/why, but I can take greek yogurt through the airport x-ray without incident!!!) and I'm out the door. So I don't even bother going down to that crazy breakfast place. I always bring my own coffee (have for 15+ years--even on vacations) so I don't need to mess with their coffee either.

As far as the alcohol--I haven't seen "good" wine or "good" beer served in a very long time. I won't waste my calories on the likes of Bud or MGL...nor Canyon Creek Merlot! Some ES have Salmon Creek, and if they have a cab, I may partake. And every once in awhile they would have Firestone on tap (brewery in Buelton, CA) or Sierra Nevada, but those days are over. I could care less about liquor...if you travel for a job, you pretty much have to mirror what you do during the week if you are not on the road. I don't have a couple of alcoholic drinks on any weeknight when I'm not on the road, so I don't even feel moved to get a beer on a Tuesday night while in the field!!

What I dislike most about most ES is the "dungeon-like" atmosphere in the rooms. It is so dark in the living rooms. Although there are a few that have been remodeled and are pretty nice, generally speaking, I will choose a Homewood Suites property any day of the week over an ES.

And if the exercise facility is awful...there is typically a 24 -hour fitness not too far away.

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Old Dec 31, 10, 9:37 pm   #13
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Winecaptain View Post

ES to Avoid:
Any location other than downtown in Orlando
Niagara Falls - awful, they should lose thier franchise
ES Baton Rouge
Any ES whose photos still look like the older mediterranian style (usually means that they are still circa 1980 inside)

I also had a horrible experience at ES Baton Rouge a few months ago. Room was filthy, and even had roaches. Air conditioning was loud, toilet ran all night, etc. Breakfast was horrible.

Complained to management and got nowhere. Left a bad review and finally got a response from management and instead of a refund, get this.. I got a coupon for one free night to come back and stay at their crappy hotel for free. UNREAL!

If you're a fan of ES downtown Atlana (I assume you mean the one at Centennial Olympic Park), then you'd like the one at Atlanta Galleria. It has been completely refurbed, and parking is free. Nice place.
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Old Jan 1, 11, 8:30 am   #14
 
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Originally Posted by kymbakitty View Post
As far as the alcohol--I haven't seen "good" wine or "good" beer served in a very long time. I won't waste my calories on the likes of Bud or MGL...nor Canyon Creek Merlot! Some ES have Salmon Creek, and if they have a cab, I may partake. And every once in awhile they would have Firestone on tap (brewery in Buelton, CA) or Sierra Nevada, but those days are over...
It's been a while (my brother's family often stays there as three kids can eat a lot of expensive breakfast in a city), but the ES Chicago Lakefront has had some decent beers on tap along with the usual Bud/Miller crapola. I think it rotates, but our local Goose Island stuff can be pretty good.

The difference per beer between garbage and quality stuff out of a full keg is very little. Not like wine. Never understood the point of cheaping out on beer. If I were marketing for an independent regional/niche brewery, I'd subsidize one of my better beers to get it in front of the public at a place like ES. It would seem to be very cheap advertising, given what they spend at beer festivals and community events and such.

The liquor and wine seem to be pretty bottom-shelf in general (some exceptions), but I'm a beer guy, so I don't care. I recall my Dad was able to get J&B scotch there, which is at least decent, I'm told.

Avoid "House of Usher" scotch (My portmanteau for "House of Stuart" and/or "Usher's Green Stripe.").
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Last edited by toomanybooks; Jan 1, 11 at 9:06 am..
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Old Jan 1, 11, 11:41 am   #15
 
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Originally Posted by Gynob001 View Post
5. The car parking in both was exhorbitant. I guess, parking pays for the freebies.
I stayed at an ES recently and parking was free. I think it totally depends on the city. Also no hairball in the elevator either.
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