Tuesday, September 4, 2012

No Peace to be Found at Hotel Arts

Hotel Arts
The humans third wedding anniversary was coming up and in previous years, they never did anything to celebrate other than go out to eat. This year, I was determined to get them to do something different, romantic, and relaxing, such as getting away. Originally I thought that Banff or Lake Louise would be nice destinations, but no matter how hard I searched, I couldn’t find a hotel room that they could afford. I hadn’t been to Banff since I was adopted from the Cows there, so I hadn’t a clue that hotel rooms there are generally over $200 per night! Given that they would also have to spend money on a car rental to get to and around either destination, since we don’t own a car, spending at least $600 for 3 nights, and likely another $200-300 for a car rental was too much to spend before they’d eaten or done any activities.

Funky Light Fixtures
So instead, I opted to look for someplace in Calgary that was centrally located, had good reviews on TripAdvisor, and wouldn’t blow the budget. I finally settled on a luxury king room at Hotel Arts since they had good reviews. Also the pictures looked nice, the male human had stayed there one night a year ago for work and liked it, and only cost $108 per night. Plus it was centrally located so we could take the Red Arrow to Calgary, then walk or take public transit everywhere, saving us the cost of a car rental, and allowing us to spend the money on eating out instead. By the way, I apologize for the lack of photos of the hotel and the room, but you can check out photos of the rooms on the Hotel Arts website, and are fairly accurate. You just can’t see some of the things I discuss below as to what they are lacking. 

More Funky Light Fixtures
The d├ęcor of the hotel itself is modern and funky, and unlike other places we’ve stayed before in Calgary, the rooms furnishings were updated and clean. They were however sorely lacking plug-ins in convenient places, such as under or on above the desk. The nearest and only free plug-ins we found were located at a bit of a distance from the desk, beside a lounge chair. This meant that in order to charge our iPhones, we had to rest them on the lounge chair. Thankfully we had a long cord for the laptop that could reach the desk. There was also no bar fridge, no drawers to store clothing in, and only 4 small square cubby holes in the closet for clothes we weren’t going to hang up. Wifi was available in room for a price, but free in the lobby and lounge. Although the bathrooms were beautifully finished with marble, I wished that they had spent less money on marble and more money on the items the room was lacking. The humans wished that they had a better showerhead with more water pressure, as they thought the bathroom sink had more water pressure.
The male human was severely sleep deprived from working into the wee hours of the morning in order to meet a deadline at work, so a good night’s sleep was a necessity the first night. Unfortunately, it was not meant to be. Although I realize that a hotel cannot know what type of guests they will wind up with, surely if they know that their guests are booking under an event or group discount, such as a rock festival or wedding, it’s likely these groups will be in a celebratory mood.

It had been quiet when we went to bed around 11pm, but were awoken shortly after 2pm by yelling, which we could hear with earplugs in. The female human went to investigate and found that almost the whole floor was partying with their doors open, with people wandering from room to room. She approached the room next door and asked them to keep it down since we were sleeping, but they claimed that they were not the offending party, even though it was obvious to her they were hanging out with everyone else. It was also fairly obvious that they were drunk, and she suspected high as well judging by their bloodshot eyes. A suspicion confirmed some time later when we heard a girl in the hallway ask if all the drugs were gone.

She then approached another group that had their door open and asked them to keep the volume down. They did seem genuinely apologetic, but shortly after she returned to the room, the noise did not subside. We waited half an hour then called the front desk, who sent a security guard to give them a warning. They did mention that guests only receive one warning before they are evicted from the premises, which we were happy to hear. After some more time had passed and it became louder in the hallway, we called again. The partygoers did eventually choose to leave to party elsewhere, but we were awoken again a few hours later upon their return. At this point, we didn’t bother calling since it was obvious they were not evicted from the premises as the hotel claimed they would be after one warning.

The next morning we spoke with the front desk about the issue, and inquired about being moved to a floor that might be quieter. Unfortunately, the hotel had large groups booked on every floor and said that a move wouldn’t likely help us. They also mentioned that they believed that the offending guests were scheduled to check out that day, as they were all attendees of XFest. They did offer to give us complimentary breakfast to apologize, however, we already had all the places we would be eating at laid out for the weekend, so we wouldn’t be able to use the complementary breakfast anyway. After insisting that there wouldn’t be a day that we would be able to utilize a free breakfast, they instead offered to cover the $40 in room service we had ordered the night before, as well as that coming night’s room charge. It was that last offer that swayed us to stay another night, as the idea of saving ourselves $108 was appealing. However, we did book another hotel for our third night that afternoon, just in case we experienced another sleepless night. 

That evening we went to bed after taking a sleep aid and put in our earplugs, hoping for the best and shortly after 2am, people yelling profanities at each other could be heard from next door. After about fifteen minutes, the female human called the front desk, and they sent a security guard to speak with them. We heard the security guard speak with them and them complain briefly that they had just arrived, but for a few minutes, it was quiet… Then not again until almost 3:30am, and given the lack of action taken by the hotel the previous night, we didn’t bother to call the front desk a second time to complain. Instead, the female human and I wound up staying awake for the remainder of the night.

We packed up first thing the next morning and went to check out. We let the front desk know that the previous days’ front desk staff had promised to cover the room service charge and one nights’ stay off. Unfortunately, they had only taken the room service charge off. We explained that the only reason we agreed to stay another night was because they said they wouldn’t be charging us for it. They asked why we hadn’t requested to be moved to another room, and we explained that we had but were told that there wasn’t a floor available where we wouldn’t likely experience the same problem. After some excuses from the hotel about how they can’t screen hotel guests, we did manage to argue the point that the hotel hadn’t held up their policy about evicting guests after one warning. As well, we did point out that we had indicated in our reservation we were here for a romantic weekend to celebrate a wedding anniversary, and that should have clued them in to put us somewhere that might have been more quiet, like at the end of a hall or in a corner room. Least to say, it took a lot of back and forth discussions, but we did eventually manage to convince them to only charge us for one night.

After discussing this experience with others, we learned that noise and service at Hotel Arts has been an issue, on more than one occasion. We were also disappointed that our tweets to the @HotelArtsYYC Twitter account went unanswered during our stay. Least to say, we will not be recommending this hotel to anyway, and as we left, we could only hope that the last night of the humans anniversary weekend celebrations could be salvaged.

119 12 Ave SW
Calgary, AB  
Twitter: @HotelArtsYYC

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