I wanted to treat myself on my birthday, so I booked a room at the Brown Palace. It sounded luxurious and pampering, and its reputation as Denver's historic hotel was a big draw. Why was I disappointed? Because our first impression was that it caters to an older crowd who don't use modern conveniences (such as smartphones and laptops.)
I had no idea where to park, so I decided I'd probably use the valet parking service. The man who greeted us and took our car assured us that it came with unlimited retrieval service during our stay (we ended up not using the car at all, because two blocks from the hotel is free mass transit along the pedestrian mall). He took our keys and whisked our bags into the hotel. (we later discovered an all-day lot a block away, for $11.)
Checkin was smooth, but the young woman who pointed out the features of the hotel surely realized that a woman traveling with her teenage daughter probably wouldn't be interested in the hotel's cigar lounge, right? Even though I knew it would be expensive, I asked what the charge for valet parking was going to be, and was stunned to learn it was $30. (almost 20% of the price of the room!)
The hotel has a floor to ceiling atrium, with a pianist who plays lounge music on the ground floor most of the day.....but that sound bleeds into your room, which isn't always welcome. The layout of our room was confusing, with light switches in awkward places, and I hate bathroom doors that look like folding doors on a cheap closet.
There was more bad news. When I tried to access wifi, it required a password, which the front desk hadn't provided, so I used the old-fashioned telephone in the room and called information. They told me wifi was not free, in fact there was a per-device charge of $10.95/day. So my daughter's laptop + my cell phone would come to almost $22/day, with the valet parking charge---can you see why I was starting to feel "ripped off"? Does the hotel think that because you decided to splurge on a high-end room that you don't mind "extra" charges? Contrast that to the Ramada we had stayed in two days earlier that included free wifi, free drink coupons, 20% off dinner coupons, and free breakfast.
I expected to find info in the room about area attractions, maybe even a map of the local area. Nothing. There was a thick pad of paper near the telephone and a book listing hotel restaurant options and room service menus. I went downstairs to ask the concierge what we could see during our stay....but there was no concierge on duty. Back at the front desk, I found the same woman who had checked us in. She recommended the "shopping street" two blocks away, and told us about the free shuttle. I asked if the Denver Art Museum was close by, she said she wasn't familiar with it. (we found it on our own, about 5 blocks from the hotel.)
Less than a block from the hotel we found a Starbucks (free wifi). We got on the free shuttle, which took us to the far end of the pedestrian mall, where we browsed at Tattered Cover books (free wifi). We ate at a pho shop, and treated ourselves to gelato (both places had free wifi.)
When we got back to the hotel we saw the maid outside our door and a sign saying "room being serviced." It was the evening turn-down service, which I hadn't requested, and I seemed to remember from their website that it too, required an additional charge. When the maid left, she also left the radio on and the AC on high. (the thermostat, like the light switches, was not easy to find or operate.)
The best part of our room seemed to be the shower. It was a huge walk-in with sliding glass doors. It had a regular shower-head + an overhead shower-head, and you could use both at the same time (like standing under a waterfall--every luxurious.) The soaps and gels were very nice, the towels were close at hand and the kind that actually dry you (not the fluffy kind that seem to slide over your skin without removing water). There was even a makeup mirror, which was perhaps the nicest surprise of all. (many high-end hotels don't have them.) The only downside I could find in the bathroom was a lack of hooks for hanging clothes---they were located on those awful accordion doors, several steps away from where you'd probably like them to be.
We did not get charged for turn-down service, and we didn't access their wifi, so we "only" got hit with the valet parking charge and the 20% hotel tax---ouch to both. I kept wondering if the near-by Hyatt would have been closer to what I expected from a high-end hotel.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
11 April 2012
First and foremost, we would like to extend our belated birthday wishes to you and want to thank you for choosing The Brown Palace Hotel to celebrate your special occasion.
Report response as inappropriate
I am sorry to learn, however, that your stay held certain disappointments for you, especially in regards to the Internet and valet parking charges. After careful review, we have decided to only charge those guests who are utilizing our elective services, such as Internet and parking, and we continuously monitor to ensure that are pricing is either at or below what other luxury hotels in Denver are charging.
I am pleased to inform you that we do offer complimentary Internet access in our Business Center, as well as wi-fi in our Lobby Atrium. I regret any inconvenience caused to you and want to assure you that your feedback will be taken into consideration as we continue to seek ways to improve upon our guest's experience.
And please be assured that our twice-daily Housekeeping service is an amenity provided to all of our guests free of charge. I would like to apologize, however, for the radio and temperature controls being set at an uncomfortable level and appreciate your bringing this to our attention. Our staff is trained to create a comfortable and relaxing atmosphere during turndown service and we will be sure to follow up with our Housekeeping staff to ensure this is being done accordingly.
We regret to learn of your disappointments and appreciate you taking the time to share your concerns. We hope you will provide us with another opportunity to extend a more memorable experience. Please do not hesitate to contact Ryan Pratt, Director of Front Office Operations, for any assistance.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC