Location: Mesa, Arizona
Overall Rating: 6/10
After being matched to Hilton Diamond status a few months ago, I had been wanting to give their hotels a try. My wife and I have already made two 5-night bookings for this summer with our large number of recently acquired HHonors points from various credit card signups, so I had expected our first stays with Hilton hotels to be in July. However, on a recent trip to our Arizona company office, the Hilton Phoenix/Mesa was my hotel of choice.
Not only were the rates fantastic, but it was the closest hotel to our office, and it sounded pretty nice overall. I booked a total of 3 nights for $279, including taxes. With the current 2x promotion, the Diamond elite bonus, and the 12x return from using my Hilton HHonors Surpass American Express, I would earn about 12,000 HHonors points for the stay. The trip would give me a chance to see the HHonors loyalty program in action and compare it to both IHG and Starwood.
I arrived at the Hilton Phoenix/Mesa very late. My flight into Mesa on Allegiant had arrived just before 10:00 p.m., and it was nearly 11:00 by the time the Lyft driver got me to the hotel. The place was very quiet. I was greeted by a friendly and welcoming desk agent. As she started to check me in, I asked if I could have a top-floor room. With rates as low as they were, I figured the place wasn’t even close to full, so it was likely that I would be accommodated. I also wanted to see if she would offer me anything in terms of an upgrade.
The agent then said that she would have to clear the request with the manager, who was currently on the phone. This surprised me a little, but it still seemed reasonable enough. A few minutes later the manager was still on the phone, and I was awkwardly admiring the lobby while waiting to finish check-in. When the manager was finally off the phone, she took over the check-in terminal. She was the exact opposite of the first lady, lacking the friendliness and care that I would expect a hotel would want in their front desk staff. I finally got my room key, along with two bottles of water and a small card detailing access to the executive lounge (Diamond perks), and I was on my way.
The hotel room was nice overall, but it didn’t quite live up to what I expected. I got my request for a top-floor room, but it didn’t seem like any sort of upgrade. It was large, but almost awkwardly so. The furniture didn’t really fill it well. The TV was overly small for the width of the room, and had I used it, it would have been rather hard to watch from the bed, and impossible to watch from the couch. The couch also seemed a bit old and worn. The beds were very comfy, though, and I slept very well all three nights.
The work space was pretty standard. I used the desk to read and work a little in the evening.
The two things that needed maintenance were in the bathroom. The sink stopper was broken, so I had to manually lift it up to keep the sink draining at a reasonable rate. Kinda nasty after you have used it for brushing your teeth. The other issue was the bar for the shower curtain. It sagged substantially, and the curtain would keep sliding inward. While showering I would routinely push the curtain back toward the wall, but it would slide back down again after several seconds, leaving a good 12-inch gap. This meant I soaked a portion of the floor every day.
The view from the room was decent. I could look out over the golf course next door and the mountains in the distance. The top-floor room request paid off in that regard.
The pool was amazing. With the temperatures peaking in the mid-100s each day, an dip in the pool sounded incredibly nice. On the last evening at the hotel, I tried it out. The water was cool enough to be refreshing, but warm enough that swimming was enjoyable. The water was salty, and it made me wonder if they were using one of the natural salt disinfection systems. Whatever it was, I was happy it was not overly chlorinated. The same cannot be said of Mesa tap water.
The warmth was actually nice as I relaxed and dried off after the swim. This was probably the only enjoyable moment I had with the Mesa heat. My walks back from the office each day, although only 10 minutes, were under a brutally hot sun that made me feel like I was going to melt into the sidewalk.
What I did find hysterical were the signs posted around the pool and parking lot. The hotel is apparently absolving itself of any responsibility if you get hit in the head with a golf ball while swimming. The golf course starts just 30 yards beyond the pool, but based on the orientation, the risk of getting conked seemed minimal. Still, I bet there are some terrible golfers out there who could prove things otherwise.
The lounge was nice as well, and reminded me a lot of an airport lounge. It had a few different types of seating, two TVs displaying the news in the morning, and an offering of juice, coffee, fruit, oatmeal, pastries, and other light fare for breakfast. My Diamond status kept Transcon from paying for three days of breakfast through this perk. I also stopped in for an hour one evening when they were offering drinks and light snacks, and the lounge was quite full.
I really wanted to love this hotel. Overall, it was a good experience, but there were a few items that tainted my stay. The most frustrating was the shower issue. I considered speaking with the staff during my stay, and they likely would have moved me to a different room, but I didn’t want to go through the trouble of packing all my stuff up for just another day and a half. It was an annoyance, but not a make-or-break issue (like the AC not working, or something). I used the survey to express my thoughts to the hotel staff after my stay, and I received the following response:
“Good Morning Mr. Snyder, I wanted to take a moment to follow up with you regarding your recent stay at the Hilton Phoenix/Mesa. Thank you for taking the time to complete your guest survey. I want to assure you all comments are read and reviewed daily by the Management team an used for training purposes.. I wanted to touch base because it sounds like you may be coming to the area on business and that is my arena. My sole focus is keeping and growing our corporate client base. You hit on some issues we are well aware of – in fact, that is why we are starting a $8 million dollar renovation in July. All guest rooms and public areas are to be completely re-done. Everything will be new – in all our king rooms & 80% of our double queen rooms, the bathtubs are being replaced with walk in showers and the shower curtains are being replaced with glass doors, new carpet throughout, new furniture, drapes and bedding, all large screen televisions with HD channels, upgrade lighting with additional USB ports. I am hoping you will give us another opportunity to impress you. You mentioned we were close to your office, I would be happy to discuss a negotiated rate agreement for you that would provide an attractive rate/amenity package for you. Please let me know if this is something you would be willing to look at. Thank you again for your comments.”
The fact that the hotel contacted me quickly after the survey shows me that they do care about customer satisfaction and it definitely makes me willing to give the hotel another shot. I am glad she called out the fact that they are going to address the bathrooms. There are a few more hotels down the road that are still within walking distance of the office, but this one is definitely the most ideal. If the renovation is finished by the next time I head that way, I’ll likely give it another try.