Non-Status ( Disappointed by Hilton)

Hanoi IG

Level 2 Member
#1
OK, I've probably posted on this before, but we are creatures of habit and my wife likes a certain amount of routine when we travel so we don't fix what we think is not broke(n).

The vast majority of our hotel stays are in Sofitels as they are, as we like to say, "nice but not too nice." They are usually well located and our Platinum status, which we've had for many years, actually seems to count for something as does our frequency of return to many hotels and the referrals from GM's to properties that we are visiting for the first time.

We felt that we needed another brand as Accor doesn't have as big a presence in the US as elsewhere. Since we like Hampton when on the road, Hilton seemed an obvious choice. With the various cards, beginning with Citi, then the AMEX versions, plus a match of our Accor status, we amassed a fair number of points and can also earn some bonuses due to status.

So far we have had some award stays and some points plus cash that haven't been too bad, with two nights at the Conrad Maldives coming up in October. Except for a great time at the Conrad Tokyo where we got fabulous suite upgrade and breakfast options that were both wonderful, I have been underwhelmed by what Diamond Status gets us.

We just completed a week in Hilton properties in Ohio, two nights at a Doubletree outside Columus, booked with points, bracketed by two nights each at the Cleveland Hilton and the Cincinnati Netherland Hilton.

The Doubletree was actually not bad, despite the presence of several youth travel teams which made the pool area less than desirable. The room was large and the lack of an Executive Lounge allowed us a nice buffet breakfast which even had an omelet station. The cash price was $15 so it's at least something. Their gym was small and fairly crowded but we managed the best we could. They gave us unlimited water and welcome cookies so for 20,000 points a night, it was fine.

The Hiltons were OK, but no more than that. In Cleveland they did give us a very large corner room with a view of Lake Erie so that was a plus. The breakfast was limited to the lounge and it was not even as good as a Hampton breakfast which at least offers make-your-own waffles. The hotel was full so service was really slow as they only came to make up the room at the time we were getting dressed for the evening. They did send the night crew to clean while we were out.

In Cincinnati, the hotel is a classic though it could use some refurbishing. Again the breakfast is limited to the lounge which was again rather spartan save for the waffle machine. The room was exactly what we had booked with city, rather than river view.

I'm not certain where Hilton actually ranks in comparison to other chains, but Sofitel is far above it, at least for us. When there is an Executive Lounge, there is always an option to have breakfast in the main dining room and the lounges always have a nice buffet, with options for hot dishes if you prefer. The cocktail hour actually includes alcohol and really nice snacks, unlike Hilton's which have steam table food and cash bar, though perhaps Ohio has a rule against free alcoholic beverages.

Sofitel always has turndown service, while Hiltons do not. We always get an upgrade at Sofitel but I do think it is from being known rather than the status. Suites for the sweet, I guess.

Just saying, I'm not thrilled with Hilton, especially the breakfast options. Shouldn't a Diamond member get a better selection than at a Hampton?

I know that there is Marriott/Starwood, Hyatt and IHG out there but for us I think perhaps I should just wait until I use our Hilton points and pseudo status up, then try one of the others. So far this year, we have been able to stay in Sofitels in New York, Philly and DC, as well as Dubai, Casablanca and Lebanon with most of our other hotels being premium properties like La Manoumia and Mandarin Oriental.

I'm not complaining, well I guess I am, but Hilton just doesn't seem so wonderful. I wonder how Marriott might be for our backup chain. Can I get matching status or at least some status with credit card?
 

Matt

Administrator
Staff member
#2
Hilton has a family of brands. They have Waldorfs, DoubleTrees, Conrads, Hiltons, etc...

Broadly speaking, the Hilton brand within the Hilton family isn't the highest class, and if you like fancy, then you're going to be disappointed.

If you do want the best from Hilton, then you need to be looking Conrad, Waldorf and DoubleTree (again, generally...) personally I find the NY Waldorf to be disappointing, and the nearby DoubleTree might be superior, but the one we stayed in south america (somewhere) was a new property and great.

Conrad Maldives is fantastic. Not sure if anything has changed since I was there regarding the Status, but back then I wouldn't expect an upgrade as Diamond, but would expect a better welcome amenity. Breakfast was really good, and there was a free happyhour and tea service. Here's an old trip report on it http://saverocity.com/trips/conrad-maldives/

I'd strongly recommend more than 2 days there if you can figure that out, since it is a bit of a PITA to get to.

I recently got Marriott gold via the Amex Platinum that gave SPG gold then status matched it over.
 

Craig

Level 2 Member
#3
OK, I've probably posted on this before, but we are creatures of habit and my wife likes a certain amount of routine when we travel so we don't fix what we think is not broke(n).

The vast majority of our hotel stays are in Sofitels as they are, as we like to say, "nice but not too nice." They are usually well located and our Platinum status, which we've had for many years, actually seems to count for something as does our frequency of return to many hotels and the referrals from GM's to properties that we are visiting for the first time.

We felt that we needed another brand as Accor doesn't have as big a presence in the US as elsewhere. Since we like Hampton when on the road, Hilton seemed an obvious choice. With the various cards, beginning with Citi, then the AMEX versions, plus a match of our Accor status, we amassed a fair number of points and can also earn some bonuses due to status.

So far we have had some award stays and some points plus cash that haven't been too bad, with two nights at the Conrad Maldives coming up in October. Except for a great time at the Conrad Tokyo where we got fabulous suite upgrade and breakfast options that were both wonderful, I have been underwhelmed by what Diamond Status gets us.

We just completed a week in Hilton properties in Ohio, two nights at a Doubletree outside Columus, booked with points, bracketed by two nights each at the Cleveland Hilton and the Cincinnati Netherland Hilton.

The Doubletree was actually not bad, despite the presence of several youth travel teams which made the pool area less than desirable. The room was large and the lack of an Executive Lounge allowed us a nice buffet breakfast which even had an omelet station. The cash price was $15 so it's at least something. Their gym was small and fairly crowded but we managed the best we could. They gave us unlimited water and welcome cookies so for 20,000 points a night, it was fine.

The Hiltons were OK, but no more than that. In Cleveland they did give us a very large corner room with a view of Lake Erie so that was a plus. The breakfast was limited to the lounge and it was not even as good as a Hampton breakfast which at least offers make-your-own waffles. The hotel was full so service was really slow as they only came to make up the room at the time we were getting dressed for the evening. They did send the night crew to clean while we were out.

In Cincinnati, the hotel is a classic though it could use some refurbishing. Again the breakfast is limited to the lounge which was again rather spartan save for the waffle machine. The room was exactly what we had booked with city, rather than river view.

I'm not certain where Hilton actually ranks in comparison to other chains, but Sofitel is far above it, at least for us. When there is an Executive Lounge, there is always an option to have breakfast in the main dining room and the lounges always have a nice buffet, with options for hot dishes if you prefer. The cocktail hour actually includes alcohol and really nice snacks, unlike Hilton's which have steam table food and cash bar, though perhaps Ohio has a rule against free alcoholic beverages.

Sofitel always has turndown service, while Hiltons do not. We always get an upgrade at Sofitel but I do think it is from being known rather than the status. Suites for the sweet, I guess.

Just saying, I'm not thrilled with Hilton, especially the breakfast options. Shouldn't a Diamond member get a better selection than at a Hampton?

I know that there is Marriott/Starwood, Hyatt and IHG out there but for us I think perhaps I should just wait until I use our Hilton points and pseudo status up, then try one of the others. So far this year, we have been able to stay in Sofitels in New York, Philly and DC, as well as Dubai, Casablanca and Lebanon with most of our other hotels being premium properties like La Manoumia and Mandarin Oriental.

I'm not complaining, well I guess I am, but Hilton just doesn't seem so wonderful. I wonder how Marriott might be for our backup chain. Can I get matching status or at least some status with credit card?
Comparing your experience at mid-range domestic hotels in Cincinnati, Columbus, and Cleveland to world-class hotels in Tokyo, Dubai, and Casablanca is going to leave you disappointed 100% of the time. When traveling domestically, my personal opinion is that you should be more focused on consistency than opulence. I use tons of Hilton points when I travel domestically, mainly because I can predict almost 100% of the time what I am going to get before I go into a Hilton Garden Inn or a Hampton Inn. I also get upgraded nearly 100% of the time at Hampton Inn and Suites or Hilton Garden Inns domestically as a Diamond when the property has rooms to permit an upgrade. It isn't tons more room, but does create space for SO to do yoga or me to work without being on top of one another. For this reason, I almost never stay in a domestic Hilton (no consistency) and opt for the Hampton or Garden Inn varieties.

I guess my point is - what do you really expect out of a Hampton Inn? Given the tone of many of your posts (and I am not saying this in a critical way, just my observation), it seems that redefining your expectations when you travel domestically would allow you to be surprised when you receive something rather than disappointed when you don't. Hotels in the US, particularly in smaller markets, are simply not the same as hotels in some of the finest cities in the world.
 

Hanoi IG

Level 2 Member
#4
Comparing your experience at mid-range domestic hotels in Cincinnati, Columbus, and Cleveland to world-class hotels in Tokyo, Dubai, and Casablanca is going to leave you disappointed 100% of the time. When traveling domestically, my personal opinion is that you should be more focused on consistency than opulence. I use tons of Hilton points when I travel domestically, mainly because I can predict almost 100% of the time what I am going to get before I go into a Hilton Garden Inn or a Hampton Inn. I also get upgraded nearly 100% of the time at Hampton Inn and Suites or Hilton Garden Inns domestically as a Diamond when the property has rooms to permit an upgrade. It isn't tons more room, but does create space for SO to do yoga or me to work without being on top of one another. For this reason, I almost never stay in a domestic Hilton (no consistency) and opt for the Hampton or Garden Inn varieties.

I guess my point is - what do you really expect out of a Hampton Inn? Given the tone of many of your posts (and I am not saying this in a critical way, just my observation), it seems that redefining your expectations when you travel domestically would allow you to be surprised when you receive something rather than disappointed when you don't. Hotels in the US, particularly in smaller markets, are simply not the same as hotels in some of the finest cities in the world.
What the hell(heck) I don't expect anything out of a Hampton, but isn't Hilton supposed to be a decent brand? In a major city, shouldn't a top tier member be entitled to a real breakfast instead of a makeshift spread that doesn't even match up with the Hamptons? Of course they don't match up to Sofitel which is why it is our brand. I wouldn't send my dog to the NY Hilton but that's because Sofitel gives us huge suites. I'm just saying that Hilton is not so cheap. I'd be willing to bet that Sofitel NY and NY Hilton are often comparable in price. Of course I know that hotels in the US can't compare to Asia or even Europe. In Paris we stay at a tiny 11 room place that still charges 150-200 Euro a night but we adjust our expectations accordingly.

I think you misread my intentions. I'm just saying that Hilton seems like a C-minus brand so I wonder if Marriott/Starwood or some other brand might be better when there is no Sofitel. I'm fine in NY, PHL, DC, Chi and LA but there are no more in the US and I gotta stay somewhere. Accor bought Fairmont but the awards program has not yet kicked in.

Anyway my points/miles experiences have been much better with airlines than hotels. I think I may use UR and MR more now to buy rooms as they come with perks and so far I have always gotten an upgrade.
 

Hanoi IG

Level 2 Member
#5
Hilton has a family of brands. They have Waldorfs, DoubleTrees, Conrads, Hiltons, etc...

Broadly speaking, the Hilton brand within the Hilton family isn't the highest class, and if you like fancy, then you're going to be disappointed.

If you do want the best from Hilton, then you need to be looking Conrad, Waldorf and DoubleTree (again, generally...) personally I find the NY Waldorf to be disappointing, and the nearby DoubleTree might be superior, but the one we stayed in south america (somewhere) was a new property and great.

Conrad Maldives is fantastic. Not sure if anything has changed since I was there regarding the Status, but back then I wouldn't expect an upgrade as Diamond, but would expect a better welcome amenity. Breakfast was really good, and there was a free happyhour and tea service. Here's an old trip report on it http://saverocity.com/trips/conrad-maldives/

I'd strongly recommend more than 2 days there if you can figure that out, since it is a bit of a PITA to get to.

I recently got Marriott gold via the Amex Platinum that gave SPG gold then status matched it over.
Thanks for the tip. We only have two days available as we have to meet people in CPT after Maldives. We are so much happier in cities anyway that we can probably only stand two days on an island(unless it's Manhattan or Ile de la Cite) I may try Marriott/Starwood if there is a card that isn't bound by 5/24

Actually, it's not I needed fancy but it's kind of a joke to give high status guests the sort of breakfasts we have seen in Hilton Executive Lounges. So is Sofitel two jumps ahead of Hilton? They don't charge like it.
 

Craig

Level 2 Member
#6
What the hell(heck) I don't expect anything out of a Hampton, but isn't Hilton supposed to be a decent brand? In a major city, shouldn't a top tier member be entitled to a real breakfast instead of a makeshift spread that doesn't even match up with the Hamptons? Of course they don't match up to Sofitel which is why it is our brand. I wouldn't send my dog to the NY Hilton but that's because Sofitel gives us huge suites. I'm just saying that Hilton is not so cheap. I'd be willing to bet that Sofitel NY and NY Hilton are often comparable in price. Of course I know that hotels in the US can't compare to Asia or even Europe. In Paris we stay at a tiny 11 room place that still charges 150-200 Euro a night but we adjust our expectations accordingly.

I think you misread my intentions. I'm just saying that Hilton seems like a C-minus brand so I wonder if Marriott/Starwood or some other brand might be better when there is no Sofitel. I'm fine in NY, PHL, DC, Chi and LA but there are no more in the US and I gotta stay somewhere. Accor bought Fairmont but the awards program has not yet kicked in.

Anyway my points/miles experiences have been much better with airlines than hotels. I think I may use UR and MR more now to buy rooms as they come with perks and so far I have always gotten an upgrade.
I mis-wrote "Hampton Inn" in my final paragraph and meant "Hilton." Hilton is generally a great hotel abroad, not in the US. That was my point. I will almost always find a Hampton Inn or Hilton Garden Inn over a Hilton because there is no consistency in the US, and they charge a rate as if it's a premium hotel brand. It's not (in the US).

Also interesting that you get upgraded when booking hotels with UR and MR. MR I understand if it's in the FHR program, but typically hotels booked through 3rd party vendors don't recognize status, and therefore don't give free upgrades/breakfast/etc.
 

Matt

Administrator
Staff member
#7
I think @Craig nailed in terms of the differences in brand in the US and outside of it. Broadly speaking, I've found almost every non-US property better than a US property. EG Sheraton's or Grand Hyatts in the US often range from mundane to atrocious, whereas they can be very nice overseas.

I'm not sure what brand would offer the best bang for your buck in terms of offering the Sofitel experience as I'm unfamiliar with it. I will say that in the US I've had:

Great experience
St Regis
Four Seasons

Very good experience
Hyatt (Park Hyatt NY the fanciest one here, Carmel for location and food)
Kimpton (they have an interesting vibe, can make you feel appreciated from more human interaction)

I've also had average experience with other Hyatts, Westin, W. They can be a bit hit or miss... I'm not sure that many of the broad brands can be trusted consistently.

Conrads, for example, seem great, but for some reason they throw in old properties sometimes, and DoubleTrees can seem average, but some of them appear great....

I've not done much at the Hampton Inn level, but we are staying at a Courtyard by Marriott next month, which I guess is competitive.
 

zceuxbhjutf

Panel 3 Member
#8
I've only stayed in years past (before I understood points and upgrades) but the Drury chain is worth a look in flyoverland with suites and proper manager's receptions (in Ohio for example).
 

italdesign

Level 2 Member
#9
Specific to the US, I have very low expectations. I'll take a Courtyard or DoubleTree in Asia any day over a Marriott or Hilton in US. The worst part, as far as elite benefits, is the lounge breakfast. Almost always worse than the free breakfast at a Hyatt Place, which is pretty shitty to begin with.

So, I don't bother with the Hyatt Regency/Marriott/Hilton/Intercontinental-level brands in the US (except the very few that are cheap on pts). I spend my points on low-category Holiday Inn/Fairfield Inn/Four Points/Hampton Inn, where my only expectation is a clean room. I'm just there to sleep. If I want good treatment and meaningful benefits, I go to Asia.

I do think Hyatt (the company) is slightly better than competition within the same class. Interestingly I get the most upgrades at 2.5-3 star IHG properties (HI, Candlewood, etc) in the US with my supposedly worthless IHG Platinum status. I've had terrible luck with Hilton upgrades as Gold and Diamond.
 

Suzie

Level 2 Member
#10
I agree with US vs International. Choice hotel brand would not be my pick for a US stay, but it was wonderful in Norway. 5 nights on points that included breakfast and dinner.
 
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