There are times when I like to have a hotel room that’s more of an apartment than a hotel room; times when a kitchen is nice for longer stays where I like to shop at Whole Foods and prepare my own healthy meals. I recently had one of these times and selected the Homewood Suites in Houston off of Westheimer Road in the Westchase area.
First impressions: (1) Very friendly, welcoming and informative Front Desk staff who offered info on what the hotel had to offer instead of just exchanging my credit card for a key card; (2) small but nice looking breakfast/evening reception snack area with a combination of regular tables and a couple of bar height tables; (3) hallway carpet that’s seen better days that had me thinking ‘ugh’ and wondering what my room was going to look like; and (4) a room that was very clean (including a very clean kitchen and bath) with bright bedding and a very comfy looking bed (phew, after #3!).
Breakfast was nothing special to report but sufficed. I’m a protein breakfast eater so scrambled eggs is what I took a scoop of. They were rather dry but along the lines of what I expected for this style of accommodation where a full service restaurant is not on property. Cereal, oatmeal, yogurt and more were offered.
I had a couple of issues with the room that I reported to the Front Desk in the morning (very squeaky bed frame that kept waking me up during the night if I even thought of tossing over and a shower head with issues) and was assured they’d be taken care of.
What surprised me next was an email received from the General Manager – not because I reported issues but as a general email to a guest, perhaps because of my Hilton Diamond status, though after seeing the type of customer service at this property, every guest with an email address probably gets such an email!
Welcome to the Homewood! Thank you for being a loyal Diamond member. I hope your stay with us is going well. Thank you for your business. If there is anything we can do to make your stay even better please do not hesitate to contact me directly. I want to personally ensure you have everything you need while staying with us. We want you to feel at home.
I replied to this email and relayed the issues I had reported to the Front Desk. Very soon thereafter, I received a reply saying that the GM had sent their engineer to my room and that she would also check the room herself. What great customer service! Having any conversation with a GM is a rarity, and I really appreciated the follow-through. When I returned to my room in the evening, the items had been taken care of.
As for the rest of the stay …
The fitness center is small in size, though has weights and cardio so should ban any reason for not working out (and, oh, can I come up with the reasons!). There is an indoor pool, great for family visits, along with a business center that offers a couple of computers and printer. The evening foods available are sufficient for dinner. It looked like lasagna one evening, salad and fried veggie sticks, along with white rice and miso soup, I assume to cater to a significant Japanese clientele. A daily menu of the evening foods for the month was posted on the refrigerator in my rooms. Fruit and snacks were also available, along with complimentary wine and, I believe, beer. The area fills up at prime eating hours in the morning and evening and I learned on the last day that there is an overflow area that is offered at breakfast. The evening reception is offered on Monday through Thursday; breakfast every day. Every person on the staff I met was very helpful and friendly. Parking is free with plenty of parking spaces and easy access to Westheimer Rd. and/or the Sam Houston Parkway.
I am definitely keeping this hotel on my list for future visits to Houston. The very helpful staff, lead by a strong customer-focused GM, is a key reason. The other reason is that this hotel provided me with exactly what I was looking for in this visit — a place that felt like an apartment ‘home.’
We had the total opposite visit in October 2013. I did notice the worn carpet. I also noticed a strong “air freshener” smell in the hallways.
We checked into our room. It looked very nice. But within 20 minutes I started to get a headache. I have a mold allergy and it smelled musty with an air freshener cover up. We decided to leave the hotel for dinner. I felt better once I left the hotel. We returned about an hour later but my headache returned!
We decided to check out of hotel and go someplace else! We moved to the Homewood Suites Energy Corridor and had no issues with the room at all.
I did notify the manager and I do have to admit they were wonderful to work with. He apologized and they gave me enough points to come back and stay again at a later date. They wanted to make it right.
Not really sure if I would come back to this location. I don’t want to have a repeat experience. It is hard for me to change rooms because if the room is musty/moldy I get a headache! So checking another room does not make it better! Once the headache is there I am sick for the night!
I rely heavily on Tripadvisor reviews. I read good things so I was surprised at my experience. Maybe it is only certain rooms!