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The Room That Provoked A Renaissance In Our Palm Springs Hotel World View

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  Site Where: 888 Tahquitz Canyon Way [map], Palm Springs, CA, United States, 92262
May 6, 2011 at 9:46 AM | by | Comments (0)

It's the answer to this week's Guess The Hotel! And yes, as Saeta guessed immediately, it was the lobby of the Renaissance Palm Springs.

Yes, we're back in PS. Is there ever any reason not to be? Not when its hotels keep knocking out such awesome deals. The latest we scored: $195 ($226 inc tax) for three nights at the Renaissance Palm Springs, thanks to Voyage Prive. Seeing as rooms are running at $199 a night at the moment – and it’s one of the few hotels in Palms Springs not to have a resort fee, it was an offer we couldn’t refuse.

Check in:
We had a hellish journey getting in – nine hours for what should have been a four-hour drive from Vegas, thanks to a car that broke down three times en route. The final breakdown, as we were waiting for the tow truck, we called the hotel to warn them that we’d be arriving late. The woman on the phone was sympathetic, told us about a nearby carpark where we could leave our dead car for free rather than paying the $10 hotel charge, and wished us well on our journey. That got us in a good mood for the hotel.

In the end, thanks to the tow truck getting lost and it being past midnight, we dumped the car in the hotel carpark instead, and came in to be told by the lady at check in that she was waiving the parking charge since our car was unusable. Then, when we asked for a nice view, she told us that since we’d had a crappy day, she would upgrade us to a room overlooking the pool. Yes, you could call it an upgrade – we went upstairs to room 4339 and realised that she'd given us a “resort suite” – basically a junior suite with a pool view (standard junior suites look over the mountains).

Room Reaction:
At first glance, we loved it. Maybe not the peppy striped carpet, but the classy patterned wood headboard, the black and white desert pictures on the walls, the two flatscreen TVs – one in the bedroom, one in the living room – and the balcony overlooking the pool.

Spending three days in it, though, revealed some problems. The hot water was fine in the basin but took several minutes to warm up in the shower and bath. The coffeemaker was tucked away on a floor-level shelf, so we had to clear space in the bathroom to brew a cup. The bedroom area was pretty cramped.

And the housekeeping wasn’t good. In fact, the first day, they failed to come at all. Yes, we’d had our DND sign out till 2pm, but when we left, the housekeeping cart was still in the hall so we assumed we'd still get a visit. The following day, housekeeping came and did the basics, but didn’t do the little things like straightening the bedside table we’d pulled out from the wall when our phone fell behind it, or move the iPod docking station, which was shoved so it was hanging off the side. They also never replaced, over the three days, the breakfast order card (we got room service on our first morning). And there were no pens or notepads anywhere in the room. It's only when you don't have them that you realize how much you actually use them.

Maintenance wasn’t great, either – we reported that our sink was blocked on our second morning, and it took two days to be seen to.

The bed was comfy and the sheets had a pretty pattern engraved in white on them. The eco-warrior in us liked the recycling bin by the desk, and the geek in us liked the electric sockets in the bedside lamps – which was just as well, since it became our work spot. The designated work spot – the desk in the living room area by the door – was way too dark and dreary to actually work in.

The balcony overlooking the pool was lovely, except it was totally open, so when the neighbors were outside too, we were sitting a couple of feet from them. And seeing as there were no bathrobes (see below) it was pretty uncomfortable in the morning.

Amenity Madness:
Aveda toiletries – soap, shampoo and conditioner. Weirdly, no cotton wool, Q Tips or anything extra that we’d normally like. No slippers, no sewing kit, not even a bathrobe. And, although there was a fridge to store our own stuff, no minibar. We’d hoped for more from a hotel of this caliber.

Public Areas:
Beautiful. The lobby area was huge, and one of those rare ones you don’t mind hanging out in, and the lounge, while not the most comfy place, definitely had a vibe going with TV screens, moody lighting and a bar all within the free WiFi zone.

The lounge/bar area extended outside with seating around a huge firepit overlooking the pool. Or pools, rather – as well as the good sized main one, there was also a kids’ pool and a huge hot tub. As for the seating arrangements – with loungers, flatbeds, cabanas and cute little double beds with built-in shades – there was easily enough room to have every bum in the hotel on a seat.

The downside? All the grounds centered around the pool area, and although there were palm trees scattered round it, and even a couple of bushes and flowers, there were no gardens as there are in other Palm Springs hotels.

Internet Connect:
Inroom WiFi cost $11.99 for 24 hours. The connection was ok – we Skyped without problem but streaming videos was an issue. There was free WiFi in the lobby and lounge area, however, and even a row of desks for people to plug in and get down to work.

What We Liked:
The location! The hotel is about four blocks, or a seven minute walk, from both Palm Canyon Drive and our favorite hangout in Palm Springs, Pinocchio, home of the $3.95 bottomless champagne for breakfast.

The pool scene – lots of places to lounge and sunbathe.

The friendly staff, and the Aveda toiletries.

And we loved the lack of resort fee. Although had we had a working car and wanted to use in-room internet every day, we’d have been paying almost the same as places which do have one. But it was great to have the option.

What We Didn’t Like:
The lackluster housekeeping, the not great maintenance and the proximity and openness of our balcony to our neighbors’.

Bottom Line:
We’d totally stay here again for the price we paid, and we’d definitely consider coming back at normal rates, even though Palm Springs is normally somewhere where we like to a) go boutique and b) lie around in gardens. Roomwise, it certainly beats the hell out of the Westin Mission Hills and the JW Marriott out of town so if you’re wanting to stick to the chains, it’s definitely one to look at. But we'd hope the housekeeping woke up before we made a return visit. And pens, pencils, notepads and Q Tips please. Kthxbai.

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