Cusker Vacation Connection

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This blog will offer reviews of places I've been and a journal of my travels.  All reviews are the personal opinions of Paul Cusker and not of Cusker Vacation Connection.  Please enjoy!

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Review: Hotel Indigo Albany

Posted on June 17, 2013 at 12:10 AM Comments comments (0)

Welcome to my first review!  When it comes to selecting a hotel, I do a lot of research.  I do not like cookie cutter chain hotels unless it's the only option.  I like unique, modern, and clean hotels with great service.  On a trip up the coast of California last year, I found several great hotels.  One of these hotels was the Hotel Indigo San Diego.  Hotel Indigo is a boutique brand of the parent company of Holiday Inn.  Hotel Indigo San Diego hit a home run.  It had an awesome location, in the heart of San Diego, a block from Petco Park, home of the San Diego Padres.  You could see inside the park from the hotel.  It was within walking distance from countless restaurants, clubs, and shops.  The hotel was unassuming from the outside, with just a small sign.  It blended in with the surrounding office buildings and condos.  Inside was very modern, with a relaxed lobby with a water feature wall.  Fruit infused water was a nice touch after a long walk.  The rooms were large and comfortable, with hard wood floors, walls featuring wall paper with items from nature, and modern furniture and bedding.  The bathroom had granite counters and a large stand up shower with full glass front and a wood stool.  The hotel also boasted a ninth-floor outdoor deck with fire pits and views into the ballpark.

When we deiced to attend a weekend concert over Memorial Day Weekend in Saratoga Springs, I was excited to find  Hotel Indigo in Albany area which is in Latham, NY.  Based on our Experience in San Diego, my expectations were very high.  Maybe it's unfair to compare San Diego and Albany, but it was not a good experience.  I really wanted to like Hotel Indigo, but it was a huge let down.  There were some things that were consistent between the two properties, but for the most part, Albany did not meet the standard that San Diego set. 

One big difference was location.  Hotel Indigo Albany is very close to the airport, hence in felt like a airport hotel.  I don't have a problem with it being near the airport, but as a boutique hotel, they need to avoid having the look and feel of a stop over hotel.

The hotel was clearly a discount hotel purchased by Hotel Indigo and converted.  Because of this, it misses the overall boutique hotel feel.  They did a nice job bringing in some of the features that we saw in San Diego, such as the hard wood floors, wall paper, and furniture and bedding.  The problem is they stopped short of  a full conversion, so it felt a bit more budget hotel than boutique.  A good example of this was the shower.  It was a large stand up shower, however instead of a full glass front, they only went halfway.  There is no glass door, just a cheap hotel grade shower curtain.  This may be a small detail to some, but it's something that shows a lack of detail.  This was not the only example, just the most obvious to me.

My biggest issue, our room location.  We were on the second floor.  Right in front of our room was a large open space overlooking the lobby.  The problem, the lobby was very loud.  The lobby was another example of where they went halfway with the conversion.  The floors were a nice stone, the front desk was granite, and they had some nice furniture.  However, half of it was a large breakfast type area where people congregated.  Because, the floors were stone, there was nothing to buffer the noise.  Any noise at all, be it someone using a stapler or people having a conversation at a normal tone, could be hear clearly in our room.  The first morning we were there, there were people talking, some shouting as early as 6:00am and this continued all morning!  When we left for the day, we went to the front desk to complain.  The person at the front desk explained that it was an unusual morning, because there were a lot of people waiting for airport shuttles.  There was a half hearted apology, but no attempt to remedy the issue with the location.  Night two was not as bad, but again, no matter how small the noise, you could still hear it, including employees talking at the front desk.  When we checked out, we again mentioned how poor the room location was.  This time, the person was much more sincere and did check to see if she could give us some sort of discount on the room, but could not due to the fact that we had pre-paid.

Two things about our room location.  The first, why would they put rooms in a location that you can hear everything from the lobby below?  Second, there was a fold away wall that could close off the opening.  I don't understand, that if you have a large number of people talking loud in the lobby early on a Saturday morning, why not close off an opening to prevent disturbing guests that may be sleeping.  After receiving a complaint about the noise, why not close off the space?

At the end of the day, I was very disappointed with the Hotel Indigo.  Fair or not, I had high expectations for this hotel and was let down. I will give Hotel Indigo the benefit of the doubt and try other locations and will return to Hotel Indigo San Diego eventually.  I hope that the Albany location is an outlier with this brand and that San Diego is what we can expect from other locations.