Saturday, February 16, 2008

Hotel Review - Holiday Inn Civic Center

Holiday Inn - San Francisco - Civic Center
50 8th Street
San Francisco, CA 94103 USA
Hotel : 1-415-626-6103
Fax: 1-415-552-0184

Hotel Review and Trip Report - Holiday Inn Civic Center

Note- this is a 2.5 Star Hotel, not a 4 or 5 Star hotel by any means.

Ok, so why would anyone stay here? Well, its uniquely close to where I need to be in San Francisco and its often available for around $100 per night. Plus the rooms were remodeled about 4 years ago, so its still clean and comfortable. There are better San Francisco Hotels, but this one serves my needs for most business trips.

The rooms are all the same size, there are no suites or jr. suites -- just basic hotel rooms. The 12th and 14th Floor are private floors for Platinum Level Priority Club members -- Not Gold.

The hotel claims to be a 3 diamond rated hotel, but its more on the 2.5 star side. Staff can be great or completely unwelcoming -- varies by person, but most are on the great side.

The rooms are all the same with only bedding varying (King, King+Sofabed, two doubles).


The bathrooms are tiny -- there is a bathtub and shower, but you must keep the door closed to maneuver around. There are lots of towels and a Hot Kettle for tea and coffee. This hotel sees mostly international groups, so there is no coffee pot.



The hotel is on the south side of Market street -- on Eight street (between Market and Mission streets). The area nearby is somewhat dodgy -- especially at night. Sixth street is really bad, so it should be avoided.

The civic center BART and underground MUNI station is 1/2 a block away -- making it very convenient for traveling to the Airport (SFO or OAK) or to the Ferry Building down at the Embarcadero.

I would not recommend this hotel for first time tourist to San Francisco -- unless you are a on a REAL budget. The hotel is best suited for people who are going to spend very little time in the hotel rooms. Plus it has ZERO character for a San Francisco hotel.

Other Notes:
Laundry - the hotel lists it has washer/dryers, but they are VERY old and dirty. The dryer takes forever. A better option is a nearby coffee/laundromat

Hotel Bar - oh my, this is just a very sad Hotel Bar. The bartender is a bit "salty" and not in a fun way.

Wireless - there is free wireless for hotel guests, its now password protected so the bandwidth is decent.

Parking - there is a parking garage, but its cheap by San Francisco standards-- $27/day. Unless you are going to travel outside the city -- a car is not needed.

Again - this hotel is not for most people...but can be a cheap business trip option.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Hotel Review - Luxor Las Vegas

Luxor Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas
3900 Las Vegas Blvd South
Las Vegas, NV 89119
702-262-4444

One of the Mega Casinos on the South (and Better) end of the Strip, this hotel has over 4,000 rooms but doesnt seem as overly gigantic like the MGM Grand Hotel with its endless hallways. Parking and access is fairly easy, although I suggest parking on the less crowded upper deck of the garage, which allows same level access to the Hotel skywalk.

Check-in was fairly routine, I arrived on a Tuesday so the tourist crowds were gone and there was no queue for an front desk agent.

The hotel is split into three room areas, the Pyramid and the two towers (East and West). While the towers are starting to show their age and they are a bit of a walk from the main areas -- they are still worth it.



My "deluxe" tower room was 14242 in the West Tower and was a bit of a disappointment. First off I was welcomed as I turned into the hallway by Caution Cones, a tragic looking mini-fridge, and used food trays all outside nearby rooms. Since it was 4pm, it seems odd for these to still be laying out.

After entering the room, it was clear the prior guests had been smoking -- finding a nice pile of ashes by BOTH beds. Bar marks for housecleaning not finding this! They did come by and clean it up -- but still it was a pretty bad "welcome".


The room was very dark -- even during the Vegas sunny afternoon. Even with all the lights on, I had to use my Flash to get usable photos. The bed was the usual hotel stock -- no pillow top. The sheets were even worse, scratchy and worn. I asked for new sheets the next day, but even the new ones were scratchy and past their prime.

The bathrooms are ok at the Luxor, there is a dedicated tub and shower with a full vanity.

The biggest disappointment was the work going on in the room next to me -- even before 8am and after 5pm work continued -- hence the Caution cones I saw in the hallway earlier.

The Luxor has recently opened several new clubs in the casino area, including LAX, Aurora, and Liquidity. Liquidity and Aurora are hard to miss since they are in very public areas. Both looked new and interesting. They have also added a 24-hour Starbucks near the registration area -- sourly needed as the main Starbucks opens sometime around 7am. However the overall layout of the public areas is still cut-up and confusing.

Luxor is an "ok" place to stay on the strip -- its got a good location with easy access to
Mandalay Bay Hotel and other hotels. Plus its offers a nice mid-point above regular hotels and the high-end places like Wynn. One the downside, the rooms need a makeover, beds/sheets could be better and images of Carrot Top (who preforms there) are plastered EVERYWHERE -- still.


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