Definitely above average-- I will stay here when I come back in a month! A review of Embassy Suites Sacramento - Riverfront Promenade
We (4 adults) stayed in a river view suite for a 3-day weekend. The room was good-sized, with plenty of seating for all. The sofa bed was the most comfortable pull-out I've ever encountered (this was amazing). If you need a rollaway, though, the room will be a bit cramped-- unless you can get a corner room, which some friends of ours had-- both the living room and the bedroom was MUCH larger. (I can't remember their specific room number, but it was the front corner by the river...)
We were able to check in really early (at 9 a.m.), and received a late check-out, which I appreciated-- I had to schedule my flights around a conference I was attending at another hotel, & needed to get a room, & get over to the conference site, & ES made it easy & convenient. We were first given a room in a dark corner of the hotel-- like (all?) ES's, the rooms (suites) are arranged around a central, open courtyard, & for some reason, there are some rooms tucked away in a hallway jutting off of one side. This gave virtually NO natural light into the living area of the suite, but I called down, & the clerk offered to let me check out another suite, & move if I preferred that one. They were genuinely nice about it. (I think that, because we arrived so early, we were given what was ready at that moment-- I noticed that the hskpg staff was cleaning rooms right next to my new one, so that one must have just opened up).
The ES offers free airport shuttle service to/ from the airport-- saves a hefty taxi fare-- other hotels charge ~$15 for shuttle svc. It was too bad that the hotel we needed to go to (to attend the conference) was almost 5 miles away, because the ES will shuttle you, in town, to locations less than 3 miles from hotel. Beware: Sacramento taxi fares are unregulated (per cab driver & confirmed by my internet research) -- ask the likely fare before you reserve a cab. For those with cars, there is a garage right across the street-- $5/ night.
I agree with other reviewers, the hotel can be noisy. The open arrangement of the lobby meant that a party of late-night diners' loud, drunken conversation carried up to our suite at 10 p.m. Also, there is a small section of rooms on the 2nd floor, with its' own lobby area, & there was a party in that section on Saturday night. When they were still loud at 11:00, we called the desk-- security was at the party's door at 11:05 (we could see, b/c of the open-atrium lobby design). There was a wedding or something in the ballroom-- playing great jazz, but we were trying to work, so it was distracting.
We were there for 3 days, two nights (in March 2005), & I *never* heard a train-- and we were on the river side of the hotel, where the RR tracks are. We heard the drawbridge once-- it was incredibly loud, but it was at about 4 p.m., & it was actually cool to watch from our bedroom window. (If it had been more often, or at a ridiculous time of night, I would certainly have used another adjective!) Having the river right outside made for a nice walk after dinner-- we walked up to the architectural art installation-cum-water treatment plant (why can't ALL municipal art be so interesting?-- and THIS isn't even art, per se, but function!) & strolled back thru the tourist town-- ER, Old Sac (um, which city's revitalized downtown/tourist mall were we in again? This section was ok, but I mean, come on, there's a Joe's Crab Shack in every city...)
The breakfast buffet was, as usual for ES's, really good. I am enamored of in-hotel breakfasts-- when you're in a strange city & have to be somewhere first thing in the a.m., you don't want to have to search for a place to eat, park, and take that extra time. Happy hour-- great if you drink alcoholic beverages. Kind of slim on the snacks part, just some chex mix & mixed nuts.
Food: the breakfast, as I said, was spot-on. We didn't eat a sit-down meal at the restaurant, but I did order from the cafe area a couple of times -- it was all pretty good, and surprisingly reasonably-priced.
The art in the lobby... umm, well, you're not in Vegas. The only thing I found odd was the color-changing bowl on the head of one of the statues. The rest is ok-- not to my taste, but here's where I was GLAD I wasn't in Vegas. The art is definitely scaled appropriately for the 6-story atrium, and the fountains help to buffer lobby noise.
The hotel website clearly states the pool is closed-- this didn't factor into my review at all. If a pool was important to me, I'd have reserved elsewhere. (A jacuzzi WOULD have been nice...)
Like other Hilton properties, ES offers free high-speed internet (wireless & cabled-- there was no cable provided, but the wireless was zippy-- I assume you could borrow a cable from the desk if you don't have wireless capability). I'm glad to see that more & more hotels offer gratis internet-- $10/ day is ridiculous. I do wish that ES offered convenient printing. To print, you have to save to a USB drive/ email to yourself & print from their computers-- it was my understanding that you have to buy blocks of time ($5 start price) to use their business room computers; this is ridiculous when all you need is two or three pages! (BTW, Garden Inns properties offer free web-based printing)
The staff was courteous, efficient, and -- well, pretty friendly. I am sure I came off as super-demanding at first (this room's too dark! give me a brighter room! bring more towels! more shampoo! more soap! pillows! blankets! a cot!), but everyone was very accommodating. (And yes, I tip graciously for the hskprs who drag all that stuff around for me).
Actually, the next time my partner & I are in SF for fun, I plan to take a little train trip to Sacramento, just so we can check it out-- and we will stay right here.
This hotel is an excellent mid-priced lodging option. I only gave it an "above average" rating because I really think that the Hilton corporation could dredge up the resources to make the pool properly accessible. Even though a pool's not important to me, it is to many people; besides, an indefinite "we're sorry" sign just doesn't speak to the brand's image.