Loyal, Dedicated Staff (Worn Out Structure) A review of Sheraton Commander Hotel
I was a guest at this hotel facility from January 17 through 20, 2005. As noted in other reviews, the hotel is convenient if your activity places you on or near Harvard University, Harvard Square or in Central Cambridge. You can walk to any of these destinations within minutes.
The first and second floors of the hotel were being renovated during my visit. As a result, one could detect the faint scent of fresh paint on most of the upper floors. Evidence of construction activity was noticeable throughout the hotel. Having stayed at other hotels while contractors were renovating guest areas, I cannot understand why these businesses do not shut down during this major activity. More often than not, guests are offended by the noise, scents and disruptions caused by the construction.
I stayed at the Commander during the coldest days of January 2005. My first night was fine. I did not have heat during my second night. It was so cold in my room that I made a conscious decision to remain under my blankets and endure the frigid temperatures; I found it most threatening to get up in the middle of the night to permit a maintenance person into my room to fix the heater. I stayed in the bed until the morning, whereupon I called for service.
A kind maintenance person named Nelson came to my room in the morning to fix the heater. He was not able to repair the heater. He told me that I would have to change rooms. I repacked my bags and, with the help of hotel staff, moved to another room on the same floor.
All guests received a written notice that the hotel would not have water -- any water -- from 10:00 until 6:00 on my third day. The notice did not suggest that the lack of water was due to the fault of the municipal water authority or any other entity; hence, I concluded that the source of the problem was within the hotel itself. Never before have I visted a hotel in the United States that did not have water at all times of the day and night. While I survived by making plans that did not involve water usage, I noted that this development was discussed openly, and in negative tones, by all hotel guests.
My impression is that this 1927 hotel structure deserves some tender loving care. It is old. It has some grand, classic and elegant features, but it needs more than a few band aids. The management should close the hotel and renovate the entire facility. Their plans to renovate while guests use and occupy the premises threatens their business relationships. Simply stated, this experience convinces me that hotels should not host guests while the facility undergoes major construction.
I ate breakfast in the hotel restaurant daily. The food was average. The presentation was dreadful.
On a positive note, the hotel staff was delightful. The maintenance person -- Nelson -- was charming and competent. He was dedicated to customer service. Matthew, one of the front desk managers, was efficient and determined to make your stay a good one. He was, however, slightly, and acceptably, stiff. Another front desk person -- Michelle -- was warm, kind and attentive. Most members of the staff took a moment to extend a kind greeting.
Balancing all aspects of my experience, the attitude and competence of the staff converted an otherwise poor visit into an average one.
Overall, unless this hotel takes time and invests the money to upgrade the facility, there is only one reason to select this hotel: its convenience to Harvard and Central Cambridge. Given the vast number of alternatives, the comfort provided by other hotels may make it worthwhile to take a cab or subway to your destination.