No way a 5 or even 4 Diamond hotel! A review of Hilton Short Hills
I had heard so many great things about it so I decided to take my girlfriend for a weekend there (we live in New York City). I had high, yet restrained hopes that this place would be what they advertise: a AAA Five Diamond hotel.
From the outside, this hotel is completly unassuming. Looks more like an dreary office building that anything else. Go with an open mind I told myself, and was pleasantly surprized when I walked into the lobby after a pleasant, although unpolished, greeting from the doorman. The lobby looked as though it was from a Ritz-Carlton, complete with classical music, extensive wood paneling, and wall sconces that placed the room in another time. It clearly redeemed that awful exterior. Heres where the shenanigans began. A completely gruff desk agent checked me in with hardly a word. I had reserved a room on their club floor but was told that it was unavailable. I asked if I could be upgraded to a larger room then, and she told me that she would have to check with her manager. Come on, is that so much to ask for? Im paying a premium for something that Im not even getting.
Once we got to the room, it was small, poorly lit, and definitely showing significant signs of wear and tear. There was a large stain in the carpet on the far side of the bed. The bellman was nice as could be (it wasnt his fault anyway) and explained as best he could that they were renovating. I sure hope its true. The sad thing really was that I had such a bad experience at the front desk, I didnt even want to engage them in finding a better room. So long as nothing else went wrong, Id deal with the stain.
Later that night, my girlfriend and I were getting ready for dinner in the main dining room, and a maid walked right into the room without knocking, but more importantly without heeding our privacy card we put on the door. I quickly told her to leave, that we were not decent, but she continued to come into the room claiming that this was the only time we could have turndown. I told her to leave anyway. A call down to housekeeping got perfuse apologies, but nothing to rectify what happened.
I will say that dinner was absolutely splendid. Their main dining room is the only part of the entire operation that lives up to the hype. I almost felt like asking if we could sleep in cots there that night. It really just proved to us that people there did know good customer service, the others just either choose not to learn it or excercise it.
Upon checkout the next day (we cut a two night weekend down to one night for obvious reasons), I asked to speak to the manager just to relay how unhappy I was with what we experienced. The first manager I spoke to seemed nice at first, but was completely apathetic to what happened, going as far as suggesting various scenarios as to why everything had occured that way. I came to her to explain my stay so that she could see to it that others dont experience what we did. I didnt want to hear her rationalize it all, I could have done that myself! While this was going on, another gentleman (whose name escapes me) came along and intervened. He was quick to apologise and removed our room charges for that evening. It was a very noble gesture, but unnecessary. I was willing to pay for the room, we slept there afterall.
Overall, it is not a bad hotel. My biggest problem with it is that it was not what is advertised. I would put it as a very overdone airport Hilton. With that said, the main dining room is truly their standout strongpoint. Granted, it is not as expensive as a similar experience in NYC, but if they are going to call themselves 5 Diamond (which they have hanging in their lobby), I exspect a certain level of service. In my line of work, people make or break an experience. From the desk staff, to the maids, and even the management, this place simply does not measure up. There are far too many nice places to make a weekend of it in the tri state area to waste your time and money with this place.