Second time and never again! A review of Clarion Suites Gateway
Second visit - first was a pokey room at the rear overlooking an office block. I was advised to pay the extra for a river view next time, so for a family visit booked a 2 bedroom apartment - with a riverview - direct with the hotel, not a cheap internet deal. Arrived via rental car and spent 20 minutes trying to navigate through the floors of the hotel's very narrow carpark, only to discover it was full (even though we had advised we needed parking). Front desk suggestion was to use a nearby carpark, but mentioned it wasn't open 24 hrs and would be closed when we came back from visiting friends. Great start!
Our 2 bedroom suite turned out to be two seperate rooms - a very small single and a one bedder. Our "riverview" was a view directly into the windows of the trains that thundered past across the road. There was no river to be seen. My complaints to the front desk were met with the news that there are no two bedroom suites - just ones next door to each other (not with an interconnecting door). I was also told everything on that side of the hotel was sold as a riverview. Reception said they had no other rooms available - and "don't blame them, they didn't take the booking." Apparently I should have specified a higher floor!
I made a quick phone call to a nearby hotel that I had also stayed at previously. They came up with two spacious rooms on an executive floor with access to their club room, free parking by a concierge, and a complimentary bottle of champagne in the room to make up for the bad start to our visit to Melbourne - all for only a few dollars more.
Clarion Gateway calls itself 4-41/2 stars - 3 star at best. Problem was poorly handled by overworked reception staff. Car park is a mess, and the hotel is not up front about what it is selling.