In March, I spent two nights in Palm Springs after visiting some friends in Los Angeles. I ended up staying in two different hotels, the Triada, a Marriott Autograph Collection property, and the Hilton Palm Springs. The hotels were radically different, and I much more preferred the former. I’ll review them both in this post.
Triada, Marriott Autograph Collection
I stayed at the Triada using a free category 1-5 Marriott Rewards certificate I had from one of my credit cards. I had picked it over one of the other category five hotels in town, the Avalon Hotel Bungalows, which seemed slightly more upscale, because the Avalon had a resort fee and the Triada did not show one on its website. (Marriott also has the Renaissance, Courtyard, and Riviera as category 5 hotels in Palm Springs, but none are as nice or as expensive for cash rates, though the Renaissance is definitely more of a full-service property with a massive pool area; I stayed at the Riviera before it joined the Marriott family and was not impressed, plus it is even farther outside the main downtown strip.)
The hotel is on the northern edge of downtown Palm Springs, a bit farther from the main commercial strips than most of the other downtown hotels – a fifteen-minute walk. website had showed a parking fee, but I found free street parking right behind the hotel and walked over. The property is fairly small, with only a few dozen rooms, mostly in two-level white stucco buildings. Check-in was in a small central building with a tiny lobby. There was only one counter and it definitely didn’t feel like a big corporate property. At check-in, I was presented with a form to initial that had a ~$30 resort fee on it which purportedly covered parking and such wild amenities as the tiny fitness center and internet. I questioned it, and the guy at the desk took it off without a fight, but I find this kind of hidden resort fee unacceptable and a violation of California’s consumer protection law. Indeed, after the experience, I went through my email confirmation, scoured the website, and even tried a dummy booking – no fee disclosed anywhere. So, I filed a complaint with the California Attorney General.
Anyway, the rest of the stay was fine. At check-in, as a Marriott Platinum member, I was given a little shopping bag that had one bottle of water, a small bag of Sun Chips, and a Chewy granola bar. I was given a choice of 1000 points or breakfast, and a choice of a bar credit or 1000 points – I went with breakfast and points.
My room was on the first floor of the rear building, the “Corazon.” All the rooms are accessed from the outside; the Corazon area has rooms facing some fountains, so no real view. It was also a little weird because there was a woman sitting at the fountain ride outside my room on a very loud and long phone conversation, so no privacy. I also realized you can hear the fountains from the room and wonder if people pee the beds a lot.
I don’t know for sure if my room was an upgrade or not but it was very nice and I think it was a Junior Suite, whereas I had been booked into a Classic King. Although it didn’t have any balconies or views like other rooms on-property, it was quite large. As you walked in, there was a large living area with a couch facing a big TV, a small desk in the corner with a chair, an armchair, and a little mini fridge with a Keurig.
There was a big bathroom, with both a large soaking tub, and a separate walk-in shower. There were nice Beekman 1802 toiletries as well.
After check-in, I thought I’d check out one of the two pools. There was jazz music playing throughout the property. There is a “bar” at the small saltwater pool, which is actually also the breakfast restaurant.
The other pool is the slightly larger heated pool which also has a hot tub. It was pretty crowded. Although there was no service at the pool in my time there, I assume there must have been at some other time, since there were piles of empty dirty drink cups on the tables and ground. I sat for a while and read.
I later checked out the gym, which was about half the size of my room – i.e., tiny. There was a single bench and some hand weights, two cardio machines, and a pec fly machine. It seems like a “resort” should have more, as this was more like a Residence Inn.
In the morning, I went to the very small “restaurant” in the lobby. There was no one there. Eventually, the manager from the front desk came to help and told me I could take a seat inside or outside and he would tell the staff I was there.
There were only four other guests, which I thought was odd for a Sunday morning. It was also made it extremely odd how slow all the service was – both to place my order and for it to come. As a Platinum member, I was presented a small “Continental breakfast” menu, which specified you could pick two items from a choice of four: two eggs, a fruit smoothie, a yogurt/granola parfait, or a muffin, which were supposed to be served with coffee/tea, fruit, juice, and toast. I ordered two scrambled eggs and the smoothie…. and received two eggs over medium, with a blueberry muffin (not toast). The smoothie was very icy. Not a great breakfast. At least being outside was pleasant.
I spent some time at the pool after breakfast, taking advantage of late checkout. It was definitely quieter, as I think a lot of people arrive on Friday and leave Sunday morning.
In all, a perfectly fine stay and a good use of points; I can’t imagine spending the $450+ the Triada (let’s be honest; a terrible name) asks for weekend nights in the spring.
Hilton Palm Springs
The Hilton Palm Springs was a very, very sad hotel. I don’t know what else to say. It is a very very dated property, with poor service, poor elite benefits and overrun with loud families. I booked the hotel to use my $250 Hilton Aspire Amex Resort Credit, which would barely cover the one night stay I had booked – which was $179 on a “semi-flex” rate plus about $31 in taxes. It had a good location very close to the main bars and restaurants of downtown Palm Springs, and I figured I’d get a good use of Hilton Diamond benefits.
Parking in the outdoor lot was $18, so I just parked on the street behind the hotel for free without a problem. Check-in was extraordinarily curt and unfriendly; I said my name, she said “Your room is ready,” and handed me keys. I had to proactively ask about breakfast as a Diamond member, which the agent begrudgingly informed me about. She also gave me two drink coupons which I could use at the pool bar.
To get to the room from check-in required going outside, through the pool area in the courtyard, and then into another building. I couldn’t find the elevator, so ended up going up the stairs to the second-floor room. There were crumbs all in the stairs that would stay there my entire stay.
My reservation had shown online as being upgraded to an “alcove” room – but somehow was then downgraded to a “pool view” room – still a one category upgrade. Annoying since they were still selling alcove rooms. Oh, and there was absolutely no view of the pool whatsoever, but rather the back of the pool bar, combined with the sounds of screaming children.
The room, like the rest of the property, was completely lacking in character. In a town with such a rich design culture, the room could have easily been one in an airport Hilton in Kentucky. The furniture and décor were on the new side, and the room itself was decently sized. There was a King-size bed facing a desk and dresser. On one side of the room were sliding glass doors with a balcony facing the “pool.” On the other side was a small sofa with a coffee table. In the room was a small bag with two bottles of water and a granola bar.
The bathroom itself was on the small side, with a small stall shower. Oddly, there was a little vanity area just outside the bathroom, where they could have put the sink or just elongated the bathroom.
I took a nap, only to be woken by very loud housekeeping in the halls. So, I headed to the gym. It took me awhile to find the gym, which was on the other side of the pool. A map would have been helpful. Unfortunately, the gym, though larger than that at the Triada, was really jammed with equipment and there was very little move to maneuver. The sole weight bench was dangerously close to the cardio machines, and there was no stretching space whatsoever. This was worsened by the fact that people were cutting through the gym to get to and from rooms and the pool, tracking pool water with them – a complete liability. I expect more at a “resort” this size.
On my way back to my room around 6 PM, I got a text from the hotel front desk asking how my room is. I was honest and said I was disappointed by the downgrade. She responded that my room had been changed due to “early check-in.” That made no sense since there was literally less than ten seconds between my getting to the front desk and saying my name and the agent saying “Your room is ready.” She offered to change my room but at 6PM on a one-night stay that was silly.
After the call, I discovered piles of long, light curly hair in the room – not sure if dog or human, but a basic vacuuming should have cleared it up.
In the morning, I was woken by the sound of the phone ringing in the neighboring room. A statement had been slipped under the door which showed…. a $22 resort fee. I was *pissed*. Nowhere anywhere in the booking process or the hotel website is such a fee disclosed. I checked, and even tried a dummy reservation again. Zippo.
I called down to the front desk and the agent said “Oh, that’s not supposed to be there” and agreed to take it off. How many customers get bilked by this scam? I filed a complaint with the California AG on this one, too.
As a Hilton Diamond member, I usually get a full breakfast buffet. Not at the Palm Springs Hilton. You get a $12 credit, which was the cost of the “American” breakfast of two eggs, bacon, potatoes, toast, coffee, and juice. The buffet is $20. A “continental” basket is $10; an omelet is $13. Coffee is $4. I ordered the breakfast burrito which was also $12, expecting to be charged an additional $4 for coffee, but I was given a bill with a zero balance. The burrito was okay; the short rib in it was too dry and there was no flavor in the burrito itself – I needed to add the guacamole and pico de gallo accompaniments.
I spent much of the Sunday at the pool, which was calmer than it had seemed Sunday afternoon. I had my two drinks and read. There was a nice view of the mountains. Even though I had late checkout and a do not disturb sign on the door, at 12:45pm, while I was indisposed, housekeeping banged on the door, naturally.
I would not stay here again.