It has been my second time staying at an Element Hotel of the Starwood brand yesterday and I was truly shocked by the uncomfortable and unpractical room design at that property.
A month ago I looked over my accounts and figured that I will require one Element stay to complete the Starwood Eleven Brands Promotion so I booked the Element Vancouver Metrotown.
I know it’s a concept hotel, and I also know it’s not a five star property, so bracing myself for the worst I checked in late at 10pm, staying in Downtown Vancouver until then especially on such a wonderful summer day such as yesterday.
Right at arrival I felt the entire design and functionality of the hotel is incoherent and doesn’t make you feel comfortable in the slightest. To reach the front desk you have to take stairs into the basement, then an elevator up to the room. A common area where they also serve breakfast is on level five.
The room itself had the charm of an IKEA show kitchen. In the actual store!
Element rooms (this was classified as a studio) have a kitchen/kitchenette which at the Vancouver property includes a large fridge and freezer as well as a dish washer. This kitchenette was 2 meters distance from the bed with the fridge making sounds like an aircraft taking off. I finally shut it down at 3am.
There was a turntable TV in the middle of the room and between the microwave & this TV they squeezed a work desk. The only way to get fresh air is to open one small window. The bathroom has no tub (none of them do – I asked!) and instead a large shower with pump bottles attached to the wall, a personal pet peeve of mine. The entire room had a cheap hardwood floor, not even a rug somewhere which gave the room an additional industrial feel.
According to the staff and random rate searches the hotel commands rates north of 250-300$ during weekdays. Incredible as I wouldn’t even spend 100$ there and certainly won’t return to this property. The one Element in Las Vegas where I stayed a few years ago was actually quite nice. Unfortunately that wasn’t an option last week as I needed to be on the Strip.
I really hate these new, minimalist concept hotels that throw out most common furniture and try to be practical in the most unpractical ways possible.
John wrote a few months ago about Marriott’s MOXY brand that has no work desks anymore (see here) which is just such a case. In this particular property they had a desk but squeezes it right next to a microwave. Sorry but I’m not cramming for an exam and have to grab a slice of reheated pizza in between.
To avoid them one should really go exactly by the room descriptions and avoid certain brands altogether. Maybe it also helps to check out Youtube, LoyaltyLobby’s Youtube Channel has close to a thousand hotel videos from all over the world!