My husband and I recently stayed at the Saguaro this past week and were pleasantly surprised by the outstanding service given by the staff there. Since I've already headed this review, "almost perfect" I'll simply explain that the service and value are excellent, and that the negatives the hotel suffers from are in no way to do with their staff or day to day operations.
First off, if a hotel review was based purely on service, friendliness and attentiveness, the newly remodeled Saguaro would win first place. The staff is warm, pleasant, quick to action, and extremely accommodating. The things that don't work about this hotel have frankly nothing whatever to do with the level of service. Rather, they have to do with the fact that this hotel was very, VERY cheaply remodeled from a former Holiday Inn, and once you reach your room, it becomes quite apparent why and how. This is somewhat surprising and disappointing because I've come to expect more from a Joie de Vivre hotel. But, this is not the fault of the staff, who frankly are tip top as far as I'm concerned. So read on to see why I still think this hotel has a lot to offer!
Here are the bullet points:
First, the staff is awesome. Young, friendly, and very accommodating. When we arrived at the hotel we were given an early check-in, and because the magnetic key maker didn't work and we had to wait around for an extra 15-20 minutes and then switch rooms, we were upgraded to a suite. Bravo! However, this happened because they were using the junky, old, Holiday Inn machines which were apparently very temperamental. Joie de Vivre, come on. Upgrade your front desk equipment. That being said, the weird machines were once again, completely separate from the staff, and Michael at the front desk placed us in a wonderful upgrade and comped our poolside drinks, (which was above and beyond the call of duty). Well done and a great way to get new visitors coming just after a soft opening! Believe me, this is a motivating factor for a speedy return.
When we made our way down to the pool, initially it seemed somewhat understaffed, even at a mid-week, 30% occupancy. However, we're early risers and were down around 7-7:30am daily. Once the staff began to make their way around, they came over and over to refill drinks gratis and check in on us. Again, there probably should have been more people working, and yet those that did were excellent!
As far as the food, what I sampled was also very, very tasty. However, I'm a vegetarian, so that limited me to fries and olives, but my husband loved the burger. I can vouch that what we had was super tasty and not inordinately expensive.
Okay, on to the rooms: And here's where the Saguaro trips up. The aesthetic is really cool on the outside as well as in the lobby. Basically, a mind-century modern take on minimalism, but all done in a hue of extreme, "skittle" colored bright paint. (If you're familiar with the Jewish-Israeli artist Agam, you'll know what I'm attempting to reference). Everything in the lobby and on to the rooms is brightly colored in giant splashes of block pantones.
When you reach the rooms, they are laid out simply with modern, heavy cotton bedding. (A big plus, no gross duvets). The walls and couches are all done in bright, single color blocks of purple, orange, red, lime and yellow. But... the Holiday Inn must have had paper thin walls because you can hear EVERYTHING from room to room. This means that you have to run the AC all the time to block out the hallway noises and murmuring. Also, while the decor idea is cute, there's basically none. Meaning, the colors adorning the walls are fun, but we stayed in a suite and it had a bed, a couch, and a single, computer desk. That's it. No decor, no other design elements. Just very, very spare. It feels like they did a basic remodel by repainting everything and then just--stopped. I hate overcrowded rooms but these really need a little more oomph to pull off the crazy color scheme. Also, no robes. Limited toiletries, (although the Lather products were great--just very small for consistent shampooing after pool time). Additionally, the hotel has installed these very cheap, no-name plasma tv's and they have weird wires coming out of the front panel. This also makes the room remodel look cheap, but that's fairly incidental.
The good news is that for a boutique, the room sizes are very comfortable and not at all cramped. Also, the safe is decently wide sized to fit multiple laptops and wallets--always good. Most boutiques make the safes way too small. The wifi is a little spotty but that's also not a big deal. Hopefully if you arrive here, you're on vacation anyway. Plus each room has a balcony and that's a really attractive component at night when you want to sit out but not leave the comfort of your room.
I suppose my main point is that this hotel is on the way to being great, but Joie de Vivre has to be honest about the level of care they put into their remodel. We found they had shut down to change over the hotel and renovate in November, and had reopened under new management in February. Even for a small operation of 245 rooms, 3 months is perhaps a little too fast to work out all the kinks. For example, we arrived at our room on the 2nd floor, and clearly there had been some sort of major roof leak that had created water damage. The 2nd floor smells musty and moldy, and there's a huge water stain right near the elevator. You can track the flooding right up into the third floor, where we switched into our suite. No odor, but the wallpaper had water ripples already. Clearly, there was water damage and the hotel just painted over it and crossed their fingers. OK as far as the top floor but avoid floor 2 until it's aired out.
So, overall, excellent staff. Great service, super nice people at the restaurant, front desk, housekeeping, and pool. The rooms really need work but they're a good size and very pleasant. The hotel just needs to sink a bit more time and money into finishing a lot of detail work and then this place will be perfect. Overall, I would love to come back and see what they accomplish because I had a great time.
- Also Known As:
- Holiday Inn Palm Springs
- Palm Springs Holiday Inn
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- To know Palm Springs is to love it. Whether you come for the sun, the spas or the style, there's an undeniable lure to this oasis of desert modernity in the Coachella Valley. Now, there's a new place to lay your head while soaking it all up. The Saguaro opened in February 2012, bringing with it a new sense of design, food and comfort. If you ever needed another reason to escape, you have one now. Guests enjoy our resort style amenities including our pool, fine dining, fitness, yoga and spa services. Guestrooms & Suites: Bright. Light. Colorful. The rooms at the Saguaro immerse you in the desert resort experience that is Palm Springs. Choose your view - mountain, garden courtyard with pool, or city lights. Nearly every room has a balcony or patio and is accented inside and out by the brilliant color of a native Mojave wildflower, creating a visual spectrum of light throughout the grounds. No one perspective is the same. Guestroom Amenities• Hotel and rooms renovated February 2012• Flat screen, 42" HDTVs• Views of surrounding mountains, courtyard and city (select rooms)• Outdoor patios or step out balconies • Large work desks• Stereo with iPod docking station• On-demand movies and music. Services & Amenities: There are certain standards by which a visit to Palm Springs is judged, such as pool time and the scenery that goes with it, the quality of architecture and design, and perhaps most importantly, the ability to enjoy the desert landscape and air, preferably with cocktail in hand. By all accounts, the Saguaro has you more than covered. Hotel Services• Pet-friendly• Secure self parking*• Laundry and dry cleaning service• Wireless Internet Access*• Daily yoga*• Complimentary local transportation**included in daily resort fee of $18.00 USD per night. Meetings & Events: In the 1920s, Hollywood stars began decamping to Palm Springs to relax, party and rejuvenate. You can imagine more than a few screenplays were pitched around the pool. Today Palm Springs is a destination for meetings and events more than ever, seducing planners with 350 days of sunshine a year and abundant golf, shopping and desert curiosities. The Saguaro features several flexible event space options and is ready to host your event, whether it's hosted in our garden courtyard, in a private dining room or around the pool. ... more less
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