We chose this hotel for a quick weekend getaway primarily because it is right smack in the middle of the Princeton shopping and restaurant district, a couple blocks from campus. Although we ended up driving, it is also about a 15 minute walk from the train station, if you don't bring much luggage. Given that the excellent location of this hotel is likely to be a year-round draw, and that the hotel is an older place that has been around a long time, we weren't sure how good the accommodations and service would be compared to the chain hotels. We were pleasantly surprised in most respects.
The front desk and restaurant staff, although most of them looked very young (like students or recent grads?) were friendly and helpful. We ate a tasty hot breakfast in the hotel restaurant, which is charming and collegiate, with a working fireplace, initials carved into wooden tables, and a historic Norman Rockwell mural over the bar. We returned later for cocktails and found the bartenders to be a little slow, although to be fair the bar was very full and two bartenders probably weren't enough even if they'd been hustling.
Although the hotel shows some signs of age (slowish elevators, weak water pressure in room), our room appeared to have been recently renovated, particularly the tiling and fixtures in the bathroom. The room was conservatively decorated in an old-fashioned Americana style, with a big screen cable TV (channel selection OK, not great), coffeemaker, and lots of pillows on a comfortable big bed. The bed coverings were a little thin and not very warm, but there was an extra blanket in the closet. The room was on the dark side as there was only one small window; the large bathroom was light enough except for the very dark shower, where the light does not reach due to the dark shower curtain. There was an in-room safe but it was some old-fashioned kind requiring you to get a key from the desk and pay a 25 dollar deposit - no thanks. No minifridge, too bad given the large number of restaurants in the immediate area.
Lobby area was clean and had a couple of comfy chairs, and cookies and coffee were put out in the afternoon. However, because the lobby is very small, it really only has room for people checking in and out, and the hotel should move the large meetup groups (appeared to be going on a bus tour or something) to another room as a couple of times I had to push people aside just to get from the elevator to the exit door.
Parking is available in the Hulfish Garage a half block away for an extra 20 dollars a day. I did not mind paying the parking charge as this is a very congested area for parking and the garage is convenient.
However, I did mind that the hotel, which has Facebook and Twitter pages and advertises its business traveler amenities, not only charged an extra 10.95 per day for Internet but also did not even have wi-fi in the rooms. You have to connect using a cable to a box; the instructions said to connect through the base of the desk lamp, but the connection was broken on the lamp in my room (dangling cable). The instructions also said if you have trouble connecting and call the hotline for assistance, they charge you 1 dollar for the call! Fortunately, I was able to connect my computer directly to the box without help (bypassing the lamp) and after several tries, got the pay screen to come up, entered my CC info and then got a confirmation e-mail that I had paid the 10.95 for one day's access. Unfortunately, my computer still would not connect to the Internet - I kept getting the pay screen. I called the hotline and after some hemming and hawing by the person on the other end, I was told that I needed an access code and that I had to get one from the hotel front desk because the hotline couldnt give me one (some "help"). I then called the hotel front desk and the nice lady working there did give me an access code, so I was able to connect finally. This all happened at around 6 pm Friday.
At about 2:30 pm the next day, I tried to log in, figuring I had paid for 1 day = 24 hours of Internet access so it should be good till 6 pm Saturday. However, I found my access code was no longer working - it likely expired at the 11 am checkout time. At this point I just threw up my hands and relied on my smartphone for the rest of the trip as we were leaving the next day. I could deal with lack of internet for a weekend getaway where we spent most of our time out eating, shopping, and going to an event, but it would have been a nightmare if I'd been there during the weekend and needed to be logging into my corporate network to do work (and no, using a business center is not an option because my own computer is specially configured to work with my corporate network - plus I want to work from my own room that I pay for). Therefore, I don't think I'd want to stay here during the week or for more than a 2-night stay. The extra charge and lack of wi-fi in your room are bad enough without all the problems simply getting Internet to work. Don't see why the Nassau Inn at approximately 250 a night + extra charge can't offer an in-room amenity that many of us need daily, and that Red Roof Inn offers at 70 a night with no extra charge.
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- Also Known As:
- Nassau Hotel Princeton