The bulk of last week’s trip to Florida was spent in Ft Lauderdale. This wasn’t a pleasure trip, however, as mentioned in my last post, since we were down there for training on the business my wife is starting. After years of travelling, we finally decided to jump in to the industry and do something we’re both passionate about, so we bought a new CruiseOne franchise. I’m not leaving my job, so it’ll mostly be my wife running things with the business, but more on that in a later post :).
We spent the week staying at the Sheraton Suites Fort Lauderdale at Cypress Creek, along with the rest of the new franchisees. Prior to going down, my wife had looked up reviews, and was surprised to find so many negative ones for an SPG property. Now that we’ve spent a week there, I can see why.
Let’s start with the positive:
- Decent breakfast buffet: Some reviews on this place knock the buffet, but I found it to be perfectly in line with other hotel breakfasts. The food was kept pretty warm each day, and while I’d have preferred a bigger change in choices each day, everything I had was fine as far as taste goes. The wait staff was very friendly as well.
- Good sized room: We had a two room suite up on the 5th floor in a quiet corner of the hotel, and it served us just fine. The sofa in the living room was a pullout, making it easy for us to set up a bed for our daughter when she drove over to see us on Friday.
Not sure I really have anything else positive to say, so let’s move on to the not-so-positive:
- The WiFi: Wow. Worst WiFi I’ve had in any hotel I’ve ever stayed in. There were three options when connecting, and not wanting to pay extra, I stuck with the free “up to 1.5Mbps” option. Can’t say it was ever close to that speed. During peak hours, connectivity came and went, and when you were connected, speed was super slow, to the point that sites were timing out loading, making it impossible to do any work. I got fed up and tethered through my cell phone most of the time. Didn’t matter which device we used (iPad, Windows or Mac laptops, cell phones), the WiFi performance was horrible unless you were on in the middle of the night. The front desk basically shrugged that one off when I asked one morning. I’ve stayed in larger SPG properties where the free WiFi worked just fine, so this was obviously a case of not having enough capacity to cover the hotel. The signal itself was strong, there just wasn’t any bandwidth, and I’m not going to pay for a higher tier just because they’re trying to force me in to it by limiting the free connectivity.
- Front desk staff: I only interacted with them a couple of times, but wasn’t really impressed either time, as they really didn’t seem to be happy with their jobs. The main issue we had is that we’d stopped down early in the week to ask about the pet policy, as our daughter wanted to bring her cat with her to come see us. The girl we talked to was very friendly, said it was a $25/day cleaning fee, and even chatted with us about the cat for a couple of minutes (we made it clear it was a cat we were asking for). On Friday morning before we headed to training, we stopped at the front desk to leave a key and let them know a pet would be joining us later in the day, and the lady we talked to this time (not friendly) said cats were not allowed. That would have been good information to have a couple of days earlier when we specifically asked, but at least our daughter hadn’t left St Pete yet, so we had time to stop her from bringing the cat.
- General hotel issues:
- One of the elevators near our room smelled like vomit all of Friday. The actual vomit was gone, but that smell hung around all day. Either close the elevator until the smell gone, or clean it right the first time.
- Pillows were way to soft, and the mattress was way too hard. Both are subjective, but neither lived up to my past SPG experiences.
- Weirdest balcony I’ve ever had in a hotel. I wish I’d taken a pic, but it was a shared balcony with two other rooms. Not all of them are set up like this, most are solo balconies, but with ours, we easily could have wakled over and peered in to rooms next to us, or vice-versa. Never had an issue with it, but still, not a setup we really liked. It also acted as a water collector, as any rain resulted in about an inch of standing water out there.
- AC really struggled to keep up. We had it set to 62 the whole week, and it never got close (seemed to stay around 71ish), and never shut off.
I think that’s about it. I’ve stayed in a few SPG properties over the past decade for work, with the last one being the Sheraton Manhattan, and this one certainly didn’t live up to my expectations based on those past stays. Certainly wasn’t any better than some of the lower tier hotels I used to stay in regularly for work (Country Inn and Suites, for example) either. The Holiday Inn I mentioned in my last post beat this Sheraton without question.
My next post will cover the places we ate during the week. With breakfast and lunch provided for us, we got to explore the area for dinner, and had some great food along the way. Following that, I’ll get more in to our new venture, starting with the tour we got to do of the Norwegian Getaway this past Saturday in Miami!