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not a three-star hotel

Beware, my traveling friends. Beware of the Blake Hotel in Charlotte, North Carolina. Do not be fooled by the hip and trendy appearance on their website. There is a reason why most of those photos are various angles and chairs in the lobby and the finished section of the guest rooms. Notice that there are none of the exterior part of the hotel nor are there any of the bathrooms. When you're looking at 3 photos of a lamp on a bedside table, you've got issues. There is a reason, a very, very good reason, why this hotel chooses their photos carefully.

The Blake Hotel is quick to tell its guests to "excuse our mess" during the renovation. Their low-rates reflect this inconvenience - sort-of. They do plenty of apologizing for their poorly remodeled rooms, pointing the finger at their contractors. However, it is not the contractors that release the rooms to the public, dear readers, it is the responsibility of the management.

This is a section of the email I sent to the management detailing what went wrong with out stay:

I left a comment card upon our departure on Thursday, March 15. I have to tell you that I applaud your service-level. It exceeded my expectations. However, your hotel is far below the three-star rating hotels.com and expeida.com give it. I know you are under construction. I was aware of that before we arrived. It took us 3 rooms to find one that was acceptable. By acceptable, I mean that the room contained a smoke detector that was not hanging from the ceiling by wires, phones that worked, outlets that functioned, air conditioning that didn't sound like a jack-hammer coming through the wall and lights that turn off and on. The room we ended-up in (320) was severely unready for guests. There was construction dust in the corners of the floor and under the sink area in the not-too-clean bathroom, the tub was blackened and the mold/mildew in the grouting of the tile was displeasing, the carpet seemed to need another pass of the vacuum, the surfaces were dusty, the towels had mysterious stains on them and then the real problems started. I found nails and screws on the floor, the bed leg was not attached when it was assembled so when we sat on the bed it caved-in in the middle (we had to fix it ourselves, because at that point we were too tired to function), 3 of the outlets were not functioning, the pipes started rattling loudly about 10 minutes into the shower, the very nice flat screen TV channels were fuzzy and only functioned if you entered actual channel numbers (the up and down did not work), the sheets were scratchy and stained and the mirror over the dresser was still being painted - complete with wet black paint and masking tape. Any one of these items would not have been a huge deal (save for the bathroom), but combined together and considering this was room number 3 really made for an unpleasant stay. Your excellent service-level did not make up for the sub-par rooms. Even the hallways were incomplete and on the scary-side - they reminded me of an abandoned building that transients had taken over. I am glad that we got the room for a mid-week special price, because I cannot imagine how upset I would have been if we paid your weekend rates.

There was more to the letter, but I saved the good stuff for you. Please, take my advice - do NOT stay there! Perhaps things will turn around if and when they ever finish their remodel, but I won't be taking my chances when I'm in the area, again.

FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO BRAVE THE BLAKE: Be aware that the parking garage is on the shady side. It's poorly lit, in an inconvenient location and it's privately run by the businesses next door. They will charge you for in and out privileges. I still don't understand why an entire empty parking lot to the right of the property belonging to the Blake is chained-off from guests, but I assume they have their reasons... They do have a shuttle that runs on the hour until 11:00 PM - it will take you to any downtown location for dining and entertainment - a pretty good perk for putting up with their horrible hotel.


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