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Initial thoughts on the Red Lion Hotel, Salt Lake City, Utah

Based on a visit in August, 2006

A sprawing review of the Red Lion hotel that we stayed at during our time in SLC, during our Western States Tour, 2006.

We arrived at about 9:30pm on a Monday and behind the counter were a couple of younger girls, very chatty, but pretty efficient. I wish they would have asked if we had a preference for a side of the building or a floor, but that didn't happen. It looked like the assigned the room just as we checked in, so it would have been an easy thing to do.

The lobby was fine enough, if a bit cramped. I guess I'm used to taller ceilings in the lobby area. (I don't know where I picked that up from.) However, the first impression I get of most hotels is when I get up close with a particular detail and (short of the front desk counter) that's the elevator.

The elevator we got into was a mess mostly from wear. There was a panel at in the drop-lights ceiling that was missing, the other panels had obvious dead insects on top of them creating distinct black shadows. Some of the trim was missing that was supposed to hold the panels in place was missing, the walls were in okay shape but there were deep gouges on the doors when they closed. The flooring was the same very worn out carpet that was in the hallways, but the part near the doors was tacked down with duct tape that had seen better days.

The hallway on the 8th floor was clean enough and we made our way to our room with ease overall. The building is one of those 'tri-wing' styles where you've got three arms of the building coming out from a central 'shaft' that has the elevators. This is nice because it gives each room a view that doesn't look into any other rooms, and the curving layout hides the distance that you need to walk to get to your room.

Once we opened the door to the room, we hit the light switch. Nothing. Oh great. Amy ventured in to see if any of the table lamps worked. After a minute or so of stumbling in the dark having only the light from the hallway to help, she finally found a lamp that had a light switch she could feel for. Not the best introduction to the room. It turns out the lamp the wall switch was supposed to turn on had been turned off at the base. It seems like something they would check in the room after clean up.

The bathroom is dinky, one of those water closets where the swing of the door covers 90% of the free floor space, giving you just a few feet to move around. The bathtub is super tiny, maybe four-foot long. There's plenty of counter space however, so that's nice enough.

Note to self: when you're on vacation, the bathtub is close to being your own pool. Make sure the bathtub is big enough to relax in. When we stayed at the Paramount in Portland in 2000 the tub was almost big enough, but bigger is always better, right?

The furniture in the room is nice the woods are free of marking the lamps are nice and clean, the carpet is solid and not threadbare like the elevator's. My only quibble is with the armoire which utterly dominates the room. One of these days, when LCD TVs are cheaper than bulky CRTs, this will go away as a problem, but there are better ways of dealing with the television than stuffing it in a 6ft brown box that's nearly the first thing you see when you step into the room (if the lights are on, that is.)

11 hours into our stay at RDLNSLC and we've got a reasonable room, with basic amenities. We haven't explored the facilities much, and I just realized what a gamble it is to have a hotel with an outdoor pool. Should have looked for an indoor pool when searching for hotels. Chalk another one up to experience.

Internet access: decent enough, though my Powerbook doesn't actually see the Access Point from the desk in the room. Fortunately it kept connected once I found it while sitting on the bed and moved to the desk. The access is pretty tightly controlled, which sucks. In order to have our three laptops (...don't ask...) connected we have to have three separate usernames/passwords.