The Ballantyne Hotel, for whatever reason, has been on my bucket list of Starwood properties I wanted to visit. Located just outside of Charlotte, North Carolina, The Ballantyne is hotel disguised as a resort. Located in a corporate park, the Ballantyne Hotel & Lodge, as it’s formally called, features a lush, green golf course, spa and fitness facilities.
First impressions of the hotel left me wondering why they’re billed as four-star. The hotel, on a Saturday night at 9pm, was fairly empty. There were several guests at the lobby bar and 1 other guest at check-in. I had to wait several minutes before someone came to assist me with check-in. During the process, I was asked what time I’d be checking out, I said I would leave at noon the following day.
As I stepped off the elevators onto the fifth floor, I was smacked in the face with the smell of wet dog. The entire hallway, and my room, smelled musty.
What I Loved: I appreciated that the hotel had free, self-parking in addition to the valet option. Additionally, there was no resort fee charged automatically. I liked the bathroom and the Remede amenities the hotel offered in the shower and bath. The bed and pillows were very comfortable.
What I Didn’t Love: I didn’t love the smell of the room or the hallways. The room also required several maintenance repairs (which I’ll explain later). Being woken up by housekeeping (I’ll also explain this further.).
As I started to explore my room, I realized that the air conditioning wasn’t working. I couldn’t figure out how to turn it on, and so I called for maintenance. They reset the unit and found that vents in the room had been closed. Once they fixed that, the room started to cool down and the musty smell started to dissipate. In addition to the air, the TV remote didn’t work and one of the lamps next to the bed was burned out.
Since I was only in the hotel 1 night, it was hard to get a feel for the amenities, but they do offer a golf course, golf lessons by Dana Rader Golf School, tennis courts, spa and salon, gym, lobby bar and restaurant. In addition, the hotel offers free shuttle services to local offices and retail/restaurants within 5 miles. There is no airport shuttle services, however.
The biggest disappointment for me was the early morning wake-up from housekeeping. Why does a hotel ask you what time you’re checking out if housekeeping is going to knock on the door at 8am, 9am and 10am anyway? Yes, I could have, and should have, put the do not disturb sign on the door – but if the hotel makes a point of asking me about my checkout time, they should notify housekeeping. Housekeeping should also be able to confirm that I’ve not checked out before knocking so early on a Sunday morning.
So why was this hotel on my Starwood bucket list? If you look at the website, the hotel looks amazing. There’s no sign of the cement city and corporate skyscrapers (okay, they’re not skyscrapers, but they’re tall office buildings) surrounding the hotel. The view from my room? A parking lot and perfect view of CVS Pharmacy. The Aloft Ballantyne had much better views of the golf course and greens.
If I had to stay in the area again, I would not stay at The Ballantyne Hotel – even though President Obama apparently stayed there. I would choose to stay at the Aloft Ballantyne.