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Review: Hotel Nia, Autograph Collection (2021)
I’ve decided to check out Hotel Nia to continue my quest in finding a nice staycation spot in the Bay Area. The hotel is a part of the Autograph Collection. Autograph Collection is a collection of upscale to luxury boutique hotels that have distinct characteristics compared to other classic Marriott brands like Courtyard or JW Marriott. But, they participate in the Marriott Bonvoy loyalty program so you can expect great benefits by having a high status with Marriott Bonvoy.
Hotel Nia- Location
Hotel Nia is located in Menlo Park located right besides the Face– uh I mean, Meta building and the US 101 Highway. It’s also surrounded by a bunch of small offices, so there’s not much to see within the walking distance. The closest Safeway, a supermarket, is 12 minutes drive away with having to access the freeway. Overall, the location feels like it’s suited for business hotel more than a hotel you’d go to to for a vacation.
Hotel Nia- Booking
I booked a Holiday Sale rate at ~$172 for a single night, which appear to be offered often in the hotel. It’s indeed a good cash rate for an upscale hotel in the Bay Area. Normal cash rate can go up towards ~$250 a night.
For points redemption, it’s a Category 6 hotel, meaning that you’ll need 40,000-60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points to redeem one night. Cash rates provide much better value, and I suggest saving your points for more aspirational stays in the future.
I asked for a suite upgrade on the Marriott Bonvoy app as a Platinum Elite, and my upgrade was confirmed on the last minute before check-in! The suite is a 1 King Bed Room with Partial Bay View that also comes with a balcony. I was pretty excited about the upgrade! The cash rate for the suite would’ve been ~$800 per night if I paid with cash. So, the value I got from the upgrade was massive!
Hotel Nia- Check-in
Check-in for me was quite strange. I had a staff who was rolling the luggage cart, but didn’t say anything. No big deal. Then, I met the front desk. The way she spoke seemed like she was new to the job. Again, no big deal, maybe that was the case. Elite status recognition was solid overall, and she confirmed my suite upgrade! She then explained the limited hours of the restaurant and how the fitness center’s open 24 hours.
Parking situation is $20 per night by either parking on the side of the hotel or the parking garage shared with the Meta building next to the hotel. When I checked in, the spaces on the side were all full which wasn’t a lot to begin with.
So I had to use the shared parking garage by the Meta building. Getting from the parking garage back to the hotel’s lobby takes around 3 minutes to walk. For me, it wasn’t hard, but a family with big luggage could come at slower pace. Navigating out of the parking space wasn’t clear either, but that could’ve just been me. Anyways, it’s strange how a hotel that normally charges ~$250 a night does not have enough dedicated space for parking, and have to share it with the building next door.
Hours later, I realized the front desk forgot to offer me my Welcome Gift Choice and breakfast voucher that I was supposed to get as Platinum Elite. The next morning, I claimed a compensation of $100 because of Marriott Elite Guarantee.
Hotel Nia- The Suite
I was assigned to a 1-bedroom suite on the 10th floor, the second highest floor of the hotel. So far, the hotel has some quirky and cute designs that I really enjoyed. One of them is the digital “Do Not Disturb” sign with a sleeping emoji glowing in red once you turn it on inside the room.
Once I entered the suite, I was impressed with how spacious the suite was! But, the room felt a bit stuffy, and I had to open the door to the balcony to get fresh air in.
I like the sleek and modern look to the room, nonetheless. Blue and orange color scheme really works well together.
The pantry includes a Keurig coffee machine, safe, mini-fridge, and standard cups. Sadly, no complimentary water bottles. A bit odd for an $800 suite.
The bed was a bit soft for my preference, but I had a good night sleep nonetheless. But, the room’s heater felt like it was blowing on my face as I was sleeping, so I had to get up to turn it off.
The balcony provides space for lounging, but sadly I found the lounge chair cushion to be a bit dirty. Not only that, the rugs and bedroom window inside the suite don’t look very clean either. I would be a lot more upset if I paid the cash rate of $800.
The outside view is also nothing to write home about (well, I guess I kind of am doing it). It definitely would’ve been nice in a city center type of location or closer to the Bay.
The room’s TV is great though. It felt like it has a higher refresh rate than what I’m usually used to (144Hz). I took some time to catch up on the new JoJo’s Bizzare Adventure season!
Hotel Nia Bathroom
The suite comes with 1.5 bathroom. To start, the half bathroom is right by the front door with its wooden finish.
The main bathroom area is by the bedroom where there’s a dresser, double sink, separate toilet room, and separate bathtub and shower room barred by a glass door. The dresser is covered with orange-tinted glass that looked pretty cool. But, I didn’t take a picture of it. A bathrobe was missing, but I was able to request one through the chat app.
I found it very awkward being able to see myself doing business Number Two with a giant mirror in front of the toilet. Why is it there in the first place??
Water pressure for the shower was OK. Bathtub took around 10 minutes to fill up. There appears to be no way to lock the shower’s glass door. Bath amenities are in communal containers to reduce waste. In turn, you can’t bring some home with you. Even a body lotion wasn’t offered in the room. I’m unsure if it’s something housekeeping forgot to add like the missing bathrobe. Amenities felt incomplete in a sense.
One glaring issue with the bathroom design is its open concept. If you’re not traveling alone, you won’t have privacy because of the shower room’s clear glass door. There is, however, a sliding door between the suite’s living room and the bedroom. I can’t say the same for the regular rooms though.
Overall, I like the minimalistic and sleek look of the suite. But it has glaring practical issues on the room design like lacking privacy for showers and the heater blowing directly to your face.
Hotel Nia- Breakfast
The hotel has dining options for breakfast and dinner at Verve Cafe for breakfast and Porta Blu Restaurant for dinner. The restaurants ran quite short hours. So if you’re checking in past 9 pm and are hungry, you’ll have to go elsewhere or order takeout. There is a mini market called Nia Go by the front desk that runs 24 hours. But, it appeared to only have assorted light snacks and drinks, so don’t hope for a filling meal buying things there.
I’ve only tried out breakfast at the Verve Cafe. The free breakfast isn’t as exciting as some of my previous stays like Hotel Citrine and JW Marriott in Baku. With the breakfast voucher I got from Platinum Elite status, I can only get a pre-selected breakfast meal instead of freely choosing what’s on the menu.
The breakfast consists of a pastry, fruit bowl, yogurt, orange juice, and coffee. While I’m grateful for free food in general, it’s not what I would’ve expect from a hotel that’s advertised as luxury when there are many other hotels that have returned to full service on breakfast.
Hotel Nia- Facilities
The hotel has a 24 hour gym, large swimming pool with hot tub with cabanas, conference rooms, and a beautiful courtyard.
The gym is quite spacious complete with varied equipment. It comes with towels, but no water bottles. Located at the ground floor on the way back behind the front desk.
Second floor of the hotel is where the conference rooms are to host events with a wide waiting space outside.
The hotel has a beautiful courtyard, which is also where the swimming pool is. It was raining at the time, so nobody was there.
Honestly, the view here looks more appealing than the empty spaces from the suite.
Hotel Nia- Guest Compensation Drama
I mentioned earlier that I didn’t receive my Platinum Welcome Gift Choice and breakfast voucher during check-in. So I confronted the front desk about the $100 Guest Compensation that Autograph Collection hotels fall under if the elite benefits aren’t honored by the time of arrival.
I had a phone call with the hotel manager, who told me that she was the one who upgraded me to the suite. She tried to play it off as that would be enough to get her off the hook with the Guest Compensation. While I truly appreciate the suite upgrade despite the minor inconveniences like dirty rugs, lounge chair, windows, and the missing bathrobe, the Welcome Gift Choice is a different matter.
But, I felt snarkiness in the tone of her voice that goes along with “Oh, so you want to get $100 off even though I upgraded you to a suite?” type of attitude that I didn’t appreciate. I did end up getting the Guest Compensation at the end, but the rest of my stay felt sour as I felt like I was painted as a bad & greedy person even though I made sure to not blame anyone for what happened.
I simply followed the Marriott’s Terms & Conditions. I thought that bringing this up would have the effect of helping the staff serve future guests better with more consistent treatment for those with high elite status. The manager did send an apology letter after my check-out, but half of it felt like corporate speak more than a genuine apology. Nonetheless, I have to commend her for at least sending the email instead of not saying anything.
My stay at Hotel Nia wasn’t great. Despite getting a real good value for the money on the cash rate and the suite upgrade, I felt the quality of the hotel doesn’t justify the price. The suite I got felt incomplete with the room being stuffy as I entered, no complimentary water bottle & amenities, dirty furniture, and practical design issues with the room. The only upside was the cool and modern design of the hotel.
The experience got worse after how the Guest Compensation was handled. But I hope that the staff will receive better training as they deserve since most of them were nice and welcoming. With all that said, I will be happy to not go back to Hotel Nia any time soon.