"Excellent value for a very nice hotel"
We travel to Pittsburgh frequently to visit family. In addition, I've spent countless nights in far too many business hotels -- so I have a fairly critical eye.
-------First, nitpick reasons for less than 5 stars -------------
The design is typical 1980s Big Central Atrium, which was all the rage in business hotels for a time until architects figured out travelers preferred quiet rest to vaulted ceilings. Sound travels in these huge enclosed spaces, and that can be a problem. That said, though the hotel was filled with families with children, lots of teens there for a hockey tournament, and several football fans in town for Steelers v. Browns, we weren't bothered by noise. The suite design helps, in that the bedroom is on the outside wall, while the sitting room is nearest the open hallway. The "hall is a cantilevered walkway open to the atrium on one side. This turns every room into a stop in Grand Central Station (e.g. lots of foot traffic).
Lots of folks ordered room service, apparently, as their trays and associated flotsam were strewn along the fairly narrow walkway. Not good. (Folks, if you need room service, call up housekeeping when you're done -- they'll be up in a jiffy to relieve you of the burden of your recently-used dishes).
If you prefer tomb-quiet (as most Hilton garden Inns seem to be) this hotel shouldn't be your first choice.
The pool was typical hotel-tiny. So was the fitness "room." It was adequate for stretches, dumbbells and some StairMaster work but that's it.
The rooms and furnishings were High Volume Hotel -- not sumptuous matresses as you'll find in most HGE and *some* other chains -- but adequate. There was plenty of hot water and the room and linens were clean -- critical.
---Why I'd give it 6 Stars (if possible)--------
Imagine everyone else you know is off work for days, enjoying time with family, and generally being lazy. You, however, have to work cleaning up after the folks who get to be lazy. That's your lot if you work in a hotel that caters to a wide client base.
Yet this staff --from the front desk to housekeeping to the food service team -- was patient, attentive, cheerful, helpful, and gracious. I observed the folks preparing omelette after custom omelette for a line of people waiting to be served working cheerfully, quickly, and efficiently.
The breakfast buffet was voluminous -- scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, french toast, oatmeal, cereals, fruit, muffins, breads, and to-order omelettes with all sorts of fillings. We're not big breakfast folks so toast with peanut butter and jam served but there was plenty for those with larger appetites.
Each night there was a manager's reception, with various finger foods and soft drinks, beer, and wine. We were issued tickets on check-in but never used one.
I was pleasantly surprised by the Embassy Suites. It skips the Business Hotel stuffiness (and $8 toast), and instead offers a great staff, serviceable rooms and amentities, and "how do they stay in business" buffets.
Bottom line: We'll be back.
TwoWheelDan from Lancaster, PA