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“major disappointment”

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Carolina University Inn
Ranked #76 of 94 Hotels in Columbia
Cary
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“major disappointment”
Reviewed 24 April 2012

I stayed in this hotel the weekend of April 20th, 2012. I chose it mainly because of it's close proximity to the University of S. Carolina campus. The location was indeed very nice unfortunately my hotel room was not. The room reminded me of a roadside motel from the 1970's and looked like it had not been upgraded since. The bed's were hard, the bed linens were sparse. The bathroom was just nasty and had a bathtub that was at least 20 years old with water temperature flucuating from extremely hot to very cold every 20 seconds or so. Any noise from outside the room seemed to enter the room unabated as if the door was open even when it wasn't. The parking lot was overcrowded through my entire stay as well so I had to walk about 100 yards from my car to my room.

Needless to say I wouldn't recommend staying at this hotel unless you are truly desparate.

  • Stayed April 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank BillJCary
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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183 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (47)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
Piedmont, South Carolina
Level Contributor
13 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 April 2012

I've stayed in probably dozens of hotels and motels over the course of my life, but the Clarion in downtown Columbia is by-far my all-time favorite. It embodies everything a good hotel should always have-- excellent service, fantastic cleanliness, and perfect value. However, this hotel has something no other lodging facility I've ever stayed in has, something that is very hard to find anywhere nowadays-- at the Clarion, they make you feel genuinely respected, almost as if you are a person of great importance, royalty even. I've stayed here a few times and each of my stays continues to remain consistently wonderful across the board. I'd live here if I could. My highest recommendation of all.

  • Stayed April 2012, travelled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank RamblinGal11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Charlotte, North Carolina
Level Contributor
92 reviews
65 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 April 2012

I recently stayed at this hotel for some recent business in Columbia. It definitely looks impressive from the lobby, with decor reminiscent of a grand Southern home. The service afforded by everyone, from Megan when calling beforehand, to Mandy in the restaurant, to Becky at the desk and Lance the shuttle van driver, was excellent. Everyone knew a lot about the area and were quick to recommend places to go and engage in conversation. The staff was very accomodating regarding my bizarre schedule, allowing me an 8:00 check in Saturday morning, keeping my belongings while I attended my activities Sunday and let me remain in the lobby in the evening since I would not be deaprting until late that night. The one gripe I had was that one of my events was an anime convention (which the hotel offered special rates for) that lasted until midnight Saturday, but their shuttle van didn't run past 10:00, meaning I missed the last two hours of my event.

My room was 228, in the outdoor "courtyard" section. Given the lobby and the excellent service, the room was a pretty big letdown. The room was basically clean, but needed renovation badly. A piece of wallpaper was peeling off the wall. Furnishings and doors were beat up and scratched. And the only free electrical outlet was halfway across the room from the desk, located next to the door - a tripping hazard as well as an inconvenience as my laptop's power cord had to be strung across where you would enter the room. The TV was not only an old CRT box unit, but it was tiny... only about 19 or 20 inches. And oddly enough the remote control's power button would work the TV's sleep timer instead of turning it on and off... kinda strange. No microwave or refrigerator, and the wireless internet was slow and had trouble making the initial connection to the network.The bed was nice and comfortable, though.

I tried the hotel's restaurant, the aptly named "Carolina's" for dinner. The portions were small and it was kind of eerie being the only one in there at 5:45 on a Saturday, but the food was good and I did get an extra plate of fries at no charge, so I did get my fill. Breakfast is not free and I had to leave the hotel before I could sit down for it anyway, so I can't comment on it.

I paid $75.99 for the room with Choice's 2-week advance booking program ($3 less than the anime convention special rate), but that would be about the highest I would go given the condition of the room - and I certainly wouldn't pay the rack rate of $94.99 for one of those exterior rooms. Rooms in the interior tower building might be better but were also $35 more. To put things in perspective, two years ago I stayed in a nicely updated Quality Suites property for less, that offered much more including micro-fridge and two flat panel TV's.

It appears that the Clarion brand as a whole is no longer the upscale brand it once was. Besides a number of limited service and/or exterior corridor members of the chain, you have ones like these which badly need updating with more modern amenities.

The Clarion Hotel Downtown in Columbia really isn't a good value unless you can get its rooms at a very deep discount. They're simply too outdated and worn for the rates they ask. A renovation of the exterior rooms (or maybe just get rid of the exterior wings altogether and just have the tower building) is needed to make the place "upscale" again. Which is a shame, since they have a great and accomodating staff who deserve their hotel to be in better shape.

3/5 since the staff somewhat makes up for the rooms.

Room Tip: Go for the interior rooms if you can get a good price for them. The exterior rooms are simply too ol...
See more room tips
  • Stayed April 2012, travelled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank LGILMAN479
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Summerville, SC
Level Contributor
22 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 11 April 2012

Our family arrived in Columbia the night before our scheduled college visit at University of South Carolina. The decor of the lobby was excellent with a historical touch and the staff very welcoming. She provided us with a map of the local area and recommended we explore the Vista district, which is more family friendly versus the Five Points District. Both areas are within walking distance and we found the Vista District perfect for our visit. Since the location is downtown, it was recommended to stay toward the back of the hotel for a quieter sleep. We found the room to be of adequate size with two queen beds for our son and us. Everything was clean & tidy in our guest room. The bathroom was a bit small, but it worked out just fine. I would say that the interior is a bit tired in the rooms and needs some renovation. I have stayed in Columbia several times, but never in this area. This visit (and the University) left a positive impression of downtown Columbia!

Room Tip: As recommended by the staff, stay towards the back of the hotel for the quietest sleep.
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  • Stayed March 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Scrivner
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bensalem, PA
Level Contributor
180 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 131 helpful votes
Reviewed 11 April 2012

My friend and I went here with a Groupon...and boy were we pleasantly surprised. "The Comedy Zone" is an upstairs room with lots of tables/chairs. It has a bar and food service. We saw three comedians there and although they had different styles, they were all funny! (Some humor was off-color and very adult). This is a great place for grown adults, couples, and friends. Many races, ages, and economic backgrounds came out for the comedy. It attracts all types and there is something for everyone there. Some comedians are interactive and some are not. We laughed a ton and the drinks were average-priced. (The servers do push the drinks on you often so be forewarned!) The whole experience was good and we would go back again. Bathrooms were clean and the parking is free and plentiful. (Side note: the diet coke tasted funky..The server agreed it was "off" but she charged me for it anyhow even though I did not drink it. .I am a diabetic and it did not taste sugar free. Do not order it.Stick to booze or water and beware the diet soda!)

  • Stayed April 2012, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank msspungen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Carolina University Inn

Property: Carolina University Inn
Address: 1615 Gervais St, Columbia, SC 29201-3413 (Formerly Clarion Hotel Downtown)
Region: United States > South Carolina > Columbia
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #76 of 94 Hotels in Columbia
Price range (per night): ₹ 7,041 - ₹ 19,315
Hotel Class:3 star — Carolina University Inn 3*
Number of rooms: 87
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Welcome to the Carolina University Inn located in the heart of Downtown Columbia. Travelers of all needs can take advantage of our one of a kind property located in the business, financial, and entertainment district of downtown Columbia. Unique local restaurants, boutique shopping, and exciting night life are all located within a one mile radius. The brand new USC Law School opening in Fall of 2017 is just across the street from the hotel's front door and a short walk from where you can discover everything the University of South Carolina campus has to offer. We take great pride in our Gamecocks here in Columbia. Williams Brice Stadium is a short 2.9 mile drive where you will experience college football here in Gamecock Country! Breathtaking views of the South Carolina State House are blocks away on Gervais Street. The South Carolina State Museum and Museum of Art are conveniently located downtown offering a taste of our local culture. Take the family on a delightful educational adventure to the Riverbanks Zoo and Garden or the Edventure Children's Museum, both located within 5 miles of the hotel. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Clarion Hotel Columbia
Clarion Columbia
Columbia Clarion

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