Omaha – 402 Hotel

The accommodation for my first night in Omaha was the only accommodation that I hadn’t booked before this trip to the United States, so was my only late booking. As my train arrived at 11pm, I wanted something central and easy to walk to from the railway station and this seemed well priced given its central location.

The free wine on arrival, a nice touch. And on that point, the staff member at reception was marvellous as he was friendly, conversational and helpful. The hotel doesn’t have the best of reviews, but my first impressions were very positive.

Clean and well presented, the room was absolutely fine. Actually, there were some marks on the wall where a repair seemed  bit botched and there were some maintenance issues, but I didn’t consider them to really be an issue.

The bathroom door in the room was made of a lump of moveable wood, which seemed a bit clunky and didn’t really quite fit the door frame. But I was on my own, so it didn’t much matter.

The bathroom.

Ooooh, I love hotel history. The hotel by this point was exceeding my expectations (not just because of the history card, although that helped).

My night’s sleep was peaceful and uninterrupted, so the hotel was marching towards getting a near perfect review. Actually, I responded to the hotels.com review of my first impressions before going to sleep and the hotel responded thanking me within minutes, so this was all going marvellously.

Then, breakfast. This was bloody dreadful. Firstly, the breakfast room is not well designed, since the two people in it filled the entire space. A breakfast room really needs seats and not having them is an omission. The selection of food was also way below where it should be, it was muffins, and er, muffins. The drinks were limited to coffee and water, no juices were available and that was what I would have ideally liked.

Now, there was one more item available, which was the “hot breakfast”. I’m not that fussed about having a hot breakfast, I spend too much time in hotels on mainland Europe binge eating their cold meats, cold cheeses and bread selection, but if a hotel advertises a hot breakfast then it really should have it.

Technically, the hotel did offer a hot breakfast. If a customer went to reception and handed over a breakfast token then they got a breakfast roll. I had rather hoped that this might be, well, hot, but it wasn’t. Some vague instruction on how to cook it would have been useful, but not really essential as there were some heating instructions.

Given that the breakfast room, where there was a microwave, was full, I took my hot breakfast (still cold) back to my room. I then discovered that the microwave in the room didn’t work and since my breakfast roll is part frozen the only resolution would have been to traipse back down to the full breakfast room and try and cook the bloody thing. I didn’t bother, it went in the bin, which is an appalling waste of food I wasn’t overly pleased with.

So, the hotel breakfast was no drink and two muffins. They’d have probably been better off ditching the breakfast, since I’d have paid the same for the room anyway. But, my breakfast saga aside, this was a hotel which is clearly improving and the friendliness of the staff (particularly the one in the evening at check-in) was way above average.

Looking at some other reviews on TripAdvisor, I couldn’t disagree with the below (although they’d run out of beer with me and only had wine, although that was fine with me):

“The welcome process was to include beer and wine, and all that was on offer was Bud Light. No thanks. I walked right by the breakfast, which was beyond dismal. Otherwise, the bed was reasonably comfortable.”

Some people mentioned the breakfast was good (although many didn’t) so I do wonder whether something has changed in what is being provided. For the money, I thought that the entire stay represented perfectly decent value and their ranking as nearly the worst hotel in the city on TripAdvisor seems a little unfair.