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Southern Hospitality at the Siena Hotel, Raleigh, NC

March 27, 2011

Upon my arrival fresh from RDU, checkin at the Siena Hotel was facilitated by Nate Plant. Mr Plant reminds me of an old time proprietor from the Old West. He was as earnest, friendly, and courteous as you would expect, and when queried about the possibility of an interesting bathroom immediately offered up the recently-renovated room 402. The TV in 402 may remain bulbous, but who cares when you have a cool glass shower like this?

The rest of the hotel is about as upscale as I have come across in the Research Triangle area of NC (well until this trip…see below). Apparently it has been here for 26 years, but I only just discovered it. The lobby has beautiful marble and rococo “Italian” furniture marred only by the omnipresent TV.

If my room is any indication, things are on the upswing at the Siena and almost at a world class level with sort of a fractal sense of taste that almost works. (As an example, the refrigerator unit in my room sits forlorn in the corner all by itself, definitely in need of an enclosure. So…marble desk: check, refrigerator in corner: not so much, bulbous TV: not so much, nice big bed with decent linens: check, marble lobby: check, TV noise: no so much.) All of the minor issues are made up for by the excellent, responsive staff. Friendly and warm and properly North Carolinian.

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The restaurant, Il Palio, is very good with fresh pasta, an extensive wine list, and a very nice ambiance.

All in all, the Siena earns top grades—five showerheads. I’ll be back.

Of course leave it to Michael, one of my most esteemed hosts, to completely outclass the Siena by hosting a dinner at the Umstead hotel, a place that reminds me in many ways of the Bellevue Club in Washington state. Looks like there is super high end luxury in the Triangle area after all. The restaurant at the Umstead (called Herons) presented a superb meal with the best service I have experienced in quite some time.

All we need now is some mixology in NC. Any suggestions out there?

One Response to “Southern Hospitality at the Siena Hotel, Raleigh, NC”

  1. showertaker Says:

    The difference between the Seina Hotel (good) and the Park Plaza Riverbank (lousy) is like night and day. I filled out the survey card at the Siena and included a link to the blog entry. Here is what the General Manager had to say. See why the Siena is so good from a staffing perspective?

    [posted with permission]
    Good Morning Mr. X,

    Thank you for staying with us, and thank you for the kind words and review on your website. We are thrilled you spoke so highly of our renovated bathroom. The guestroom renovation has just begun and the bathroom was the first place we wanted to test out and make sure we perfected before moving forward with the entire room renovation. We are finalizing the bedroom renovation design portion of the guestroom, and plan to have the entire guestroom renovated by the end of the summer.

    The out of date TV, and out of place fridge are being replaced during the renovation. The fridge will go with the coffee maker in a cabinet, and the TV will be upgraded to a 40″ plasma with lots of HD programming, and will sit on a beautiful TV stand. The bed is also being upgraded with higher thread count linens and an impressive headboard. We have a picture of the sample guestroom on our websites blog http://sienahotel.com/Blog/Renovations-Have-Begun.aspx

    Our Associates are definitely our strength, and Nate is one our greatest; he truly loves taking care of our guests. I will pass along your website, and kind words to him when he comes in.

    Please keep in touch and let me know the next time your in town, I would like to personally meet you and thank you.

    Thank you,

    Anthony

    Anthony G. Carey
    General Manager
    The Siena Hotel / Il Palio Ristorante
    1505 E. Franklin St.
    Chapel Hill, NC 27514
    ph. 919.918.2553
    fax 919.968.8527
    email: acarey@sienahotel.com
    Website: http://www.sienahotel.com

    Excellent service begins at the top!


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