Columbia Club Experience?
Posted by ckell

I got a room downtown after having a 1 hour and 5 minute wait time on the block portal.  It is at the Columbia Club.  I checked it out, and it appears that service is not so great, they will not allow pizza delivery or food/drink of any kind in the hotel.  Furthermore, there is a dress code.  Look, it is GenCon, I will wear a geek t-shirt.  Does anyone have experience staying at the Columbia Club during GenCon?

Posted by remnant

I remember this question on the old forums but we can't link to it.  I think your best bet would be to call them directly to find out, I would think during Gen Con they would probably have a lax policy besides expecting business casual from everyone.  Besides if you're dressed up in pull plate armor where do you put your tie?

Posted by father bloodlust

I remember somebody on the old forums saying outside food/drink wasn't allowed. I also remember someone saying they look down their noses at GenCon attendees.

Never been there myself, so I can't say for sure, but it sounds like a really snobby place.

online
Posted by marimaccadmin

The dress code is relaxed for Gen Con, and it will not be a problem for you.

Posted by jaywhyewe marimaccadmin

marimaccadmin wrote:
The dress code is relaxed for Gen Con, and it will not be a problem for you.

My friend stayed at the Columbia Club last year. marimaccadmin is correct that the dress code is relaxed, but the way my friend explained it was that they hotel doesn't mind what you are wearing so long as you are just passing through the lobby. 

If you wanted to lounge in the lobby or eat in their dining rooms, it would be best to abide by the dress code. Perhaps that is what father bloodlust was referring to regarding the hotel "looking down their noses."

I wouldn't suggest breaking any rules, but I wonder if it is possible to get delivery to just-outside of the hotel? Technically, that would be within the rules.

remnant, I would think that full plate armor definitely counts as a suit, no? ;) 

Here is the hotel website with more info, or if you wanted to contact them to get official answers.
http://columbia-club.org

Posted by suburbaknght

We stayed there last year.  They are very adament about no outside food or drink, but there's both a pizza place and barbeque place across the way where you can eat in.  There on-site restaurant is a bit pricey but still reasonable for hotel meals (breakfast ran about $15-$20/person for food and coffee) but I had two of the best breakfasts that I have ever had in my life.

The main downside was that the rooms were moist.  I mean the carpet squished and two of my roommates came away sick; while I know con-crud is a thing, we strongly suspect mold in the ventilation system.

The hotel itself is beautiful, though through the entire con I only saw one couple gaming in the lobby (and even then, they were hidden in an upstairs alcove at 1:00 AM).  Dress code is relaxed for Gen Con but it still doesn't come across as a place gamers hang out.  I actually went next door to the Hilton Garden Inn and played pick ups with the groups in the lobby there.

Posted by jaywhyewe suburbaknght

 

suburbaknght wrote:
 There on-site restaurant is a bit pricey but still reasonable for hotel meals (breakfast ran about $15-$20/person for food and coffee) but I had two of the best breakfasts that I have ever had in my life.

Good to know! Was the dress code also relaxed in the dining room?
suburbaknght wrote:
The main downside was that the rooms were moist.  I mean the carpet squished and two of my roommates came away sick; while I know con-crud is a thing, we strongly suspect mold in the ventilation system.

EW to squishy carpet and super-EW to mold. Is it possible the carpet was squishy due to some sort of luxury foam underlayer? Or was it squishy with moistness?
 

Posted by suburbaknght

Can't comment on dining room dress code since we were the only ones there for breakfast, and I actually wear a suit and tie and Gen Con, but I imagine they'll be tolerant in the mornings.  Dinner time might be a bit tougher since that's when a lot of the club members come in.

But as for the carpet, it was gross.  Definitely wet.  There was a dehumidifier running in our room when we checked in and it never dried out the whole weekend.

Posted by ckell

I read an Expedia review and the pizza thing is a huge No-No.  You cannot take the pizza in the building.  A lady who ordered one had to eat the pizza outside.  So, no pizza.  Dress code means that guests cannot use the lounge area for gaming at all, I assume.  GenCon in a downtown hotel that does not allow gaming in the lobby?  Wait, if we wear casual dress attire, and start a game, what do you figure will happen? 

I have in fact emailed the general manager three times.  No response.  I could call I suppose, but the reviews I have read state that the management does not call back on those either.  It is concerning.  I like the location, but sounds like we will be treated with contempt.  I get it; it is a club, not a hotel.  It just sounds kind of un-welcoming to me.

The demand for downtown space is so high that most gamers are just happy to be there, so GenCon Inc. threatening to no longer include them in the block would not fix it.  I know this; they could not have put many rooms in the block since they have few rooms anyway.  The wet carpet scares me. 
  

Posted by suburbaknght ckell

ckell wrote:
I have in fact emailed the general manager three times.  No response.  I could call I suppose, but the reviews I have read state that the management does not call back on those either.  It is concerning.  I like the location, but sounds like we will be treated with contempt.  I get it; it is a club, not a hotel.  It just sounds kind of un-welcoming to me.  

I had a similar experience with management last year.  I e-mailed (twice) without response, trying to set up a meal for my volunteer group.  Never heard back and ended up making my own accomodations.  Got there and was told we could use the porch area, but permission was later rescinded.  We ended up doing our staff dinner on the steps of the monument (happily weather was beautiful).

Posted by father bloodlust

Yep, sounds like a bunch of blue bloods who don't WANT gamer money. I say indulge 'em - stay somewhere else.

Posted by brotherbock

Stayed there several years ago. Staff was perfectly friendly, but did ask one of our guys on his cell phone to go upstairs to a small alcove up a flight of stairs rather than talk on his cell in the lobby. Asked nicely, our guy went to the comfy alcove, no problems.

If you are coming in and going to your room, dress won't be a problem. I went for runs two mornings of the Con, in spandex running shorts. Asked them first if that would be a problem, they immediately said no, as long as you're going from room to elevator to street and back. No spandex in lobby...which I approve of :) T-shirts and ripped jeans (also on the no-fly list) were also fine going to and from street/rooms.

They were very friendly if you stopped to talk to them, interested in the Con. No moist rooms when we were there, can't speak to that.
 

Like any place, it was a nice place, if you are nice.

Posted by suburbaknght

There is definitely a GM housing block.  My group has stayed in it the past two years.  Pages 18-19 from the Gen Con events policy ( https://files.gencon.com/genconeventhostpolicy.pdf ) state:

HOW TO QUALIFY FOR COMPLIMENTARY HOTEL ROOMS IN THE GM ROOM BLOCK

Companies and sponsored gaming groups are not eligible for hotel reimbursement or complimentary hotel rooms. These are for un-sponsored and independent GMs and gaming groups, not for employees or promoters.

Gaming groups that have a long-standing working relationship with Gen Con and qualify for hotel reimbursement based on event submissions can ask for pre-paid, complimentary rooms.


  • One complimentary room (based on assumed 4-person occupancy) can be requested for every 800 player-hours of Active events the group is running.
  • Space is limited and assigned on a first-come, first-serve basis.
  • Hotel reimbursement requests do not need to be submitted for complimentary rooms.
  • Gen Con is only responsible for room cost and tax. All other incidentals (parking, phone, food) are the responsibility of the guests in the room.


Now that's from the policy.  Derek has stated that the GM block is intended as a back up for gaming groups and as a convenience so that they don't have to go through the reimbursement process.  GM block applications usually are made available around June, IIRC, well after housing, hence their status as a back up plan.

There is also reimbursement for GMs, which as you point out, is only available for rooms that are part of the Gen Con housing block.  Keep in mind that that includes remote hotels, not just downtown hotels, which can be helpful since most downtown hotels cost more per night than the reimbursement rate (i.e. reimbursement offsets the cost of downtown housing but cannot cover it entirely).

Posted by brotherbock suburbaknght

suburbaknght wrote:
There is definitely a GM housing block.  My group has stayed in it the past two years.  Pages 18-19 from the Gen Con events policy ( https://files.gencon.com/genconeventhostpolicy.pdf ) state:
HOW TO QUALIFY FOR COMPLIMENTARY HOTEL ROOMS IN THE GM ROOM BLOCKCompanies and sponsored gaming groups are not eligible for hotel reimbursement or complimentary hotel rooms. These are for un-sponsored and independent GMs and gaming groups, not for employees or promoters.
Gaming groups that have a long-standing working relationship with Gen Con and qualify for hotel reimbursement based on event submissions can ask for pre-paid, complimentary rooms.

  • One complimentary room
  • (based on assumed 4-person occupancy) can be requested for every 800 player-hours of Active events the group is running.
  • Space is limited and assigned on a first-come, first-serve basis.
  • Hotel reimbursement requests do not need to be submitted for complimentary rooms.
  • Gen Con is only responsible for room cost and tax. All other incidentals
  • (parking, phone, food) are the responsibility of the guests in the room.


Now that's from the policy.  Derek has stated that the GM block is intended as a back up for gaming groups and as a convenience so that they don't have to go through the reimbursement process.  GM block applications usually are made available around June, IIRC, well after housing, hence their status as a back up plan.There is also reimbursement for GMs, which as you point out, is only available for rooms that are part of the Gen Con housing block.  Keep in mind that that includes remote hotels, not just downtown hotels, which can be helpful since most downtown hotels cost more per night than the reimbursement rate (i.e. reimbursement offsets the cost of downtown housing but cannot cover it entirely).


Huh. That's pretty much the opposite of how that passage was explained to us. Thanks for the info, brother, we'll have to see about getting in touch with the right people :)

Posted by suburbaknght

Glad to help.  Also, not sure why I posted this here rather than the post with your actual question.  Sorry on that.

Posted by brotherbock suburbaknght

suburbaknght wrote:
Glad to help.  Also, not sure why I posted this here rather than the post with your actual question.  Sorry on that.

LOL, no worries. I was reading both threads. You probably just had two tabs open. I've declared my undying love for the entire country of Germany by making that same mistake.

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