There is a new (luxury) hotel in Pittsburgh…the Fairmont…!

It is brand new…well it opend March 29…almost 8 weeks under its belt.

This was my first stay in a Fairmont, so I can’t compare within the brand, but compared to other upscale hotels, it wins hands down.

Getting there is one of those…I can see the hotel, now how do I get there…situations. Construction in the city is BAD! Because there is so much construction…it is difficult to get anywhere. I was told Friday afternoons are the worst because Pitsburghers typically leave the city for the weekends. Guess when I arrived. Yup, Friday around 4 pm. On top of that…because of construction…one-way streets are changed on a DAILY basis….! People that live there cannot always provide accurate directions…OMG!

My trusty Mapquest told us to turn on a road that was under construction…so…25 minutes later…after getting totally frustrated driving in circles and stopping every block for endless traffic lights…I called the hotel. That was to save my marriage and possibly my life! Mike not only talked us in…he stopped traffic so we could back in to the entrance after we sort of missed the last turn! Please don’t tell anyone…

After that grand entrance…check in was smooth…our room was beautiful…spacious 430 square feet (a one-bedroom suite is double the square feet!)!…and pre-cooled for a hot and humid day. Nope we didn’t arrive to a stifling room only to wait an hour with the air cranked up until it cooled…it was the perfect temperature. That in itself is amazing. I have stayed at a LOT of hotels and this is the first hotel that has done this. Impressed the heck out of me…

The towering views from my room included PNC Park (baseball)…some suites have binoculars to watch a game…one river, one yellow bridge, road construction and lots of tall buildings…other sides view the restoration of the downtown area. They are the only hotel in Pittsburgh with floor to ceiling windows. I did feel a bit dizzy if I looked way down to street level.

Had a nice chat with Neil Washington, my contact, who filled me in on some of the history of the hotel and what is happening with the construction in town. Joan Harvey took me on a nice tour of the facility including their spa area. Too bad this special serene space was invaded by the harsh sounds of someone using a drill. Joan was very upset. Someone is probably in big trouble.

Rooms are super soundproof. I never heard a peep from a neighboring room…yet I was told the hotel was full for the weekend. That could be in part because of the massive, heavy doors. Wow, the staff must build up muscles opening these solid doors.

When you enter the room, not only is the temperature perfect, but some preset lights come on when you enter…it is very welcoming. The porter showed us how everything worked and answered our zillion questions very graciously. In fact the whole staff was very friendly and accommodating. They probably heard about our entrance…

Special features of my room included a large flat screen TV, specialty lighting in cool places like under the sink, separate large shower and tub, separate toilet area, huge floor to ceiling windows and a bed to die for…tall, pillow top…sink into luxury…ahhhhh…

The hotel’s mission is to be very green. To that extent TV schedules, info on the hotel and the bill is done on the TV. Other than a dining menu, there isn’t any paper. The staff makes up for the lack of paper information by happily and quickly getting answers to the most obscure questions.

One of the “green” things they provide is a vessel to obtain purified water…located by the ice machine…instead of using bottled water. The water was icy cold and the vessel was large enough for several glasses.

The hotel displays “finds” that were discovered when construction digging unearthed antique treasures thrown into 10 wells on the property. It also has larger than life art pieces in the bright, white lobby area…along with a contemporary, floating, gas wall fireplace insert.   

The only negatives were a noisy air conditioning fan and poor lights for reading in bed. The lights by the bed were more for the room in general than reading…the pot lights overhead from a high ceiling shown directly in the eyes of my husband…bring a book light.

There is a nice restaurant and bar in the facility, but we didn’t have time to try them. We did order a nightime dessert…apple pie. Which arrived warm…a whole little mini pie with vanilla bean housemade ice cream…yummy! I was a bit disappointed it took the typical room service delivery time of 45 minutes to receive after they quoted, “30 minutes or less” on the phone…although they did apologize…

I suppose if you have to ask how much parking is, you shouldn’t stay here…but their valet parking is $30 a day. Too rich for my cost-saving blood. However there are two parking ramps within two blocks that are usually $6 a day…not bad.

Overall…I highly recommend the Fairmont…it is walking distance to the cultural district…theaters and entertainment venues…many restaurants…Primanti’s (gimongous sandwiches)…bridges….parks…architecture including the glass (naturally) PPG (Pittsburgh Plate Glass) building.

Check out Pittsburgh, the city with the most bridges in the world…Nope, not Venice…they count every little pedestrian and decorative bridge. I learned this on a Duck Boat Tour…more on this later…

Sandie

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