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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Key Largo, Fl -- Holiday Inn

Since I stated in my review of the Hilton that I was unhappy at the Holiday Inn, and I want to be fair, I am providing some facts about our stay in December 2008.

Status perks
As a Platinum member, I did not receive a room upgrade. I heard a guest before me who was complaining receive an upgraded room; however, the agent told me he could not give upgrades. This hotel did not offer complimentary coffee in the lobby, like most Holiday Inns, and I received two coupons for coffee. I do not recall for sure if we received coupons for breakfast the next morning, although I do not think it was complimentary. We checked in for two nights and departed after one, and I did not have any extra coupons when we checked out.

We received a second (top) floor room with two double beds (there were three of us) facing the parking lot. There was no elevator or interior hall. This is an old building, and the rooms had not been remodeled at the time of our stay. The tiny bathroom included a tub/shower combination and toilet. There was barely enough room to step behind the door in order to shut it and use the toilet--and we are small people! The vanity/sink area was outside the bathroom along the wall. There was a small round table with two chairs next to the entrance door. The HVAC unit was the old noisy style on the outside wall under the window.

The pool area was the one thing we liked about this property. There were two pools in a tropical setting with a Tiki bar in between them. There were an ample amount of comfortable lounge chairs. We sat at the Tiki bar for Happy Hour that afternoon.

There are marina view rooms at this hotel, which are in a different building, with more floors. From the outside, the rooms looked nicer than the room we had. I had hoped to receive that type of room when we checked in, although I probably would have been happy with a pool view room. Our room overlooking the parking lot was dingy and old. We could have reserved a marina view room; however, since we could stay at the upscale Hilton resort for less, I don't understand why anyone would want to do that. I had made a huge mistake by not comparing the rates more closely before this stay.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Key Largo, Florida -- Hilton Resort

We stayed at this resort in December 2008 on our way north from Key West. 

Gold perks

I received two breakfast and two beverage coupons.


We received a room with two double beds on the bottom floor overlooking the beach. I don't usually like bottom floor rooms; however, the water view room was an upgrade from the least expensive room I had booked. And, we needed two beds because there were three of us. The beach photo was taken from our patio.

Food & Beverage

We had lunch at the beach bar, which is slightly visible in the beach photo beyond the picnic tables. We were happy with the service and food. Our son bought us dinner in the restaurant that evening, which was great. It's always better when someone else is paying! We dined on a covered patio, which was an extension of the restaurant overlooking the beach and water. Breakfast was also very good. We were able to use our coupons to order from the a la carte menu. There was a pool bar, where we did not eat; however, we redeemed our free beverage coupons there. I do not recall the beverage we received; it was some kind of tropical lime drink. 

Pool & Beach

There was a waterfall in the pool, and the area was surrounded with tropical flowers and palm trees. The mesh lounge chairs were comfortable and clean. Outdoor massages were available—for a charge—under the waterfall. There were many lounge chairs at the pools (we only visited the main pool in the photo), on the beach, and on a long dock near the beach bar. Guests were also fishing from the dock, and we saw manatees the day we were there. Free water toys and beach games were available, as well as many activities for purchase. This is a large resort with many things to do onsite, including walking trails. 


We loved this resort, and would definitely stay again. We were glad the food and beverage prices were reasonable, because there are not any restaurants within walking distance. There are many nearby, just not by foot. 

We had originally booked a two-night stay at the Holiday Inn just down the road from the Hilton resort. I was so unhappy with the HI room, service, and lack of perks (as a Platinum member), that as soon as we got to our room, I looked up nearby hotels online and found this Hilton for the same price as the Holiday Inn! My only regret was not booking two nights at the Hilton and leaving the Holiday Inn immediately instead of staying one night.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Auburn Hills, MI - Hilton Suites

Status perks
My status was Gold at the time of this stay, and I received two complete breakfast coupons at check-in. We also received automatic turndown service that evening, which was a nice surprise. Turndown service included a chocolate bar, and two standard size bottles of water.

We really liked the two-room suite. The living area included a couch, chair, footstool, coffee table, 42" flat screen TV, desk and chair, good sized fridge, microwave, and sink. 

There was a second 42" flat screen TV in the bedroom. The bedroom had two doors; one from the living room, and one from the bathroom. The bed was comfortable, and we did not hear any noise from other guests while in the bedroom. The neighbors across the hall were quite noisy during the day when we were seated in the living area; however, we did hear anything after we went to bed that evening. 

The large bathroom included a long vanity and tub/shower combination. The water was hot right out of the tap every time I turned it on. I never had to wait for it to warm up. 

Internet service was complimentary for all HHonors members, and the signal strength was excellent.

Food & Beverage
The service in the bar in the center of the atrium style lobby was excellent, although the beverage choices did not appeal to me. Brut champagne was not available, and the margarita was very sweet. 

Breakfast service the next morning was confusing. It was not clear where to enter the restaurant or whether we were supposed to seat ourselves. We stood by the podium a few minutes, before an employee told us to sit anywhere. We ordered from the menu and waited over 20 minutes for our food. The meal was served hot and was good quality; however, it was quite greasy. The potatoes had been cooked in a lot of butter, and the ham was fatty. Since we were not paying for our meal (other than the tip), and were not in a hurry, this did not present too much of a problem for us. If I'd had this experience on a morning when I was working, or I had been paying for the meal, I do not think I would have been too happy. There is a Burger King and McDonalds less than one mile from the hotel; however, I did not observe any other breakfast options.

The pool area looked clean and was well maintained except for the entrance door. My husband tried to use the hot tub in the morning, and the door would not open. The hours were not posted, so he returned to the guestroom thinking that it was not open yet. A short time later, I went down to use the fitness center, which is inside the pool area. The door was ajar, so I was able to enter with no trouble. The door had shut behind me, and when I finished, I was unable to open the door. After trying to exit several times, I called my husband on  my cell phone and asked him to call the front desk. I kept trying to open the door while I was talking with him, and it finally opened. There is a large outside balcony with a seating area next to the pool area.

Fitness center
The fitness center contained several cardio machines and weights. I did not see any posted hours for the fitness center.

I received an excellent AAA rate of $80 at this hotel. The sleep quality was good, and I was happy with the room and the staff. I would definitely stay at this hotel again. I observed a hotel shuttle out front, and the hotel information online says that the hotel provides shuttle service within a five mile radius.