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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Salt Lake City, Utah / SLT airport hotel -- Holiday Inn & Suites West

Status perks
I was upgraded to the Presidential Suite! The sign on the door actually said, "King Executive," although the front desk agent called it the Presidential Suite. I also receive one bottled water and a breakfast coupon.

Room
view from the door
The large room included a fridge, microwave, couch, chair, flat screen TV, desk and chair, and fireplace. The large bathroom had a whirlpool tub, which looked out to the flat screen TV, a walk in tile shower, and separate tile toilet area. The suite was spacious and comfortable. All the photos in this blog are room photos, even though they are not all loaded under this heading. The wireless Internet connection in the evening was quite slow, and I did not see a cable outlet available. The wireless connection speed was satisfactory in the morning.

Food & Beverage
view toward living room and shower
I had food and beverages in the lounge, and I had breakfast in the restaurant the next morning. The food quality of both meals was excellent as was the breakfast service. I had flash fried calamari in the evening, and it was some of the best quality I have had. I was disappointed that it was only served with marinara sauce (which I do not like) and the menu said it would also be served with pesto mayonnaise and lemon (which I wanted).

Fitness center
whirlpool tub
There were four cardio machines and weights in the room, which worked great. Other than the fact that the room temperature was quite warm (it was next to the pool), I was happy with the fitness center. I did not see hours posted, and it was open when I visited at 5:30 am.

Business center

walk in shower across from tub
There were two computers in a small area next to the front desk. I was able to access a computer to print a couple documents at two different times without any trouble.

Overall
I had originally booked a room at the Hilton next door because I found a great AAA rate. In the past, when I have stayed at a Hilton with Gold status, I have either been upgraded to the executive floor, or at least given access to the lounge. I waited 45 minutes at the airport for the Hilton shuttle (it is supposed to arrive every 20 minutes), and then when I got to the hotel, I was given a room on the middle floor, and the agent said I could not have access to the Club room. Since I give up extra Hilton bonus points by choosing the upgrade option, I was not too happy when the agent would not let me have Club access. I sat down in the lobby and called the Holiday Inn & Suites. The employee who answered the telephone said she would match the Hilton rate, give me a suite (I thought regular suite), and breakfast, so I returned my keys to the Hilton front desk and walked next door. One of the best decisions I have made! I heard another guest in the bar that evening say that he'd been upgraded to the King Executive room before also, so it sounds like this hotel has a good track record with upgrades.


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Evanston, Wyoming -- Holiday Inn Express

Status Perks
I received a goody bag with bottled water, an apple, and a granola bar. My status and current points balance was written on my key packet, and the agent thanked me for being a Platinum member at check-in. She said I had been upgraded to a suite; however, I had actually reserved a suite.

Room 
I received a room on the top floor, which I had requested on my reservation. The large suite contained a good sized fridge and microwave, comfortable couch, and chair and foot stool, as well as a desk and chair. The alarm on the clock did not work (I double checked the time and settings), so I was glad I had also set my phone alarm as a back up. The coffee maker also did not work. When I called the front desk at 4:00 am, the agent immediately brought a new coffee maker to my room, which worked great. The Internet connection speed was great--wireless and cable. The large window opened, which I prefer to A/C. I could hear traffic from the expressway with the window open; however, I prefer that noise to the noise of guests and doors opening and closing in the hall. The exterior walls are quite soundproof because I could not hear the traffic with the window shut.

Food & Beverage
Cookies were available at the front desk in the afternoon. Breakfast was the standard HIX fare, and cold items were available before the breakfast start time of 6 am.

Business center
I was able to use the business center to print documents without any trouble. I never had to wait, and did not have any trouble with the printer. I was glad to see a stapler in the room, although it didn't work to staple more than a few pages.

Fitness center
I was happy with the fitness center other than the fact that it did not open until 6 am. There were five cardio machines, weights, and a weight machine. The temperature was comfortable, cold water and sani wipes were available, and the TV worked well.

Overall
Staff was very helpful, and I was comfortable at this hotel. I would stay here again when visiting this area. I received a 10% discount at the Italian restaurant in front of the hotel for being a HIX customer.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Jackson, Wyoming - Homewood Suites

Status perks
I received a letter with my points balance and status at check-in. There was a bottle of water and package of cookies in my room.
Room
I stayed in a king suite, which is the room type I reserved. My room was on the top floor at the end of the hall, which matches the requests in my profile. The room was the smallest extended stay suite I have ever stayed in, and the best online rate I could find was over $300. I think the room size and rate were typical for this resort town in July.  Even though the suite did not have as much room as most HS I have stayed in, it was laid out well and met my needs. I think anyone staying at this hotel who does not have prior experience with extended stay properties would be very pleased with the size of the suite. There was a fireplace in the living room area, and the kitchen contained a full size fridge, a range top, and a small dishwasher. The bathroom was a nice size with a large walk in tile shower. There was no tub. The sink area was outside the bathroom. I did not arrive at the hotel until late in the evening, and needed to leave early the next morning, so I was not at the property very long. I contacted the manager before my stay, and was able to negotiate a rate for less than $300 that my employer was much happier with.
Food & Beverage
I stayed on a Sunday night, so there was not an evening reception. In the morning I left before hot breakfast was served; however, the front desk employees offered cold items.
Business Center
There was a small business center behind the front desk, which I did not use.
Fitness Center
Although the fitness center did not open until 7 am, employees were happy to let me in at 5 am. The room was small, and the tread mill was kind of noisy, which made it difficult to hear the morning news. The smallest weights available were 10 lb, and I usually like to use 5 lb weights. The room temperature was comfortable. Guests also have access to a more complete fitness center next door, which I did not use.
Overall
I try to stay at hotel chains where I have status and earn points, and of the hotel rewards programs I frequent most often (HHonors, IHG, and Marriott), I was surprised that the HS was the only hotel choice in this area.
I was extremely happy with the staff and bed comfort. The two bathrobes and safe in the bedroom closet were a pleasant surprise. One thing I never understand when I stay in an extended stay property, is the dishes in the dishwasher that need to be put away. At the end of my stays, I always load and start the dishwasher with any dishes I used before I check out. I would think housekeeping would then put them away for the next guest. The dishwasher in my room was full of clean dishes--plates, cups, glasses, silverware, etc. I don't think it should be up to me to put these items away. Especially when I only used one glass, one cup, and the coffee pot during my stay.