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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Traverse City, Michigan -- Holiday Inn

Status perks
At check-in, I received two small bottles of water, two small chocolates, and two small snacks, as the guest before me had also received. I also received a PCR letter with a coupon for one complimentary "Best-4-Breakfast" in my prepared key packet.

There were two agents assisting three guests before me when I arrived on Saturday afternoon shortly before 4:00 pm. When the female agent finished assisting the guest at the counter in front of her, she left the area. Another guest arrived behind me as I continued to wait. One of the guests in front of me, turned around and mouthed the word "slow" to me. She had been in the gift shop and then wandering around the lobby while her partner was checking in. It took me over 15 minutes to check-in.

I received a king bed room with a connecting room door on the top/4th floor. It was a basic room with a very tiny bathroom. The bathroom door almost touched the toilet seat when opening. There was only room for one person in the bathroom, and if I had wanted to shut the door, I would have had to step in beside the toilet to shut the door. And then, you'd want to lock it so you wouldn't get your knees and toes smashed, if someone opened the door without knocking! I was apprehensive about the connecting room door; however, I knew the hotel was quite full, so we did not voice any concerns about this. As it turned out, we did not need to worry about noise from the room next door; only the hall. We were awakened four times during the night. The second time, I heard someone talking on a two-radio, as if hotel personnel were also in the hall. Twice, we were awakened by a dog barking, and the next day, we passed three different guests with dogs. One of the guests with a dog entered the room with the connecting door next to us.

I have stayed at this hotel before and always thought the rooms were kind of dingy. Since the property had recently completed upgrades for the Holiday Inn relaunch program, I decided to give it another try. I was seriously disappointed. The bedding was somewhat more comfortable; however, that is the only change I observed. Our room still had the dusty, musty, old smell that it used to have. I guess it is in the walls because the carpeting looked fairly new. The furniture did not look new (there were stains and damage), but the smell did not seem to come from the furniture. The one nice thing about our room, is that we received a king bed. The only room type available when I made the reservation was two queen beds. I had sent an email to the hotel before my arrival, which said I'd like to have a king bed high floor room, if one was available. Although no one sent me a reply, it would appear they had received my note.

Food & Beverage
The service and beverages in Shimmers lounge were unacceptable, in my opinion. I walked to the bar after we had been seated for over 10 minutes and ordered two margaritas. I requested good ones, although I did not state a brand preference, and the bartender did not ask. I mistakenly assumed he would use something better than nasty bar tequila. After giving him a $2 tip and returning to the table, I realized how awful the beverages were. I took mine back to the bar and said I wanted a different margarita because the bar tequila he used was not good. The bartender basically told me "too bad." He said I would have to pay for my drinks all over again, if I wanted new ones. We left the lounge shortly after this, and had the tab removed from our bill at check-out. Manager Heather the next morning was the most impressive employee I had contact with this visit.

We decided to order a snack from CW's Blue Water Bistro next to the front desk, and get a bottle of wine from the gift shop to take back to our room. The cashier in the restaurant was nice enough, although there was not anyone in the area when I arrived to place the order, nor when I returned to pick it up after I had purchased the wine. I ended up waiting several minutes both times. I'm not sure how long the smoked whitefish dip had been done before I was able to take it back to my room.

I was impressed when we received excellent service in the Bistro for breakfast the next morning! And, I was happy to see sugar-free jam available. The food was acceptable, although not great. I ordered Pesto Eggs Benedict, which had excellent flavor; however, my eggs were cooked hard--pretty much like hard boiled eggs.

The service in the gift shop was not good. There were not any guests at the front desk where two employees stood when I entered the gift shop, which is connected to the front desk. I browsed a few minutes and did not see an employee in the gift shop. Before I had a chance to request assistance from an agent at the front desk, two guests arrived to check-in. An employee who I had seen walking around the halls entered the gift shop a few seconds later, and I asked him if he could help me. He said no, and that he would tell someone at the front desk. When the guests finished at the front desk, no one entered the gift shop to assist me. Another guest arrived at the front desk, so this time, when the guest finished, I stepped out of the gift shop where I was certain the employees at the front desk could see me. The female associate standing behind the counter, looked at me and rudely said she knew I was waiting. Wow! I had not even said anything to anyone, and since no one had acknowledged me before this, I had wondered if I was invisible. She rang up my wine a few minutes later, and I returned to the bistro, where I then waited for our snack. When I got back to the room, my husband commented that he was about ready to send out a search party for me.

I do not have much of anything good to say about this hotel, and I have decided I will never stay here again. The only good points for me, were that I received PCR points for my stay, and it's in a good location. I'm afraid those benefits do not outweigh the negative things. There are MANY more hotel choices in the area, and almost all the ones that are located a bit farther from town, offer free shuttle service to town.