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Monday, December 5, 2011

Des Moines, Iowa--DSM airport / Holiday Inn

December 2011, Weekday, King balcony overlooking pool area - guestroom #308

Status perks
At check-in, the agent said I had been upgraded to a "feature" guestroom with an inside balcony. She said the guestroom was located in a private hall, so I thought it would be in a quiet area. I also received a coupon to choose a perk. There were four items to choose from, although I only remember two of the choices--a beverage in the lounge or bonus points. I chose the bonus points. I am inclined to think this was a PCR perk, and not a Platinum perk, because I observed several guests turning in their coupons for a free beverage that evening.

Guestroom
The guestroom was on the 3rd (top) floor, and there was a doorway to enter the hall. I would not call this a private hall, since a key was not needed to open the door. There was an elevator to floor three; however, there were about four steps after going through the hallway door. I did not have a problem with this since I had only one small suitcase. Later that evening, I observed a guest with a luggage cart as I was heading out. I did not stop to see how he handled the steps; from the conversation I overheard, it sounded like he was going to push the cart down the stairs.

I thought the guestroom had been nicely remodeled for an older hotel. There was an open counter area outside the bathroom with coffee setup, a small fridge, microwave, and sink. The bedroom area was fairly spacious with a desk and chair, king bed, TV, and soft chair and footstool. There was a table and chairs on the balcony, which overlooked the pool area. The balcony was not private; it connected with the other balconies along that hall. This would have been a nice room, if I had been staying with a group, and not my myself. I did not like the fact that my room had a balcony that could be accessed by others, and this was an awful guestroom for sleeping! Since there is not much around this airport hotel, and I was staying on a weekday, I did not think the pool area would be a problem. I was mistaken. I had asked at the front desk if the pool area closed down for the evening, and I was told that it closed at 10 PM. I was kept awake by guests in that area until well after midnight, and I had to get up at 5 AM. I tried to block out the noise by choosing the "fan" mode on the HVAC unit; however, the fan would not run continually. If you plan to stay at this hotel for a good night's rest, I suggest you request an outside room. Since the king guest rooms overlooking the pool with a balcony are the same price as a regular king room, I did not really receive an upgrade at this hotel. I think it's annoying when someone says I am receiving an upgrade, when that is not true. This property has at least eight suites, so it would have been nice, if I had been upgraded me to one of them instead. I know the PCR program does not say that guests should expect a suite upgrade; however, I'm sure I would have slept better, and been a much happier guest. 

Food & Beverage
The cafe seating area overlooking the holidome/pool area looked comfortable. I was given a coupon for breakfast at check-in, which I thought I had received because of my Platinum status; however, the hotel website says that the hotel offers free, hot breakfast, so I guess all guests receive breakfast. I had to leave before breakfast, so I was able to choose three items from the cafe the night before--one whole fruit, one beverage (milk or juice), and one pastry or cold cereal. The whole fruits (bananas, apples, and oranges) all looked nasty, so I did not choose any of that item. The pastries looked equally stale/unfresh, so I chose a small box of cereal and milk. The coupon said "no substitutions," so I did not ask if I could choose cut fruit instead of whole fruit. Individual beer and wine bottles were available for purchase in the cafe, although they were out of red wine.

Before I went to the lounge for a glass of wine that evening, I asked the front desk agent if food is served in the lounge, and I was told no. There was no menu on the bar where I sat down; however, I observed stand up menus on the bar in other areas, so I requested one from the bartender. She opted to verbally tell me the wine list instead. A few minutes later, someone brought food to a customer seated at the bar. I then asked if food is available and requested a food menu. Apparently, food is prepared behind the cafe, and when it's ordered from the lounge, it is like room service; delivered on a room service tray with 18% tip added (the bartender told me about the tip when I ordered). I did not look at the hot food menu in the cafe, so I'm not sure if the menu choices were the same in both locations. I'd had a big lunch, so I ordered clam chowder and jalapeƱo poppers. The portion sizes were generous, although the food wasn't very good. The clam chowder tasted kind of blah--almost like it had been poured from a supermarket can. The seats at the bar were uncomfortable, and I wished I'd chosen to sit at a table instead.

Fitness center
The fitness center off the pool area contained several cardio machines, a weight machine, working TV with remote, drinking fountain, and scale. There were no hand weights. The room temperature was comfortable.

Business center
The business center consisted of two computers in a small room between the front desk and the cafe. Documents were supposed to print at the front desk, and these was a charge for printed items other than boarding passes. I sent my boarding pass to the printer twice from the business center, and a third time from a computer in the lobby. None of these items printed behind the front desk, and another guest was having the same problem. I saw her go to the front desk twice. She was still trying to get her boarding pass to print, when I gave up and left. About three to four hours after this, I received a call in my room telling me my boarding pass had finally printed. I said that I would pick it up the next morning.

Shuttle and misc.
This hotel is located across from the airport and the shuttle service was excellent! I was planning to walk back to the hotel after I returned my car; however, it was very cold and windy with snow flurries that day, so I opted for the shuttle instead. When I checked-in, the employee said to stop at the front desk and let them know when I left to return my car. I stopped at the front desk on my way out, and the employee at that time told me to call after I had returned my car. I did not need to call; the driver was already waiting for me when I finished with my car return! He said that he had come right over since it was so cold out. The driver also offered to take me to a local restaurant that evening, if I wanted to dine elsewhere.

The shuttle driver in the morning was just as great. I had been told that I did not need to sign up for the shuttle in the morning, and that I could come just come to the lobby when I was ready to go. When I arrived in the lobby a few minutes before I wanted to leave, there were two flight attendants waiting. I told the front desk agent I needed a ride to the airport and then waited with them. After I had been waiting several minutes, the shuttle driver came to the lobby and learned that we were waiting for another flight attendant, and that they had all signed up for the 5:45 AM shuttle. I commented that I was told I did not need to sign up when I had asked. The shuttle driver asked what time my flight was, and said that it would probably take me about an hour to an hour and a half, to check my bag and get through security. It was not quite 5:40 at this time, and it sounded like the flight attendants wanted him to wait for their coworker. The shuttle driver said he would be able to take me to the airport before they needed to go, and he quickly whisked me away. As quickly as I arrived at the airport, I think the driver was correct. I'm sure he was able to bring the flight crew over before their requested time, because I saw them in the airport around 5:45 AM.

For an older property, I thought this hotel had been nicely updated--other than the lounge seats. The hallway stairs had an open design, with large windows and nice tile. The guestroom furniture and carpet looked fresh.  

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Marshalltown, Iowa / Hampton Inn

November 2011, Weekday, 2-nights, King guestroom #327

Status perks
I did not receive anything for being a Gold member, nor did I expect anything. It's too bad Hampton properties don't upgrade Gold members like Hilton hotels do.

Guestroom
The guestroom was spacious, although there were several things I did not like about the room. This is a newer Hampton Inn, and the room seating was the same as another newer Hampton I had stayed in recently--there was no couch or soft chair! The last time I encountered this, I was only staying at the hotel one night, so it did not bother me as much as it did this stay. There was a chair in the room in addition to the desk chair--the exact same type of chair that was in the other newer Hampton Inn I had stayed in--it was straight back wood chair. The seat was padded; however, the chair was still not comfortable. I asked the front desk agent if this was the only type of chair in all the guestrooms, and he said yes, except for in the suites. There was only one telephone in the guestroom, and it was on the nightstand next to the bed instead of on the desk. 
straight back chair

The HVAC unit was lousy. Even though the thermostat was set at 70+, it was cold in the room when I arrived, and it would never turn on unless I manually increased the temperature, and then it would run so long, I'd have to turn it back down. The impression I got about the HVAC unit, is that the thermostat is suppose to be motion sensored, and it did not work right. Even though my guestroom was at the end of the hall, the hallway noise was extremely loud. I didn't hear guests talking or making a lot of noise in the hall, and I did not see anyone when I looked out the peephole in the door. It was just noisy from people entering and exiting rooms. The noise from doors opening and closing must have been echoing since it was so loud. The bedding was the usual Hampton Inn bedding, which was good quality, although I thought the mattress was quite hard. The flatscreen TV was nice, and the entire guestroom was tastefully decorated. 

I liked the large tile bathroom and large walk-in shower. I was happy with the bathroom set up, other than the coffee maker. The coffee maker was on a shelf in the bathroom, and the shelves were not tall enough to open the coffee maker and put the water in. At least it was placed on a shelf behind the door, and away from the sink area. When housekeeping cleaned my room on stayover, my coffee was not replenished, and I had to get some from the front desk.

Food & Beverage
The design and seating in the breakfast room was comfortable and chic, although I did not care for any of the hot food items. I took a to-go bag with me each morning when I left, which was a nice option. Every time I have received a to-go bag at a Hampton, it has always contained the same items: bottled water, blueberry muffin, Special K vanilla breakfast bar, apple, and Hampton Inn mints.

The gift shop had a good selection of food items. The prices were high, but if someone did not want to go out or have a full meal, there was plenty to choose from.

Fitness center
I was happy with the fitness center, which the front desk agent had told me was open 24 hours. The hours sign posted outside the room said it was open from 6:00 AM - 10:00 PM. I did not ask about the hours after I saw the sign, and I did not have any trouble accessing the room at any time of day. There were guestrooms right outside the fitness center, so if the noise in those rooms was similar to what I experienced in my room, I would not have liked that location, if the center was open 24 hours. The room was spacious, it contained several cardio machines with cardio theater, a flat screen TV, hand weights, exercise mat and ball, and more.

Business center
The business center was a small room next to the front desk. The printer was out of toner when I tried to print something the first day. I did not visit the room the next day so I don't know if this had been corrected. I did not see an employee to make someone aware of the situation after my experience.

Newton, Iowa / Holiday Inn Express

November 2011, Weekday, Queen Bed Executive Studio #204


Status perks
I received a bottle of water and choice of a small snack--Chex mix or cookies. I saw that someone had written "upgrade please" on my reservation; however, I did not receive an upgraded room. I did not ask for one at check-in because when I saw the note, I figured this had already been taken care of. And, the front desk agent had acknowledged my Platinum status. 

Guestroom
I called this hotel before my stay because I was confused about the room choices. A king bed executive room, and a queen bed executive studio were the same price. The queen studio listed a fridge and microwave in the description, and the king room did not. I called the hotel to ask if a king executive room was the same size as a queen studio, and if it had a fridge and microwave. I had made my reservation for a queen studio room, thinking it would be larger, and if the rooms were the same size, I was going to change my room type to a king executive guestroom. The employee I spoke with seemed less knowledgable than me. She said that the king executive rooms are all suites with a whirlpool tub and table, and that they cost about $15 more than a queen studio. She did not say that there are king executive rooms at the hotel, even though this is listed on the website. I questioned her about this to try and find out, and did not get anywhere. She then said that since I am a Platinum member, she would make a note to upgrade me to a king suite.

Room 204, which is described as "1 Queen Bed Executive Studio," is a basic Holiday Inn Express hotel room with a fridge and microwave. It is not an oversized room, and did not have any extras. I think the listing of "studio" for this room is misleading and false. When I looked at the hotel diagram on the back of the guestroom door, it looked like the larger rooms were around the pool area, so I decided not to go back and ask about an upgrade, since that area can often be noisy.

The guestroom contained a suitcase bench, one queen bed, desk and chair, older looking couch and table, TV, microwave, and fridge. The room smelled musty and old, and the housekeeping could have been better. My bedding was clean, although there were a few hairs in the bathroom. Even though this room was not on the top floor, it was surprisingly quiet. The Internet connection speed was satisfactory. The hair dryer was a low quality wall mounted unit.

Food & Beverage 
I thought breakfast looked unappetizing, and decided to eat elsewhere after checking out--no place fancy; I ate at Subway. The eggs at the HIX did not look fresh, and neither did the whole fruit. I had planned to have a banana and milk, but changed my mind.

Fitness center
The fitness center contained three cardio machines without cardio theater. There was a TV in the room, although there was no remote. I visited the workout room two times, and could not find the remote either time. The website photo shows hand weights in the fitness center, although I do not recall seeing any. I usually use hand weights when they are available, and I only used the treadmill during this stay. The AC in the room did not work (I tried turning it on and to different settings a couple different times), and since the room is located off the pool area, it got pretty hot after 10 or 15 minutes. 

Overall
I was surprised that this hotel is located downtown so far off the interstate. I had to visit a business in town in the morning, so it worked out fine for me, although I do not think that most travelers just looking for overnight accommodations would care for the location. Usually, hotels are not located downtown except in bigger towns with events or venues downtown that people would be specifically traveling to the area for.

It was only a couple blocks to the downtown circle; however, there were not many dining options. In fact, I overheard a guest at the airport hotel where I stayed the last night I was in this area, talking about this Newton HIX. He had stayed here--apparently at the same time I did--and, said he would not stay here again. He said that if he had to return to the area, he would stay in Des Moines, and drive to Newton during the day. His comments were that there was nothing to do and no place to eat.

The hotel website lists the following room types for the same price: standard, king bed, queen bed, 2 queen beds, king executive, queen executive studio. Since the hotel diagram shows all the guestrooms as the same size except the few around the pool, and, the employee when I called did not differentiate between any room types except the suites, my feelings are that all of the rooms at this hotel must be the same except for the suites.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Grand Rapids, Michigan--GRR airport / Marriott Courtyard

November 2011, Sunday night, King guestroom #302

Status perks
I had Silver status at the time of this stay, and did not receive an upgrade or any perks. I did not expect anything because that is usually my experience at Marriott hotels when my status is Silver. After this stay, I was offended that I had not received an upgrade, because after I checked out, I read a review on TripAdvisor from a guest who had booked a room for $46 on Priceline, and was upgraded to a suite! I find it insulting that this hotel would reward someone who booked a room for $46, and not a loyal guest.

Guestroom

The room was a basic older style Courtyard guestroom with a small balcony. It contained a chair and desk, older dresser and couch, and old style TV. The balcony was a nice touch, although there wasn't really a view or reason to want a balcony at this location. The guestroom had a connecting door, which I don't usually like since they are sometimes not very soundproof. I often forget to request a room without a connecting door, as was the case this time. The hotel was not very full the night of our stay, so the connecting door was not a problem. The HVAC wall unit was an older style that did not run silently as it turned on and off. The wireless Internet speed in the guestroom was good. The bed was acceptable, and since the rate we were paying was less than $100 (although much more than $46!), we found the guestroom satisfactory. The noise from the hallway was minimal.

Food & Beverage
This location did not have evening food service available. I was surprised, because I thought all of the Courtyard hotels offered at least some evening menu items. There were three dining options across 28th Street, which is too busy to cross on foot: Chili's, Papa Vino's Italian Kitchen, and Steak and Shake. The hotel restaurant opened at 6:00 AM, and I was gone before then, so I can not comment on any of the food quality.

Fitness center
The fitness center was open 24 hours. Even though it was a small room, it was adequate. There were four or five cardio machines with cardio theater, and the temperature was comfortable. It also contained hand weights, a scale, towels, and a TV.

Pool
An inside swimming pool and whirlpool tub are located next to the fitness center. I did not use the pool facility, although my husband did. He said it was clean, and the temperature in the whirlpool tub was good. There was no rinsing shower in the pool area.

Shuttle service & misc.
I stayed at this hotel because I had an early flight in the morning. The shuttle service was great; the driver was prompt, and it was an efficient trip to the airport.

I thought this property was outdated, and not as nice as other Courtyards I have stayed in. I think the normal rate of over $100 a night for this hotel is high. I do not have any serious complaints about the cleanliness, although there was a smoke situation the evening of our stay. Apparently, someone had left a heating unit on after breakfast, and the items inside (hard plastic serving dishes, or similar) started on fire that afternoon. When I checked in around 5:00 PM, the fire was out, the hotel entrance doors were all open, and the lobby smelled like smoke. There was still a slight odor in the air the next morning.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Pensacola Beach, Florida / Hilton Pensacola Beach

November 2011, Weekend, 2-nights, Guestroom #942 - Gulf View Queen Suite 


Status perks and check-in

I had a room reserved for 2 nights--one night with points, and one with the AAA rate. The points night room was a gulf view, handicap accessible guestroom with 2 queen beds, because that was the only points room type available when I made the reservation. For the second night, I had reserved the least expensive non-view king room. I contacted the hotel by email prior to our arrival, to let them know that we had two reservations so they could be combined. I received a reply the same day, telling me that our reservations had been combined into a king gulf view room, and that we would not need to switch rooms during the stay. We were upgraded to a suite at check-in. The front desk agent also provided two bottles of Fiji water; however, I had to request the continental breakfast coupons that are listed on my profile.

Guestroom 942

view from balcony
The agent did not confirm what room type we were receiving at check-in, so when we arrived at our room on the 7th floor with 2 queen beds and a doorbell, I initially thought we had been assigned a queen-bed handicap room, and that our reservations had not been combined correctly. 

When I went back to the front desk to ask about this, the agent who assisted me then, explained that we had been upgraded to a suite. He said that all of the suites have 2 queen beds except the suites with separate bedrooms, which have a king bed. He said there was a king room available in the side of the hotel behind the front desk; however, he said those rooms are not as new, and that they are standard hotel rooms rather than suites. I asked if there was a higher floor suite available, and he said that the top 5 floors of the hotel are 1 and 2-bedroom suites. He did not offer an upgrade to one of those rooms, and I did not ask since the standard suite was already an upgrade. He offered to show me a standard king room in the other side of the hotel, and I said that we would keep the queen suite. He re-checked the computer, and then reassigned us a guestroom two floors higher--suite 942.

All of the suite rooms have doorbells, so the bell was not a handicap room bell like I had thought when we arrived at our first assigned room. Room 942 is located closer to the gulf than the first room we had been assigned on the 7th floor, so we did end up with a better view. 

I observed two queen beds and a desk with chair when we entered the guestroom. The bathroom--which contained a tub and separate shower--was next, and the kitchen/living area was beyond that. There was a sink, microwave, small fridge, and table with two chairs in the kitchen area. The living area included a couch, flat screen TV, end tables, coffee table, and two soft chairs. We liked the table and four chairs on the balcony. We had a fabulous view of the ocean, pool area, boardwalk, and air show from our balcony.

view of shallow pool from our guestroom
The bed and balcony seating were both comfortable, although there were a few issues with the guestroom: both sinks were stopped up--the one in the bathroom and the one in the kitchen, and the carpet was worn with a several loose frays. The sink water eventually drained; just not like it should have. We always prefer a walk-in shower, although the one in this room was not very big. 

There was an ethernet cable at the desk in the sleeping area; however, wireless Internet was not available in the guestroom. Wireless Internet was available for no charge in the hotel public areas, including the pool decks.

There were no bathrobes in the guestroom, so I called to inquire about this. I was told that housekeeping would bring one right up, and someone did. It was cool outside, so I wore the robe over my swimsuit to the hot tub later, and a guest asked where I had gotten it because there were not any robes in her guestroom either. 

I think we missed out on some of the housekeeping benefits because of our room switch and/or the fact that I originally had two reservations. When it looked like housekeeping had bypassed our room the next morning, I stopped at the front desk before we went to lunch to make sure that there was not a problem because of our room change, and I was told no. I called the guest service line when we returned to our guestroom around 3:00 p.m. to ask again, because no one had been to our room. We were in need of clean towels and glasses by this time. The employee who answered the call, said he would send someone right up. Our room was cleaned over an hour later, and we interrupted the process when we returned to the guestroom again just after 5:00 p.m. At this time, I observed another housekeeper thoroughly cleaning a guestroom in our hall, which I had seen someone cleaning that morning. It appeared that guestroom had been refreshed twice, and we barely received service one time. At check-in, our guestroom was missing an ice bag and a recycle bag. On stayover, we received only 2 bath towels; we received 3 floor mats instead. We did not receive any coffee stir sticks for the second morning.

Pool & beach

The water temperature was kind of cool in both outside pools, and we observed only one person swimming during our stay. The inside pool was small, and there was no hot tub inside. There were several people in the outside hot tub the day we arrived, and a few people used it on and off after that. The water temperature in the hot tub was pretty good (it could have been just a little warmer); however, there was a considerable amount of sand in the tub--small mounds on the floor and on the seats. Even though this is a resort on the beach, I thought most of the sand could have been removed. It appeared that the pool area was somewhat neglected because it was off season. I was shocked when I observed an employee from the pool bar walk through the pool area past a couple pieces of newspaper that were blowing around and not pick them up. I had been thinking about walking over to pick them up myself so that they wouldn't blow into one of the pools or onto the beach. There were several used pool towels piled on lounge chairs for more than 24 hours. Guests needed to request pool towels from the front desk, and there was not a bin in the pool area to place used towels. The pool area was not dirty; just messy. There were items that needed to be picked up or straightened. The hotel looked quite full the day we arrived with lots of activity at Latitudes Beach Bar (the pool bar, which was open every afternoon during our stay), and in the public areas. It was quiet the next afternoon and our second night. 

There was a walkway out to the beach, and a beach sand volleyball net was set up between this resort and the Hampton Inn next door. There was a walkway between the two hotels, and between the Hilton and the Holiday Inn Resort on the other side as well. All three hotels are owned by Innisfree Hotels, although it did not look like guests could stay in one hotel and use another's facility. There were signs at the gates that said that the lounges and restaurants are open to the public, and that the pool area and chairs are reserved for hotel guests. 

Food & Beverages

We thought the food and beverages in this hotel were excellent! There is a local beverage called the Bushwacker, which contains rum and Kailua, and I'm not sure what else. An online search for Pensacola Bushwacker yields many recipes. I did not know this until I asked the bartender at the Bonsai Lounge (Hilton lobby bar) what the drinks were that I observed many people drinking. I then ordered one, which was excellent! I had two more at area bars before the end of our stay, and the one I had at the Hilton was by far the best. One of the others that I had was at the Sandshaker, which claims to be the home of the original Bushwacker. This is copied from the Sandshaker webpage: --today as it was back in 1975, there is no “pre-mixing”… all Bushwacker batches at the Shaker are made by hand. I was excited to try one there, and extremely disappointed afterward. It tasted awful, and was not freshly prepared. My drink glass was filled with an already prepared frozen blend, and the rum was added to it. It did not taste like it had any Kahlua in it. It tasted like frozen rum water. The cost of the drink at the Hilton was less than $2 more, it was almost twice the size, and more than twice as good.

We were able to upgrade our continental breakfast coupons to a full breakfast for $3 each, so we did that the first day. After I saw the many great food items on the cold food bar, I did not upgrade the second morning, although my husband did both days. We thought the breakfast bar was impressive. The continental bar included many pastries, muffins, breads, and bagels, mixed nuts, fruits, yogurt, cold meats and cheeses, and salmon with all the fixins. 

Overall & misc.

This resort is in a great location. We walked to the boardwalk across the street where there is entertainment, dining, and shopping. There are also a couple of restaurants and bars on the beach located on the other side of the Hampton Inn, and Peg Leg Pete's (where we dined one afternoon) is a 2-mile walk one-way. This is an easy trip on foot, if you enjoy walking. We walked the sidewalk on the way there, and the beach on the way back. 

I observed employees tending to the outside landscaping and washing windows everyday. This resort was well maintained and clean for the most part. Other than the pool and housekeeping issues I already mentioned, the only other area I observed that needed attention was room service pickup. There were a couple of used glasses on the table by the elevator on our floor in the afternoon the day we arrived. By the time we departed two days later, this had grown to quite an assortment of 10 or more used beverage glasses.

The beach is beautiful, and I read about many events in the area prior to our stay. We liked the rates in November; however, I think we would enjoy the weather more before it is this late in the year. I received a nice tote bag for "liking" this hotel on Facebook, and then posting a comment about the hotel during our stay.

February 2016

I am glad I keep this blog, as it helps me when I revisit an area, too. We are considering a visit to Pensacola again, so I am revisiting the area and hotels. 

Sandestin Beach, Florida / Hilton Golf Resort & Spa

resort view from beach
corner suite on right
November 2011, Weekend, Guestroom #1216 - King Jr. Suite Beachview 

Status perks
I had reserved a king beachview room with points, and we were upgraded to a king Jr. suite. We received continental breakfast coupons (as is requested on my Hilton profile), although I did not receive any bottled water like I usually receive at Hilton properties.



 Guestroom

I thought the guestroom was fabulous! It was a corner room with a wrap balcony. There were twin bunk beds by the guestroom entrance with a small flat screen TV. The bathroom, a second sink/vanity outside the bathroom, and a closet, which contained a safe, were located off the long hall, which connected the bunk beds to the main area. The main area contained a microwave, small fridge, chair, king bed, second TV, armoire, nightstands, couch, coffee and end tables, and sitting table with two chairs. There was not a sink in this area. There were four chairs and two small tables on the balcony.

guestroom balcony
The bed and entire guestroom was supremely comfortable, cozy, and quiet. We enjoyed the balcony and slept very well. The only thing I thought was missing from the guestroom were Hilton bathrobes. Near the end of our stay, I observed guests on their balconies with robes, so I wondered why there had not been any in our guestroom. We went to another Hilton property after this one, and again there were no bathrobes in the guestroom. After I called the front desk at that hotel, I was told housekeeping could bring me a robe to use, so it appeared that we needed to request bathrobes at the Hilton hotels in this area.


view facing south from our balcony

Food & Beverages
The sushi and beverages in the lobby lounge in the evening were excellent. Our continental breakfast coupons came with the option to upgrade to a complete breakfast for $7.49. We thought that was kind of pricey to add eggs and hot meat to our meal, so we went with the continental breakfast. The continental breakfast included coffee and juice, cereal, fruits, yogurt, and bread/pastries. It was acceptable, although it was nothing to rave about. In fact, for a higher class property, I thought breakfast was kind of disappointing.

Pool, beach, & public areas
The two outside pools were clean, and the property was beautifully landscaped. The hot tub was warm, although we would have preferred it hotter, since the air temperature was quite cool. There was also a good sized inside pool and hot tub. The beach in front of the resort is beautiful, and chairs are available for rent during peak season--our visit was during the off season.  We liked the outside fire on the patio that evening. It was warm and there was plenty of seating around it. The pool bar was not open during our stay.

In addition to the perfectly manicured landscaping, the inside plants were well cared for and magnificent looking. 

Misc
Even though this was a rewards night stay, we were still charged $10 for overnight parking, which we were aware of before our visit.

Baytown shopping, dining, and entertainment complex is across the street from the resort. There is a tunnel under the highway, so that pedestrians can walk back and forth. This resort sits back quite a ways from the road, so it's about a 3 to 4 mile walk one-way. We were interested in walking out to the area in the evening and talked with the concierge about our options. When we learned how far of a walk it was one-way, and she did not provide any information about a shuttle or return ride, we decided not to go that evening. The next day, we drove to the area and walked around after we had checked out of the hotel. When we did, we learned there had been live entertainment in some of the businesses the night before, and we saw a Sandestin Beach Golf Resort shuttle driving through the area! I was quite disappointed that the concierge did not make us aware of this option when we questioned her about transportation to and from the complex. Even if it had not been available the evening that we talked with her, we would have used it the next morning, if we had known. I did not learn the facts of how the shuttle ride works. If this is something you're interested in, I suggest you specifically ask about it. It was not a bus; it was a golf cart pulling a covered wheeled wagon with several bench seats.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Lansing, Michigan/Hampton Inn West

November 2011, Weekday, King guestroom #344 & 348

Status perks
I typically do not receive any extra perks from Hampton for having Gold HHonors status, so when the agent did not acknowledge my status or guestroom type at check-in, I did not ask about an upgrade.

Guestroom
Guestroom 348
We had been assigned a guestroom at the end of the hall on the top floor, which is my preference. Room 348 contained a small fridge and microwave; however, the room was very small and the furnishings were old. It did not look like there were many guests at the hotel--there were only a couple cars in the parking lot--so, I decided to call the front desk to ask about an upgrade. The agent said he could give us an upgrade, so I went back down to the front desk, and he gave me a key for room 344. The agent again did not say anything about the room type I was receiving. I took the key, and hoped for the best.
Guestroom 344

Guestroom 344 was a larger room, although the furnishings were just as old. The room contained a microwave and small fridge like the first guestroom. There was also an outside door and balcony behind the sofa. Before our stay, I had read online reviews, which said that even though this is an older hotel, the rooms were clean and comfortable. I needed an extra HHonors stay this year, and this hotel was in the area I wanted to stay, so I had chosen it, even though it didn't look that great online. I must have different expectations than most of the people writing reviews on TripAdvisor, because I would not stay at this hotel again. Even though the second room we received was an upgraded room, I felt that we had stayed in a $50 hotel room (something I would not normally do), and that it had cost us $87.

The carpet in the guestroom was old, dingy looking, and frayed in spots. The furniture was old and did not smell fresh. The HVAC unit was an older style unit on the outside wall. The front cover of the HVAC unit fell off that evening! It was still connected on one corner; however, it was hanging by the hinges, and gave us quite a start when it fell down. The guestroom door, and the bathroom door, were both old, dinged up wood doors. The bathroom sink drain was slow; fortunately the tub/shower drain drained well. The bed and sheets looked clean, and, if that had not been the case, we would not have stayed the night.

The TV in both guestrooms were updated flat screen models, and that was the only thing in the hotel that looked current. The guestroom had a wired Internet connection; however, we had only brought our iPad and no laptop, so it did not do us any good. The hotel wireless service did not show up in the guestroom. When I went to the lobby with my iPad to use the Internet that evening, I observed another guest with an iPad doing the same thing. 

Food & Beverage
We had an early flight, and checked out before breakfast in the morning. We requested to-go breakfast bags, which contained the same items I have always received in a Hampton breakfast bag: bottled water, apple, muffin, Special-K bar, and Hampton mints. Cookies were available at the front desk when we arrived; however, there were no napkins with the cookies.

Pool
The wireless Internet signal was decent in the pool area, and my husband said that the hot tub was hot and clean. The seating in the pool area was comfortable.

Public areas and misc.
I thought all areas of this property needed to be refurbished and cleaned better. All of the doors were dinged up old doors, the elevator was scratched and dirty, as was the foyer area outside the elevator, and the hallway carpet was old and frayed. There was dust buildup and debris in all the corners, and on the carpet at the base of the walls. 

There was not a gift/snack shop in the hotel, and there was only one food vending machine. The vending machine did not have microwave popcorn--something I was looking for since both guestrooms we had seen contained a microwave, and I have seen popcorn in vending machines before.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Dearborn, Michigan/The Henry Autograph Collection (Marriott)

November 2011, Weekend, Guestroom #1027

Status perks
We were upgraded to a concierge floor room. I had Silver status and redeemed a category 4 free night certificate for this stay. I had requested a concierge room when I made the reservation, and this was noted as an upgrade request. I'm not sure if we would have received the upgrade, if I had not requested it, or, if we had been staying on a weeknight.

Guestroom
Our guestroom was on the same floor as the concierge lounge, and there was one more floor of guestrooms above us. Our room was comfortable and clean. It looked pretty much exactly like the photo on the Marriott website. There was a spot for a small fridge in the beverage center outside the bathroom; however, there was not a fridge inside. A mini-fridge was plugged in on top of the counter. Since my Marriott profile preferences are set to include a fridge, it looked as though someone had brought the mini-fridge before our arrival, and plugged it in on the counter. I appreciated that employees had read my profile, although I thought it would have been nicer, if the fridge had been located inside the beverage center where it was intended. Since this is a concierge floor room with space for a fridge in the beverage center, I was surprised it was not automatically included in the room. Two 16 oz. bottles of water were included on the counter, in addition to the coffee setup.

The sitting area contained a plush chair and footstool, second straight back chair, and a desk and chair. The bed was comfortable, the room was soundproof, and we slept very well. I usually have to pay for Internet access when staying at a Marriott, when my status is less than Gold. I was glad that there was not a charge at this hotel, because the connection speed in the guestroom was terrible. I tried several different hotel wireless connections, and none of them worked any faster than the others. The Internet connection speed was spotty the entire time. 

Food & Beverage
We visited the lobby lounge in the evening. The atmosphere was inviting, and the seating was comfortable. We did not order any food, although the small plate items on the menu sounded appealing. A guest seated beside us recommended the Smoked Salmon Flatbread. He said he had that the night before, and it was excellent. The food and beverage prices were fair, and the beverage quality was good. 

Concierge lounge
I was disappointed that the concierge lounge was not open the evening of our stay. I know that the lounge is often closed on weekend nights; however, I thought I had read on the website that it was open at this hotel on Friday nights. I must have been mistaken, or the hours had recently changed, because when I checked the hotel website a few days after our stay, it did not say that the lounge is open Friday evenings.

Even though the lounge was not staffed, a few self-serve items were available. The fridge was stocked with bottled water and assorted sodas. I was surprised to see that this included Coke, because Coke products are not usually available at Marriott properties. Once, when I was searching for a diet Coke (in the hotel gift shop, vending machines, etc.), an employee told me that I would never find Coke products at a Marriott. There was no diet Coke at this hotel, although they did have regular Coke. A couple different blends of Starbucks coffee were available in the fresh brew machine. Available snacks included potato chips, trail mix, Nutri-Grain bars, and a fresh fruit bowl.

Overall
This was my first experience at an Autograph Collection hotel. I chose this hotel after looking on the Marriott site for a category 4 hotel in the area. I was glad I had recalled that it is called The Henry, because the GPS location was slightly off, and I did not see Marriott on any of the outside signs or building exterior when we arrived. We pulled into the valet area to ask the employee if the hotel was the Marriott before we parked. Self-parking is complimentary. The website lists valet parking as $15 a night, although no one asked if I had valet parked at check-in. Other than our Marriott Elite guestroom key cards, I did not see the Marriott name inside the hotel either.

I thought this stay was a great value for a category 4 hotel. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Auburn Hills, Michigan / Hilton Suites

October 2011, Friday, Suite #509

I wrote a review about the Hilton Suites in May 2010, and I was not sure if I would be adding another review about this stay. The hotel has been updated since 2010, so I am posting a couple of new photos and the updates. You can read the review from last year by going to the blog archives for May 2010, or using the Hilton Suites link above.

Status perks
#509 view from entrance
I received an executive guestroom and breakfast coupons, since this was the perk listed on my profile. The guestroom was located a couple of doors down from where we had stayed the year before.

Guestroom
The new furnishings and carpet were comfortable and fresh looking. I also liked the new shades, and the new location of the work desk by the window, rather than by the guestroom door. I do not know if all the rooms had been rearranged, or if the different location for the work desk was due to the fact that we were in a different guestroom this time.

The bed was comfortable, and the bedding was plush. The bathroom amenities had been updated to Peter Thomas Roth brand, and there were two plush bathrobes on a shelf in the bathroom.

I was disappointed that we did not receive turndown service, since we had received it the year before. I did not request it during that stay, so I did not request it this time either.


Food & Beverage
Breakfast was excellent this stay. The hotel serves Starbucks coffee, and the breakfast coupons we received were for a full buffet breakfast. In addition to the standard hot and cold food items on the buffet, we were able to special order eggs or omelets from our server. The buffet included items such as: scrambled eggs, bacon, smoked salmon, chopped cucumbers and tomatoes, capers, cottage cheese, fresh fruit--strawberries, blueberries, melon, and pineapple--breads, yogurt, and more. The seating was comfortable, and there was plenty of comfortable public seating in the Atrium area as well. The tall tables in the Atrium were equipped with power outlets, which I observed guests using for their laptops.

Cookies were available at the front desk in the evening, and free continental food items were set up near the front desk in the morning--coffee, bottled water, granola bars, and whole fruit.

Executive lounge
This hotel did not have an executive lounge that I know of when we stayed here in 2010, and the front desk agent at check-in did not mention the new lounge. We went to the Atrium lounge in the evening, and noticed that the pool table area that had been behind the bar was no longer there. When we asked the bartender about this, we learned it had been converted to the executive lounge. He showed us the room, and I discovered that my key card had been coded for access. The room was not staffed for the weekend; however, the seating area was comfortable, and the fridge contained bottled water, sodas, and juices.

Overall
Even though I was disappointed about turndown service and not being informed of the executive lounge, we were still happy with our stay. The hotel is tastefully decorated, and it is comfortable. The service and food in the dining room was greatly improved from our stay the previous year.

Midland, Michigan / Holiday Inn

October 2011, Friday, Whirlpool guestroom #423

Status perks
I called this hotel to make my reservation, and was upgraded to a whirlpool room at the time of booking.


Guestroom 423
view from entrance
The guestroom had several nice features. There was a sink, fridge, microwave, and Rainforest Alliance coffee in the large entry area. We liked the walk in shower in the bathroom, and the nightlight under the vanity! The nightlight feature was very cool. We had not noticed that there was a nightlight before going to bed. After we turned out the lights that evening, we saw that there was a glow on the bathroom floor from under the vanity. This was perfect for a nighttime visit to the bathroom.


guestroom shower
The bed was comfortable, the room was spacious, and the guestroom and whirlpool tub were all clean. We had originally been assigned a guestroom on the second floor, and I asked if a higher floor room was available at check-in. I was glad we had been given a top floor room. The second floor is where the pool area game room is located, and since there were several families in the hotel during our stay, I think there was more hallway traffic on that floor.

 Pool area
We walked through the pool area; however, we did not go in the water because the water did not feel very warm. Another thing I did not like about the pool area, is that there was a glass wall between the pool and the lounge/restaurant, so patrons in the bar could see the pool. I suppose this would be nice for adults in the bar with other family members in the pool; however, as an adult using the pool, I did not like this feature. The shades between the pool and bar were open until later in the evening. There was plenty of seating around the pool, and an open stairway connected the pool area to the game room on the second floor.

Food & Beverage
We had dinner and breakfast in the hotel restaurant. The food prices were good, and the food was excellent!

Misc.
Espresso and cappuccino were available in the lobby by the front desk. This hotel looked new, and it is located next to the mall, with several other new hotels. The Residence Inn was still under construction at the time of our stay. We had originally planned to stay at the Hampton Inn, which is across the street from the mall, because the rate was much less. We liked this hotel, although I thought the nightly rate was a bit high for the area.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Dedham, Massachusettes / Holiday Inn

October 2011, Weekday, 2-nights, Penthouse Suite #842

Status perks
I was upgraded to a Penthouse Suite on the top floor.

Guestroom
I reserved an executive room when making my reservation, because this hotel looked like an older property, and executive rooms are usually nicer than regular rooms. I was excited when I learned that I had been upgraded to a penthouse suite, until I got to my room. The room was not awful; however, I expected better quality for a "Penthouse Suite."

Positives: comfortable sitting area, large corner outside patio with furniture, quiet--there were less than 10 rooms on this top floor of the tower building, two bathrobes,  good quality bathroom amenities (although I did not have any lotion), Keurig coffee maker (although I had an overabundance of decaf and tea, and only one regular coffee), popcorn and fridge beverages included (although there was no popcorn in my room, and my fridge was not restocked on stayover). There was a note in the guestroom stating that the popcorn and beverages were included, so I left a note for housekeeping--with tip money--saying that I had not received any popcorn. I also wrote that I would like some regular coffee. I received a bag of popcorn and regular coffee; however, the water I drank from the fridge had not been replaced. When I checked in, the fridge had been stocked with 2 diet Cokes, 2 regular Cokes, 2 spring waters, and there was a large bottled water on the counter.
 
Negatives: the bed was hard and uncomfortable, the carpet was stained, the Internet connection speed was lousy, the HVAC unit was an older unit on the outside wall, the shower water pressure was so low, I did not think I would ever get the shampoo rinsed out of my hair, there was quite a bit of grime around the edges of the sliding glass door, and the patio did not look very clean, so I never opened my patio door. Even though there was a sitting area in the guestroom, the room was not very big. The bathroom was tiny. The door opened toward the toilet, and almost hit it. I had to step back after entering the bathroom, and then shut the door to use the toilet. The guestroom door from the hallway did not close properly. There was a gap around the door, and I could not close the deadbolt, since it did not close correctly. I would not have stayed in this room, if the chain lock had not felt secure.

This hotel had made an attempt to provide a nice room with the nice amenities and furniture; however, the negative factors did not make up for it, in my opinion. I did not like that I had to request items from housekeeping that should have been provided. The bed was so uncomfortable, that I got back up, and spent over an hour the first night on the telephone and online searching for an acceptable nearby hotel that I could move to for my second night. I did not understand why a hotel would spend so much on other furnishings--chairs, desk, lamps, etc., and not replace the bed and/or mattress. I appreciate when the sitting area is comfortable; however, the bed is more important to me.

Food & Beverage
I did not eat in the hotel restaurant, The Nook. I dined at the Bamboo restaurant, which is located in the same building, although it is not actually part of the hotel. The food at Bamboo was very good. The restaurant was easily accessible, although there was not an interior entrance from the hotel.

Business center
The business center was a small room across from the front desk next to the Avis car rental counter. It contained two computers and one printer. I did not observe any business supplies. I was not able to print a PDF document or my boarding pass the first evening; however, I was able to print both items from the second computer the next morning. 

Fitness center
The hotel directory in my guestroom said that the fitness center did not open until 7 AM. Since the fitness center and pool were located on the first floor where there were no guestrooms, it would have been nicer, if it had been open 24-hours. I did not try the fitness center the first morning, since I did not think I had time. When I went there before 7 AM the next day, it was already open--the posted open time on the door said 6 AM. It contained two treadmills, two additional cardio machines, a weight machine, three flat screen TVs, towels, cold water, and a scale.

Misc. & overall
The hotel provided shuttle service to nearby locations. Fresh water and apples were available at the front desk most of the day, and cookies were offered in the afternoon.

A new Homewood Suites is opening in this area, where I would have stayed, except that it was not open yet at the time of my stay. There was a Hilton nearby; however, it was overbooked. They had two cancellations at the last minute--one handicap room, and one Jr. suite. Reserving a hotel room at the last minute, is not usually the best time to get a good rate, and this was no exception. I did not move to the Hilton because the rate was $40 more that what I was paying at the Holiday Inn for the handicap room, and that hotel also looked like an older building. If the bed at the Holiday Inn would have been comfortable, I would have gladly overlooked the other disappointments.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Coeur d'Alene, Idaho / Hampton Inn & Suites

September 2011, Weekday, 2-nights, King guestroom

Status perks
I did not receive anything extra for being a Gold member, and I did not expect anything since Hampton does not usually offer any upgrades or other perks.

Guestroom
I had reserved a king balcony room because that was the only room type available when I made my reservation. When I got to my room, and saw that there was a connecting room door, I called the front desk to ask if there was another king-bed room available. I was going to be staying at the hotel for two nights, and I have often heard bothersome noise from the room next door when there is a connecting door. The front desk agent said that there were not any available room types like my current room that did not have a connecting door. I told her that I did not need a balcony room; I had only reserved that because that was all that was available. I stated that I would prefer quietness over a balcony. She said there was a room without a balcony available at the end of the hall. I asked if the room size and amenities were the same in other ways, because the room I was in had a refrigerator and microwave. She said that the rooms were the same, and that she would meet me there, so I did not need to go back to the front desk. 

Before I left the guestroom, I looked at the diagram on the back of the door, and saw that the room I was in was larger than the one I was moving to. When I mentioned this to the agent before entering my new room, she said that is because the diagram included the balcony, and that the rooms were the same size. She said that she had reduced my rate $10 per night for moving to a non-balcony room. The guest who would be given my room was going to receive an upgrade. When I entered my new room, I saw that it was the same size as my first room. I was impressed that the employee knew this, and that she had met me on my floor, so I did not need to return to the front desk!

The guestroom was spacious and quiet. I really liked the coffee setup outside the bathroom where there was also a microwave and small fridge. The only thing I  did not like about the guestroom is that there was not a soft chair or couch. A straight back chair with a soft seat, was in  the corner by the desk.

Business center
The business center was a large room with several computers, a printer, and any office supplies one might need--tape, white-out, note pads, stapler, paper clips, post-its, and more. It was open 24 hours, and I did not have any trouble printing several documents.

Fitness center
The large fitness center was located down the hall from the business center, and was also open 24 hours. The room contained several cardio machines, weight machines, hand weights, a large flat screen TV, water, towels, sani-wipes, and a scale. The temperature was comfortable, and all the equipment was well maintained.

Food & Beverage
The breakfast seating area was a large comfortable room across from the front desk. Food items were the basic fare--scrambled eggs, waffle maker, fruits, yogurt, breads and danishes, juices, coffee, and milk.

Misc. & Overall
I thought the hotel set up was fantastic. The bottom floor was devoted to guest amenities, which were open 24 hours. The pool, fitness center, and business center were all open 24 hours. Since I live on the east coast, I am often up early when working on the west coast, so I really appreciated the 24 hour accessibility. The hotel building looked new, as did the shopping and dining establishments across the street. I ate at two of the restaurants across the street, and highly recommend the Ugly Fish Asian Bistro--it was the best food I had in this area while visiting for the week!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Ponderay, Idaho / Holiday Inn Express

Status perks
PC Gummy Bears
I received a basket at check-in, which contained two packages of PC gummy bears, two packages of microwave popcorn, and two bottles of water. When I asked what room type I had, the agent said I had a king bed guestroom on the top floor and that he could give me an upgrade to a suite, if I wanted to stay on the second floor instead. I figured the suite would be a better room, so I said yes.

actual suite
Guestroom
The "suite" on the second floor was located next to the elevator and looked like a basic guestroom to me. It contained a bed, soft chair, desk and chair, mini-fridge, microwave, and sink. There was no partial wall or divider between the bed and wet bar area like I had seen in guestroom photos online. The sink was pretty much at the foot of the bed. I wondered why the guestroom was considered an upgrade, as I sat down at the desk to work. I had not been in the room long when I heard a lot of noise outside my room and overhead. It sounded like the elevator was thunking as it went up and down, and the overhead noise must have been from housekeeping vacuuming. I decided to look at the room diagram and photos more closely--on the guestroom door and online. I realized that the room I had originally been assigned was a corner room on the top floor at the end of the hall, and that the room size was exactly the same as my upgraded room! The guestroom I was currently in would probably be noisier from the elevator and hallway noise, so I returned to the front desk to see if my original room assignment was still available. A different employee was working at the desk, and I explained to her that I had been told I was receiving an upgrade to a suite; however, the room looked the same as the room I had originally booked, so I wanted to see if I could switch back, since it looked like the original room was located in a quieter area. She told me that the room I had been upgraded to is classified as a suite because it has a sink in the bedroom area. She then said that there was another suite available down the hall that she could switch me to because that guest had not checked in yet. She said it was a larger room in a quieter area, so I took it.

The next room was indeed a larger room, and it looked like a suite. There was a partial wall divider between the bed and living area, as well as a TV in each room, and a couch and coffee table in the sitting area. I did not hear any bothersome noise during the rest of my stay, and the room was comfortable. Hopefully, the guest who ended up in my first "upgraded" room had not paid for a suite.

Public areas
I don't usually provide much detail about hotel public areas; however, the public areas at this hotel were impressive! The lobby by the front desk contained comfortable and new furniture. There were two comfortable chairs on the second floor, which was open and overlooking the lobby. Tables and chairs were set up on a patio outside the breakfast area, and the view out back was pleasant. The first upgraded guestroom I had received overlooked this patio, so that room did have a nice view.

Misc.
There is a restaurant/sports bar located in the parking lot with the HIX. I thought the food, beverages, and service were all great. They offer a discount to hotel guests (10%, I believe).

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Spokane, Washington / DoubleTree Convention Center

September 2011, Sunday, Executive guestroom #1210

Status perks
I received a fabulous upgrade to a large corner room on the executive floor. Since the executive lounge was closed during my stay (Sunday night), I also received a breakfast coupon. These are the preferences requested on my profile in lieu of bonus points. Parking was also comped because of my Gold status, which was a pleasant surprise.

Guestroom
The guestroom was larger than two of some hotel rooms I have stayed in. Large windows spanned both walls with a gorgeous sunset view that evening. The room contained two comfortable soft chairs and footstool, as well as a desk and chair. There was so much room in the closest and dresser, that I could have easily unpacked for several weeks, if I had been staying that long. The bed was SUPER comfortable, and the room had been recently remodeled with new carpet and furnishings.

Two small bottles of water were included in the guestroom, and the coffee provided was excellent quality. There were two plush, new looking robes in the closet.

The only disappointment with the guestroom was the small bathroom, and housekeeping was not the best. The bathroom door almost hit the toilet when opening it, and the slightly cracked sink had not been replaced during the remodel, along with an older looking vanity counter. There were several hairs in the bathroom sink and shower. Unfortunately, there were some noisy guests in the hall that evening, and even though I had a room at the end of the hall, I could hear the activity, so I was not able to enjoy the comfortable bed as much as I would have liked. 

Fitness center
The fitness center on the third floor contained everything you would expect at a hotel fitness center--cardio machines with theater, hand weights, weight machines, mats, balls, a flat screen TV on the wall, sani-wipes, towels, and cold water. It was open 24-hours, which I appreciate, since I am often traveling in a different time zone than where I live.

 Food & Beverage
At breakfast, I used my continental coupon value toward an a la carte menu item--smoked salmon eggs benedict. This is probably not the exact menu name, although it is a good descriptive name of the menu item. It was a great choice! My eggs were cooked perfectly, and the flavor was excellent. Since I did not want the potato side, my server said I could have fresh fruit or sliced tomatoes. I chose the tomatoes, which were an excellent side with this menu item.

The food quality and flavor were excellent, although the service was not top notch. After I had completely finished my meal (and, I am not a fast eater), I waited over three minutes for my check while my server stood across the room and chatted with another employee about personal business. I could overhear the conversation as I looked over and waited for her to bring my check. The next day, I was again frustrated by the service, when I looked at my receipt and saw that I had not noticed that a tip of $1.95 had been added to my check--and, I added $2 to this! I realize I should have looked closer when I received the bill, although I do appreciate it, when my server also tells me that a tip has been added. Or, if it had been written on my coupon, I would have seen that as well.

Overall
I liked my room comfort and the location of this hotel. It is located downtown on the river, within walking distance of several restaurants. It is not far from the airport, and the hotel offers airport shuttle service. I would definitely choose this hotel again when visiting the area.