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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Fresno, California / FAT airport -- Holiday Inn

Status perks
At check-in, I received a coupon good for my choice of: a beverage in the lounge, 1,000 points, or breakfast. When I inquired about what kind of room I was receiving, I was told I had an executive room upgrade. I told the agent that I had reserved an executive room, and she said that I was actually receiving a poolside suite.  Since the interior pool area at this hotel is similar to a Holidome, I was concerned about the noise in a poolside room and said I'd rather have a suite or executive room away from the pool area. The agent assigned me a suite in the far corner on the second floor.

Room
Suite #262 was very roomy; however, it was not very conducive for working. There was a table with two extremely dirty/stained and uncomfortable chairs, a couch--which wasn't much more comfortable than the chairs, and an armoire with TV. There was no desk, chair, or Internet connection plug in the room. Wireless Internet was available, although the connection speed was quite slow. There was hardly any counter space in the bathroom. The large size of the room was poorly utilized, in my opinion. In addition to the furnishings in the room, there would have been room for a desk and chair, as well as a small fridge and microwave. My stay would have been much more comfortable, if the room had contained these extras. The bed was clean and comfortable, so I decided to work as best I could. Before the end of the stay, I decided I would probably have been better off with the poolside room, since there was not any activity in the pool area during my stay. Room 262 is across from Housekeeping, so it was quite noisy when I first arrived as staff members were finishing their rounds. I did not hear much noise or disturbance after Housekeeping left for the day. 

Food & Beverage
I dined on site with a colleague from a nearby airport hotel. Neither one of us were happy with the entree we ordered. I ordered grilled steak and chicken skewers, and she ordered a steak. The chicken skewers were tender, moist, and flavorful; however, the steak was poor quality and lacked flavor. The skewered vegetables served with the meats did not taste or look like they had been skewered or grilled, and I had questioned the Server about the vegetables before I ordered this entree. She assured me the skewers contained fresh vegetables that they would be grilled with the meats. The person dining with me sent her steak back and requested a burger instead. We were surprised with the food quality because the items on the soup and salad bar looked and tasted fresh. I had Eggs Benedict Florentine for breakfast the next morning, which had excellent flavor. It was prepared with fresh spinach and mushrooms. The eggs were slightly overdone as was the muffin, yet this item was still enjoyable.

Fitness center
There were a couple different working cardio machines and one TV in the fitness center. I had the room to myself in the early morning. Chilled water was available.

Business center
I did not see a business center sign or a public computer until the morning I departed. At that time, I noticed a computer and printer in the corner of the lounge near the hall. I did not observe anyone using this area, so I am not certain the machines worked. Everything was off when I walked by in the morning. There was not a business center listed in the hotel directory in the room, and it was not included with the other signs on the walls for the fitness center, lounge, etc.

Overall
I chose this hotel because it is across from the airport, and it was easy to walk to and from the airport. I was able to return my rental car and walk back to the hotel after I checked in. It was also an easy walk to the airport with my wheeled suitcase the day I departed. I was happy that I was able to accomplish that; however, I would never stay at this hotel again. When I looked at the hotel more closely after returning home, I realized I had actually received a room "downgrade!" There are no suites listed on the hotel website, and all of the room descriptions state that there is an ergonomic desk chair in the room--one of the things I missed most. The agent who assigned my room knew that I had reserved an executive room, and I mentioned that I wanted an executive room when I asked if there was a room available away from the pool area. The hotel room I stayed in was in dire need of a face lift. The mere fact that I paid for more than I received, is enough to make me choose a different hotel next time. The hotel website also says that complimentary dinner snacks are included with an executive room, which I did not receive.

Update - 3/21/2011
Shortly after this stay, I decided to contact the hotel manager to let him know what happened. I am happy to say that I received a professional and well thought out reply the same day. He checked the room I had stayed in, and agreed that the furnishings were far below their expectations. He said he has ordered new furnishings, is correcting the website, and asked me to contact him when I have another stay in the area. As a result, I am changing my decision about future stays at this property. The next time I need lodging near the Fresno airport, I will be contacting the hotel manager and giving this property another chance!