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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Bloomington, Illinois / BMI airport -- Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites

Status perks
I had reserved a room with 2-queen beds instead of a king room because the rate was less. I hoped for an upgrade, and figured if I did not receive it, a queen bed would also be fine. I would not have done this, if the two bedded rooms had been full size beds instead of queen beds. Imagine my surprise and delight when I viewed my reservation online before arriving and saw that my room had already been upgraded to a king bed executive suite!

At check-in I received two coupons: one for a beverage, and one for dessert, when ordering an entree. My flight was not until 4 p.m on the day I was checking out, and the hotel also granted me late checkout at 2 p.m.

Guestroom

couch & chair on right, TV in left corner
The room was a large room, similar to the oversized rooms I have stayed in at Holiday Inn Express hotels. The only difference I could see is that the bedroom had a door. I have always thought that Holiday Inn & Suites are in between a full service Holiday Inn and a Holiday Inn Express. This is because the lounges are usually smaller, and the public areas more intimate. The suites I have stayed in at Holiday Inn and Suites are usually corner rooms, and they are not laid out as a long narrow room like most of the Holiday Inn Express suites. 

This suite was a long narrow guestroom, like Holiday Inn Express. The living area at the entrance contained a flat screen TV, a couch and soft chair, as well as a desk and chair. A small kitchen area next to the desk and across from the bathroom, included a microwave, half sized fridge, sink, and coffee set up. I was impressed to see Wolfgang Puck coffee pods, although the creamer was powder. 
The bedroom at the back of the suite included a second flat screen TV, as well as another desk and chair. The bed was comfortable, and I did not hear any noise overnight.

The only noise that was bothersome while in the room were the guests overhead. I always request a top floor room on my reservation and usually confirm this at check-in to avoid this problem. Since I had already received an upgraded room, I did not inquire whether a different suite was available on the top floor.

The thermostat in this room was not well placed. It was in the corner where it was very warm. I had the thermostat turned up to 79, and when I tried to work at the desk in the bedroom--where I could not hear the noisy guests above me as much--it was cold. I ended up turning the heat off and working in the living area instead. The wireless Internet was slow no matter where I sat. There were several ethernet outlets in the room, and I wished I had packed my ethernet cord, so I could have tried that connection. There were also several power outlets in the room, which was nice.

Food & Beverage
There is a full service restaurant and bar on site at this hotel. It is called Baxters American Grille, and it was very good. The entrance is actually from the outside, and not from the hotel, although you can get to it through the hotel if there is not a banquet or meeting going on. I was able to walk to the lounge/restaurant for dinner without going outside; however, I had to walk outside after I had finished to return to the hotel. I had Mahi Mahi with asparagus for dinner, and the flavor and quality was excellent. The service was also excellent, and the bartender let me use my beverage coupon for a better quality beverage and pay the difference. I thought breakfast the next morning was excellent as well. My eggs were cooked perfectly, and the fruit side was fresh with good flavor.

Fitness center
The fitness center was empty both times I visited. There were four cardio machines and weight machines in the room, which was very warm. The machines did not have cardio theater, although the room was equipped with a working TV and remote. Towels, sani-wipes, cold water, and a scale were also present and working.

Misc.
This hotel is located directly across from the airport and is easy to access. I did not hear any airplane noise during my stay. BWW and an Italian restaurant are located in the same complex within walking distance.