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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
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.

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).