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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Howell, Michigan / Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites

January 2012, Weekday, One-night, King suite - #311

Status perks
I received an upgrade to a suite and a goody bag at check-in, which contained a tiny water bottle and two snacks. I called this hotel the day of my arrival to check rates and see what kind of rooms were available because I had originally planned to stay at the Homewood Suites in Brighton. I finished my work in that area earlier in the day than I had expected, so this reservation was last minute.

The spacious guestroom contained a wet bar area with fridge, microwave, and sink across from the closet. I was impressed to see that the in room coffee was individual packets of Rainforest Alliance Columbian Supremo. I often see this kind of coffee in the guestroom at full service Marriott properties; however, I hardly ever see it at a Holiday Inn Express. The refrigerator was extremely loud when it ran, and I was surprised that it did not disturb my sleep much that night. The sitting area, between the wet bar and bedroom area, contained a comfortable couch, soft chair, suitcase bench, two end tables and a coffee table, along with lamps and a ceiling light. The lighting in the entire guestroom was good, and there were plenty of outlets for guest use. 

A work desk and flat screen TV were located in the bedroom area with the king size bed. Other than the refrigerator, it was very quiet in the guest room. The only exterior noise I heard was the traffic on the expressway, and that kind of noise does not bother me much because it's more of a continual rhythmic noise. I get more disturbed by noise from other guests than traffic noise. I thought the bedding and pillows were decent quality and comfortable, although the mattress was much too hard for me. The Internet connection speed seemed okay, except that I was not able to connect with my husband by webcam from this hotel. I don't know if that was because of the Internet speed, or if the hotel had some kind of block in place. We did not receive any error messages; our calls just did not connect.

Food & Beverage
I was glad the whole fruit choices (apples and bananas) were fresh because I did not see anything else at breakfast that I thought looked appetizing. The scrambled eggs did not look fresh. Other food options included: cold cereals in a dispenser, cinnamon rolls, bacon, biscuits and gravy, bagels, and yogurt. There was whole milk and 2% milk; however, there was no fat-free milk.

Fitness center
There were five cardio machines in the fitness center, although one treadmill was propped up, as if it was not working. The first time I visited, I thought maybe it had not been put down after vacuuming because I observed an employee mopping the lobby floors. That did not seem to be the case the next morning though because it was still propped up. There were also hand weights, a bench, and a fresh water cooler in the room, although there were no sani-wipes. 

It was quite warm in the room, so I turned the HVAC unit off, which had been set on 70. It was more comfortable after that. 

This hotel is located next to the Tanger outlet shopping center, which would be close enough to walk to on a nice day. The only restaurant choices right next to the hotel were Arby's, McDonalds, and Coney Island. The front desk agent said there is a good restaurant called Tomato Brothers less than a mile away on Grand River Avenue; however, I did not feel like driving again after I arrived.