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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

San Antonio, Texas / TownePlace Suites Downtown

February 2012, Weekend, 2-nights, King suite #614

Status perks
I redeemed two Category 4 certificates for this stay. We were able to check-in early when we arrived (1PM), and check out late our last day (also 1PM). I don't think the check-in and out times had to do with my status. I think anyone can request this. The hotel was not very busy during our stay, so they were able to accommodate our requests.

kitchen hall facing door
Guestroom
This property has six floors, so our room was on the top floor, which is my preference. The guestroom entrance opened into a kitchen hall (for lack of a better word) with a closet and full length mirror on one wall. A full size fridge, stove, microwave, cupboards and drawers with dishes, dishwasher, and small sink were along the opposite wall.

The sleeping area at the end of the hall contained a king size bed, couch, desk and chair, flat screen TV above the desk, a coffee table/footstool combination, and two night stands. There were open shelves between the kitchen and sitting/sleeping area. The bathroom was located next to the bed, and contained a large walk-in shower, which was one of the best features of the guestroom. There was only one washcloth in the guestroom at check-in, and we only received one the next day as well. We obtained another one from the front desk both times.

The entire guestroom was quite small, and every space had been utilized efficiently. The good points: the bed and bedding was good quality and comfortable; the large shower with glass doors was nicer than a tub and shower curtain, in my opinion; the hair dryer in the bathroom vanity drawer was good quality; the outside window was large and opened slightly for fresh air; the thermostat could be turned off, if desired; the room was in a quiet location. 

The bad points: the TV above the desk could not be viewed comfortably from the couch, and there was no table for eating. The TV mount can be pulled out slightly and turned on an angle; however, it can not be moved far enough to watch it from the couch. I had wondered about this when I looked at the hotel photos and reviews online before our stay, and I am surprised that no one mentioned this in their review. Even though there was not a kitchen table in the guestroom, there was seating available in the breakfast area on the bottom floor of the hotel.

Breakfast area
The sitting area in the breakfast room was spacious and the seating was comfortable. In addition to tables, there were two counters/bar tops with comfortable looking bar stools. I observed beer taps behind one of the bar counters, although there was no evening social hour during our stay. There were several meeting rooms on this floor, so I assume this area is also used for special events. There were two flat screen TVs in the room--both blaring loudly and tuned to two different channels. We adjusted the volume on one of the sets both mornings. The room temperature was very cold.

Breakfast foods were typical of what is served at Holiday Inn Express, Hampton Inn, Fairfield Inn, and SpringHill Suites. One morning, there were imitation scrambled eggs, and the other morning there were cheesy vegetable omelets. Other items also available both mornings: breads, muffins, and bagels, cold cereals, waffle maker, granola/breakfast bars, bananas, yogurt, milk and juice. I think there was sausage gravy one morning, and bacon the other; however, I do not recall those items for sure. The milk in the cooler was not very cold (the temperature on front said 45). I was glad that the yogurt choices included low-sugar Dannon Light and Fit. 

Pool area
The pool is also located on the bottom floor next to the breakfast area. We did not use it because there were small pieces of debris that needed to be cleaned out of it, and the water temperature was not very warm. There was no hot tub in the area. The lounge chairs looked comfortable.
TPS on left; view from Hyatt

Overall
The staff at this hotel was accommodating, and the property met our needs for a couple nights. I had read that the rooms are not very soundproof, so I sent an email to the hotel prior to our stay. I requested a high floor room in a quiet area away from the elevator without a connecting door. I also said that we would be arriving sometime after noon. The hotel manager called me that same day. He said he had noted my requests, and that our room should be ready when we arrived. I was told that none of the rooms at this hotel have connecting doors, and that most of the king rooms have a walk-in shower. I was glad to receive a guestroom that met my requests; however, when I looked at the hotel diagram, it looked like the front corner rooms are the largest--605, 505, etc. I did not see the inside of those rooms, so I do not know if they are king or queen bed suites, or bedroom suites. I received an email from the manager after checkout as well.  

We had originally planned to stay at this hotel for three nights because I had three Category 4 certificates that expire soon. After I learned we could get a room at the Hyatt across the street and on the river for $119, we decided to move to that hotel for our last night.