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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Joliet, Illinois / Holiday Inn Conference Center

February 2012, Weekday, One night, King guestroom #407

Status perks
I received a coupon for complimentary hot breakfast. 

The first guestroom I was assigned (room 418, I think) on the top floor, had a connecting room door. This hotel is an older building, and since I can often hear my neighbors through connecting doors--especially in older buildings--I called the front desk to see if there was another room available, or if the room next to the one I had been assigned, was going to be empty. The clerk said that there was another room available across the hall, so I returned to the front desk for a new key.

The second guestroom was the same as the first one, except that there was no connecting door, and there was a small fridge in the room. I got the impression that a fridge could be requested, because I heard a guest checking in after me who was told that his room was ready, and that a refrigerator was in his room. It sounded like the front desk agent knew this guest.   

The carpet was old and stained in both of the guestrooms I entered, as were as the furnishings. The couch and old style TV in both rooms were the same. I did not try the couch or TV during my one night stay. A suitcase bench was located near the entrance door, under the hanging clothes rack. There was not a closet with a door in the guestroom. There was only one available outlet at the desk, and one in the bathroom. Since I did not use the fridge, I unplugged it to use that outlet. The bedding was clean, and the bed comfort was satisfactory. The Internet connection speed was also satisfactory.

Food & Beverage
My breakfast coupon was good for one of three choices--2 eggs with potatoes, meat, toast, and coffee, or an omelet with pre-chosen filling ingedients, or oatmeal. I had the 2 eggs, scrambled. The eggs were fresh, hot, and flavorful. I was surprised to receive my food so quickly after ordering because after I was seated, I waited several minutes before someone greeted me to take my order. The restaurant was pretty full, and it did not look like there were enough employees working. One employee seemed to be taking care of everyone, and another employee poured water, and then assisted when she learned what the other employee had not taken care of.

In the evening, I had a cobb salad from the dining room, which was pretty good. The topping ingredients were actually a larger quantity than needed compared to the amount of lettuce, although I did not have any serious complaints about this item. The ingredients were fresh, and the portion size was generous.

Fitness center
I thought the sign on the fitness center said it was open 24 hours; however, that is not what it says on the hotel website. The online hotel page says that the center does not open until 9AM, and I know that is not correct, because I used it around 6AM. The room was not very big. In addition to a couple cardio machines, hand weights, and a TV, the room also contained the ice and vending for floor one. 

I was the only one in the fitness center both times that I used the room, and I had to be let in both times. After trying my key several times, I went to the front desk to say that my key did not work. The agent (same employee who checked me in) said that the door is tricky, and that I needed to insert the key and then slide it to the left. He did not offer to assist me. In fact, I thought he was kind of aloof every time I spoke with him. I returned to the fitness room, and tried my key again with no success. Another guest watched me to see if I could get my key to work, and said that he had not been able to get in with his key the day before. On my way back to the front desk, I passed an employee (an engineer, maybe) who let me into the fitness center. It took him several tries with his master key to get the door open. The next morning, the same thing happened. This time, the manager was walking by and let me in. It also took him several attempts with his master key before the door opened.

This is an older building, in desperate need of refurbishing. The elevator was old, dingy, and extremely slow. Every area I observed in this hotel was somewhat rundown, with the exception of the bar and dining area. I did not visit the back of the hotel to see the outside pool area and grounds because the weather was rainy and cool at the time of my stay.