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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Milwaukee airport (MKE) / Hilton Garden Inn

July 2012, Weekday, 1-night, 2-Queen beds guestroom #350

Status perks
I received two bottles of water and a breakfast coupon. I have bonus points, rather than free breakfast, set on my Hilton profile, so breakfast was an extra perk. I had reserved a room with 2 queen beds. I do not recall if I did this because there were no king rooms available, or if it was because the rate was less. I had hoped for a king upgrade; however, there were none available. In fact, this hotel was sold out the night of my stay.

Guestroom 350 is located on the top floor, near the end of the hall, on the north side of the building facing the airport. The room was quite soundproof. I could hear an occasional plane, although not very often. I did not hear any noise from the hall or other guestrooms. The guestroom door was extremely heavy, and apparently constructed to keep noise out. 

The bedroom area contained 2 adjustable queen beds, a night stand with lamp, soft chair and footstool, floor lamp, flatscreen TV on a dresser, and desk with adjustable chair. The bed was comfortable, and the bedding was high quality. I sat in the soft chair briefly, and did not think that chair was comfortable. It was quite hard.

The dry bar area contained a microwave, mini-fridge, coffee maker, and good quality coffee and liquid creamer. I was happy to see 3 regular coffee packets! The closet located across from the bathroom had glass doors, and there was an oversized folding suitcase rack in the closet. 

The guestroom was comfortable and clean. There was an ethernet cord on the desk, and wireless Internet was also available with good connectivity speed. There were plenty of electrical outlets in the guestroom.

The low quality hairdryer in the bathroom was somewhat disappointing, but other than that, I was very happy with this guestroom.

Food & Beverage
Complimentary coffee was available in the lobby, and complimentary Rice Krispie treats were available at the front desk in the afternoon. 

I went to the dining room for breakfast around 7:30 AM, and there were no seats available. Employees were accommodating guests as best they could. I sat down in the bar area, as did several guests who arrived after me. Hilton Garden Inn breakfast consists of self-serve continental items, and guests can also place an egg/hot food order with the cook. A server brings coffee, water, and the hot item when it's ready. This hotel had a fairly good system--guests filled out a paper at the counter with desired hot food items, picked up a number tent, wrote this number on the order, and then left the slip, and took the number to their table. 

When the restaurant is as busy as it was the day of my visit, I don't know how the cooks would know who set which paper on the counter first. I observed a couple different piles of slips, and could have easily placed mine on top of one of the piles. I was not sure where I was supposed to place it, so I just set it on the counter by itself, next to the other piles. I waited 20 minutes for my egg order, and then the dish was not very good. The eggs were slightly overcooked. I was not in a hurry that morning, so the wait was not a problem for me. 

While I waited at my table for my order, I observed servers looking for numbers many times. They even approached guests several times to state the name of the food item when they could not find the number tent. I suppose there are many reasons this could happen--the guest could have gotten tired of waiting and left, or maybe the guest wrote down the wrong tent number, or the guest was seated in another area because there had not been a table available. I could not determine what the problem was. I did observe the manager, and employees who did not appear to be servers, also helping out. I do not think my 20-minute wait was due to poor service; rather it happened because the restaurant was not able to accommodate the number of guests dining. 

Business center
The business center at this hotel is one of the best I have used in a hotel. There were several computers, and the computer closest to the printer allowed me the option of printing my document two-sided! Remote printing was also available. The business center contained everything I needed except a highlighter. In addition to the computers, there was a copy/fax/printer, stapler, paper clips, envelopes, whiteout, Post-it notes, and more. I took a picture of the business center because I was so impressed with it.

Fitness center
The fitness center was a good sized room with several cardio machines with cardio theater. There were also hand weights, a workout bench, and exercise balls available. The room contained towels, sani-wipes, and a flatscreen TV.

Misc. and overall
This hotel has shuttle service, although I did not use it. I arrived before check-in time, and my room was ready, and employees were happy to accommodate my early arrival. Overall, I was very satisfied with this stay, and will choose this hotel again when I am in the area. A colleague who met me at the hotel in the evening was so impressed with what she saw, that she booked a room for the next night and moved over from the nearby Marriott Courtyard.