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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Sarasota, Florida / Homewood Suites

January 2013, Weekday, 2-nights, King studio guestroom #238

Status perks
Day 2
I did not receive any additional perks beyond the 250 bonus points chosen on my profile preference.

Guestroom 238 
This guestroom is a corner room on the top floor, away from the elevator, and in a quiet area, which is exactly what I had requested. It has a connecting room door, which I do not like. I may have forgotten to request that when I made my reservation.

The guestroom included the standard Homewood Suites furnishings: kitchen area with full size fridge (unfilled ice cube trays in the freezer since there was no ice maker), dishwasher, cupboards with dishes and silverware, two burners, microwave, sink, small table with two seats (one was a desk chair), full size coffee pot with supplies, and microwave popcorn; living area with a couch, coffee table, one end table, and lamps; bedroom area with a king size bed, two nightstands, soft chair, and full length mirror. The mirror was on the wall behind the chair, so I had to move the chair to use it. A flatscreen TV on an armoire was located between the sleeping and living area, and could be turned for viewing from either area.
living room
with connecting room door

The bathroom vanity was outside the shower/tub and toilet room on the other side of the sleeping area, across from the couch. The lotion and shampoo amenities were basic quality. The towels were plush, high quality towels. They were softer than what I usually experience at Homewood Suites.

The closet contained an iron, ironing board, and foldout luggage rack. I was surprised and pleased to see the luggage rack because these are often not provided in extended stay properties like this.

The suite was a decent size, the bed was clean and comfortable, and it was quiet in the guestroom for the most part. If there was a guest in the room next door, s/he was very quiet the first night. The second evening, a very noisy guest arrived. It sounded like quite a process in the hallway, and in the guestroom when he first arrived. I was happy when things quieted down after he got settled.

Guestroom stayover
I left a tip for housekeeping, as I often do. When I returned to my room the next day, I found a towel animal on my bed, and the popcorn had been replenished along with the coffee supplies. Usually popcorn is only given at check-in. I do not know if this hotel replenishes it every day, or if I received this because I had left a tip.

One thing I did NOT like when I returned to my guestroom--my door was propped open with the latch, and no staff members were nearby. I have seen housekeeping do this at hotels when they need to return to the guestroom to complete something. In this circumstance, no one was anywhere near my suite. I observed two housekeeping carts at the far end of the hallway, at least 8 to 12 suites away. I stopped at my door to look around before I entered, and no one from the other end of the hall saw me before I entered a couple minutes later. After I had been in my suite over 1/2 hour, housekeeping brought a washcloth to my room. The person knocked, and then entered the room before I had a chance to get to the door. I felt like she did not know that my door had been left open, or, that she had forgotten about it, if she was the one who had left it open.

Food & Beverage
The included food and beverage items were decent, although I was surprised that salad was not served both evenings, as that has been my past experience at Homewood Suites.

Breakfast food served both mornings during my stay included cold cereals, instant oatmeal, fresh whole fruits (apples, bananas, and pears), yogurt, breads, waffle maker, scrambled eggs, very salty corned beef hash, and juices and milk. Canadian bacon was also included the first morning, and the second morning, there were also small burritos and hash browns.

Dinner items the first night: tossed salad, chicken tenders, and potato wedges. Dinner items the second night: meatloaf, potatoes, peas, and rolls. Banana cake and assorted beverages were served both evenings. The beer brands were Budweiser and Yuengling. I do not know what brand of wine was served. The red wine was a bit too sweet, but overall, not too bad. Juices and lemonade were available as well.

Business center
The business center was located across from the front desk. It contained two computers, and a nice laser printer, which I used to print several documents. There were a few miscellaneous office supplies like paper clips, pens, and a stapler.

Fitness center
The fitness center is located in the outside pool area, and the only entrance is from the outside. It opened at 6 AM. It contained three cardio machines with cardio theater, weights, a workout bench, fitness ball, flatscreen TV, scale, sani wipes, and a water cooler. Everything was in good working order, except for the temperature. It was extremely hot both mornings that I visited.

One thing I did not like about this hotel is that all of the suites are disconnected from the main building. The main center building contained the front desk, business center, and lodge area. The pool and fitness center were located outside behind this building. The fitness center was actually in the main building; however, it was only accessible from the outside pool area.

The suites were all in a separate U-shaped building that started at one end of the main building (completely disconnected), and then made a U-shape behind the main building, and back to the other side. The area between the two buildings was more than a couple steps, because there was room for cars to drive between the buildings. There were a few parking spots between the buildings, although most of the parking was on the outside of the guestroom building.

All of the doors required key code access; however, I still do not like this type of setup. I stayed in the winter, so it was dark when I went to the fitness center, and when I went to the lodge in the morning and in the evening. And, my key card was finicky, so a few times it did not work for me the first time that I tried it. Other than the building layout, and housekeeping leaving my guestroom door open, I thought that this was a comfortable stay.