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Saturday, April 27, 2013

Grand Forks, North Dakota / SpringHill Suites

sunset from guestroom
April 2013, Weekday, 2-nights, King guestroom #424

Status perks and check-in
I received the standard Platinum perks; the agent asked if
I wanted points or something from the gift shop. She then
asked how many keys I wanted, and I was on my way.

This is a newer SpringHill Suites, and I liked the chic style. There was a large sectional couch in the living area with a tall 2-piece coffee table, lamps, and a desk and chair. The lighting was good, and the furniture in this area was the most comfortable hotel furniture I have experienced. It was very easy and comfortable to sit and work on the couch with the different pillows and the 2-piece table, which could be slid under the couch to use for a desktop.

There were four electrical outlets, an ethernet plug, and a telephone at the desk. I did not see an ethernet cord in the guestroom, and I did not have mine with me. The wireless Internet speed was pretty good, although I found it extremely frustrating that I had to sign back in every time I returned to my computer--even when my computer had only been disconnected for a short time.

A microwave, small fridge, single-serve coffee maker with supplies, and an ice bucket were in the corner near the entrance door. There was not a sink in this area of the guestroom.

The bedroom area contained a king size bed with lighting and outlets by the headboard, night stands, alarm clock, a free-standing closet with drawers and hangers, and a window seat/bench, which worked great as a suitcase bench. An iron and board were in the closet, and a full length mirror was on the outside of the door.

Although the guestroom was well thought out with perfect storage, lighting, and other features, the bed was not very comfortable. The pad on the bed made a rustling sound, and the mattress was quite firm. The bedcover was thin, and there were no blankets in the room. The temperature in the guestroom was 66 degrees when I arrived. It was cold, windy, and wintery outside. It took more than six hours for the room to warm up, and the fan on the heater was very loud. I called the front desk, and I was able to get an extra blanket for the bed.

I heard a train in the evening both nights of my stay, although the noise was not real bothersome. The sunset from this room was beautiful.

A large flatscreen TV was visible from the bedroom and living area, except that the batteries in the remote control must have been dead. I had only wanted to briefly check something on TV, so I did not call to have this fixed.

The bathroom was two separate rooms at the foot of the bed. The room on the left contained a large walk-in shower, vanity, mirror, towels, a hair dryer, and bathroom amenities. The room on the right contained the toilet, a small sink, mirror, a hand towel, and soap. It took a very long time for the water to get hot in this guestroom. The lighting in both bathroom areas was very poor.

Food & Beverage
I was impressed with some of the healthy food options at breakfast; however, the choices in the 24-hour market were lousy. Breakfast did not open until 6:30 a.m., which I thought was kind of late. Some of the cold food items were out before 6:30.

Breakfast items included: scrambled eggs, sausage, oatmeal with toppings, cold cereals, hard boiled eggs, Activia and Greek yogurts, whole bananas and apples, cut fresh fruit, and breads. Whole wheat bagels were one of the bread options, and the sausage the second morning was turkey sausage. The hard boiled eggs were peeled and cooked perfectly. I do not usually have hard boiled eggs at hotels because they are often not cooked properly.

The only healthy food options in the 24-hour market were small packages of peanuts. I was surprised that Sun Chips or something similar was not available. There were [unhealthy] heatable entrees and ice cream available.

Fitness center
The fitness center contained five cardio machines with cardio theater, weights, a flatscreen TV, water cooler, sani-wipes, and a scale. The temperate was set at a comfortable level for exercise. Everything was well maintained.

Business center
This hotel had two computers and a nice laser printer; however, it was not set so that files are deleted after a guest signs off.

Overall and misc.
I loved the comfort and style of the guestroom seating, and all of the public areas. If the bed had been comfortable, I would definitely return to this hotel. After I checked out, I passed a brand new Staybridge Suites down the road. I usually like the newer Staybridge Suites, so if I need a hotel in this area again, I would probably check out that hotel before deciding where to stay.

The entrance to this hotel is off 29th Ave S. My GPS had the hotel location closer to 24th Ave, and there is not an entrance from S. 42nd or from 24th. If you are coming from the south, as I was, be sure and turn onto 29th Ave.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Minneapolis airport / MSP - Lindbergh Terminal

April 2013

I only visited C and D concourses at MSP this trip. One thing I always like about this airport are the nice wide moving walkways in concourse C, which makes it very easy to maneuver around passengers if you are in a hurry.

The shopping mall area at the head of E and F concouse is a great place to shop and dine, if you have some time to kill while in this airport.

If you are a fan of coupons, there is a discount coupon book available in the Minneapolis airport. It has several dining and shopping discounts. Many of the coupons in the April booklet were for free kids meals. Examples of other coupons in the booklet were $1 off a combo meal or a beverage or chips at places like Arby's, Charley's, Subway, and LaBrea Bakery. I used a 10% discount coupon at TGI Fridays. It wasn't much of a discount, although it did help reduce the high airport prices a little! There were shopping and service coupons in the booklet as well.

April coupon booklet
The coupons books are available at the information centers and airport kiosks. I have picked up the booklet a few times before, and it seems like the coupons change every month, with the cover staying pretty much the same.

There are two Delta Sky Clubs in MSP. I visited the one in C concourse, next to Fridays near gate C12 this trip. I was in the club at F/G concourse by Chili's about a month ago. Both clubs are comfortable. The bar in the club in C concourse is self-serve, and the bar is staffed in the club by Chili's.

I think MSP is one of the nicer airports that I travel through. It is clean, well laid out and well lit, and it is never too crowded.