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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Bismarck, North Dakota / Fairfield Inn & Suites South

April 2013, Weekend, 1-night, King guestroom #316

Status perks and check-in
I had reserved a smaller queen guestroom because the king guestroom rates were higher. The Marriott website does not have a place to add comments when making a reservation online, so I called a couple of days before my arrival to ask if a king upgrade and top floor request could be added to my reservation. 

At check-in, the front desk agent said that I had been upgraded to a king guestroom. I also received the standard Platinum bonus points.

Guestroom 316
This guestroom is a smaller king guestroom on the top floor. We probably would have been better off to keep the queen bed guestroom, since there would have been more room in the guestroom with a slightly smaller bed. This hotel also has larger king guestrooms for only $20 more than the guestroom type I had booked. I was seriously disappointed that this hotel would not automatically upgrade a Platinum level guest to that room type when there were not very many guests in this hotel. If our stay had been for any longer than it was, I would have went back to the front desk and paid the difference for the larger room.

Other than the fact that the guestroom was quite small, it looked similar to other Fairfield Inn hotels I have stayed in. There was a small vanity outside the shower area by the door. The shower room contained a tub/shower combination with a shower curtain on a curved rod, the toilet, and bath towels. The towels were good quality.

The bath amenities on the vanity were good quality--Pantene hair products and Vaseline lotion. The vanity overhead light was very dim. I later learned that it was dim because the bulbs were no good. Shortly after we had checked in, the light above the vanity went completely out. I called the front desk, and an employee brought a bulb up. My husband had to climb up to replace the bulb because the employee could not do it. She had only brought one bulb with her, and after my husband removed the cover, we discovered that there were two burned out bulbs. One must have been burned out before we arrived, and the other one went out after we checked in. We did not have her bring another bulb back, although we probably should have. I would guess that the second bulb has not been replaced, unless another guest complained after our stay. As dim as the light was before it went completely out, I do not see how it could be possible for housekeeping not to know that it had not been right before our stay.

There was a very small closet across from the vanity. There was no full length mirror in the guestroom, and the closet door was wood. A folding luggage rack was in the closet; however, there was not really any room for it in the guestroom. We set it up next to the armoire at the foot of the bed, which did not leave us much room to get through. I did not take a photo showing the inside wall and corner like I often do. There was not very much room between the bed and the inside wall, so the corner of the wall came out where the luggage rack was. This also did not leave enough room for the luggage rack along the wall next to the bed.
The armoire at the foot of the bed held a single serve coffee maker with supplies, the ice bucket, and a flatscreen TV. A small fridge and microwave were located between the armoire and work desk. We did not use the microwave, although I wondered how well it would work after I noticed that it was not sitting level. It does not look unlevel from the angle in the photo in this blog; however, we noticed that it was after we sat down across from it. 

There was a desk chair at the desk, and one small chair and a footstool crunched in beside the king bed. There was a nightstand and lamp on each side of the bed. A generic welcome letter was on the bed with a small milk chocolate.

The guestroom was clean for the most part, although I observed a couple of black stains on the sheets.

Food & Beverage
Breakfast the next morning included: imitation scrambled eggs, sausage, hard boiled eggs, Yoplait yogurt, instant oatmeal, cold cereal, breads, cut fruit, whole  fruits--apples, very ripe bananas, and a couple of very sad looking oranges, juices, coffee and tea. I tried a couple of items that I did not think were very good. The hard boiled eggs had been overcooked and were dry. I liked that the bread items included whole wheat bagels until I tried one, and it tasted very sweet. My husband had the eggs, sausage, and toast. We both thought that this breakfast was not as good as the others we had had this week.

Business center
I reprinted one of our boarding passes with no problem. There was a computer and printer in the lobby sitting area across from the front desk.

Overall
We chose this hotel for our last night in North Dakota because it is close to the airport, and I did not see any other hotels in this area. We were not able to return our car the day before, because this hotel does not have shuttle service. We still liked the idea of not having to drive through town to the airport on a Monday morning though.

I do not know why this hotel is called a Fairfield Inn & Suites. There did not appear to be any suites in the hotel. I did not see any on the room diagrams in the guestroom, and I could not find any available when I tried a search for several future dates.

There are several restaurants nearby: McDonalds, Perkins, TGI Fridays, Famous Daves, Applebees, and probably more that I do not recall.