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Monday, December 2, 2013

Flint, Michigan / Holiday Inn Flint - Grand Blanc Area

November 2013, Weekday, 1-night, King bed executive suite #401

Status perks and check-in
I had reserved a king bed executive room with points for this stay. A few days before check-in, I contacted the Holiday Inn via Facebook. I wanted to make sure that I had requested my preferred leisure preferences and not my business preferences, like I had mistakenly done at the Midland Holiday Inn. I also wanted to let them know my preferences for an upgraded room, if one was available. I received a reply asking me to call the hotel, so I did. When I called, the agent upgraded my room to an executive jacuzzi suite.

We arrived at the hotel around 4:30 p.m., and the front desk agent said that she was not sure that an executive jacuzzi suite was available. I thought that was odd, since we were not arriving early, and I had already seen that my reservation had been changed to an executive jacuzzi suite online. She asked if we wanted to just take a jacuzzi guestroom instead of a suite. When I did not immediately reply, she asked if I wanted to wait while she contacted housekeeping. I said that I would wait until she talked with housekeeping to see if a suite was available. I then asked where the restroom is located. I left to use the restroom while she made the call. When I returned, she had an executive jacuzzi guestroom available for us. I felt like the hotel had made the offer of an excellent upgrade, although they did not really expect me to accept it. I do not know if that was their intent; however, that is how I felt.

I also received a choice of bonus points or a coupon for a snack and beverage in the lounge, and 15% off dining. When we were in the lounge that evening, I saw a guest redeem his coupon for a beverage and snack item. The snack item was a package of cookies or a candy bar, so I was glad that I had chosen points.

Guestroom 401 is located at the end of the hall on the top floor. It was quiet in the guestroom, and the bed was comfortable. We slept very well.

The view from the large window behind the HVAC unit overlooked the parking lot of the Marriott Courtyard next door.

There was a second window around the corner in the L-shaped guestroom where a free-standing closet was located. We thought the room arrangement would have been nicer with the desk located in that area in front of the window. The closet could then be placed against the wall at the foot of the bed where the desk was located.

All of the remaining guestroom furnishings are visible in the photos: king-sized bed, suitcase bench, nightstands, lamps, soft chair and footstool, flatscreen TV on an armoire, and table with two chairs.

The kitchenette area included a fridge, microwave, sink, ice bucket, and coffeemaker with supplies.

The whirlpool tub was deep, and mostly clean. I always wipe down/clean hotel tubs before I use them, and this time there was a small bit of debris on the cloth when I finished.

The bathroom was an average size with a tile walk-in shower. We prefer walk-in showers; however, there was only one light in the bathroom, so it was very dark in the shower.

I was surprised when I did not initially see an iron or ironing board in the guestroom. I then found both of these items hanging on the wall in the bathroom behind the door.

Looking at the guestroom diagram, it appears that there is another L-shaped guestroom at the other end of the hall, as well as a large square-shaped suite.

This hotel seemed very empty at the time of our stay, so I did not understand why we had been told that a suite might not be available when we arrived. We observed only a few cars in the parking lot, and five or six guests in the bar and dining room that evening.

Food & Beverage
Before our stay, I had read that the hotel restaurant, J. Porters, won hospitality awards the last two years in a row. We decided to dine in the lounge since we were not having much to eat. The bartender was attentive, and the hotel had several beverages on special for Happy Hour until 7 p.m. -- beers, well drinks, and a couple of speciality mixed drinks. The only beverage not on special that evening was wine. We shared a Cuban sandwich with coleslaw, which was very good. 

Shuttle and misc.
This was our first experience flying out of the Flint airport. We chose this hotel because it is less than five miles from the airport. Other hotels located in this same area are the Marriott Courtyard and the Residence Inn.

The airport shuttle runs every 20 minutes, starting on the hour. When we arrived, we observed a flight crew waiting in the lobby. It appeared that they were waiting for the 4:20 p.m. shuttle, which was running late. Because I observed this lateness, I initially signed up for the shuttle at 4:40 a.m. instead of 5 a.m. Later that evening, the bartender convinced us that was way too early, so we changed this to 5 a.m. Even though we left the hotel after 5:00 the next morning, we still arrived at the airport by 5:10 a.m.

When we returned, the shuttle bus was already at the airport because he was picking up the flight crew from our flight. We had been seated in first class, so we were one of the first few people out of the airport with our luggage. Our flight had several passengers who needed wheelchair assistance, so we waited 10 to 15 minutes for the crew. After this, the ride back to the hotel was quick, and we were happy that the driver unloaded our bags from the bus first!