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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Grand Rapids, Michigan - GRR / Residence Inn Grand Rapids Airport

April 2014, Sunday night--Easter, 1-night, King studio guestroom #414

Status perks and check-in
view from bedroom
This was our first stay at this new Residence Inn, which opened December 2013. I thought the rate for the night of our stay was kind of high, so I contacted the general manager, and we were able to get a reduced rate. As a Gold member, I did not receive a room upgrade or any additional perks at check-in.

At check-in, the agent asked which floor I preferred, and I requested the top floor. Guestroom 414 is the second guestroom behind the elevator, and it overlooks the front parking lot.

The hotel still smelled new at the time of our stay. I was impressed with the well thought out features in the guestroom. The counter by the entrance door included a scooped spot, which worked well for a place to set keys, change, or small things so that they would not slide or be bumped off the counter. This was next to the sofa, and there were also outlets in this counter.

The kitchen area left of the entrance contained a full size fridge, stove burners, dishwasher, microwave, cupboards with dishes, and a coffee pot with supplies.  A small table with two chairs was against the wall. Microwave popcorn was not provided, which was unusual for a Residence Inn. The only other time that I did not receive popcorn in the guestroom after checking into a Residence Inn, I found out that the hotel had run out, and the agent allowed me to choose a snack from the gift shop. I did not inquire about popcorn at this hotel.

The sofa was comfortable, and the under sofa table fit well. A long desk with a chair was positioned against the wall in front of the window. The flatscreen TV located at the end of the desk could be turned so that it was visible from the bed as well.

A nightstand and light were located on both sides of the king size bed. The bed and pillows were comfortable, although I thought the sheets were quite scratchy.

The bathroom vanity and a closet were located between the bathing area and the bed. I liked that the floor in front of the vanity was tile, like the bathroom, and not carpet. The closet contained a folding luggage rack, iron, and ironing board.

The bathroom contained a large tile walk-in shower with glass doors, which we really liked. There were several ledges in the shower for personal items, and the large shower head was adjustable. Bathing amenities were provided, and the towels were good quality. A hairdryer was mounted on the wall by the vanity.
guestroom diagram

The guestroom was well laid out, and it was comfortable for working. I thought the entire guestroom was comfortable, aside from the scratchy sheets. Basic Internet service was complimentary, and enhanced service was available for purchase. I did not have any trouble with the complimentary service and speed, although there were not many guests in the hotel at the time of our stay.

Food & Beverages
April menu
I had an early flight the next morning, so I did not get to experience breakfast. My husband said that it was good, and that there were three or four hot food items.

The April menu on the refrigerator showed that food was served in the evening on Monday through Thursday. Sometimes Residence Inn provides the menu on the hotel website, although I could not find it online for this hotel.

Business center and lobby
Two computers and a printer were located in the lobby area. The printer for the lobby computers was in a cabinet underneath the computers, and I could not hear it printing. I initially had trouble finding my document, because there is another printer in the lobby across the room, which is the same brand as the one the computer said it was printing to. When my document did not print at that machine, I inquired at the front desk about where to find my document. She told me it was located in the cabinet. I do not know what the other printer was connected to.

I observed plenty of comfortable looking seating areas in the lobby, although we did not sit in this area.

Pool and outside area
The outside courtyard was clean and comfortable. The grill on the patio looked like it had never been used, although it must have been used, since BBQ was listed on the April menu for dates before our stay. The courtyard is next to the parking lot, between the front desk and the pool area. There is a partial wall between the courtyard and the parking lot, which partially blocks the parking lot view.

The pool and whirlpool tub are located inside. The seating in the pool area was comfortable. My husband said that the whirlpool tub was clean, although it could have been warmer.

Shuttle service
I stayed at this hotel because I had an early morning flight the next day. When I checked in, the agent told me that the shuttle was not running that early, and the hotel provided a cab.

Misc. and overall
This hotel is somewhat difficult to find, if you are not familiar with the area. I thought the signage for the Wyndham hotel was much more visible.

The public areas of the hotel were not tended to later in the day. It was the evening of Easter, and the hotel was not very full, so I assume staffing was also reduced. We observed something spilled on the floor by the elevator after we returned from dinner--possibly an ice cream cone or milkshake, which was never cleaned up. The spot was not very big, although we had to step around it each time that we walked by, because it looked sticky. There was also quite a bit of water around the pool area and in the hallway outside the pool. Neither of these issues were highly serious, although we were surprised that no one mopped up the sticky residue.

This is one of the nicest Residence Inn hotels I have stayed in. I thought that the guestroom was well laid out, and it was comfortable. Even so, I am not sure how often I will be able to stay here, since the rate is more than other airport hotels. 

Monday, April 21, 2014

Grand Rapids, Michigan / Holiday Inn Grand Rapids Downtown

We stayed in this Holiday Inn twice before this stay, although I could not find any previous reviews I had written about this property. Our first stay was shortly after the hotel had opened, and I recall that the stay was basic and non-impressive. We had a fabulous stay when we stayed in this hotel August 2010. We had booked several rooms, and we received an upgrade to an executive room. I remember that the bar service and beverages were excellent, and I had received some type of beverage coupon for having Platinum status.

April 2014, Weekend, Free night stay, King executive room #811

Status perks and check-in

I used a free night certificate for this stay, and I was excited to see that the Holiday Inn allowed me to make a reservation for an executive room with the certificate. I did not receive any recognition or extra perks for being a Platinum member when I checked in. Last time, I thought that I had also received bottled water. The check-in area was quite busy when I checked in around 3:30 p.m., so it is possible that the agent forgot, and I did not ask.

Guestroom 811

The guestroom was exactly the same as the room we had August 2010, except that the room in 2010 was on a different floor; I think we had been on the 5th floor at that time. Guestroom 811 is on the top floor directly across from the elevator.

An open closet with 6 hangers and a safe was located by the entrance door. The closet also contained a folding luggage rack, an iron, and an ironing board. I did not think 6 hangers was very many hangers, and I would have liked it if the room had also contained a nice bathrobe.

The bathroom was located to the left, and the kitchen area was on the right just past the closet. The kitchen area and counter space were spacious. The bar style counter contained a single-serve coffeemaker with two ceramic mugs, coffee and tea supplies, a plastic ice bucket with two glass glasses, and a sink. A small fridge was located under the counter, and a microwave was on the back counter across from the fridge.

Inside the fridge there was a laminated card with Happy Hour information in the lounge from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. After we had checked out the next day, I thought I should have opened the microwave to see if that had also contained anything hidden, like popcorn.

The bathroom was not very big, although it was sufficient. It contained a tub/shower combination with a shower curtain on a curved rod. The shower head was a nice large one with changeable spray patterns.

Bathing amenities were placed in the shower and on the vanity, and two more glass glasses were on the vanity as well. A hairdryer was mounted on the wall. The kitchen and bathroom floor were both tile.

The sleeping and living area was spacious. It contained a king size bed, two nightstands with a clock, telephone, and lamps, a soft chair and foot stool, sofa, coffee table, desk and chair, floor lamps, and a flatscreen TV in an entertainment style cabinet. There was a lamp with plugs on the desk; however, there was not a telephone on the desk. The seating was comfortable, and the bed quality was average.

This guestroom has a connecting room door, as did the similar guestroom we had stayed in August 2010. We did not hear any noise through the connecting door, although the hallway noise and outside vehicle traffic was quite audible. I did not recall hearing so much traffic noise in 2010. The Internect connection speed was good, although there was a delay for the sign on page after connecting any of my devices--laptop, iPad, and phone.

Food & Beverage

We did not have anything to eat at the hotel, although we did go to the lounge during Happy Hour. The prices were good, and the bartender provided great service.

Pool area

There is an inside pool and whirlpool tub in this hotel, although we did not use either one.


This hotel is located just across the river from downtown Grand Rapids, and the pedestrian bridge makes the area easily accessible. This is the only hotel downtown that I am aware of that does not charge for parking. The Amway Grand Plaza, JW Marriott, and Marriott Courtyard all charge for overnight parking.