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Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Muskegon, Michigan / Holiday Inn Muskegon Harbor

January 2015, Weekend, 1-night, Queen guestroom #711

Status perks and check-in

We arrived at the Muskegon Harbor Holiday Inn between 3:00 and 3:30 p.m. The front desk agent recognized my Platinum status and offered me 500 bonus points or an on property perk: a bottle of water, snack, or drink in the bar. I accepted the bonus points, which posted to my account immediately. I had reserved two queen beds, because the cost for a king room was more. We prefer a king bed; however, since the two-bedded rooms were queen size rather than double beds, the room type we had reserved was also acceptable. My IHG profile preferences are king bed executive room. This hotel does not have an executive floor.

Even though this hotel was not very full, I did not receive an upgrade to a king guestroom, and the agent lied to me when I inquired about this. Instead of saying she could not give me an upgrade (or something similar), she told me that the hotel was "sold-out." I knew the hotel was not sold-out, although I did not question her other then to say, "Hmm, really."

Guestrooms available at the time of check-in
We stayed in this hotel January 31st, and I have included a screen shot showing that every room type was still available after we got to our guestroom: queen rooms, king rooms (listed two different ways), standard rooms, and 4 king jacuzzi rooms. Clicking on the photo above will enlarge it, and the date and time I checked the website and took the screen shots are visible.

An acquaintance of mine, who is a Platinum member with over a million points, had a reservation at this hotel three years ago. I remember she had been so unhappy with the way she was treated during check-in, that she did not stay in this hotel. She ended up staying at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Grand Rapids North. She was very happy at that hotel, and she drove back and forth to Muskegon during her stay in the area. At that time, I thought maybe she had been too hasty in her decision, and now I tend to agree with her. If we had been staying in the area for more than one night, I would have looked at other options, as well.   

Guestroom 711

This guestroom contained two queen size beds, a nightstand, alarm clock, flatscreen TV on an armoire, and a small table with two straight-backed chairs. The guestroom photos on the website were an accurate representation of this guestroom.

The guestroom also contained a microwave and small fridge. There was not a desk and chair or a soft chair in the guestroom.

The bathroom contained a small coffeepot with supplies, bath amenities, a hairdryer mounted on the wall, and a tub/shower combination with a shower curtain. I would have preferred the coffee setup with the microwave and refrigerator rather than in the bathroom.

The open closet by the door contained hangers, an iron and ironing board, and a folding luggage rack. A full length mirror was mounted on the wall outside of the bathroom.

The bed comfort was acceptable, and it was quiet in the guestroom. We never saw anyone in the hall, and we did not hear other guests, so I am not sure how many guests were on this floor. The view from the window faced northeast over 3rd Street.

The thermostat control was on the wall unit, and the setting was not quite correct. It was set on 81° when we arrived, and it only felt like about 68°. We changed the setting to 86° and it still felt cool in the guestroom. We were able to work around this issue; however, I had two additional problems that I needed to request assistance with.

view from guestroom

The sign-in page for the Internet did not automatically load after I connected to the wireless, so I could not get online. I have this problem occasionally at hotels, and I think it has something to do with the way the Internet is set up. The only way I know to get around this is to call the Help Desk to have them manually add my IP address, or I can manually type the log-in page in my browser, if I know what it is.

Restarting my computer did not solve the problem, so I tried to call the Help Desk, except the telephone in the guestroom did not work to access an outside line. I dialed the number following the in-room instructions, with the starting prefix for an outside toll-free line. When I got a busy-buzz, I dialed a different toll-free number and the same thing happened. I then called the front desk to ask if my telephone was activated. The agent confirmed I was dialing correctly for an outside line, placed me on a brief hold, and then said she would send someone to the guestroom. Someone did come to the guestroom; however, he did not try to place a call to confirm that what I had experienced was accurate. I was on my cell phone with the Help Desk at the time, so he said he would make a note of the problem.

I was on the telephone with the Help Desk for 19 minutes for the representative to manually add my IP address. I have never had this process take that long before.

Food & Beverages

The AAA rate that I had booked said that breakfast was included; however, we did not receive breakfast. When I showed the agent my reservation stating that breakfast was included, she said that means danishes and juice are included, just like it is for all guests. The "breakfast included" language only showed on AAA reservations; not when making a basic reservation.

AAA reservation
A table by the front desk in the morning contained a couple of store bought pastries and bottled juice. Coffee was also setup in the lobby throughout the day.

I checked the Holiday Inn website when I wrote this review after our stay, and the "breakfast included" language had been removed from AAA bookings. It is great that this has been corrected for future guests; however, I think the hotel should have honored this for us.

We visited the lounge in the evening and had a good experience there. The beverage prices were good, the atmosphere was pleasant, the seating was comfortable, and the service was good. A band played in the evening.

Business center

The business center is a large room, which contained two computers and a printer. I used one of the computers, although I did not print anything. The connection speed at the computer in the business center was slower than it was in the guestroom.

Misc. and overall

I noticed another odd, possibly inaccurate, piece of information on the hotel website when I was looking at the hotel fact sheet. The website says that there are 201 guestrooms in the hotel, and that 198 are non-smoking guestrooms. Michigan hotel rooms are non-smoking by Michigan law (other than some exempt casinos), although I did smell smoke in the hallways in this hotel. I think there are three studio suites in this hotel, so the room difference on the hotel page probably has something to do with that.

hotel fact sheet

It is too bad this hotel does not respect elite guests or honor reservation details. The sleep quality was decent, the queen bed guestroom was comfortable, and I liked having a fridge and microwave in the guestroom. I would not, however, ever stay in this hotel again. The fact that the front desk agent lied to me at check-in, and employees did not honor the "breakfast included" perk on our reservation was enough to make me choose a different hotel next time.