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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Camping on Gun Lake in Middleville, Michigan / Yankee Springs Recreation Area and Campground

April 2015, Weekend-weekday, 3-nights, Lot 60 and Lot 42

I have included a few photos in this blog post, and there are many more in the Yankee Springs Recreation Area album on my Facebook page.

We had initially planned to camp in Petoskey State Park the weekend of this stay; however, the temperature in Michigan dropped to below 40° (during the day) in the northern lower peninsula of Michigan this week. After researching several lower Michigan inland parks and towns, we decided on Yankee Springs Recreation Area instead. When we made our decision, four nights before our stay, lot 60 was the only waterfront campsite left, so we booked that. We considered waiting before booking lot 60, and we should have. Before our stay, and after we had made our reservation, two more waterfront lots became available from cancellations; lot 50 and lot 78. Lot 50 looked like a better lot with more of a lake view instead of channel view, and it has a tar pad. There is a $10 reservation change fee online, so we decided to wait until we arrived at the park to ask about changing lots.


We arrived around 12:30 p.m., and lot 50 had already been filled by someone that morning, so we stayed on our original lot for the weekend. The first entrance booth to the boat launch and campground was not staffed at the time of our stay; the campground check-in station was staffed, and staff members were also working in the campground during the days. It only took us a few moments to check-in.

view from lot 60 toward Gun Lake

Lot #60

This is a spacious lot with full sun. We wanted the sunshine, since it was only 40° to 50° during the day, and the temperature dropped to around freezing overnight.

view from the back of lot 60

Gun Lake was slightly visible from the fire pit looking behind our RV.

Even though all of the channel lots except for lot 78 had been booked for the weekend, it was quiet on this lot because several people did not show up. Lot 58, right next to us, and lot 54, were both empty all weekend. Campers in a tent stayed on lot 56 Friday night, and then they left on Saturday. This left all three lots between lot 60 and Gun Lake open. Someone had taken lot 78, which is farther inland, after we arrived.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Grand Rapids, Michigan / Courtyard Marriott Grand Rapids Downtown

March 2015, Sunday night, 1-night, King Jr. Suite #542

The guestroom information for this post will be shorter than usual because this is the same guestroom we stayed in the last time we stayed at this hotel in July 2014. I redeemed a free night certificate for both stays. My status had been Gold in July, and it was Silver during this stay, although it had been Gold when I made the reservation.

Status perks and check-in

I have stayed in the Courtyard Marriott Grand Rapids Downtown a few times, with both Silver and Gold status; I did not stay in this hotel when my status was Platinum. Several years ago, when I stayed in this hotel with Silver status, I received an automatic upgrade to an executive suite overlooking the river. I have never received an upgrade since then without asking for it, and I have never received that kind of guestroom again, although I have received upgrades after asking.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Southfield, Michigan / Embassy Suites Detroit - Southfield

March 2015, Weekend, 1-night, King suite #730

I had read a few reviews for this Embassy Suites that were not very good. Again, we had found an inexpensive rate, and this was one of the stops on our trip, which would help me maintain Gold status with Hilton. We had stayed at the Embassy Suites at the Detroit airport a few years ago, and it was nice; however, that location was out of our way, and the cost was more. We hoped for a clean, comfortable guestroom at this hotel, and we were not disappointed. I would choose this hotel again.

sunset from bedroom window

Status perks and check-in, including online check-in

I did online check-in with Hilton for the first time the day before we arrived at this hotel. I had looked at online check-in before our stay at the DoubleTree Port Huron; however, I did not fully understand the process, so I did not complete it then. At the DoubleTree, the room assigned to me had been 207, and I did not go through the process far enough to see that I could have chosen a guestroom on a different floor. I had been afraid of choosing a poor room and not being able to get out of it.

When I started online check-in for the Embassy Suites Detroit - Southfield, I had been pre-assigned a room on the second floor, just like at the DoubleTree. I was confused by this because my Hilton Honors profile says high floor. I went through the process further this time, and I was able to see guestrooms on floors up to floor 7. Although most Hilton Honors or executive floors are on higher floors, I have stayed in a couple of hotels that have them on a lower floor, so I decided to call the hotel. I explained what I was doing, and I asked if they have a specific floor for Hilton Honors members. I was told that they do not have this yet because the guestrooms were being remodeled. I asked if any of the guestrooms had already been remodeled, and I was told no. The agent said they are working on floors 8 and 9, and she would suggest floor 7. I thanked her, and then completed online check-in. I chose guestroom 730 because it was a corner room, and it did not show a connecting room door.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Port Huron / DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Port Huron

March 2015, Weekend, 1-night, King water/bridge view guestroom #218 

Status perks and check-in

Our key packet had not been prepared when we arrived at the DoubleTree Port Huron shortly after 3:00 p.m. The agent looked up the reservation and said we had a king water view room. I had reserved a basic king guestroom, so I thought this was an upgrade. I said great, and I asked if that was also a bridge view and on the top floor. She said she could give us a bridge view on the second floor, and that there was not a room available on the third floor with a direct view of the bridge. We happily accepted the guestroom on the second floor.

view from balcony
I received the two bottles of water and breakfast coupons for Hilton Honors Gold members. I had requested that my on-property benefit be changed from bonus points to breakfast. And, we each received a DoubleTree cookie, which all guests receive at check-in.