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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Fort Wayne, Indiana / Homewood Suites by Hilton

August 2016, Weekday, 2-nights, King Studio Suite #502

A few days before this stay, I was reviewing the map more closely and realized I had stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn next to this Homewood Suites in 2014. I was glad I had double-checked my directions, because although the address for both properties is on Highway 24, the entrance is from Ellison Road. I usually have Gold status with Hilton; however, I recently took advantage of a promotion Hilton was offering, and my status had been upgraded to Diamond before this stay.

Arrival and status perks

I did pre-check-in on the Hilton site and chose my room before my arrival. I do not understand why the app does not show a Diamond member choice rooms or upgrades. My profile says high floor, away from elevator. I also enter preferences for top floor and corner room in my comments. The room chosen for me when I started the check-in process was 301. Suite 301 is a corner room; however, this hotel has six floors. I did not check to see how many floors were in the hotel when I checked in. I was able to bring up room choices as high as floor five, and I mistakenly assumed that was the top floor. 

When I arrived around 5:30 p.m., I asked the front desk agent if the room I had chosen was a good choice. I told her I liked to have a room in a quiet area away from activity. She said it was as good as any, and then she added that she could not guarantee anything about the quietness. Wow, really?! I do not expect hotels to guarantee quietness; however, that unnecessary remark from her made me feel like an unvalued guest from the start. Usually, when I inquire about a room in a quiet area, the employee makes sure the guestroom does not have a connecting room door, is away from the elevator, and sometimes he or she tells me to let them know if I hear anything disturbing, and they will take care of it. 

Water received at check-in
The front desk agent recognized my Diamond status as an afterthought at the end of the check-in process, and she offered me bottled water. The guest who had checked in before me must have been a regular because he seemed to know the front desk agent well, and she had given him a special bag and bottles of water. The bag he received was not one of the on-property amenity bags with water and a snack, it was a special larger bag that the agent had gotten from the back room. It is possible she offered me the water because she knew I had observed the activity before me.

Suite 502

I loved the layout and location of this suite, although the room did not smell fresh. I could not tell if the scent was from cheap air freshener trying to mask odors, or what it was from. Fortunately, it was tolerable. The ceiling fan was on, and I left it on, along with the bathroom fan, for my entire stay, in an attempt to circulate and freshen the air. The windows did not open.
View from entrance
Things I liked about the suite layout: there was a kitchen table with two chairs, along with a desk and chair (some studio suites have a combination with only one desk/table), the bed was around the corner from the entrance door (away from activity in the hall outside the door), there was no connecting room door, and the bathroom contained a large walk-in shower.

View from living room; bed on left

The guestroom was well sound proofed. I could not hear the traffic or any outside noise. I heard occasional noise inside the hotel, and it was never bothersome. I did not hear activity from guests overhead.

Guestroom diagram from back of door

The bed was a bit hard for me, although still comfortable. I am sure my husband would have loved it. The sheets were decent quality. 

The bath towels were good quality. The closet next to the vanity contained hangers, an iron, ironing board, and folding luggage rack. Some people may not like the bathroom placement next to the kitchen rather than the bed; however, this did not bother me. I thought the solid wall next to the bed was nice, as it acted as a noise buffer. I have stayed in some hotels where I could hear water running and guests through the bathroom vent.

The kitchen contained the usual Homewood Suites amenities: full size fridge, microwave, cooktop, dishwasher, and coffeepot with supplies. Liquid creamer was provided with the coffee condiments. Microwave popcorn was not provided. I did not receive this at the next Homewood Suites I stayed in either, so I assume this is no longer provided.

The complimentary Internet connection speed was satisfactory, although I was disconnected precisely 24 hours later! This was frustrating, as I happened to be entering information into an online report when I was disconnected. I had entered my name and room number when I initially connected, so it seems the system could have been set up to accept my connection for my entire stay, rather than for only 24 hours. 

Desk chair
The desk chair contained a considerable amount of lint and debris, which is visible when you enlarge the photo. There were also a few stains in the carpet. Other than that, and the unpleasant/stale odor, the guestrooom was clean.

I returned to my guestroom after the first night when housekeeping was in the room. The housekeeper came out of the room, but had the door propped open when I returned, so I asked if she was almost finished. She said yes, and held the door for me to enter. I was surprised by this, because usually when I try to enter my guestroom without using my key, the housekeeper will request my key to use in the door, as a means of confirming I am the guest in the guestroom.

Food & Beverage

During previous stays at Homewood Suites, the evening food items usually include fresh salad with many toppings, one or two hot food items (often from a local restaurant), beverages, and sometimes things like bread and snacks. This is the first time I have stayed in a Homewood Suites, since it appears they are trying to standardize the food offerings. I stayed in two Homewood Suites this week, and the menu on the fridge was the same at both places.

August menu on fridge in guestroom
I thought the food Monday evening was dismal: fresh romain lettuce with only a couple of toppings, lukewarm broccoli cheddar soup, and cheese with stale crackers. I observed flies on the cheese, and the floor was so sticky I had to wash the bottoms of my shoes later. Beverages included two kinds of beer, red and white wine, and a couple cans of regular soda (no diet).
Tuesday evening
The beverages were the same Tuesday evening, and the food was similar; the cheese, crackers, and soup had been replaced with quesadillas. Again, there were only a couple of salad toppings, and condiments were scarce. Shredded Parmesan cheese was available with the lettuce; however, Caesar dressing was not. Salsa and shredded cheese were the only quesadilla condiments (other than lettuce and tomatoes from the salad area). A creamy dip, such as Ranch dressing or sour cream, was not available. The quesadillas were quite thin. I was surprised the flavor was good, as they look like unfilled shells in the photo!

Breakfast was pretty good both mornings, although I missed regular oatmeal. Instant oatmeal was available with the cold cereals. Other food items included scrambled eggs, hard-boiled eggs, corned beef hash one morning, sausage links one morning, white breads, muffins, bagels, waffle maker, cottage cheese, and fruits. The cottage cheese and pineapple did not taste fresh. Skim milk was available in a coffee decanter, rather than with the cereals.

Fitness center

The fitness center was open 24 hours. There was a large flatscreen TV in the room and cardio-theater on the machines. The cardio-theater channels were not the same as the ones on the TVs, and I could not find a local channel on either treadmill that I used. The temperature in the room was set kind of warm; I began to sweat after 20 minutes, which does not usually happen, since I walk rather than run. Hand weights, a water cooler, towels, and earphones were available. The pictures on the hotel website are accurate photos.


The hotel is close to I-69 and easy to get to. Ellison Rd. is a two-way street with a stoplight at Highway 24. The only thing to consider, if you are arriving on Highway 24 from the east (I-69 exit 302), is that you cannot turn left onto Ellison Rd. from Highway 24. You can make a u-turn just past the signal, or turn right into the store parking lot across from the hotel, turn around, and then go straight through the signal. Homewood Suites, Hilton Garden Inn, and Naked Tchopstix are all located in the same parking lot. Naked Tchopstix is a fabulous sushi restaurant, and I do not understand why it is not listed with the area restaurants on the Homewood Suites dining page. It is closer than any of the restaurants listed.

I observed a hotel shuttle in the parking lot, and the hotel webpage says they provide shuttle service to the airport.

Let me know if you have any questions or information to share. Please share this post for others!