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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Grand Rapids, Michigan / Homewood Suites by Hilton Grand Rapids Downtown

September 2016, Weekday, 1-night, 2-bedroom suite #627


The Homewood Suites by Hilton Downtown Grand Rapids opened the summer of 2016, and I had won an overnight stay during a Facebook promotion.

View from bar on floor 2, which is above the Ottawa Ave. entrance

Arrival and check-in

When we entered from Ottawa Ave., we were a bit confused about where to check-in. We observed a baggage storage sign, and a hotel elevator sign for the guestrooms; however, we did not observe any signage for the check-in area. ArtPrize was going on during our stay, and it is possible we missed a sign, as there were many pieces of art in the lobby. Check-in is located on floor two, and you can get there via the guestroom elevator, or the stairs (straight ahead when entering from Ottawa Ave.) shown in the photos here.


Another view of the lobby from the bar on floor 2
The check-in process was efficient, and I received two bags with bottled water and Oreo cookies for being a Diamond member. The front desk agent told me I had received a room upgrade, although she did not tell me what kind of room she was assigning us. I did not realize there was any confusion with the upgrade until we checked out (more about this later). The room I had won was for a studio suite. After I made the reservation through the hotel, I looked at the upgrade options online. I then contacted the hotel manager to ask if I could upgrade to a two-bedroom suite and pay the difference. At that time, I was told I could not do that, as the certificate was only good for a studio guestroom. When I was told about the upgrade during check-in, I assumed it was a complimentary upgrade because of my status.

Guestroom 627

I learned suite 627 is a two-bedroom suite when we arrived at the guestroom. It was spacious and comfortable. The entrance door opened into the kitchen and living area. The kitchen contained a full size fridge, electric burners, microwave, dishwasher, table with two chairs, cupboards stocked with dishes, and a coffee maker with supplies. There was a welcome letter with a bag of bottled water and Oreo cookies on the table for another guest who had Gold status. I do not know if this was left behind, or if there had been some kind of guestroom switch at the last minute. I did not really think much about it at the time.

Suite 627; view from entrance
The living room contained a sofa, footstool, end table, work table that slides under the couch, lamp, telephone, and flatscreen TV on a chest of drawers. There was no chair in the living room. 

Suite 627
Suite 627










Diagram from back of guestroom door
A bedroom and full bathroom were located on each side of the living area. Each bedroom contained a king size bed. I initially thought the bedroom on the right was a better choice, as there was a nice suitcase bench in that room; however, my husband liked the one on the left because it had a walk in shower. I prefer walk-in showers, too, so after we looked at the bathrooms, we decided on the left bedroom.
Suite 627 right bedroom


Suite 627 left bedroom










Both bedrooms contained a flatscreen TV on an armoire, nightstands, lamps, and a telephone. The bedroom on the left contained a chair and footstool, and the one on the right had the large suitcase bench. There was a folding luggage rack in the closet of the bedroom on the left. I do not recall seeing a desk anywhere in this guestroom, and I do not have a photo of a desk. It is possible there is a desk in this guestroom that I do not recall, as it has been almost a month since our stay.   

Bathroom for left bedroom

Bathroom for bedroom on right










The bathroom vanity was located outside the bathing and toilet area in both bathrooms. The bathroom on the right had a tub/shower combination, and the one on the left had a walk-in shower. Shower amenities were provided in both bathrooms.

The guestroom was well soundproofed, and the sleep quality was good. 

Food & Beverage

Since we stayed on a weekday, we were able to enjoy the evening Social. The front desk agent had explained the times and location during check-in. The calendar on the fridge said food the evening of our stay would be, "Italian Medallions - classic Italian dishes reimagined on a slider roll." This included mini-sub type sandwiches, which were very good, and fresh salad with several toppings. It seems like there was also a snack item, like Gardettos, although I do not recall the details. Budweiser beer and wine was included, as well. I do not know what brand of red wine was served; I thought the two glasses I had were good. A couple of craft beers were on the Happy Hour menu, so my husband had that rather than the complimentary beer.

Some of the breakfast items the next morning were cereals, oatmeal with toppings, yogurt, cinnamon rolls, biscuit egg sandwiches, another hot item, milk, hot beverages, and juices. 

All of the food and beverages were good. I was disappointed we did not make it to the rooftop bar. We had planned to go up there, and we ran out of time that evening. From what I read, it sounds like this bar is only open to hotel guests. Our next planned visit to Grand Rapids does not include an overnight stay, so I do not think we'll be able to visit it then.

Checkout

When I viewed my folio, I saw a $50+ charge on it that I did not recognize. I stopped at the front desk to ask about this, and I learned it was for the upgrade we received. During this conversation, I realized we had been given the upgrade because of my request to upgrade when I had made the reservation back in March, six months before this stay. No one had asked if I still wanted the upgrade, and I was not told about the cost. The front desk agent wanted to make this right; he said he just needed to make sure he could refund the charge. I told him we definitely had a misunderstanding, and I said I would be happy to split the difference. Staff members take making guests happy seriously, and the entire upgrade amount was removed from the bill.

Customer service, parking, downtown, misc.

Our experience with staff members at this hotel was excellent: front desk employees, food and beverage staff, housekeepers we passed in the hall, everyone. We were always greeted with a smile, and I felt like a valued guest.

Overnight parking at this hotel is $30, and there is an entrance from the parking garage to the hotel. The parking garage is not owned by the hotel, however, so this is a separate charge when leaving the garage. We parked in a different garage nearby because I thought the charge would be only $12 for 24 hours. I had read the cost description wrong, and the cost was actually $12 a day, so our overnight stay of less than 24 hours cost us $24. Only a $6 savings, rather than the $18 savings I had been hoping for. It was easy to get to the hotel from the parking garage, and it was an easy walk from the hotel to the activities downtown.

There are several hotels to choose from downtown Grand Rapids, and this Homewood Suites has become one of my new favorites; especially on a weekday, or if I would be staying for more than one night. JW Marriott is another favorite of mine, as they also provide excellent service, and I love their guestroom comfort. I have not stayed in the Amway Grand Plaza since it became a Hilton property. Other downtown hotels I have stayed in are Marriott Courtyard and Holiday Inn. I suggest reading the details of each property to see which one meets your needs.

Michigan on display in Divani - one of our favorite Happy Hour locations!
We visited some of the ArtPrize exhibits while in Grand Rapids. Here are a few photos of some of the pieces we enjoyed.

On display in Homewood Suites









Please let me know if you have any questions, and feel free to share this post!