Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Charlotte Area - Marriott Townplace Suites - Pineville, NC

I have to say that I love the layout of these properties. I like having a little kitchen and a sitting area, it's a nice break from the usual regular hotel room layout.

This particular hotel is very attractive on the outside, clean and neat and really cute. The desk attendant was really nice, check-in was quick, and she informed me of the 'grab and go breakfast' that is offered every morning. Even though the hotel looked to be very full I was able to find a parking space not too far from the door. My room appeared to be clean and attractive and it even smelled clean. The queen sized bed was comfy with lots of fluffy pillows and the sitting area and kitchen were clean and attractive. The bathroom was not so clean. There were several hairs in the bath tub which led to me cleaning the tub myself and the corners of the bathroom had hair and trash. I found two small dead roaches behind the door. After I saw that the bathroom wasn't so clean I ran all of the dishes that I planned to use through the dishwasher as a precaution.

The 'grab and go breakfast' that was offered in the clubhouse had way more items than I had expected. I had expected a little bag with a water, muffin, apple, etc. What I got was a continental breakfast with cereal, fruit, bagels, english muffuns, yogurt, juice, coffee, etc. It was nice and unexpected.

In spite of the bathroom not being as clean as I like I would still recommend this hotel to anyone and I would stay in it again and, yes, I would clean the bathroom myself again. The overall feel of the hotel was good. I felt appreciated as a guest. The rate that I got at this hotel was way lower than some of the other hotels in the area and I love the layout of the room - it's more like an apartment.

TownePlace Suites Charlotte Arrowood
7805 Forest Point Boulevard
Charlotte, North Carolina 28217 USA
Phone: 1-704-227-2000
Fax: 1-704-227-2001

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Hampton Inn - Airport Austin, Texas

This hotel is very nice. On first appearance I had the thought that this hotel looks to be newer and nicer than airport hotels tend to be. The hotel looks to be new or newly decorated and the lobby area is very attractive.

I was greetly warmly by the front desk attendant. She was busy checking in another guest when I walked up to the desk and she looked up, smiled and said "I will be right with you." She was very pleasant while checking me in, apoligized for being busy and seemed happy to give me driving directions. This was a totally different attitute from the previous hotel and that attitude goes a long way toward making a person feel more appreciated.

In my room I was greeted with a nice note, a bottle of water and a pack of Oreos. My room was nice and roomy with a king sized bed, a chair and ottoman, a desk and chair and a nice clean and roomy bathroom. The room, bathroom, breakfast area, and lobby were all clean and smelled nice. The free breakfast featured a hot item each morning in additon to the usual items like yogurt, cereal, juice, breads, etc.

The hotel has a van to the airport and while I did not use this service as I was leaving the courtesy van driver was getting ready to take people to the airport and he checked with me to see if I also needed a ride to the airport. He made sure that I knew how to get to the airport and he was very pleasant.

The hotel was nice and clean and I felt like the staff did everything they could to make me feel appreciated as a guest.

I would stay in this hotel again due to the quality of the hotel and also it is very close and convenient to the airport and I would recommend this hotel to anyone, business travelers, families, women traveling alone.

Hampton Inn & Suites
7712 East Riverside Drive
Austin, Texas 78744
Tel: 512-389-1616
Fax: 512-389-220

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Austin, Texas - Hampton Inn NW / Arboretum

This hotel is very nice. It was a little pricier than I expected for Texas but it was in line with other hotels in the area and even better priced than some of the other hotels. The hotel looks to be newly renovated and the pool area looked very nice. I did not actually use the pool since it's an outdoor pool and the weather was cool this week. The hotel lobby and breakfast area are decorated in a pleasing Southwest theme.

I was not greetly warmly by the attendant behind the desk. There was quite a line when I entered the lobby and got in line to check in. The girl behind the desk seemed slightly irritated at all the guests. I got checked in, went out and moved my car, parked my car along the side of the building, and got my bags and took my bags up to my room only to discover that my room key did not work so I had to return to the line. The desk attendant did look up at me to see what I wanted so I said "my room key doesn't work" and her reply was 'you'll have to wait.' I suppose she wasn't talented enough to fix my key and get paperwork signed by the guy she was checking in at the same time. There were people still in line that had been in line when I went out to park my car. She finally got around to fixing my keys without any kind of apology or any kind words at all.

I did go to the front desk the next morning to ask for directions and the man behind the desk was much nicer.

I was greeted with a bottle of water and a snack in my room. My room was nice and roomy with a king sized bed, an oddly colored sofa, a desk and chair and a nice clean and roomy bathroom. The room, bathroom, breakfast area, and lobby were all clean and smelled nice. The free breakfast featured a hot item each morning in additon to the usual items like yogurt, cereal, juice, breads, etc.

While the hotel was nice and clean I did not feel appreciated as a guest.

I would stay in this hotel again due to the quality of the hotel and I would recommend it to anyone just don't expect a warm welcome!

Hampton Inn Austin-NW/Arboretum
3908 West Braker Lane
Austin, Texas 78759
Tel: 1-512-349-9898 Fax: 1-512-349-9494

Hilton Garden Inn - Ft. Myers, Florida

This is a beautiful new hotel. It is back off of the main road and not hard to find. The lobby is attractive and clean and I was greeted warmly by the staff at the front desk.

My king room was the typical layout for a Hilton Garden Inn. The room was large and very pretty and it included a fridge and microwave. The bed and bedding were very soft and comfortable. The bathroom was very nice and clean and the room was clean.

My room rate included a breakfast buffet in the hotel cafe. The breakfast buffet included cooked to order eggs or any of a variety of omelets, bacon, sausage, breads, cereals, juices, anything you would want for breakfast and the food was very good. The waiter in the cafe was very personable and greeted everyone as they came into the cafe. He was always ready with drink refills.

I would happily stay in this hotel again and I would recommend this hotel to anyone - women traveling alone, business travelers, and families. I felt safe and appreciated at this hotel.

Hilton Garden Inn Fort Myers
12600 University Drive
Fort Myers, Florida, 33907
Tel: 1-239-790-3500 Fax: 1-239-790-3501

Friday, January 11, 2008

Hilton - Detroit Area, Southfield, Michigan

This hotel is undergoing extensive renovations and it will change to a Hilton Garden Inn in March 2008. Due to the construction I had to enter through a small side door to the temporary lobby. I was afraid that I would have problems parking during my stay since they have so much of the parking lot blocked off for the construction but I was always able to park near the door.

I was greeted warmly by the front desk staff and everyone at the hotel made me feel welcome. Evidence of the construction was everywhere except for my room. When I got into my room it was clean, nice and attractive with no evidence of construction. The room was already set up like the typical rooms in a Hilton Garden Inn with the microwave and fridge. The bathroom was very nicely decorated and clean.

The hotel had set up a room on an upper floor for a complimentary breakfast bar. They offered basic continental breakfast items, yogurt, juice, coffee, breads, etc. I saw other women traveling alone that were staying in the hotel and other business travelers.

I would stay in this hotel again and I would recommend it to anyone. I got a very good rate and I am sure they are offering special rates due to the construction.

Hilton Garden Inn.
26000 American Drive
Southfield, Michigan, USA 48034
Tel: +1-248-357-1100 Fax: +1-248-372-2323

Courtyard Chicago Area - Highland Park, Illinois

This appears to be a new or newly renovated hotel. The rooms are arranged in the typical Courtyard Hotels fashion. The hotel is right across from a large shopping area with restaurants and many large well known stores.

I was greeted warmly by the front desk attendant. My room was clean and comfortable. The room did seem to be smaller than other Courtyard Hotels where I have stayed but it was fine for just me and Marriott Hotels always have the nicest beds. I had a king bed and a loveseat with a coffee table and a work desk and chair against the wall. The bathroom was large and clean and I enjoyed my stay in this hotel.

The breakfast buffet was delicious and worth the price. The waitress was very nice and attentive.

I would stay in this hotel again and I would recommend it to anyone.

1505 Lake Cook Road
Highland Park, Illinois 60035 USA
Phone: 1-847-831-3338
Fax: 1-847-831-0782

Hampton Inn - O'Hare Airport Area Illinois

This hotel is convenient to the Chicago O'Hare airport. It is an older Hampton Inn and I had stayed in this hotel several years ago.

I was greeted warmly by the front desk staff and told 'welcome back.' My room was right off the lobby so it was very convenient. Due to doors that close at the end of the hallways there was no noise from the lobby. The room configuration is that of the older Hampton Inn's with the corner bathroom. My room was clean and comfortable and I was greeted with a bottle of water and a snack.

The breakfast bar was nice and well stocked. I enjoyed my breakfast with hot coffee while watching the snow fall through the big front windows.

I would stay in this hotel again if I needed a hotel convenient to O'Hare airport. This hotel seems to be a favorite among business travelers and the rates were lower than some of the other hotels near the airport.

Hampton Inn
3939 N. Mannheim Rd
Schiller Park, Illinois, USA, 60176
Phone - 1-847-671-1700

Holiday Inn Express - Jacksonville Area, Florida

This hotel is just off of I-275 and not far from the intersection of I-95. It appears to be a new hotel and is very clean and attractive. The hotel is located at the end of a shopping center with restaurants and various retail stores.

I arrived late in the evening due to a late flight and I had to wait over 15 minutes while the desk clerk talked to someone on the phone about a reservation sometime in the spring. At one point he called for someone to help him and she came out and looked at the computer screen and gave him some advice on how to do something on the screen, looked at me and walked away. He finally got me checked in and on my way to my room. This same man was behind the desk every evening and I noticed he would quickly greet any group of men coming in the door while he seemed never to notice me. One morning there was a lady cleaning the rug in the lobby and she wished me a very cheerful good morning.

My hotel room was large, clean and comfortable. The bedding was the new bedding that Holiday Inn Express is using and I like it. The bathroom was large and clean. The breakfast bar was nice and well stocked.

I would stay in this hotel again due to the convenient location and the cleanliness and while they did not do a good job of making me feel welcome, this is a nice hotel for families and business travelers alike.


Hotel Front Desk: 1-904-899-9002

New Orleans Airport Area - Comfort Suites, Kenner

This hotel is behind some other businesses so I had to call the front desk to get directions. The man that answered the phone gave great directions and some landmarks to look for as well. The hotel looks new, clean and attractive on the outside. I was greeted warmly at the front desk. I had a regular king room instead of a suite. My room was nice, roomy and clean and I was afraid I it would be noisy since it was near the elevator but I never heard anything from the elevator or hall.

There is a free breakfast and there were many options to choose from including eggs, sausage patties, cereals, juice, fresh fruit and the attendant kept the breakfast area clean and well stocked. There is an evening reception on some nights but I did not attend the reception. There also seemed to be several women staying alone in the hotel and there were several families staying too.

I would stay at this hotel again. This hotel would be a nice choice for families or anyone traveling. This hotel is very convenient to the airport and it was clean and I felt safe and appreciated here.

Comfort Suites Airport
2710 Idaho Avenue
Kenner, LA, US, 70062
Phone: (504) 466-6066 Fax: (504) 466-8282
100% Smoke Free Hotel

New Orleans Area - Holiday Inn Express Harvey, LA

This is a nice Holiday Inn Express. It is just off of Manhattan Blvd behind a little strip mall so it is not right on the busy road. It appears to be a newer hotel than many of the other hotels in the area. The lobby is nice and clean and they lock the doors late at night so you have to use your keycard to enter. I felt safer in this hotel and my clients said this area was a better area than closer to the West Bank Expressway.

I was greeted warmly by the front desk attendant and she gave me a little bag with bottled water and a snack. My room was nice and clean with a king bed and a spacious bathroom. The rooms all have refrigerators and microwaves. The bedding is the new updated bedding that I have seen at many Holday Inn Express properties and there were plenty of fluffy pillows. The floor of the elevator was dirty like someone had tracked in dirt on their shoes. There did seem to be several crews of workers staying in the hotel.

The breakfast buffet had gravy and biscuits, cereal, fruit, yogurt, assorted breads, juice, etc. The breakfast area had several tables and a sofa in front of the tv. The cereal was in a dispenser where you turn the crank to release the cereal and one morning when I filled my bowl a hair came out of the cereal dispenser and landed in my bowl. Another morning one of the hotel employees brought her child into the room, gave him some cereal, parked him on the sofa in front of the tv and changed the news channel to cartoons with no consideration for the guests watching the news. I overheard some of the other guests make comments to each other about watching the news.

I would stay in this hotel again. It is a nice clean hotel where I felt safe. This is the best option considering the choices for the area.

HARVEY, LA 70058

Hotel Front Desk: 1-504-366-5055

New Orleans Area - Holiday Inn, West Bank, Gretna, LA

This hotel is easy to find and convenient to the West bank area of New Orleans. It is located right off of the Westbank expressway and you can see the Holiday Inn sign as you approach the exit. It is an old style Holiday Inn with rooms that open to the outside. I arrived not expecting a hotel with outdoor corridors and as a female traveling alone I do not like this style of hotel. The website photos do not show the location of the rooms. The lobby is nothing to speak of with just the front desk and a large display of travel brochures. The outside of the hotel appears old. There were three women behind the front desk but none of them seemed interested enough to ask me why I was standing there for several minutes. Finally one of them asked if I needed something - as if a woman standing there alone must only be wanting something and not there to check in. While she was trying to check me in the phone rang several times and she had to answer it while the other women talked on their cell phones or talked to other employees so the check in process was longer than necessary. I found my room easily enough and also a fairly close parking space in spite of the hotel being very full due to the football game. There is a centrally located elevator. The parking lot is not well lit and I saw no evidence of any kind of security on the property. The room was the same configuration I saw in Holiday Inns many many years ago. I had to take a room with two doubles due to the hotel being so full. I was afraid the beds would be small and hard but I was surprised to find nice soft comfortable beds with three nice fluffy pillows each and the bedding looked new and clean. The ice machine was right outside the door to my room so I was awakened up a few times during the night with people getting ice. The bathroom was small and looked old. There were mold or mildew stains on the grout under the soap dish and hair and lint behind the door. The outside corridors and stairs look dirty and like the concrete has never been cleaned.

I do have some positive comments about this hotel. I ate the breakfast buffet in the hotel restaurant every morning and it was wonderful. For $8.95 you get scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, grits, potatoes, yogurt, cereal, fresh fruit and many other selections along with a pot of coffee or tea. The hostess and the waitress were both very nice and after the first day the waitress recognized me and knew my preference was for hot tea instead of coffee. There is a free hotel shuttle to the ferry to New Orleans. This could be a convenient and cheaper option for someone wanting to go to New Orleans but not wanting to stay in the city.

I am not sure I would stay in this hotel again. The restaurant was wonderful but the cleanliness of the bathroom concerned me and I prefer a hotel with indoor rooms, however if it was a last resort for me like it was this time I would stay here again without too much hesitation.

GRETNA, LA 70053

Hotel Front Desk: 1-504-366-2361

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Chicago Area - North Aurora, IL Hampton Inn

The hotel is very easy to find which is a big deal in the Chicago area, at least to me. It's right off of I-88, you can see it as soon as you get off the hwy. The hotel is beautiful, nicer than any Hampton than I have seen in a long time. The lobby and eating area looked more like a Hilton Hotel or something from out west with big open ceilings. I reserved a Jacuzzi suite. The suite was huge and it was a true suite with a large living room with sofa, chair, and entertainment center with a tv. In the corner was a little kitchette with a microwave, fridge, coffeemaker and small table and chairs. There was a bag of microwave popcorn on the microwave every day.

The bedroom was as spacious as most single hotel rooms with the king sized bed and the large Jacuzzi tub area. The Jacuzzi is easily big enough for two! The bathroom area was nice and clean and it included a large walk in shower and toilet together and then the sink/vanity area was separate. My room was quiet and clean and everything a traveler would want. I was greeted very warmly by the front desk staff and the breakfast staff was equally friendly. The free breakfast is in the large area off of the lobby, plenty of space and the room is beautiful with a fireplace. There was a large selection of breads, cereals, teas, and a hot entree each day, way beyond the basic free continental breakfast. The pool is indoors and I heard that kids really love it but I did not try the pool.

It snowed quite a bit while I was there and the snow plow had pushed a couple of feet of snow behind my car. I was trying to scrape my car clean with the brush thing that the rental car agencies provide and a man came to help me clean off the car and another man came and shoveled out from behind my car. I realized that they were doing this for everyone so the hotel must have employed them to help out with all of the snow. It was very nice to have someone shovel out my car!

This was a very enjoyable experience. I would stay at this hotel again and I would recommend it to anyone, business travelers and families alike.

Hampton Inn & Suites Chicago/Aurora, IL
2423 Bushwood Dr, Aurora, Illinois, 60506
Tel: 1-630-907-2600 Fax: 1-630-907-2919