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Hotel Report: Hampton Inn, Brighton, CO

Years ago I stayed at a Hampton Inn, and I was so unimpressed by it that I wouldn’t stay in one again until this week. Proximity to my business destination and availability forced my hand, and so I tried the Hampton Denver Northeast-Brighton. This stay was much better.

View of the Room

The bed was quite comfortable, firm but with just a little bit of surface give. The room had good space between the bed and the TV. It was an area large enough for calisthenics, but noise from the floor above led me to think that wouldn’t be a good idea.

The desk had five available outlets within easy reach. There was an Ethernet jack, and the provided cable was a nice touch. Both wire and wireless networking were only moderate in speed, but I only had log in once during the whole stay, and I appreciated that. The TV had about 30 channels, but several of them were from the HBO family.

The bathroom was spacious. The shower (no bathtub) was large enough for two people. Controls were easy to use, and the heat and pressure were not a problem. The mirror only fogged up a little from the top.

The free breakfast was quite good, rivaling better Holiday Inn Express fair. A different meat and egg were available each day. One could have fresh pineapple, apricot, and other fruit; several kinda of yogurt; three different juices; and the usual bagels and muffins.

The small exercise room had a rack of dumbbells, a weight bench, an elliptical, a treadmill, and a recombinant bike. The elliptical ran well, but it detected a heart rate even when my hands weren’t on the sensors.

There seemed to be just enough parking. Entering and leaving the hotel was fairly easy through the two drives. Front desk service was quite nice, recognizing my HHonors status and offering me a bottled water and a small Toblerone. One frequent HAL guest had been told by the manager that she would always get a room if she called.

HAL gets a room rate of $84/night, much better than the $124 on the web site. I would probably come back again if my travels take me to northeast Denver again.


Hotel Report: Holiday Inn Express & Suites, Calgary

The Ramada Inn and the Sandman sold out, I took the next closest to our office downtown, the Holiday Inn Express & Suites in downtown Calgary.

The room felt a little cramped, and the two queen beds didn’t make for much exercise space inside the room. The bed was soft, almost uncomfortably. The heater in the outside wall performed quietly and admirably, even when it was -20 degF outside.



Hotel Report: Ramada Inn-Mall of the Americas, Minneapolis, MN

Stuck overnight at MSP due to a maintenance issue with our plane, I and several others were put up at Delta’s expense at the Ramada Inn-Mall of the Americas. The Ramada wasn’t at the Mall but a block away, and if I had reached the hotel earlier I might have ventured to explore.

The full-size beds were firm and serviceable. The window-based heater kept the room toasty despite the Minnesota winter on the outside of the glass. Outside, the hotel’s Bobcat kept the parking lot driveable.



Hotel Report: Candlewood Suites, Williston, ND

The Bakkan oil boom in western North Dakota has resulted in a crop of new hotels, the least expensive for HAL being the Candlewood Suites.

Candlewood Suites are one of the extended chains in the IHG group, so they will only come into your room and make the bed a couple of times a week. They do pack a lot of gear in the room, though:

Panorama of Candlewood Room

Panorama of Candlewood Room

Four outlets are available at the desk. The Ethernet wall port was much than the wireless internet, which made me pick a different SSID for different parts of the hotel. The TV was about 60 channels, most of which were HDTV. The queen bed was firm yet comfortable. The combination heater/AC wall unit worked well.

The bathroom tucked behind the aspect of the above picture had good room, and the controls were easy to user. I had no problem getting water at good pressure and temperature.

The fitness room and laundry room were combined, and it was a little hard to run when someone got a little heavy on the fabric softener. The fitness equipment was well maintained, including two ellipticals, a recombinant bike, a treadmill, and a stationary nautilus. The washer and dryer were free to use; bring your own chemicals.

The hotel has no restaurant of its own but refers you to the one at the nearby HomStay Suites. Movies can be borrowed for two nights from the front desk for no charge, and the galley was well stocked.

At $160/night, one might expect a lot of IHG points, but the Candlewood only awards 5 points per dollar spent, where most IHG hotels will award 10. Most of the other hotels run $180-220, so if I were to return to the Bakkan it would probably be back here.


Hotel Report: Hilton Columbus at Easton

For a birthday treat we used some of my hard-earned HHonors points and took the kids for a couple of nights at the Hilton Columbus at Easton.

Our room was nice, with two beds. Unfortunately they were not two queen beds. I had the choice while making the reservation of two beds or a king bed and a queen hide-a-bed.

The desk sported two outlets at the base of the lamp and another at the wall. Another outlet was hidden behind the nightstand. We were surprised to discover our room had no microwave or refrigerator. The Wi-fi kept cutting in and out.

The bathroom was quite spacious. The furnished shampoo, soap, and repair kit were from Peter Thomas Roth. The water temperature was slow in reacting to the controls.

PoolsideThe heated pool, hot tub, and fitness room were nice and large. The pool had a chair lift to help people in. The fitness room had a full set of dumbbells, a stationary bike, a rowing machine, four treadmills, and three elliptical machines.

The restaurant let us take a to-go package to the room, and we were able to grab yogurt, bacon, cinnamon roll, pecan bun, and various Danishes. Cereal was available, and there was an omelet cook. Room service delivered a nice and rich chocolate lava cake. The accompanying vanilla ice cream was quite creamy, but it already showed some melt in the bowl by the time it got to our room. The sports bar did a nice job on our order of chips and cheese–no cheese sauce here.

Hilton at NightThe staff was professional and friendly. The restaurant maĆ®tre d fetched me a fork, after she asked if I was a hotel guest. When the dining room didn’t do chips and cheese, they cheerfully referred us to the bar. The $10/night valet was worth not hunting around for a parking spot. Housekeeping visited us several times during the day, giving us additional towels and taking our take-out trash.

Rooms here start at $160. Being within walking distance of Easton’s restaurants and shops is part of the value. Access to the hotel is quite easy through the entrance.


Hotel Report: DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh-Meadow Lands, Washington, PA

Traveling on the company’s dime, it’s not often that I get a room that I wish the family could see. The last two nights, I got a really cool room at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh-Meadow Lands in Washington.

I was originally assigned a handicapped-accessible room due to availability. I called the front desk to see if I could get moved, so that the room could open up for someone who needed it. :) I was upgraded to the top floor.

The room had the space of three regular hotel rooms. One entered the lower room with a dining table, a large couch, and a TV. A spiral staircase led to area number two, where there was a bathroom with a jacuzzi and bedroom with a king-size bed and TV. A door led to the adjacent third area, the master bedroom with desk, TV, closet, and bathroom.

I even had my own fire escape.