The final stop on our road trip was built around a visit to the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina. This was also the only opportunity we had to utilize the two free night certificates I’d earned via spending on my US Bank Radisson Rewards credit card.
The hotel is on Brevard Road which is a very busy divided highway. The Asheville Outlet Mall is just across the street and there are numerous similar hotels nearby. Its main attraction for us was that it was close to the interstate and just 6.6 miles away from the Biltmore. Right next door to the hotel is a grocery and a gas station and there are numerous restaurants in the area.
It had been several years since I last visited Myrtle Beach but I found it hadn’t changed all that much. It was still very touristy with high-rise after high-rise along Ocean Boulevard along the beach. Compared to the historical sites we’d seen in Savannah and Charleston, Myrtle Beach can be a step down culturally but we enjoyed great weather and had a lot of fun walking on the beach, playing mini-golf and just relaxing.
As mentioned in the intro to this series the primary reason for our visit was to fulfill a Hilton Vacation Club timeshare presentation in exchange for a few nights of lodging. Originally that presentation was going to be in Hawaii but after the pandemic struck I just wanted to get that obligation fulfilled as quickly as possible. So this fit in well as a stop on our road trip.
We arrived at the mustard-yellow building in the afternoon. The loading/unloading area is a half-circle ramp that leads to the back of the building. While valet parking is available, you can self-park for free in the same garage (albeit on higher floors) and it’s only a block away.
Check in was quite simple and we were given wrist bands to wear that would allow us certain privileges. The only thing we used them for was the free mini-golf across the street.
The next stop on our road trip was the Embassy Suites Charleston Historic District in Charleston, SC. We arrived in the early afternoon on a rainy day and didn’t have to wait too long to pull under the covered area where we were met by the valet. We had taken our time on the drive up from Savannah but had still reached Charleston well before check-in time. However the valet proactively offered to check to see if our room was ready and, to our delight, it was. Not only that but as our bags were being unloaded from the car, someone from the front desk actually brought out our room keys to us. I can only assume my Diamond status played a part in that.
There is no free parking anywhere in the area. The valet service is $35 per day and the cars are parked right across the side street. There is a parking garage next to the valet lot that is the same price or slightly higher. The hotel does mention another garage that’s a dollar or two cheaper per day but the bottom line is that you’re going to pay a pretty penny for parking here. We used the valet the first day as it was raining and we were still getting our bearings but the second night we parked in the nearby garage. When we checked out we found the valet charge had automatically been extended to the second night but I mentioned we had not used the valet the second day and was assured the charge would be removed. I did have to follow up a day or two later, but the charge was eventually credited back.
Our road trip was planned with the idea of using as many of our free-night certificates as possible. I only had one Hyatt certificate as I earn new ones in December and I’d already spent the 2019 certificate at the Hyatt Place Denver Airport in early 2020. But I have plenty of Chase Ultimate Rewards points so I transferred enough to my Hyatt account and we booked the Andaz Savannah using one night on points and one night with the free certificate earned from renewing my Chase World of Hyatt Credit Card.
The hotel has a great location in the heart of the historic district. This also means there’s no free parking. The hotel offers valet service but there’s a garage practically next door so for us the valet service wasn’t worth the extra money ($37/day). I will say that despite the fact that we didn’t use the valet service, the valets were always super-nice, opening doors for everyone and ensuring our stay was a good one. They also helped us load our luggage on to a cart before parking the car.
The front desk is located just inside the lobby and the associates were always very friendly. She thanked me for being a Discoverist and we were given a room on the fifth floor. She pointed out that the mini-bars were empty but if we needed any of the complimentary items usually found there (water, soft drinks) that we could just ask at the front desk. She also told us of our welcome amenity of a free beer or champagne (or soft drink for me) and we took advantage of that. Though I wasn’t sure I’d need it, she gave me a complimentary 2 PM checkout time as well.
In 2020 a couple of friends and I had planned to go to Hawaii. This decision had been based on attending a Hilton timeshare presentation on the big island but we got 5 nights there for free along with an included rental car. Of course that got cancelled. But I still had to sit through a timeshare presentation somewhere. Rather than push it out any further, my friends and I decided on a Southeastern US road trip and I’d attend the presentation in Myrtle Beach, SC.
In addition, I had a number of free night certificates I’d received from my various hotel credit cards so we set out to use as many of those as we could. We both had Marriott 25K certificates but once we’d settled on the cities we wanted to visit, we found that none of these cities had Marriotts where we could use our certs, which was quite disappointing. In all we spent 9 nights on the road and used free night certificates for 5 of those nights. The three nights in Myrtle Beach were part of the Hilton timeshare presentation package.
In three of our destination cities we only stayed two nights each; in Myrtle Beach we spent three nights. As such I won’t be doing detailed descriptions of our activities but will mention a few items below.