A Quick Trip to the Northern Plains
Lodging Review: Home2 Suites by Hilton Rapid City, SD
Our Visit to the Crazy Horse Memorial and Custer State Park
Our Visit to Mount Rushmore and Theodore Roosevelt National Park
Lodging Review: TownePlace Suites, Dickinson, North Dakota
Lodging Review: Fairfield Inns & Suites, Chicago O’Hare
We arrived in the Rapid City, SD area on a sunny, windy afternoon. The temperature was quite pleasant with only a light jacket required. The Home2 Suites is located on the south side of I-94 in an area with four other similar hotels. The Home2 Suites, La Quinta Inns & Suites and Fairfield Inn are all connected to the WaTiki Indoor Waterpark Resort. There’s also a Residence Inn next door so it’s obviously a popular area for tourists like us. To reach the entrance of the Home2 Suites you take the road past the Fairfield Inn, take a side road that runs between the Residence Inn and the La Quinta and drive past the side of the Home2 Suites before turning right towards the main entrance.
I’m very familiar with the Home2 Suites brand as I often stay at the one in the Bellevue area of Nashville when I visit my parents so I had a good idea what to expect and by and large the hotel met my expectations. Home2 Suites’ color scheme involves a lot of neon yellow both on the building’s exterior and in the guest rooms. One of my companions found it garish but I must admit it doesn’t really faze me anymore as I’ve become accustomed to it. We were met by a couple of friendly reps at the desk who checked us in quickly and let us know that we wouldn’t receive housekeeping except by request or complimentary after the fourth day. That was fine by us as we were only staying two nights.
The lobby has a lot of colorful seating areas which were primarily used at breakfast (which is complimentary for all) but most times we walked through there were at least a few people sitting around.
This high counter was typically only used at breakfast. The area behind the curtain is where the breakfast items were presented. It was so busy in the mornings I didn’t even try to take photos. There was cereal, oatmeal, pastries, toast and yogurt along with some pre-made hot items as well as (I think) a waffle machine. It wasn’t gourmet but it was enough to keep me full until lunch time.
Just outside the front door is a seating area with a fire pit. Beyond that is an area with grills for hosting cookouts in better weather.
In contrast with the bright colors of the lobby and rooms, the hallways had dark walls and dark carpet with splashes of color for contrast. The elevator lobby was brightly colored though. One issue we did notice was the abundance of guest trash in the elevator lobby on our floor. Our first night there, someone on the floor had a pizza party and stacked their trash in that elevator lobby, which was fine. However, when we returned that evening, the trash was still there along with several bags that housekeeping had collected during the day. I think the housekeeping bags were eventually removed but the trash can stayed overflowing the whole time we were there.
As there were three of us traveling we’d reserved a room with two queen beds and a sofa with a double pull-out bed. For some reason I’d thought the 2Q rooms were mostly at the ends of the hallways but ours was very close to the elevators. Upon further reflection it occurred to me that a location like this – where there are lots of families traveling vs. singles/pairs – would probably have more 2Q rooms than similar hotels in other parts of the country.
As is usual in a H2S the door opens into the kitchenette area with the bath off to one side.
Stepping deeper into the room the sofa is on the same side as the bathroom while across from it is the pull-out table/desk. The sofa had very limited bedding compared to the beds. An ill-fitting fitted sheet and a blanket that was quite thin compared to what was on the queen beds.
Beyond the sofa are the two queen beds. Attached to the wall beside each bed was nightstand with a light and a USB plug along with two electrical outlets. Kudos for plenty of outlets! A small nightstand-type table with its own lamp sits between the two beds.
Across from the beds, the counter continues all the way down to the closet. Storage areas are available overhead and underneath the counter and the TV sits atop one of the cabinets.
The bath has the typical H2S pocket door which keeps the bathroom from becoming too crowded. The vanity extends almost to the walls on either side. I do wonder if that was a conscious decision? It seems to me it would be so nice if the vanity went all the way to the wall – that would prevent some clumsy person like me from knocking things off the side! We had plenty of towels and the hair dryer was stored in the near drawer by the electrical outlet. The toilet was in the center and the shower was on the left. One difference I noted in this shower was that unlike the H2S in Bellevue, there was no small foot-level shelf in the back corner. As cool as the weather was, we weren’t wearing shorts so it didn’t make a big difference to us but that low shelf is quite handy when shaving your legs.
As I mentioned earlier, the front desk staff were quite friendly and I received a text after check-in and again the next day asking how things were going. On the second day we replied back to mention the ill-fitting sheets and blanket issue and they replied back that we could pick up new ones from the front desk. We hadn’t really read the reply in detail while we were out sight-seeing and were a bit disappointed to find the items had not been delivered to the room. I know this is a limited service hotel and we all know that staffing levels are not what they were pre-pandemic but we were gone from roughly 8 AM to 3 PM and there was no time in the window when those items could have been put in our room? (And I am a Diamond member so you’d think they’d try to go above and beyond a bit.) This, along with the trash issue mentioned above, make me feel like the hotel is a step behind and I wonder how bad it might get during the busy summer months.
The hotel’s gym was surprisingly large but also surprisingly empty. It made me wonder if some pieces of equipment had been removed during the pandemic to keep patrons spread out? Two treadmills, one elliptical machine and a recumbent bike were the only cardio machines. There was a decent supply of hand weights and medicine balls but only one universal machine. Seems like there could be quite a bit more items supplied.
As mentioned earlier, this hotel is one of three that are directly attached to the Watiki Indoor Water Park Resort. Included with the stay are two free passes to view the water park from inside and use of the hot tubs. To actually enjoy the water slides, etc. you must buy a water park pass from the front desk but they do offer a discount over list rates. The water park resort has its own restaurant where you can see into the water park area through a glass window. The restaurant can be accessed without entering the water park itself.
The hotel has a self-service laundry located near the gym.
In the end
The hotel has a very handy location for visiting Mount Rushmore, Custer State Park and the Crazy Horse Memorial. Rates were cheap enough that it probably would have been a better value to pay cash instead of using points, but one of our goals when we travel is to use our points whenever we can. Besides, we have a huge stash of Hilton points and the points used for two nights here were only slightly more than is needed for one night in Nashville.
I’d be happy to stay here again though would avoid times when kids are out of school as I suspect the whole area would be much more crowded.