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 drove about 30 minutes east of Theodore Roosevelt National Park to the town of Dickinson, ND where we had booked a room at the TownePlace Suites Dickinson, which is a Marriott property. With pre-paid rates as low as $113 plus tax this was by no means an exceptional value for the free night certificate we used. But the certificate would expire within the next month or so and with no other plans for it the choice to use it instead of letting it go to waste was easy.
The hotel was easy to find, not far off I-94. The colorful exterior of TownePlace Suites makes it stand out and those bright colors are continued inside.
We were welcomed by the friendly desk agent who filled us in on the amenities. We knew breakfast was included for all guests and one of my friends was thrilled to see that the coffee station had hot coffee available after our cool and windy adventures in the park.
On the left side as you enter the lobby you’ll find this large map of the area. It had forecasted temperatures for the next few days, highlighted local dining establishments and other things to do in the area. I thought this was a very nice touch. Though we didn’t use this to pick our dinner spot, it turned out to be one of the recommended places and we had an excellent meal.
The mini-mart is just to the right of the front desk and you’ll walk past it going to the elevators.
Just inside the front door, in front of the coffee station, there was a table with padded chairs as well as two ottomans that could also be used as seats.
Just beyond the partition was another area clearly meant for breakfast seating. I thought 2-3 more tables could have easily fit into the area but they may have been removed for COVID purposes and just not returned. Breakfast is served from 6-9 AM M-F and 7-9:30 AM on the weekends. As we needed to make an early start, we were thrilled to find out that breakfast was available at about 6:45 AM on the Saturday we were there. That allowed us to fill up and be on the road by 7:10 AM MT which was a big help. No photos of the breakfast offerings but it was fairly standard for a limited-service property. A couple of hot items and plenty of cereal, pastries, fruit, yogurt, etc.
The gym is open 24 hours a day. It’s not huge but is a nice size for the property.
The pool and whirlpool are open from 6 AM to 11 PM. Both are pretty small but I imagine folks don’t choose this property based on the pool! Both had lifts to assist mobility-challenged folks getting in and out.
There were several families with children staying at the same time we were and I can imagine having a laundry room handy would be quite helpful to them or for anyone staying in the area for a week or more. The room was quite large with a table on the left to sort and fold along with containers of fabric softener and stain remover that I assume had been left by previous guests. If you couldn’t find what you were looking for there, on the opposite wall was a vending machine selling single-use products. There were three larger washing machines on the left wall and on the right were three pair of stackable washers and dryers.
We were assigned a room on the third floor, right across from the elevator lobby. We found the elevator’s “ding” to be a bit loud when we were trying to sleep. There were also some small children running up and down the hall at a time of night I felt should have been way past their bedtime.
The free night certificate (from a Chase Marriott credit card) did not allow us to book one of the two-bedroom plus sleeper sofa units that we would have liked so we had to settle for the 1 King plus sofa bed room. Possibly because there were going to be three of us in the room or because we were only there for one night, we were assigned an Accessible room which seemed to me to be fairly large, so we were grateful for that.
The room has a standard layout for these longer-term stay properties: kitchenette on the left, bathroom on the right then step into the main living/bedroom space. The kitchenette had a full-sized refrigerator and dishwasher, a microwave, a two-burner stove and a coffee maker.
The bathroom was quite large, I assume to help make it more wheelchair accessible. That being said, the sink sure was high for someone in a wheelchair! The bathtub/shower had a flip-down seat and a hand-held spray as well as the usual high-mounted shower head. The water pressure was noticeably bad. If you have thick hair it would take quite awhile to get the shampoo out! The hair dryer, however, was excellent.
Toiletries were by Alice + Co. and were in wall-mounted containers. I quite liked their smell.
The bedroom/living area had the king bed on the right with the sleeper sofa beyond it. The sleeper sofa was only a double bed so it would be a tight squeeze for two adults. The sofa bed only had a fitted sheet and a duvet, no top sheet. I really don’t like it that US hotels seem to be adopting this as standard. For those of us who tend to “sleep hot” the duvet can be too much yet we still want some sort of cover on. Bring back the top sheet!
Across from the bed was the giant furniture piece that included the desk, drawers and some cabinets. Like we saw at Home2 Suites, there was a pull-out table that could be used as a desk chair or for eating. But I have the same question here as I did at H2S: if the room can sleep three people, how are the other two folks supposed to sit at the table?!
The room also had a closet with the luggage stand, laundry basket and lots of hangers.
In the end
The hotel met our needs perfectly. As of our visit, it was the newest hotel in the area, only a couple of years old. Things were still in good repair and it was nearly sold out on a random Friday between Mothers’ Day and Memorial Day.
In hindsight we would have traveled another couple of hours further east before stopping for the night since we had to drive back to Chicago the next day. We left shortly after 7 AM MT (8 AM CT) and arrived in the O’Hare airport area right at 10 PM CT with only minimal stops for gas, food and bio breaks. That’s a very long day in a car. Of course our poor planning is no fault of the hotel’s! I would be happy to stay here again should I ever make it back to Dickinson, North Dakota.