I recently went home to the Nashville area for Christmas and due to a family member’s illness (nothing serious) I ended up staying at the Candlewood Suites in Brentwood, Tennessee for three nights. The rates were extremely reasonable at under $100, but I had a free night certificate since I hold the IHG credit card as well as a plethora of IHG points and no plans for their use at the moment, so I used my certificate and 10,000 points per night for my stay. Did I get maximum value for my points? Absolutely not. But since I only found out the day before I arrived that I’d need to find alternate lodging, it was nice not to have to shell out any unexpected cash.
The free night certificate cannot be booked online, so I called in to make my reservation. At the time I thought it was unusual that the customer service representative asked what time I’d be arriving. Once I got to the hotel I realized it was because the front desk is not manned 24/7 and they have a locker-type facility where after-hours arrivals can enter a code to get their keys. The phone in the room did indicate there is a 24-hour contact number in case something goes wrong after hours, which is good to know.
I arrived mid-afternoon and was promptly checked in. I only interacted with the front desk staff at check-in and checkout but they were both very nice and very efficient. My platinum status (from holding the credit card) was recognized and I was offered a choice of welcome amenities: 500 points or a gift bag. I’m not even sure what the bag contained, but I selected the points.
There were a couple of luggage carts handy so I used one to take my luggage and Christmas items up to my room. I’d driven from Memphis to Nashville and since there was no limitation on how much “stuff” I could bring, I brought more than I would have if I’d flown somewhere.
My room was on the third floor on the back side of the building. This was great because there’s no parking lot behind the building, just a green space, so it’s very quiet. This property is located in a large office park that’s quiet most of the time anyway so I’m willing to bet that outside noise is never a problem.
Since the hotel was not full, I was glad the staff had spread the guests throughout the hotel, which also kept noise down. I don’t think anyone was staying in either room next to mine.
I just had a standard room, which features a queen-sized bed, a recliner, a large desk/table combination that runs the length of the living area and a kitchenette. The first thing I noticed when I walked in was a sharp perfume-y smell. I’m not sure if it was air freshener or what but I noticed it right by the door and in the bathroom. The next thing I noticed was that my shoes were sticking to the kitchen floor. This also happened in the bathroom. I’m not sure what caused this either but it was a bit annoying. But as it was Christmas Eve at that point and I’m sure housekeeping had left for the day, I didn’t want to bother anybody about it.
I liked the rather large, deep closet. If I were staying here for an extended period it would be a fine place to store my suitcase without having to struggle to get it in there. Not shown is an iron and ironing board that were included.
The desk area ran along one wall then turned in an L-shape as it reached the kitchen. The desk chair was at the corner of the L which was very handy, like an L-shaped desk. At the end of the L was another chair, which I used for eating breakfast each morning.
Breakfast is not included at this Candlewood Suites. Not sure if that’s standard across the brand or not. I’d thought Candlewood was meant to be a competitor to Marriott’s Residence Inns and I think all the RIs where I’ve stayed have offered breakfast in the lobby, so it surprised me that Candlewood did not. But since I was driving, I just brought items from home so I didn’t have to go out and buy anything and it was not a big deal.
The kitchen seemed to be furnished with two place settings of dining utensils and glasses/plates/bowls, etc. A full-size dishwasher and a full-sized refrigerator/freezer were included as were a 2-burner cooktop and a coffee maker. There was a fair amount of pots and pans but if you needed something that wasn’t in your kitchen, there was a locker down by the front desk where you could check out specialty items and take them back to your room. This locker also had games and DVDs available. I thought that was a nice touch.
The bathroom was a good size and had a shower/tub combo with a curved curtain rod. The showerhead was minimally adjustable but I couldn’t get the water pressure to beat down as hard as I’d like. I suspect this is because of the good “green” rating this hotel has and the pressure is probably limited on purpose.
The vanity was slightly high, which I like more as I get older – it means I don’t have to bend over as far over the sink! And there was plenty of counter space for one person’s toiletries. Two bars of soap (one for the sink, one for the bath) were provided as was a combination shampoo/conditioner by Pantene. I really prefer separate shampoo and conditioner but this was fine for a few days. No lotion or other amenities were provided. The hair dryer was tucked in one of the shelves under the sink and I had to look a bit for it. It was actually pretty strong and I like that it was not one of those that was fastened to the wall.
The towels were pretty decent, though naturally not as thick as ones you’d have at home. Maid service only happens once a week at this property though you can get more towels at the front desk in between cleanings, if needed.
The bed was pretty comfortable though a couple of the pillows were lumpy. Fortunately there were two other pillows that were ok. I liked that the bed had a fitted sheet, a top sheet and a duvet. I do miss that top sheet when I’m in hotels that don’t provide one!
I was able to keep the room comfortable at night by turning the thermostat all the way down (I like it cold!). There was a note that the thermostat cuts off when you leave the room for 15 minutes. I don’t know if it does that if there’s no activity in the room while one is asleep or not but I did wake up hot at one point but I can’t remember if the air came back on or not as I threw the duvet off for awhile.
Wi-fi was free but seemed to get a little bogged down in the evenings when lots of people were connected. I woke up in the middle of the night at one point and was browsing on my tablet and it seemed much faster then.
Downstairs there was a surprisingly good gym. Not large but it had quite a few machines. I wish I’d thought to bring workout clothes to make use of it. There was also a cupboard area where you could fill a bag with food items for a single price and take it to the front desk to pay for it. Very convenient for those who don’t want to trek to the grocery store. There were also free laundry facilities in this space. I saw at least three pairs of washers and dryers. That would be extremely handy were I staying here longer term.
Would I stay here again? Well, the price was right. I do feel like it’s a half-step down from a Residence Inn. There is a Residence Inn in the same area though I don’t have nearly as many Marriott points on hand as I do IHG points. Plus my Marriott points can be used at Ritz-Carltons, where I get much better value for them. Even for paid stays, the Candlewood Suites are much less expensive than the local Residence Inn. So, I’m not sure what I’d do next time – hopefully everybody will be well and I can stay with family for free!