Posts Tagged With: IHG Hotels

Lodging Review: Holiday Inn Express, Gunnison, Colorado

Holiday Inn Express Gunnison

I stayed here on two separate nights on either side of a ski trip to Crested Butte Resort, which is about 35-40 minutes away.

Airport Shuttle

I had called two days prior to my arrival (a Monday) to ensure the hotel had an airport shuttle. They asked for my name and flight info and I provided that. However when I arrived on Wednesday and called after collecting my bag, the message had not made it to the proper folks. There are only three people who are allowed to drive the shuttle and fortunately one of them was available to come pick me up but I did have to wait.

Before checking out I made sure to go ahead and schedule the shuttle for the following Monday morning. There is no local taxi service and only one Lyft driver in the Gunnison area so if you don’t have other transportation you’re out of luck.

Side note 1: the Gunnison airport is still a major construction zone as of February 2022 and will be for several more months. The only food & drink available is from vending machines so plan accordingly.

Lobby

I arrived in the early afternoon and was welcomed right away. The lobby is large with a couple of seating areas and a faux fireplace. The business center is off to one side.

Holiday Inn Express Gunnison Lobby

Behind the fireplace is the breakfast area. There were a few skiers there on the one morning I ate breakfast at the hotel but it was by no means crowded. Though I didn’t get photos of the breakfast buffet there were several hot items, three types of cereal, some just-add-water containers of oatmeal, pastries and fresh fruit along with juices, coffee and tea.

Holiday Inn Express Gunnison Breakfast Dining Area

Just beside the front desk is a mini-mart with packaged food and drinks for sale.

Holiday Inn Express Gunnison Mini-Mart

Side note 2: in general, masks are not a “thing” in Gunnison in February 2022. I can count on one hand the number of people I saw wearing masks in town, including wait staff.

Guest Room

The room I had for my first stay was on the ground floor, immediately behind the front desk. This was actually quite nice as the main bag I had with me was my skis bag and I’d packed it quite full. So not having to drag it very far was a win for me.

The hotel seems new and the hallway seemed fresh with decorative carpeting and matching walls.

Holiday Inn Express Gunnison Hallway

My room’s layout was standard: a short entryway with the bathroom on the right and the living area behind that.

Holiday Inn Express Gunnison Guest Room Entry

The king bed was quite high off the floor and might be difficult to get into if you’re someone who is very short or has mobility issues. But it was very comfortable. I liked that each side of the bed had two pillows and they were even labeled as “soft” or “firm” so I didn’t have to guess which one I’d prefer. Each side of the bed had a night stand with two electrical outlets as well as a USB charger, which is fantastic.

Holiday Inn Express Gunnison King Bed

In the corner beside the bed was a chaise with a side table. I used this to eat a fast food lunch and it was adequate though not ideal.  While the room has an under-the-window HVAC unit, at least it has an actual thermostat where you can set a temperature and put it on “auto” as well as selecting heat vs. cold. I hate it at some hotels when you turn the thermostat down a few degrees in the winter and the A/C automatically comes on rather than just letting the room cool down naturally.

Holiday Inn Express Gunnison Chaise Longue and HVAC

Across from the bed was a furniture piece that consisted of the wardrobe, a low shelf with hooks above it and a section with three drawers and the TV mounted above them. Since I only had a coat to hang I didn’t bother with the wardrobe but used the hook for my jacket. I put my carry-on luggage on this shelf, which I found very handy. Another chair was between this furniture and the outside wall.

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The bathroom had a counter that stretched the length of the room with a sink in the center. If you didn’t want to turn on the fan, the only light was the one around the mirror. That light was great but the room was lit up much better with the overhead light on. I just wish I could have turned that light on without the noisy fan. There was no under-cabinet storage so all your toiletries had to go on the counter. The hair dryer was in a bag that was hung either on the back of the door or on one of the towel pegs.  This room had only a standard shower stall, no tub. The shower head could be adjusted both for location and for type of spray. However even in its most concentrated form it did not spray as hard as I’d have liked. But at least the water was hot and I never ran out of it!

For toiletries, two bars of Oasis hand soap were provided. The shampoo, conditioner and bath gel were all in wall-mounted bottles in the shower. They’re JR Watkins brand and I liked their smell just fine. There was also a tiny bottle of JR Watkins lotion (not pictured) that I really liked and took with me.

 

Just beside the bathroom was an area with a microwave, a Keurig and a mini-fridge (empty).

Holiday Inn Express Gunnison Guest Room Appliances

Across from that was a corner shelf with the ice bucked and some cups and the wall-mounted mirror.

Holiday Inn Express Gunnison Mirror & Ice Bucket

My second night’s stay

The second room I was assigned was on the second floor, located above the pool. Having the pool below means the room stays warmer but it also means that when there are folks in the pool at night you can hear them, not clearly but muffled voices, when you’re trying to sleep as the pool doesn’t close until 11 PM. Next time I will specifically ask not to be right above the pool, especially if I have an early flight.

This second room also differed from the first in that there was a desk positioned between the drawers and the outside wall (forgot to take a photo of that). In the bathroom there was very little counter space and the toilet was positioned beside the sink instead of on the wall between the sink and shower. The shower also had a small seat along its back wall and a grab bar. I didn’t manage to photograph that either.

Holiday Inn Express Gunnison Alternate Bathroom

Gym

The gym is quite small but surprisingly well-equipped. There’s a treadmill, an elliptical and a recumbent bike for cardio, a weight bench and dumbbells as well as some fit balls, medicine balls and a BOSU trainer. Elastic bands and yoga mats are also available. You can also get free disposable ear buds at the front desk if you want to plug into one of the machines. The gym is open 24 hours and those 15 and younger must be accompanied by an adult.

Pool

The pool is open 7 AM – 11 PM and those age 15 and under must be accompanied by an adult. It appears to have a hot tub built in and pool towels are available on site.

Location

The hotel is located at one end of town on US 50 and is next to two fast food chains and Western Colorado University. As there’s no lunch or dinner service at the hotel, it’s about a 6-block (some very short blocks) walk to the nearest restaurants. To get more to the center of town (where US 50 and CO 135 intersect) is about another 5 blocks. It was quite cold during my stay (below zero overnight) but with no wind and bundled up properly I really did not get all that cold walking to and from dinner. As mentioned above there is no local taxi service and only one Lyft driver (who doesn’t work all the time) so either bring/rent your own vehicle or be prepared to walk.

In the end

There are limited hotels in the Gunnison area where points can be used for stays. I used an IHG free night certificate for one night and points for the other. With a free airport shuttle and free breakfast this was a good place for me even if it’s not the most convenient to other parts of town.

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Lodging Review: Holiday Inn Auckland Airport

Trip Report: Two Weeks Down Under
Flight Review: Qantas B747-400 San Francisco – Sydney
Lounge Review: Qantas Business Class Lounge, Sydney
Flight Review: Qantas A330-300 Sydney – Auckland
Lodging Review: Holiday Inn Auckland Airport
Lodging Review: The Pavilions Hotel, Christchurch
Our Time in Christchurch
Lodging Review: Hilton Queenstown Resort & Spa
Our Time in Queenstown including Doubtful Sound Tour
Lodging Review: Avani Metropolis, Auckland
Our Time in Auckland
Lodging Review: Oceans Mooloolaba
Our Time on the Sunshine Coast
Lodging Review: Brisbane Marriott
Flight Review: Qantas B787-9 Brisbane – Los Angeles

We had booked our trips from the US to New Zealand and back from Australia before we had worked out our exact plans for what to do in between those dates. As it turned out we’d have been better served to go straight to Christchurch but since we had our flights into Auckland, we didn’t want to immediately jump on a flight to Christchurch in case one of our bags went missing or there were other travel delays. So I looked for an airport-area hotel for us for one night.

I tried and failed to find us a hotel room near the airport that had three beds. But since I had a free night with my IHG credit card and would get a second one a few months before we left, I was able to book two rooms at no charge.

I don’t think of Auckland as particularly tropical yet the area near the airport had palm trees and the hotel grounds were quite lush. The yellow shuttle bus (more on that below) dropped us off right at the front door.

Holiday Inn Auckland Airport Front Entrance

Holiday Inn Auckland Airport Main Entry

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Review: Kimpton DeWitt Amsterdam

Trip Report: Amsterdam, Iceland and Munich
Review: Iberia A340-600 Business Class
Review: Kimpton DeWitt Amsterdam
A Brief Tour of Amsterdam
Review: Sheraton Amsterdam Airport Hotel and Conference Center
Review: Radisson Blu 1919, Reykjavik
Review: Center Hotel Plaza, Reykjavik
A Week in Iceland
Review: aloft Munich
Visiting Dachau
A Brief Tour of Munich
Review: Hilton Munich Airport

When IHG acquired Kimpton, that added a number of desirable properties to the IHG portfolio. One of those was the Kimpton DeWitt which has a great location near Centraal Station, the canal cruises and lots of restaurants and shops. Yet this area was quiet in the evenings and we did not have to deal with noise either inside or outside the hotel.

Hotel Exterior. The entrance is at the lighted portion halfway down the block.

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Trip Report: Amsterdam, Iceland and Munich

Trip Report: Amsterdam, Iceland and Munich
Review: Iberia A340-600 Business Class
Review: Kimpton DeWitt Amsterdam
A Brief Tour of Amsterdam
Review: Sheraton Amsterdam Airport Hotel and Conference Center
Review: Radisson Blu 1919, Reykjavik
Review: Center Hotel Plaza, Reykjavik
A Week in Iceland
Review: aloft Munich
Visiting Dachau
A Brief Tour of Munich
Review: Hilton Munich Airport

The genesis of this trip was a friend telling me about a group tour of Iceland that several friends were going on and asking if I wanted to go or not. Of course the tour wanted to sell us airfare and options using points and miles aren’t all that plentiful, especially if fixed dates are involved.

The group tour was only a week and since October is when we we usually take a two-week vacation anyway, my travel companion and I decided to use our miles to get to Europe, enjoy a few days there, then buy tickets to Iceland, do the tour and then fly to another city in Europe where our miles could get us back to the US in business class. Continue reading

Categories: Award Travel, Europe, Germany, Hilton, Hotel, Iberia, Iceland, Icelandair, IHG, Marriott, Netherlands, OneWorld, Radisson, Starwood | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Regent Hotels Joining IHG Rewards Club on February 1

Yesterday IHG announced that the six hotels of the Regent Hotel chain will become part of the IHG Rewards Club starting on February 1st. There are four Regent Hotels in Asia and two in Europe:

Regent Taipei
Regent Berlin
Regent Porto Montenegro
Regent Beijing
Regent Chongqing
Regent Singapore

These are considered luxury properties, on par with – or even higher than – Intercontinental Hotels, which are already under the IHG umbrella.

We stayed at the Regent Beijing in October 2017 for the kickoff to our Roof of the World tour with Viking River Cruises and were generally quite pleased with the room size and amenities. You can read our review of the property here.

The IHG portfolio is far-reaching and covers the full array of property types.  Adding Regent Hotels helps to beef up the top end.  Here are the current brands available within the IHG Rewards Club portfolio:

Which of the properties would you like to try next?

 

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Review: Crowne Plaza Milwaukee West

Back in April I visited with a couple of friends for a long weekend.  The Crowne Plaza Milwaukee West is actually in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin which is where one of my friends live.  I used my annual free night certificate from the IHG Platinum MasterCard.

I arrived late on a Sunday afternoon and had a short wait to check in.  Once I reached the counter my Platinum status was recognized and the friendly associate soon had my room assigned.  I was given a king room on the 7th floor.  Though it overlooked a busy intersection, I never had any issue with traffic noise.

CP MKE West King Bed

Crowne Plaza Milwaukee West King Bed

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IHG Adds New Top Tier Loyalty Level

IHG, the company behind Intercontinental Hotels and Holiday Inn, has announced that they’re adding a new top tier loyalty level that will be the next step above Platinum. Platinum has been fantastically easy to achieve because you can “earn” it just by holding the Chase IHG MasterCard, although you can also earn it the hard way, by staying 50 nights or earning 60,000 points via hotel stays. The IHG MasterCard has possibly the lowest annual fee of any status-earning credit card at only $49 per year. Paying the annual fee also entitles the card holder to a free night at any IHG hotel.

But now a new tier has been added though we don’t yet know its name. Check out the graphic from the IHG website – it’s just called New Membership Level:2015-04-14 New IHG Loyalty Levels

If you get Platinum status the hard way, the good news is that it’ll be easier to attain, requiring only 40 nights or 40,000 points through hotel stays. The new level requires 75 nights or 75,000 points earned at an IHG hotel. Platinum members get a 50% bonus on points for paid stays while the new level members will get a 100% bonus on points earned. They’ll also receive an annual 25,000 point bonus or they can choose to gift Platinum status to a friend or family member.

Another change is that points will now expire after 12 months of inactivity in your account. To get around that you can transfer in points from Ultimate Rewards. As a general rule I’d transfer as few UR points as allowed as URs are much more valuable than IHG points.

And on May 1st IHG will be reclassifying some 450 properties, though they claim that less than 300 will be increasing by 5000 – 10,000 points per night while 150 properties will decrease by 5000 points.

I typically don’t stay at IHG properties though in the last four months I have stayed at two different hotels. My Platinum status didn’t help at all at a Candlewood Suites but it got me an excellent free breakfast buffet at a Crowne Plaza.

The IHG website does state that all stays in 2015 will count towards the new level, so if you often stay at IHG properties, maybe this will be a benefit to you. As long as I still get breakfast and wifi I’ll hang on to the credit card just for the free night. Once any of those benefits goes away I’ll have to re-evaluate.

HT: Frequent Miler

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Review: Crowne Plaza Los Angeles Airport

I arrived in Los Angeles very late on a Friday night and stayed here for one night while waiting for a friend who would fly in the next morning. I took the free shuttle to the hotel. Note that LAX is extremely busy, even late at night, on Friday evenings and it may take quite some time to get to the hotel, even though it’s just a short distance away.

As a platinum member I stepped to the priority check-in lane – but unfortunately got there just after a small group of people stopped to ask the front desk staffer some questions. As a result, the people in the non-priority lane actually got assisted before I did. Part of me wishes they’d been directed to the other check-in lane but the staff member was very professional and answered their questions thoroughly before they left. Once he assisted me it was a very quick process to get my room key and choose my welcome amenity and I was on my way to a club room on the top floor.

Crowne Plaza LAX Club Floor Hallway

Crowne Plaza LAX Club Floor Hallway

Crowne Plaza LAX Room 1623

Crowne Plaza LAX Room 1623

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Review: Candlewood Suites, Brentwood, Tennessee

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.

Large Closet

Large Closet

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.

Desk and drawers

Desk and drawers

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.

Table and chair

Table and chair

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.

Kitchen counter and cabinets

Kitchen counter and cabinets

Some of the provided dishes

Some of the provided dishes

Dishwasher and drawers

Dishwasher and drawers

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.

Shower/Tub and Toilet

Shower/Tub and Toilet

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.

Bathroom Sink and Vanity

Bathroom Sink and Vanity

Toiletries

Toiletries

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.

Bed and recliner

Bed and recliner

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.

Gym - Cardio Area

Gym – Cardio Area

Gym - Weights

Gym – Weights

Candlewood Cupboard

Candlewood Cupboard

Laundry Area

Laundry Area

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!

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IHG Set Your Sights Promo

2014-12-16 IHG Set Your Sights Promo

The Intercontinental Hotel Group has a new promo where you can earn up to 50,500 points. That’s enough for 10 hotel nights if you choose to use your points with the IHG Rewards Club PointsBreaks hotels. Each quarter a number of hotels around the world are on the PointsBreak list and you can get one night’s lodging for only 5000 points. Naturally these aren’t aspirational properties but there are loads of Holiday Inns, Holidan Inn Expresses and Candlewood Suites here in the US and even a few Crowne Plazas abroad!

Sadly, you can’t book more than two PointsBreaks Reward Nights per hotel during the special offer period (current period ends 28 Feb 2015) but it’s great for a weekend getaway!

To get your offers you must first register for the promotion. Here are the bonus categories I got:

2014-12-16 IHG Set Your Sights Details

Downloading the app is an easy 500 points and I will definitely do that. If I had any upcoming travel plans I would defintely book directly with IHG. I won’t get the 25,000 bonus points for completing all the activities as I simply have my upcoming travel all set and don’t really have an opportunity to add more, which is a shame.

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