Posts Tagged With: Tennessee

Lodging Review: SpringHill Suites Franklin Cool Springs, Tennessee

As the end of 2021 approached I had several hotel free night certificates to spend. As I was not doing much in the way of traveling, I decided to use some of them on my trip home to the Nashville area for Thanksgiving. While I normally stay in the Bellevue area, which is the southwest part of town, there are currently only two Hilton properties and an independent hotel there. A Fairfield Inn property in Bellevue is due to start construction soon but not soon enough for me to use the two expiring certificates I had.

So I decided to stay near my sister in Franklin, which is directly south of Nashville. There are several properties there in the general area of the Cool Springs Mall and I selected the SpringHill Suites as I knew it would come with free breakfast.

SpringHill Suites by Marriott Franklin Cool Springs
(photo from

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Categories: Hotel, Lodging Review, Marriott, North America, SpringHill Suites, Tennessee, United States | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Review: Home2Suites by Hilton Nashville Bellevue

Home2Suites Nashville Bellevue

After spending four months in a hotel this year already, staying in another one was not necessarily at the top of my list. After all, I needed to get my house back together after the fire. But I have mostly accomplished that and after having to cancel my fall vacation to Hawaii I really wanted to go somewhere. I normally would have been to Nashville in May and June for Mothers Day and Fathers Day but was told by my parents not to visit then. But now, as things are starting to get better in our part of the country, we all felt it was fine for me to come up for a long weekend. I decided to stay long enough to visit my ski club friends at the monthly membership meeting on Tuesday night. (Side note: the Nashville Ski Club generally meets the first Tuesday of each month. Check out the website if you’re interested!) Continue reading

Categories: Hilton, Home2Suites, Hotel, Lodging Review, North America, Tennessee, United States | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Review: Homewood Suites Southwind Hacks Cross (Memphis)

I hadn’t planned to stay at this hotel just a few miles from my home. My clothes dryer had other ideas. Fortunately I was home the night it decided to catch fire and I was able to call the fire department before things got too far out of hand. Though the fire damage was mostly confined to the hallway where my laundry closet is, the smoke and soot went everywhere so I spent nearly four months living elsewhere. Except for a couple of weeks where I was on vacation skiing, I was living in the Homewood Suites.

Homewood Suites Exterior
(photo credit:

If you’re not familiar with Homewood Suites, it’s Hilton’s mid-range all-suites brand. All the rooms have small kitchenettes with a stove, microwave, dishwasher and full-sized refrigerator. Most of the rooms are one bedroom (king) suites meaning that the remainder of the space is one large room with a bed at one end and the sofa at the other and a TV that can be swiveled between the two areas. The room I had was a one bedroom (king) studio suite. The difference in this and the studio suite is that the bedroom has a door that can be closed and there are two TVs, one in each room. Both of these room types have a sleeper sofa that looks to be a double bed. There’s also one suite with two king beds and a few rooms for the mobility-challenged that have two queen beds.

I received a friendly welcome when I arrived and over my time there got friendly with a lot of the staff. The managers, especially Brandon, took great care of me during my stay. I was initially assigned a room on the ground floor which was nice, considering how much stuff I ended up moving into the room. While I had to check out the one week I was on vacation, I was able to reserve the room next door for my return where I stayed the rest of time.

Homewood Suites Lobby
(photo credit:

Homewood Suites are generally considered three-star properties and that’s probably fair. This HS is not far from our local soccer complex and as such can be very busy on weekends when there are tournaments in town. Of course once the COVID lockdowns began in mid-March the number of guests dropped dramatically and it was much quieter.

This property is showing its age a bit. The kitchen and entry area have a laminate floor while the rest of the room (except the bathroom) has carpet. The edge between the laminate and the carpet was quite worn, resulting in cracked flooring and frayed carpet. Around the window were spots of rust, the kind I’d never have noticed if this were a short-term stay because I’d never have looked behind the curtains but some days in the spring I’d open the windows to let in some fresh air and thus noticed these spots.

Even before COVID I was only having housekeeping come in once a week but once the lockdown began housekeeping was no longer allowed to enter rooms where people were checked in. So I changed my own sheets and borrowed their cleaning supplies to do what I could. Still, by the time I checked out the room clearly needed a deep clean. Looking back, in mid-April I should have asked to switch rooms again just to keep my room from getting so stale. Hopefully I don’t have to stay in a hotel this long ever again but if so, lesson learned.

One Bedroom Suite

As this is an older property, the room felt a tiny bit smaller than the Homewood Suites in Steamboat, Colorado where I spent one night in February. Upon entering the room the floor is a hardwood laminate and extends to one side into your galley kitchen. Take two steps and you’re in the carpeted area that includes the living area and the bedroom The sleeper sofa is directly in front and the TV and entertainment center are opposite. Go through the door beside the TV and enter the bedroom where you’ll find a king bed and the bathroom.


The galley kitchen is quite narrow but has a two-burner stove, a microwave, toaster, coffee maker and a full-size refrigerator/freezer.

Homewood Suites Kitchen

I think there are supposed to be four sets of silverware but I believe I had only two knives and three spoons or something like that. I also noticed that I had different kitchen knives between the two rooms I occupied. I asked housekeeping about it once and they didn’t seem to think those inconsistencies were anything to be concerned with, that it was probably just something that happened over years as people in different rooms may have gotten together and exchanged the cutlery among them. All of that to say that if you’re planning to be cooking a good bit you may want to bring your own cutlery or verify what’s available before you begin cooking.

I’m not a coffee drinker so didn’t use what was provided but I did note that one guy across the hall bought his own coffee maker so I guess what was provided wasn’t great. Or maybe he’s a coffee snob.

The kitchen design had the counter on the outer (hall) wall of unit with the fridge against the far wall but facing the counter. This caused an issue when trying to open the dishwasher. The kitchen is so narrow that the dishwasher door cannot be full laid flat which means you can’t really put anything in the back of the lower rack unless you have long arms or are a contortionist. This was never an issue for me as I don’t cook and could easily just use the top rack and the front of the lower rack. It was good to see in newer Homewood Suites (like the one in Steamboat) that the dishwasher was placed at the other end of the counter so there was no interference with its door.

Across from the kitchen counter, beside the fridge was a small table with two chairs. As there’s no desk in this unit the table could double for that – but only if it happens to suit you. I found it too tall to comfortably type all day so I ended up only using it for its original purpose.

Living Area

The living area consists of a sleeper sofa with a table and lamp on one side and a floor lamp on the other, an arm chair and a 6-drawer chest with the TV on top. There’s also a rectangle ottoman and an unique coffee table that sits over it like an arch. These pieces detach from each other so you can use the ottoman as a footstool or as additional seating.  I apparently failed to take photos of this area so here is a photo from the Hilton website.  This photo appears to be from a 2-bedroom unit as mine did not have this opening into the bedroom and the TV stand was flush against the left wall.

Homewood Suites Living Area
(photo credit:


The king bed dominates the bedroom. There are night stands with lamps on either side and one side has an alarm clock. The lamps have both electric and USB outlets for charging your devices, which is very nice.

Homewood Suites King Bed

Across from the bed, on the wall with the door that backs on to the living room is another 6-drawer chest with a TV on top. Although there were approximately 50 channels available, I was disappointed by the selection. The local Fox Sports affiliates were not available which meant I couldn’t watch Memphis Grizzlies basketball or Nashville Predators hockey – although live games were shut down in mid-March, re-runs of exciting past games were aired and I’d have liked to have been able to watch them. There was also no Animal Planet or ION television, to my disappointment. I ended up rarely turning on the TV.

Homewood Suites Bedroom


The bathroom area has a tiled floor. The sink area is open to the room and has decent counter space on either side of the sink. On each side underneath the sink is a small drawer and a narrow cabinet. The drawer is so narrow that the hair dryer only barely fit and had to be set inside “just right” so that the drawer would close. I loved the fluorescent light built into the mirror.  For someone as near-sighted as I am it was a great to be able to see clearly up close.

Homewood Suites Bathroom

Toiletries were by Neutrogena and I wasn’t crazy about their perfume-y smell.  I ended up buying my own full-sized toiletries since I’d need them eventually anyway.

Homewood Suites Neutrogena Toiletries. I’m not a great fan.

Against the back wall was the closet. It has double sliding doors but really, only one was needed. Even then, the doors did not slide completely past the closet’s opening. This made it very difficult to reach anything that was in the farthest corner. I realize for most folks this is not an issue but as someone living there, it became a real pain.

Homewood Suites Closet
This is as far as the sliding door opened

The toilet and tub/shower are in a room with its own door across from the sink. Water pressure was decent and I never ran out of hot water.

Homewood Suites Tub and Toilet



Pre-COVID this property offered a hot breakfast every day. Cereal and fruit were also available. Monday thru Thursday evenings a light meal was also offered that included limited adult beverages. After mid-March the food area shut down completely and had not resumed when I left in late May. But if it has started back, be sure to make friends with Ms. Betty in the mornings and Ms. Linda in the evenings and they will take very good care of you.

Homewood Suites Dining Area
(photo credit:

At the time I checked in snacks and sundries were available in a small store next to the front desk. In April all items from the store were removed and the front desk no longer had cash.


The laundry room is located on the second floor at the opposite end of the building from the front desk. There are two washers and two dryers. When I arrived the two washers worked but only one of the dryers worked. They all looked old and were removed the first week of March in anticipation of new ones arriving. However the new ones didn’t arrive right away and it was either late April or early May before the new units finally arrived. And even then, one of the dryers didn’t work. Since it was in the same spot as the previous dryer that didn’t work, I think there’s something wrong with the wiring or the outlet there.

Homewood Suites Laundry Room – these units were replaced with newer models this spring


There is also a tiny gym on the first floor, directly under the laundry room.  I never used it because shortly after my arrival it was shut down due to COVID.  This is unfortunate because it’s small enough that allowing people reserve it and allow for cleanings between uses is certainly do-able.

Homewood Suites Gym

Homewood Suites Gym

Outdoor amenities

The hotel does have a pool though of course it was too cool to use during most of my stay and then COVID. There’s also a basketball court and after the weather warmed up it was not unusual to see young men playing. I’m not sure they were guests but as this was during the most restrictive period of the COVID lockdown I was surprised management allowed them to stay and play. I had heard of other hotels removing their basketball rims to prevent this type of quarantine violation.

In the end

This is not a fancy hotel but it’s nice if you’re going to be somewhere for an extended amount of time. If kids’ soccer is not your thing you might want to check to be sure there’s no tournament in the area before booking. I would not hesitate to have family stay here on future visits.

Categories: Hilton, Homewood Suites, Hotel, Lodging Review, North America, Tennessee, United States | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lodging Review: Hampton Inn Bellevue/I-40 West

I went home to Nashville for both Thanksgiving and Christmas as well as a weekend in between when a family member was in the hospital. On each occasion I stayed at the Hampton Inn in Bellevue which is right off I-40. It’s a Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence winner and it’s easy to see why.

Hampton Inn Bellevue/I-40 West, Nashville, Tennessee

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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



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!

Categories: Hotel, IHG, Lodging Review, North America, Tennessee, United States | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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