Monday, March 31, 2014

You can't beat a Homewood Suites

Note: The views expressed in this post are based solely on my own authentic experiences. I have never received nor been offered any benefit, perk or discount from a hotel chain in exchange for a positive review.

I'm not the fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of traveler. Any hotel that I have booked in the last five years, whether it be for a one-night stopover or a week-long stay has been the product of significant research and planning. I can think of only one instance where this has steered me wrong. It was for a one night stay in Geneva, New York a couple of years ago. According to TripAdvisor the hotel I booked was ranked #1 of 9 properties in the town, so how could I go wrong, right? It ended up being one of the worst accommodations I had ever paid for. Since my stay the hotel has dropped to #6 of 9 in Geneva. I think I'll give myself and TripAdvisor a mulligan on that one. Maybe there was a change in ownership, or maybe the competition in the small Finger Lakes town just wasn't up to snuff at the time.

There are few constants in the world of successful trip planning. TripAdvisor's review aggregate is (almost always) one of them. Another is that you will be hard pressed to go wrong with a Hilton brand hotel. While the classic "Hilton" line of hotels are usually on the higher end of the price spectrum, there is a new entry in the brand lineup that simply cannot be beat for quality and value. Homewood Suites.

In order to truly appreciate what a Homewood Suites can offer you, you must first make one (and only one) simple concession. These hotels are not located downtown. They are found around airports and more suburban surroundings. In fact, there is one two minutes from my house in Mississauga. If you are comfortable with not being on the corner of Main Street and 2nd Avenue, the rest is money in the bank:

1. Free Breakfast

Sort of an American/continental hybrid, but always fresh and delicious.

2. Happy Hour!

Free "light dinner" and beer/wine from 5-7pm Monday to Thursday. This requires no further explanation.

3. Free Parking

Those hoighty downtown hotels wish they offered easy, free, valet-less, on-site parking.

4. Kitchenette

Save some money and make your own meals with a kitchenette and separate living quarters in every room.

5. Free Wifi

This seems like it should be standard everywhere, but sadly it's not.

6. Shuttle

Bus service to transit hubs often included.

7. New! 

Many Homewood Suites have been newly constructed. A little touch of modern to your stay.

8. Two-bedroom suites

Going with a big group and want more beds and washrooms, but are good with a single communal kitchen and living area? Two-bedroom suites are an incredibly cost-efficient option.

9. Free Newspaper

A fresh copy of USA Today waiting outside your door.

10. Great hotel bars

Don't expect a party, but solid selection, reasonable prices and daily specials will be found.

Trust the duck.
Check out some of my Homewood Suites reviews on TripAdvisor:

Springfield Virginia (DC Area)

Tampa Airport Westshore

Miami Airport West 

Have any questions about Homewood Suites? Have your own personal favorite chain? Love to hear from you in the comments.

Mike @Palms & Pints

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