Photo Review of IHG Staybridge Albuquerque North

Recently had a chance to do an extended stay at the IHG Staybridge Suites Albuquerque North hotel. Some of the features such as full breakfast, evening reception, indoor pool and the fitness center remained closed due to the Covid19 scare. The laundry pet area and pantry was available. They also feature long term storage closets at this location as well.

The pantry was nearly empty but had a few items for purchase. The local staff as this hotel was the true bright spot. The rooms are super clean and had standard Staybridge set up with kitchen and sperated bed area. I’d say the only compliant I’d have was that many of the rooms have queen sized single beds which are a bit small in two player mode.

Hilton Garden Inn Cherry Creek Denver Colorado Photo Review

A quick overnight for business at the Hilton Garden Inn at Cherry Creek was a good experience.I usually stay at the Holiday Inn across the road but a client booked this hotel for me. While the Holiday Inn is nice and a bit cheaper I think I’d give the edge to this hotel. The best part about the Garden Inn is that it’s located in an upscale trendy shopping center so there are multiple restaurant basically on the ground floor.

Overall I enjoyed my time here. I like staying in this area because of the Cherry Creek bike trail which offers a great place to run or bike. There are public shared bikes along the trail as well.

Photo Review Holiday Inn Express Austin Airport Texas

Short one night stay at the HIX at Austin Airport. Hotel is a good location just a few minutes from the AUS terminal by car. The hotel features a nice outdoor pool, fitness center with decent equipment.

It also passes my test of offering the free breakfast at 6 am instead of the weird trend of 6:30 am that many hotels have moved to. It also has small guest laundry and the fitness center is open 24 hours. This hotel is located in a business park type area so not a tourist centric property but most of Austin is a car centered culture anyway. #traffic.

Separate bath and toilet area are a bit dated with dark lighting but spotless. Only complaint is the overdone water softener setting giving me that “swimming in the dead sea” spa experience.
I didn’t use the airport shuttle but they seem to have two drivers and vans on call at all times. Check with the hotel for details of course.
Overall a nice hotel with clean comfort and well located.

Avid IHG Hotel Review – Madison Wisconsin

I had a recent business trip that required a stay in Madison Wisconsin. Thankfully the weather was mild and almost warm for January in Madison. I picked one of the new IHG brands that just launched, called Avid. I didn’t bother to read the press releases they have done on this so I’m not sure what they are trying to achieve.

My impression is that it’s a minimalist Euro Budget approach. Something like a cross between an Ibis and Holiday Inn Express. This property opened on December 19th, 2019 so it is only a couple of weeks old. It’s hard not to like a brand new property of any type. I’ll be interested to see what it’s like in say 3 years but I guess that’s on the local management to keep it in good shape.

I liked the free breakfast offering that has self service hot sandwiches that seemed to be really good quality. They also have self service cereals, fruit and a good selection of items that all seem fresh.

I also really like the higher end Bunn self service coffee machines but I think they missed a chance to add a high end self service espresso / cappuccino type unit in this area. It just seems like a natural fit to have a Nespresso or Illy type machine in addition to what they have on offer. Not a big deal though.

This Avid hotel has a 24 hour fitness center with nice new equipment. No swimming pool which is fine for this property. Free parking at this location and they offer a grab and go market store in the lobby that had a lot of soda, bottled waters, snacks, etc. Overall a nice concept. I think adding a small bistro lobby bar sort of like Hyatt Place or some Holiday Inn Expresses in Europe have would be a bonus but not a big deal.

The rooms are nice because they are new and also well arranged. They are small. Not Clubquarters small but about half the size of many USA Holiday Inn Express properties. They offer laminate flooring much like the latest HIX designs from IHG. My room had a shower and no bathtub. I assume all the rooms are shower only which I like.

PRO’s – Nice new fun concept.

Simple brand with good service and clean.

Price point seemed to be lower than other hotels at time of my stay.

Free parking.

24 hour fitness center.

Free breakfast with good food. Great staff.

CON’s – No bar soap. I don’t love it but I “get” the virtue-signaling / cost savings of the bulk shampoo and soap bottles in the shower but bar soap is a must for me. This is a big negative in my world and such a simple thing to make right.

TV was good but didn’t seem easy to stream your own content or watch Netflix, Crackle, etc. Marriott seems to be a leader in this area. Not a big deal.

Rooms a bit noisy with somewhat thin walls and the typical self slamming doors. Not a big deal but could be a killer if around those with lack of an indoor voice or door slamming habits.

Overall I really love this hotel (other than the bar soap issue). I would stay here or at other Avid’s again but I need to remember to pack my own bar soap for some odd reason #brokenrecord. I’m not sure we really need another hotel brand but I could learn to love Avid hotels.

Lounge Review – Priority Pass Terminal 1 Munich Airport –

We paid a short visit to the Airport Lounge Europe on our recent visit to Munich. Our MUC-AMS flight on KLM left out of Gate D15 in Terminal 1 which was very close to this lounge. It is located next to the KLM Air France Lounge above Gate D14. You should be able to get to this lounge from the C gates but it would be a long way from others. There is another Priority Pass Lounge in Terminal 2. They are inside security. Overall this is a nice little Priority Pass Lounge.

This was in the morning so basic breakfast was on offer. The lounge was also very slow as it was during a Sunday morning. Overall we enjoyed this lounge.

Seating was comfortable with tons of power outlets.

Photo Review of Holiday Inn Elgin Illinois

This quick photo review of the Holiday Inn hotel Elgin reflects the good clean rooms and a nice hotel.

Pros include updated clean rooms with good staff service. Great location just North of the Interstate.

Cons include lack of evening room service even from the Bennigans on the lobby. They do offer breakfast room service but lack of dinner is bad because there aren’t a lot of restaurants in the area.

Photo Review of Super 8 Elgin Illinois

This is a budget hotel that is well located in the NW Suburbs of Chicagoland. I’m not a big Wyndham fan but stayed here for work location purposes. It’s a clean hotel that is decent and being remodeled to boot. The staff is friendly but breakfast is underweleming. Toast, cold cereal and coffee are the highlights. No pool or fitness stuff to weigh down the cost but good safe location with comfortable rooms and beds.

Hotel Photo Review Holiday Inn Express West St. Louis Wentzille

This HIX hotel is a brand new hotel right on I-70 near Exit 208 in the far West Suburbs of St.Louis. It is a typical new design. I love new hotels as they are usually spotless and clean. This is no exception. Indoor pool is nice, sorry no photos as too many people swimming during my stay.

The real bright spot of this hotel is the great staff. Only downside is that breakfast doesn’t start until 6:30am which isn’t the end of the world unless you need to leave early.

Delta One Suite Photo Review CDG-ATL

 

A quick photo review of our recent CDG-ATL Delta One flight. Overall a great experience. I was disappointed in the headphones which seem out of place on such a nice product. Delta should spring for Bose or Sony. Even the old AA QC-15s are light years better.

Sorry, the photos aren’t the best as it was an afterthought to do a review on this. I was seated in 7A with my wife in front of me on 6A and our friends in the middle of row 6. The staff was one of the best I’ve ever had on a long-haul flight. 7A was a good seat but on the aisle side instead of the window side so it was a little harder to see out but with the door shut it didn’t affect the privacy factor. I’m tall at 6’2″ and have large size 15 feet but didn’t have any problem getting a great 5 hours of sleep on this flight.

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Photo Review of Intercontinental Dan Tel Aviv Israel

We had a 2-night stay with 3 standard rooms at the Dan Tel Aviv Intercontinental hotel. This is one of my favorite hotels in Israel and we’ve always been treated decently. I run a very exclusive private tour business and stayed here with 5 clients on this tour of Israel. All of my clients loved this hotel.

As an IHG Spire and Ambassador, the service was good with no complaints about the rooms. I was a bit disappointed (but not shocked) that they do not offer free breakfast or lounge access at my elite status on award nights. We also had a bit of disappointment that the pool closed early prior to 8pm during our stay. They did give me several free gifts of wine, fruit, soaps, late checkout, free movie credit, and beverage credits but I would have exchanged all of that for lounge access. Again no complaints really though.

This hotel is located across the street from the beach and near the old Joppa port area. It’s also near one of our favorite restaurants, Bezzo’s Pizza and the local market area. I hope to stay here again on our next trip to the area.