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.

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.

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.

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.

Hotel Review of Holiday Inn Express Phoenix Airport University Drive PHX

Quick photo review of the Holiday Inn Express Airport. This was a quick overnight before an early morning flight. Overall this is a very nice HIX a couple miles from PHX and they do have shuttle service and free parking for guests.

I was disappointed to find that breakfast isn’t served until 6am which normally would be OK but airport hotels should know better. Many people staying at airport hotels have early departures of course.

There is a waffle house in the parking lot but no other restaurants within walking distance except the Hilton Garden Inn nearby.

Because of my Spire status I was upgraded to a Junior Suite which was very nice and roomy. Overall I slept well with good AC on a day with 113 degree temps. I didn’t try the pool but i enjoyed the stay here.

IHG 2nd Quarter Accelerate Promo Now Live but….

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In case you’re not familiar IHG Hotels has for many years run a quarterly bonus point earning promo called Accelerate. It has been decent for many years however it is targeted and seems to track how often you stay at IHG. So in other words, if you don’t stay at IHG hotels (Holiday Inn’s, etc.) often then you tend to get really good offers. Like “Stay 1 Night and earn 4,000 bonus points” or whatever. If you stay at a lot of IHG hotels the offers tend to get harder to achieve but also may offer greater rewards. For example “Stay 26 nights this quarter and get 20,000 bonus points” or whatever.

IHG says:

Complete your customized offers now and get your points. With offers designed for the way you like to travel, Accelerate helps you experience more of life. Earn bonus points, get rewards, and make every stay count more.

How does it work?

1. Book and stay at any IHG® hotel around the world from now until August 31.
2. Earn bonus points to use for great rewards and moments that matter.

So we get to:

Have: Customized offers, great (See above)

Offers that are designed for “the way you like to travel”, Apparently not the way others like to travel for me to travel the way I do or something.

“Experience more of life”. Apparently by staying at IHG hotels “life” is more of an “Experience”

And we get to “make every stay count more”.

All sounds great unless you get a crappy offer like my wife did this year.

Here is her offer:

FireShot Capture 048 - IHG® Rewards Club - Earn the extra rewards you deserve - Register Now_ - www.ihg.com

OK let’s say you aren’t familiar with this promo and think this is a great offer. That would be good if you didn’t know that my wife usually has an Accelerate promo worth like 50,000 points but can be hard to reach. She stays about 100 nights a year in hotels so targeting 24 nights’ish in a quarter to get some bonus works for her and IHG. This promo is so low AND requires her to stay for leisure to obtain it. Since she is a business traveler she doesn’t usually stay over on Saturday night. She doesn’t usually book for points & cash and uses a business credit card. Kind of disappointed.

Before you accuse me of kicking the gift horse that IHG Accelerate usually provides I will point out the offer I got below. Why is mine better? Because IHG had done the same to me in early 2018 and I moved all my stays over to Marriott in early 2018 to try and reset the clock with IHG. Good plan right? Sure except I found out that I REALLY like Marriott. In the marketing world, I would consider that a failure. So by IHG having targeted promo’s that punish loyal customers (11,600 versus 60,100) it can backfire I think.

FireShot Capture 049 - IHG® Rewards Club - Earn the extra rewards you deserve - Register Now_ - www.ihg.com

I won’t bring up the registration process issues on this latest promo. Mine worked fine and my wife’s didn’t load until after May 1st. Not sure why. I assume IT issues and not that they more closely reviewed her’s for extra crappy-ness.

Anyway. I urge you to register if you even think you’ll stay at an IHG hotel soon.

How does it work?

1. Sign up for Accelerate.
2. Book and stay at any of your favorite IHG® hotels from May 1, 2019, and August 31, 2019.
3. Earn bonus points to use for great rewards.

You can sign up for the latest promotion by June 18, 2019, and each offer must be completed between 5/1/18 and May 1, 2019, and August 31, 2019.

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Holiday Inn Express Early Texas Photo Review

The HIX in Early Texas is a new, nice hotel with great staff. 6am breakfast, 24 hour large fitness center with excellent equipment and a nice outdoor pool cap off an excellent experience. Although the somewhat thin wall construction next to a busy road subtract some this is likely the best hotel within an hour or more in any direction. I will also note that Verizon has terrible coverage in this town. The free WiFi helped a ton on this stay.