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 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.

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.

Air France CDG 2E lounge at 5:30am

Just a few photos from the Air France Salon Lounge at CDG 2E  at 5:30am on Monday August 5th 2019.

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Sorry No photos of the food selection. Not much out early this early as the lounge opens at 5:30am. Some cold cuts, cheese, crousants, etc. I’ve never seen it this empty so it was pleasant for a 3 hour layover after coming off a redeye from TLV. img_20190805_053954img_20190805_053140

 

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.

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.