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11/21/2005

HOTEL PERKS AND PAINS

Since I've slept in a few hundred beds over the the last few years, eaten as many muffins on styrofoam plates and frozen through my share of lukewarm showers, I have more than a few opinions about the major chains of non-luxury hotels. I hope this list of hotel bests and worsts, based only upon my memory of personal travel experiences, helps SHLOGGERS who planning to hit the road over the upcoming holidays:

BEST SHOWER: Holiday Inn Express. They boast about their Kohler Smart Stay shower head and it's truly something worth boasting about. Excellent spread and pressure. Better than home. Not a big deal? Yea, right. You travel all day for a while and see how great even the simple pleasure of getting clean and warm feels. No better thing on the road.
WORST SHOWER: Comfort Inn. Every shower is different and not always hot, sometimes dripping, sometimes peeling the flesh right off, sometimes hitting me in the eyes and the toenails and nowhere else.

BEST BED: Westin. The "Heavenly Bed" is just that. Thick down-filled duvet (that's french for expensive comforter), feather pillows, clean sheets every time. Every time!
WORST BED: LaQuinta and Best Western. Don't look at the mattress under those sheets. Every bed looks as if it were purchased from a murder scene. I'm not sure CSI can solve the mystery of how a bed gets this disgusting.

BEST SERVICE: Hampton Inn. I've never met an unhappy Hampton Inn front desk clerk.
WORST SERVICE: Most other places. Especially late at night. The people who work after 10PM at hotels are not happy about it and it shows. They get back at the world by talking on the phone to their friends instead of helping us and by "forgetting" to put our wake up calls into the computer. Oops.

MOST CONSISTENTLY GOOD STAY: Fairfield Inn. Most are laid out the same way, clean, reliable, easy to work with, allow early check ins, provide decent showers and beds and free cookies. Bonus.
MOST INCONSISTENT STAY: Radison and Marriot. Radison was once considered a luxury hotel. Now it's hit or miss. I avoid them altogether. Marriot is usually a nice stay but I've been burned enough times by dirty pre-haired bathrooms, mildew smelling rooms and rude front desk folks to not get my hopes up when I walk in the lobby. The best of times and the worst of times. Who knows what time it will be until you've already paid.

My favorites are the no frills Hampton Inn and Fairfield Inn where you won't be pampered but you won't be disappointed either. But for a little extra money, especially if it's not my own, dive into a Heavenly Bed at a Westin or gorge myself on a grand breakfast spread at Amerisuites. And if I just need to get happy and clean all at the same time, give me a Holiday Inn Express and at least an hour.

Happy travels.

29 Comments:

Blogger GrovesFan said...

Excellent! I'm two for two. I got the hotel right AND the weather was warm and sunny in Grand Forks in November. No small feat for a rookie promoter let me tell ya. Thanks for the travel tips.

Beth

11/21/2005  
Blogger Magnanimity said...

Actually, there is a difference in a comforter and a duvet. My friend tells me that a duvet is sort of like a quilt with really great stuff inside...then you cover the comfie part with the pretty part...the duvet COVER. This is where duvets actually get expensive, but you can replace the cover, wash the cover, etc.

That's my knowledge base in whole on duvets right there. Want it...don't have it, won't get it. Wal Mart bed in a bag. Can't pay it!

11/21/2005  
Blogger Erin said...

i agree...hampton inns rock.

i enjoy reading your blog. the good/bad naked post was definitely a favorite and right on, in my opinion - thank you for being honest and saying what a lot of us feel and often fear saying.

11/22/2005  
Blogger Mustard Packet Pelter said...

Best bed I've ever slept on was at an Econo Lodge in Brunswick, GA. Bed was soft, pillows were awesome. Staying in a motel is always so much fun! My family always drives every where. Last Christmas we were traveling to Oklahoma and got caught in an ice storm in Mississippi and we stayed in our 15 passenger van at the Wal-Mart Inn Parking Lot. Let's just say that was the worst night of my life, almost. There was that one time last Fall at Belmont where I didn't have a place to stay so I slept in the rocket mobile in the parking garadge. Now that was a rough night.

11/22/2005  
Blogger Mary said...

Every bed looks as if it were purchased from a murder scene.

ha ha ha ha ha ha ha - this cracked me up!

11/22/2005  
Blogger Adam Haynes said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11/22/2005  
Blogger Adam Haynes said...

i'm not very pickey about hotels, until a couple of months ago. my wife and i went to the west coast and one of the hotels we stayed in was a Days Inn. it felt like we were staying in the place where all of those LaQuinta Inn mattresses come from AND horrible service. not to mention the rest of the furniture looked like it had been furnished by the local thrift store. they are all independently owned. so you never know what you will get.

AVOID DAYS INN LIKE THE PLAGUE!!!

there you have it. my two cents.
enjoy.

11/22/2005  
Blogger Amy said...

Godzilla--
you know the best hotel stay was GMA 2005....who knew 5 girls could destroy a room so quickly!! :-)

11/22/2005  
Blogger Mustard Packet Pelter said...

Okay okay I gotta eat muy words Heck yes!! Getting to stay in a room with ya'll was like Heaven!! lol I swear the cleaning lady was scared to come in our room!! ROFL

11/22/2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

also, make sure and request a WASHED bed-spread. you would be amazed at what is lurking in the fabric if you had a black-light to inspect. and i aint talkin bout pizza sauce.

Hey, how's your radio play been lately? my antena got broke off from some local hooligans so i haven't picked up KSBJ in about 4 months. hmmm. i must say i have been a little less angry/sarcastic as of late.

Seth

11/22/2005  
Anonymous kat said...

Our family went on a spontaneous trip last year. By spontaneous, I mean that at church I thought it would be fun to go on a vacation and leaned over and told my husband. I said,"Let's go on a vacation." He smiled and nodded. I said, "Today." So we went home and packed while our 8 month old and 2 and a half year old napped. Our original destination was Nashville, but after 6 hours in the car with the little ones, we decided Hot Springs would be a great vacation spot. We were right! We stayed at Embassy Suites and it was the most amazing Embassy Suites I've ever stayed in. Actually, the most amazing hotel I've ever stayed in. The service was so great - I almost felt famous. And it was so posh.

Seth, you bring back the memories. I worked at KSBJ for several years before I had my girls. May I ask why it makes you angry/sarcastic to listen to it?

Kat

11/22/2005  
Blogger Paula said...

I think that duvets are like what we call quilts, or doonas. Similar to a traditional quilt, except filled with down (feathers), and then with covers that you change as you want. Nothing like snuggling under your quilt with the electric blanket on high on a cold winter's night!

I've found that I can stand sub-standard rooms if the service is exceptional, but I can't even stand fantastic rooms if the service is average. When I was doing dance, we (the team) used to stay at the YMCA in Adelaide. Dorm-style rooms, very comfy beds, and the staff were fantastic!

And our accommodation in Fiji...rooms weren't what I was expecting, but the beds were comfy, and the staff were exceptional. It was like we were staying at their home.

11/22/2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Best cable channel selection = redroof inn :)

11/23/2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

best hotel so far.... Embassy Suites in Oklahoma City...

brody

11/23/2005  
Blogger robyn elise said...

i want a hotel right now. though i kind of am, since i have round-the-clock room service and the TV all to my self.

having foot surgery has it's ups. my mom is here to wait on me and get me whatever i want/need, i've had 2 people bake cookies & scones for me, my boss sent me flowers, my roommate got me a kentucky blue rose, and my roommate's dog has been watching over me and sleeping on my pillow with me. can't ask for much more than that.

not to mention the vicodin. i (heart) vicodin. yup yup. it's amazing.

there's a courtyard by marriot on west end near vandy that has pillowtop mattresses and is soooooooooooo comfy. my roommate's and i slept there when our toilet overflowed in our dorm last year.

11/23/2005  
Blogger Matthew Smith said...

My favorite is Hampton Inn, with Holiday Inn Express coming in second place. Worst? La Quinta and Best Western.

11/23/2005  
Blogger gavin richardson said...

i'm a fan of the hampton as well, rooms are good enough & their b'fast isn't that bad

11/23/2005  
Anonymous WAY Employee said...

Happy Thanksgiving Shaun!

11/24/2005  
Blogger Alabamamom said...

Stayed in a Best Western the night before Thanksgivng. The hotel clerk gave us a key to a room where someone else was staying. Big oops! After reading your blog I was scared to pull up the sheets and look at the mattress but I can testify to the fact that it was no "heavenly bed". Their continental breakfast consisted of either Frosted Flakes or Fruit Loops and my husband said the muffins looked like they were 6 months old. I am thankful that I only had to stay on it one night. There were hurricane evacuees and construction workers that had to stay there on a long term basis.

11/25/2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kat,

i just read your response, ill tell you on sat. or monday!

Seth

11/25/2005  
Blogger happy dad said...

Shaun,

You are right...the Westin bed is untouchable.

Best shower ever for me was at a JW Marriott in Las Vegas. But I agree with you...the Marriott has become a little inconsistent. For me, a good shower should hurt a little. Bring on the Kramer-esque shower pressure.

I gotta give big ups to Embassy Suites. Great rooms, great beds...and a mighty fine breakfast at every location. The one in Cool Springs is great...my wife and I head there every now and then for a get-away. I highly recommend it.

I'm not a frequent poster (is that the right word?), but I travel a lot, too. I share many of the experiences you mentioned...and am always thankful for a consistently good hotel experience. And as far as non-luxury goes, my top two are Embassy Suites and Hampton.

11/26/2005  
Blogger Nancy Tyler said...

Yeah what is it with Marriotts and mildew? From New York to Honolulu, they don't seem to know how to properly care for shower curtains. Stanky!

I like historic hotels like the Pioneer Square Hotel, Seattle (built in the gold rush era and located in the mission district); The Algonquin, New York City (home of the famous New Yorker Round Table, frequented by Dorothy Parker and friends)--also has my favorite hotel bed; and a new favorite and one I'm sure I'll never get back to again is the Kaanapali Beach Hotel on Maui. The beds are just ok and the rooms are old but very clean...but the character of the place--embracing the hospitality and fun of old Hawaii before Walmart and Home Depot found their way to the islands--is so personalized and detailed. All three of these hotels are in the mid-range pricewise and they're so much more fun to stay in than an impersonal Marriott or Sheraton.

11/27/2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

actually kat, if yor still come back and check this, I have decided not to give my top 10 list of why KSBJ makes me twitch. they do alot of good for plenty of people, and loads of hungry listeners practially think that they are their church in a can. Although there are some things about KSBJ i find a bit shady, like "ticket servant" and "donations" for adevertisement, its really about the bigger issue of radio not playing music that doesnt sound like a U2 tribute song, (casting crowns new "life song sings" next time you hear it sing "where the streets have no name" over the lyrics) or songs with any originality. Now see, i am starting to sound like a bitter old man. So to keep this short and nice as possible, I can honestly sum up my annoyance with KSBJ in two words:

Jeremy Camp.

fav. thing about KSBJ and the reason I still tune in for a few seconds while im in my wife's car: susan o'donnel

thanks for asking.

Seth

11/28/2005  
Anonymous kat said...

Seth,
It's funny that you should mention Ticket Servant. I actually started it. What do you find shady about it (other than the name - I vetoed it but my boss won.)? Be honest.

I have to say that I worked at KSBJ for several years and although I've been gone for 3 years now, from my experience there, there is *nothing* shady or anything less than honorable about the heart of the people who work there. Going to work and going to staff meetings was like church for me. I was constantly challenged in my walk with God by my coworkers and particularly by my managers. I worshipped and prayed more at staff meetings than I did in my church's Bible study group.

It's a huge station that tries to reach a lot of people, and sometimes the heart of the people involved can get lost or mistranslated, but from someone who knew those people well (including Susan - I agree with you about her - she's awesome) I assure you that their heart is to love Jesus and love people. And isn't that what it's all about?

I encourage you to volunteer or get involved in some way. Liz Jordan, Amanda Carroll and Kent Matthews all started out as volunteers. Who knows, in a couple of years you could be decided what gets played on the air!

Kat

11/28/2005  
Anonymous kat said...

Oops...that should read:

"deciding what gets played on the air"

kat

11/28/2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow big foot in the mouth on that one!!! ha!! Well, here goes, and this comes from my limited dealings with the servant, so please correct me if i am wrong as you would surely know better than I. well, first off, i have noooo doubt that KSBJ does everything legally and there is no intention on their part to do something illegal. i think that "shady" was a touchy word on my part. although i think that the whole non-profit thing as a whole (going on my limited knowledge again here) is a bit shady. shady meaning in-between right and wrong. how bout i explain instead of yapping-on half-uniformed.

okay, KSBJ is considered non-profit. and to advertise on KSBJ for an artist coming to your church you have to "donate" a certain amount for a certain number of on-air slots. this gets the name of your church or organization mentioned and people know where and who you are and when the concert is. this all just sounds like advertisement to me. like i said it is not illegal but lets just call it what it is-paid advertisement. the only difference is that it is tax-free. when you combine the ticket servant thing with KSBJ, then that is where things seem to get a little funny. Ticket servant IS FOR-profit organization correct? BUT it works mighty close with KSBJ NON-profit in advertising, and if a Church decides to use ticket servant to sell their tickets then they are offered a nice package that includes lots of advertising air-time on KSBJ. so that leaves the Church in a dilema. we either stay away from ticket servant taking a big hunk out of our ticket prices, "donate" to KSBJ and hope for some good slots, OR go through ticket servant, get the interview, meet and greet, and primo advertisement for your concert. And all the while if you happen to be bringing in an artist that conflicts with the interest of ticket servant then you are out of luck all-together. In short if you dont go through the servant then you really are getting the advertising scraps all around.

About the supporting thing, my wife and I have been finacial supporters of KSBJ and do the online-music panel thing for a while now, (althought they probably get tired of my crabbin')

I think that my last post was a tad negative, and honestly, i have been trying to be less negative lately. But you asked, so there it is. So even though there are a few things that annoy me about KSBJ they are all probably things have to do with the music selections and if the KSBJ staff new me then they probably would be annoyed with a few things about me themselves.

I mentioned mr. Camp as my summation for KSBJ annoyance, but it really has more to do with the saturation of Jeremy Camp songs, and that has more to do with listener support, or does it?

all this is all speculation on my part from limited dealings. so maybe you could shed some light on things i might have wrong.

All in all KSBJ is a great station with great people working there. they do all kinds of mission work and I have no doubt that there hearts are in the right place.

Thanks again.

Seth

11/28/2005  
Blogger GrovesFan said...

Seth,

I too listen to a "listener supported" station. It's one of the only two Christian radio stations I can access on the air. I choose to listen to that one because the other is kind of a hybrid I guess. Listener supported and also does ads. I called them about promotion Shaun's recent concert here and they worked on a promo for tickets deal. I could only afford to give them 10 tickets so I could only get $100 worth of ads. Not much at all in today's market. They also play what seems like an awful lot of ads compared to music.

The listener supported station on the other hand, did an interview with Shaun, gave away CD's (provided by the label), and tickets, and talked about that concert almost between every song the week before he was to appear. All the while, not playing ONE of his songs because they don't have any control over their playlists! They did an outstanding job promoting though, followed up with me regularly and called the day after the show to see how things went. I get very frustrated over their playlist and tell them so every two weeks when I fill out my listener survey. I enjoy many artists, some more popular than others. I swear though that MWS (who I really like BTW) could record "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" and it would get air play because it's him. Casting Crowns could go gold with it!

Beth

11/28/2005  
Anonymous kat said...

"wow big foot in the mouth on that one!!! ha!!"

Don't worry about it. Honestly, my husband and I have gotten quite a good laugh out of it.

I wish I could completely clear the air on all of the questions you've mentioned, but as I've been thinking about it I'm not sure that it would be ethical of me to discuss the business practices of the station (the whole nondisclosure thing). However, I will say that if you drive by the KSBJ/Ticket Servant parking lot you'll see that whether for-profit or non-profit, clearly no one is getting rich by working there. Seriously, I really wish I could go into more detail, it pains me to no end that I don't think I should.

If the station and Ticket Servant are anything like they were when I left, I assure you that every attempt is made to ensure that things are fair and ethical. I guess it's nearly impossible to do everything with good intentions AND *appear* to do everything with good intentions. KSBJ operates on such a big scale, that there are bound to be things that are misunderstood.

As far as the music goes, I completely understand. I do know that they're constantly and consistently doing listener surveys/studies and I guess "Becky" just really like Jeremy Camp.

I really wish I could go into more detail on some of the things you've mentioned, but I'm not sure where I should draw the line, so I'd rather just not get near it. I do apologize...

If you're really interested, I'd be happy to pass on your questions to the staff and have them email you.

BTW, I enjoy reading your comments here and over at Alan's blog. You seem to be very knowledgeable and at the same time very teachable.

Sincerely,
Kat

11/28/2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kat,

"I guess it's nearly impossible to do everything with good intentions AND *appear* to do everything with good intentions." AINT THAT THE TRUTH!

"Honestly, my husband and I have gotten quite a good laugh out of it" yeah my wife laughed at me too. always happy to entertain!

honestly i dont worry about it too much so i can totally take your word for it on this one. Thanks for the info. Its kind of funny actually, before this little chat, I was actually considering stopping the listener support thing! for the record, and this is not last minute kissing up here, i actually tried to convince the music minister at my church to go entirely thorough ticket-servant becasue for what we were doing it was a really good idea. the frustration and questions came when he decided against and when I tried to advertise NOT using ticket servant. So for now, i will totally take your word for it. :)

thanks for your encouragement on the alan's blog thing. hopefully i am more teachable than knowledgable!

Grovesfan,

i hear ya. why in the world would they do allllll those things in prep for shlaun's (shlog+shaun) concert and not play 1 single tune? kinda makes you wanna cuss ;)

seth

11/28/2005  

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