Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Vacation Hotels

We spent a week in Arizona in early June.  We saw the Grand Canyon and many of the sights of Northern Arizona.

We like to stay in hotels.  We really like nice hotels.  We stayed in 5 hotels over 7 nights, and here is my Hotel Review:

Night 1:  The Homewood Inn and Suites in Scottsdale AZ.  We enjoy suite hotels because it allows us to put the kids to bed at a regular hour and still be able to stay up and relax, plan the next day, and just generally unwind.  This hotel was clean, the staff was friendly, and the free breakfast was very good.  The outdoor pool needed to be “de-leafed”, as it is surrounded by many trees, but otherwise it was very nice.  At $79, this was a great value and we would stay here again.

Night 2 & 3:  AmeriSuites in Flagstaff AZ.  The staff was great.  That being said, let’s be clear:  this hotel is not a suite hotel.  The rooms were larger than regular rooms, but there was no separate bedroom.  This causes problems because it’s more difficult to put the kids to sleep (unless I want to go to bed at 8:30).  The rooms were not very clean, the furniture was beat up, the common areas were the same.  The breakfast was above average, which is a plus.  Some type of youth group was booked on to our floor during both nights.  Instead of socializing in the lobby common area, they chose to have open door gatherings in all the rooms around ours.  We had to call the front desk both nights around 9:30 to ask them to quiet things down.  The pool was indoors, but the water was cold.  The hot tub was okay.  At $98 per night, we were hoping for more.

Night 4:  Holiday Inn Express at the Grand Canyon.  The first room we were assigned had evidently hosted a cigar party recently.  We moved to another no smoking room without problem.  You can’t have a lot of expectations with a Holiday Inn Express.  The room was cleaner than AmeriSuites.  The indoor pool was sufficiently warm.  Not a lot of frills.  The breakfast was okay, not stellar.  At $122, this was the most expensive hotel of the vacation.  The price was based on the location.  Even the Wendy’s was expensive.

Nights 5 & 6:  Hampton Inn and Suites Flagstaff AZ.  This hotel is located across the street from the AmeriSuites.  We booked a regular room.  The room was clean, large, and very comfortable.  The indoor pool had very warm water.  The breakfast was very good, and the staff was nice, too.  The lobby was great, and the hotel was one of our favorites.  The price was $114, but after spending $98 at AmeriSuites and hating it, I wished we would have spent the extra money for this hotel for nights 2 & 3.

Night 7:  Embassy Suites Biltmore in Phoenix AZ.  Hands down our favorite hotel.  Lavishly appointed with very nice rooms.  The outdoor pool was huge, surrounded on 3 sides by the hotel as if set in the bottom of a canyon.  Could have stayed there a week.  Because we had to leave at 4:30 am, we couldn’t enjoy the breakfast.  The living room part of the suite was gorgeous and bedroom was huge.  I am strongly considering going back there for a ‘getaway’ weekend with the wife (wink, wink, nudge, nudge). At $92, how can you go wrong?  Great staff.

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