Hotel Mini Reviews, Fall 2022 Edition
Fall is my favorite time of year to travel. I’ve settled into my turning-into-a-slightly-older-guy phase, and I enjoy autumn weather, leaves, and events. Over the past few months, I’ve stayed in a variety of hotels, many which may not warrant a full review. But many travel to these areas. Today, I’m sharing some quick thoughts on a few properties I visited. Perhaps some of you will find these hotel mini reviews useful.
Holiday Inn Express, Wilmington, NC – Medical Park
I took a quick overnight trip to Wilmington, NC for a Built to Spill show in September. I’ve been to Wilmington before, so sightseeing wasn’t a priority this time. I found this hotel to be fairly convenient to the Greenfield Lake Ampitheater venue – a reasonable 30 minute walk along the water. The hotel front desk agent proactively upgraded me to a larger room at the property – I don’t think I’ve ever been upgraded at an HIE before. I received a much larger room with a huge foyer. Nice, but it’s not anything really I took advantage of as a solo traveler.
All rooms and public spaces felt very new and clean. This best Holiday Inn Express stay in recent memory took a hit when breakfast didn’t offer cinnamon rolls. I have, let’s say, a special connection with HIE cinnamon rolls. They’re a big reason I look forward to HIE stays. I quickly got over my disappointment, realizing that cutting out a cinnamon roll at least once from my HIE breakfast couldn’t hurt.
Craddock Terry Hotel, Lynchburg, VA
When I think of Lynchburg, VA, I think of one thing. I can imagine many others do, also. A visit here hasn’t been particularly high on my list, but the stars aligned later in September. I found myself with a sunsetting $300 Marriott credit benefit from the Amex Brilliant card. And while messing around on the Marriott site, I found this interesting property. The Craddock Terry is a former shoe factory which recently became part of the Tribute Portfolio. I enjoy repurposed properties, and the price was right for my remaining credit.
I enjoyed my one-night stay at the property. Rooms are spacious and have historic touches. My room held excellent views of downtown and hillsides. The hotel serves a complimentary breakfast, delivered in an old school shoebox. This perk deserves high marks for novelty and slightly lower ones for quality (basically, a Hampton Inn-caliber breakfast). I enjoyed steak frites and a drink at Shoemakers, the onsite restaurant.
I was pleasantly surprised by the vibrant dining and drinking scene in downtown Lynchburg. Starr Hill Brewery was a personal highlight.
Hyatt Regency, Schaumburg, IL
I stayed at the Hyatt Regency Schaumburg for a couple nights in October while attending the Chicago Seminars nearby. The 5k points per night award rate is the biggest draw here, in my opinion. The property itself is rather sterile – it provides all necessary services at a satisfactory level, but not much else. The most surreal part of the stay was breakfast. A buffet was the only option. I was dining with Globalists, and I felt like the breakfast buffet primarily existed for them. It’s hard to describe, but it seems I was the only one there who was not a Globalist. Regardless, I enjoyed this spacious property as a respite from the Chicago Seminars venue.
And a Few Others…
This fall, I also had an excellent stay at the Ritz-Carlton Chicago, and my LondonHouse Chicago overnight left me scratching my head.
Many focus on aspirational properties in exotic locales. I enjoy those from time to time, but more often now, I focus on more practical redemptions centered around our travel-related goals. And sometimes, travel needs warrant staying at relatively mundane hotels. Nonetheless, I feel it’s worth exchanging data points on such properties for mutual benefit. I plan to keep doing so in the future, and I encourage you to in the comments, as well.
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