Hotel Comfort Food – My Favorite Limited Service Brands

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Limited Service Hotel Brands

Limited Service Hotel Brands

I’ll be visiting a sick family member a few states away for the foreseeable future.  This individual lives in a midsize metropolitan area, not one known as a vacation destination.  Based on the circumstances and limited options, an aspirational stay won’t be happening here.  I’m now back in the saddle with more frequent stays at some of the usual, comfortable suspects. Here are my favorite limited service hotel brands.

Holiday Inn Express

I’ll start with one I’m currently writing from.  I’ve enjoyed the consistency of HIE for years, from the low maintenance check-in to the functional rooms.  I’ve noticed these IHG properties, at least the ones I’ve visited, have kept up with the times through periodic renovations and new locations.  Their rooms offer ample workspace, including plenty of handy power options (USB and outlets) in the desk area and bedside.  Free, satisfactory coffee’s available 24/7 in my experience.  And I must note the key item no other brand in this article offers – HIE’s addictive cinnamon rolls.  This hot decadence more than covers for the otherwise-forgettable breakfast fare.

Limited Service Hotel Brands
Hampton Inn Mexico City.

Hampton Inn

I’ve enjoyed Hampton Inn, another predictable-in-a-good-way option, since my childhood.  Their beds are the standout feature for me in this hotel segment, reliably comfy in most all my stays.  Hampton also gets high marks for a huge footprint – they’re seemingly everywhere.  Are you listening, Hyatt?

Breakfast is meh.  The scrambled eggs are somewhat edible, which is a high compliment compared to some others in this category.  But on a recent stay, I was egregiously overbreaded.  Here were the breakfast options beyond the eggs: waffles, muffins, toast, biscuits, bagels, and cereal bars.  I felt full just looking at all of it and opted for none.

Lackluster nourishment notwithstanding, I’ll always consider Hampton an option.  Front desk reps have been consistently welcoming and competent.  That and a place to crash is all I really need in these situations.

Limited Service Hotel Brands
Source: Choice Hotels.

Comfort Suites

Before kids, my wife and I didn’t focus on Choice Hotels.  My, how times have changed.  Choice Privileges has probably been my favorite niche travel loyalty program for the last several years.  Among other angles, we’ve enjoyed the spacious accommodations of Comfort Suites.  I think of these properties as nicer Comfort Inns with bigger rooms.  The base room in all Comfort Suites we’ve visited have included a good-sized sitting area beyond the bedroom, often bigger than a Hyatt Place room.

Unfortunately, breakfast is pure anarchy.  I feel like I’m in the middle of a Mad Max movie every time I visit.  Surely, that’s not unique in this hotel category, but we’ve consistently had this experience at Comfort Inns and Suites.  We’re now at the point of skipping the breakfast altogether here.

But the big rooms and certain unique locations keep us coming back.  For instance, we enjoyed our distinctive stay at the Chincoteague Island location last spring.

What’s Not On This List

Many chains aren’t included in this article.  I can’t possibly mention them all, but I’ll comment on a few I’ve left off for specific reasons.  Marriott’s Fairfield Inns have the most uncomfortable beds, across the board – actually, I feel like that’s what we were lying on there.  Wyndham’s Wingate properties are tremendously unpredictable.  I previously found La Quinta’s quality adequate, but recently, there’s been a downturn at the properties I visited.

Limited Service Hotel Brands
Holiday Inn Express Outer Banks.

Conclusion

I try not to default to “no” with limited service hotel brands.  I’m willing to try ones where I don’t have familiarity.  I encourage you to share your favorites and why you like them below.  I’m still game for an award splurge every now and then.  But I’ll inevitably return to limited service hotel brands, most often during travel needs.  So, dear reader, which other brands should I consider?

Benjy Harmon
Benjy Harmon
Benjy focuses on the intersection of points, travel, and financial independence (FI). An experienced world traveler, husband, and father, he currently roams throughout the USA close to expense-free. Benjy enjoys helping others achieve their FI and travel goals.

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9 COMMENTS

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9 COMMENTS

  1. I’ll second Comfort Inn/Suites and Hampton Inn. My parents preferred limited service hotels and they usually try to stay at Comfort Inns now. There’s a really good one if you are ever in Flagstaff, AZ – pretty high quality breakfast with multiple hot items and a large common area decorated like a hunting lodge. Hampton Inn has been solid with a huge footprint and consistently good service. Lake Havasu City is probably my favorite stay with them overlooking the water. The questionable Hampton Inns have been more because of poor location like next to a railroad than the hotel quality.

    La Quintas used to be nice, disappointing to hear they have gone downhill. I’ve had good luck with AmercInn for Wyndham properties in the Midwest, especially in small towns where Choice and Wyndham tend to be the only point options. One even had gluten free toast for my wife!

  2. Been enjoying nice stays at the Comfort inn in the beautiful Adirondacks of Lake George NY. Nice pool. Decent breakfast. And perfect view for fireworks.

  3. We usually seek out Holiday Inn Express hotels because we appreciate free breakfast and don’t spend enough time in our hotel room to need anything fancy. We’ve also had decent luck with Best Western.

  4. For years I enjoyed staying at LaQuinta before they became part of Wyndham. After joining Wyndham they declined rapidly downward as you mentioned. Before Wyndham there were no pet fees. After joining Wyndham most have added pet fees. Thanks for mentioning Choice hotels. I will check them out next time I am traveling with my dog.
    I travel frequently to NYC and I enjoy staying at the Hyatt Place in Flushing Chinatown. Really well designed rooms and a great location. Overall very well run hotel. But on the downside they offer both asian and western choices for breakfast and I would say both need improvement.

  5. Strange that you left Hyatt off the list. I reserved a bunch of them last year at 3500 pts for Globalist and really liked them. Most have a bar and most have some sort of a menu that you can order from. I also like the separate bed and lounge/desk area too. Most of them allow dogs, so that is either a plus or negative depending if you are a dog person.

    • Byron,
      Based on multiple subpar experiences at Hyatt Place, we haven’t stayed stayed there in years. But you bring up great angles that many can benefit from – I’m glad that’s working out in your situation!

    • And rooms are often blocked for six people. Excellent for family travel. Best limited service hotel of them all.

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