The Little Things
As much as I love a long weekend getaway at a romantic B&B with beautiful antique furnishings and scandalous breakfasts, when we're traveling and needing a place just to sleep for a night, I can't see spending a lot of money on a room.
Several years ago we stopped at our first Holiday Inn and quickly became "Priority Club" members. We gather "points" for each stay and over time accumulate enough points to earn free nights. Back in April or May, I contacted Holiday Inn to make reservations for a total of six nights at five different hotels. I'd earned enough points from past stays that we only paid for four of those six nights.
This past weekend we stayed at three different Holiday Inn Express properties and had good experiences at each of them. All of them were pet-friendly and gave us rooms on the ground floor, not far from the end entrance -- this really made it easier to move in not just our luggage but Blackberry's paraphernalia and crate. All three hotels had firm and soft pillows on the bed. All had nice curved shower rods and very nice showerheads and plenty of towels. All had complimentary toiletries and soap with a faint clove-cinnamon fragrance that was very pleasant. I imagine that all had excellent cable TV, but we didn't turn it on. All had predictable but more-than-acceptable free breakfasts -- so nice for getting an efficient start to the day's travel. Two had very enticing swimming pools, though we didn't have the opportunity to indulge.
Holiday Inns are pretty standard; we kind of expect a similar decor and similar amenities and similar complimentary breakfasts at every one. But there are individual pleasant peculiarities.The place in Lexington, Virginia, is a place we've visited before. I am delighted by the little rubber duckies that they place in the bathroom for their guests to take home. A very little, very inexpensive thing. But it won me over completely! The place in Brevard, North Carolina, was the most expensive of the three (at about $135 per night as opposed to the usual $89 -- $109), but the room was huge and at a corner, giving us more windows than usual. The last place was in Dublin, Virginia. We'd set out heading north from Brevard around 6 p.m. and knew we had a net drive of four hours. But we had to stop a couple of time for Blackberry and once for our supper, and then there was some traffic and it was much later than ten when we arrived. The woman at the desk was so warm and so welcoming as we sort of stumbled into the lobby. The room was convenient and on the desk was a complimentary bottle of water and a mysterious little brown grocery bag -- that contained a shiny red apple and a bag of microwave popcorn! Into the microwave it went and our tired crankiness just popped away!
Talk about the little things making the difference . . . .