More about hotel value

14 04 2006

Last night we stayed in an ExtendedStay America room near O'Hare Airport in Chicago, so it was always going to be more expensive than hotels further out.

Normal price – less than $80 US for the room (bit less with a discount). So it was half the price of the Wyndham Resort in Palm Springs. Did we get half the value? No way! In fact, we got WAY more than expected.

Let's look at what we didn't get – no pretty boxed shampoos and conditioners (though soap is provided), no hairdryer, no extra pillow and blanket… and that's about it. What we did get at ExtendedStay that we didn't get at the Wyndham included:

  • tapware and drainage in the bath/shower than worked properly
  • a mini-kitchen with sink, fullsize fridge, microwave, 2-burner stove top, crockery and cutlery for two people, basic cooking utensils, toaster
  • two desks
  • a TV with better reception and choice of channels
  • an airconditioner whose temperature we could control (unlike the Wyndham where there was no control over the temperature if you wanted it less than 69 degrees)

More evidence of the rip-off nature of the larger hotels. Oh, and did I mention that the Wyndham applied FOUR taxes to each night's stay? These taxes (including a spurious and questioned "resort fee" of $8 a night) added another $30 plus to the bill – for each night. That's nearly the total amount we paid for that Motel 6 room back at Paso Robles! 

Am I p***ed off? You bet!


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18 04 2006
Whitney

Last year, I stayed at the Hilton near the Seattle Convention Center. I had a great view of the bay and parts of downtown Seattle. The room was small, the bathroom was impossibly small, the TV channels for cable were hard to figure out and the mini-coffee pot in the room was woefully undersupplied with coffee, sugar and creamers, despite my leaving notes for housekeeping to leave extra. I left feeling like the rates charged for my room constituted highway robbery — and the fact that my employer at the time paid for the room made little difference. Not much value for what we paid.

Later that week, I stayed at a Ramada near the Spokane, WA airport. Half the price of the Hilton. They had a staff who made you feel like you were coming in to stay with favorite and fun relatives — not a hotel. The bed was comfortable, the bathroom was bigger, the closet was bigger, there was lots of room to move around the bed, the sitting chairs, and the table and desk where you could eat/set up your computer/whatever. The mini-coffee maker was amply stocked with regular and decaffeinated coffee, several kinds of tea, and plenty of sugar and fake-cow creamer (and getting more was as easy as asking at the front desk). Had a toaster, a microwave, and a good-sized mini-fridge.

Travelling around the last few years, I’ve been in some of the biggest and most well-known hotel chains in the country — Hilton, Hyatt, Wyndham, etc. — and in absolutely every case I was sorely disappointed in what we got for our money.

So, no, it’s not just you.

Sometimes, you have to chalk the differences up to geography…your dollar will buy you more in one place than in another. But for the most part, big names and high prices rarely equate to fantastic hotel rooms in the U.S.

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