Bang for the Buck – Budget Hotel Review

I recently had the opportunity to perform an informal survey of several budget hotel chains, to varying degrees of satisfaction.  Midway through my hotel hopping experience, I decided that it would make a great post and so here we are.

Ground Rules

All of the hotels in question are large, national chains, found all over the United States and some are even worldwide. The hotels were obviously not the most expensive option in the areas visited, nor were they the cheapest. I would inexpertly classify them as mid-range, businessperson’s hotels.

I know that’s not an all-together accurate term and that many families and vacationers stay at these hotels as well. That being said, I do think that they appeal to a wide-range of business professionals who, for one reason or the other, are in out of the way areas or simply trying to save some money.

The four hotels were also booked for and prepaid online, at the same time of year and in the same general geographical location. I think that this will help add some fairness to my INCREDIBLY unscientific results. Speaking of which, I don’t want to bash needlessly, but I do want to be honest. I also know that for each of the hotels, they represent just one property in a large network of hotels. Every location is different  and in some cases, the chains may not have a lot of control over the specific locations.

I will be posting the reviews as part of an ongoing series, so stay tuned for more unbiased opinions.

Ok, enough background and softening the inevitable blows. Let’s get to it.

Hampton Inn

I arrived in the early evening and was eager to get to the hotel and relax. Even though the property wasn’t on my car’s GPS, the front desk was incredibly helpful and I arrived without delay. From the outside, the design of the hotel looked pretty dated, particularly when compared to another hotel chain that was next door and obviously brand new.

Check in was smooth and efficient and I was thrilled to hear that both Wi-Fi and breakfast were included in my reasonable nightly rate. I had already forgotten the drab exterior and was ready to have a nice, quiet evening.

I was disappointed for a second time when, upon opening my door, I came face to face with my parents’ basement recroom. Old, dark carpets set the stage for old, dark furniture and just an old, dark room. Now, before anyone starts to think that I’m a prima donna, I’m not. BUT, the décor of the room is absolutely vital and it in great part shapes one’s overall impression of the establishment. I just couldn’t get over how old and dark everything was.

It’s also important to mention decor in discussing the brand in general because this location had all guests rooms redecorated two years ago and this is what they chose.  It unfortunately speaks to a lack of understanding current hotel trends and that more modern, light design is what many travelers expect.

But that was the worst of it. I was very pleased with the room setup and the fact they even had a laptop tray to use while watching TV on the couch. The bed was comfortable, bathroom was clean, the Wi-Fi strong  and I had a good night’s rest. Breakfast the next morning was perfectly adequate and I was able to start my day well.

In spite of the Addams family décor, the Hampton Inn scored very well in the areas that are most important: comfort, free Wi-Fi and free breakfast. I would probably stay with them again, as long as I could scout out the location in advance.

Score:  B

By: Matt Long

Matt has a true passion for travel. As someone who has a bad case of the travel bug, Matt travels the world in order to share tips on where to go, what to see and how to experience the best the world has to offer.

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