Last week I outlined why I’d be joining the IHG Rewards Club. Basically I’ll be staying in small towns that don’t have a ton of loyalty program options. Well my first stay has come and gone at the Holiday Inn Express Deming, NM. I
probably won’t be reviewing every roadside hotel I end up staying at. But for my first stay, I’d like to reflect on the Holiday Inn Express brand, the IHG program experience, and my overall thoughts on roadside hotels.
I arrived in the lobby at approximately 5pm. There were three uniformed servicemen checking in ahead of me and only one person helping them at the front desk. Luckily another employee quickly noticed a line forming and jumped in to assist.
I booked this reservation using points from my Chase Ink Business card. Apparently Chase uses Priceline as their booking agent for redemptions. The man checking me in suggested I use IHG’s website instead of Priceline for the best rates going forward. Instead of starting a lengthy points and miles conversation, I just acted oblivious and said I’d definitely check that out. One thing to note is that I entered my IHG number in the Chase booking portal, but the hotel had no record of that. I had to pull up my IHG registration email to give him the number.
Within a couple minutes I had my room key and was off to the fourth (top) floor. I’m not sure if I got a room on the top floor due to being an IHG member, or just because.
Well when it comes to roadside hotels, the goal is to always have a clean room. Anything else is a bonus. The Holiday Inn Express Deming definitely came through in that regard. My room was spotless. The bedding was neatly made, there were plenty of towels, and it just felt comfortable to be in. One thing that I thought was kind of odd was that the floor seamed a little creaky for newer hotel. I’m not sure if people below could hear that or not. Obviously being on the highest floor, it didn’t impact me.
I was assigned a room with double beds instead of a King. Personally I don’t care either way, but in hindsight it was kind of odd that they didn’t confirm my preference at the front desk. I don’t know if a double was requested/mandated via Priceline, or just an oversight by the front desk. Oh well, not a big deal. I’m assuming they would have switched me to a King if I went back down and asked.
Since I was traveling for business, I really appreciated having power outlets on all the lamps. I can’t overstate how convenient that is. I recently stayed at a 5 star hotel and was forced to pull a nightstand off the wall to plug my phone charger in. How do these basic hotels manage to get this right, and some of the nicest places out there can’t? I guess that’s another post for another day. Overall nothing to complain about in the room.
As I mentioned above, a clean room is really what I’m shooting for at these types of hotels. However, they can sometimes surprise with a couple other amenities. In this case, the hotel featured a pool and spa, fitness center, and free breakfast.
The pool was indoor since the temperature in Deming can get pretty low. I’m not sure the average business traveler would use this much, but I could see it being attractive for a family on a road trip. The fitness center was actually a little better than I expected. The room felt comfortable, it had some free weights, towels, and water.
Now on to the breakfast. This was probably the biggest disappointment of my stay. I know I shouldn’t expect much from a free breakfast, but it just wasn’t good. The eggs appeared to be of the powdered variety. Definitely not cracked. I had read a flyertalk thread that mentioned Holiday Inn’s had upgraded from regular yogurt to Chobani Greek yogurt. That wasn’t the case here. Going forward I think I’ll just grab some coffee, and take a quick look at the breakfast spread. If it’s like this, I’ll have a backup plan for a local diner.
Overall I felt like this was a good start to my IHG membership. The hotel met my most important criteria which is cleanliness. They may have missed on the breakfast, but I think the economics of serving a real breakfast just might not make sense given the price point of the hotel. The indoor pool and fitness center more than made up for it. If The Holiday Inn Express Deming is indicative of what the brand has to offer, then I think I’ll be happy with my choice to join IHG.