You can always find a reason to complain – or you can find a reason to praise. The difference is not just in your experience but in the experience you leave with those you encounter.
The Mom had a treat this past weekend. I had the opportunity to spend two whole nights in a hotel . . . ALONE!
I had to work the days at WordCamp Birmingham 2018, but I had the hotel room all to myself.
The Holiday Inn Express in Pelham, Alabama was one of the sponsors for the conference and that was the hotel of choice for many of the attendees, speakers, or organizers. Not only did HIE provide a great group rate AND amazing amenities, but it was also within walking distance of the Pelham Civic Complex.
I checked in after we met to get set up for the weekend event, and was immediately impressed with the ease of the process. The staff welcomed me and had me checked in within a couple of minutes – even though I didn’t have my confirmation code available.
I LOVED the room!
The next morning, the breakfast offerings caught me off guard. The omelets were tasty and just what I needed to get my morning started, but I’m fairly certain I could have eaten the cinnamon buns all day. If you can make a cinnamon bun delicious without having to drip it in icing then you have my attention.
I tried to say relatively “smart” in my breakfast choices, so I did complete the meal with some yogurt.
The hotel was packed full for the weekend, as was the parking lot, but even with folks having a party in the indoor pool area (or maybe it was the meeting room – I didn’t bother to investigate), my space was quiet and I had a second peaceful night’s sleep.
Breakfast on the second morning was even more of a surprise – because I came in expecting the same offerings. Sunday morning featured bacon . . . do I really need to say any more?
Great Parts of My HIE Stay
- The room was fresh and clean – but not overly scented. I have stayed in hotels that used air fresheners to “present” clean, but that much scent only gave me a headache – NEVER fun when you are on a trip.
- The staff was amazing! Everyone greeted me with a smile and was helpful (and even eager) to answer my questions. Sometimes you can run into crowded weekends that wear out the staff, but these folks never seemed to slow down.
- Coffee! The breakfast was spot on, but the never-ending coffee was even better. I was only a few doors from the lobby coffee, so it was easier to walk down and get fresh coffee than it was to make coffee in my room. *BONUS* The lobby cups were much larger than the room cups.
- The location was perfect for WordCamp Birmingham 2018. It was easy to get to all the different after events, the conference, and even local stores.
All in all, I can say that HEI met and exceeded my expectations.
The Down Parts of My HIE Stay
- The in-room refrigerator was small – not normally an issue, but with all the left-overs from the event, I could have fed my army of men for a few days if I could have kept it all cold.
- COFFEE! Okay, so the lobby coffee wasn’t exactly never-ending. Day two of the conference left us without afternoon coffee and me without afternoon energy. I slipped away from the event to grab some lobby coffee from the hotel and was sad to find that at 3 pm there was not coffee to be had.
- Ground floor room – which was great for getting in and out of the room but not so great for opening my curtains. I like to sleep with the curtains open so the morning light pours in and wakes me. Being on the ground floor meant I had to keep my curtains closed the whole time. *NOTE* I believe the staff would have moved me if I had asked – and a room had been available – but I knew I wasn’t going to be in my room that much so I adjusted.
The down parts of my stay at Holiday Inn Express Pelham were easy to adjust around and not really things I expected (as much as wanted). I could have found things to complain about – like the fact that the parking lot stayed crowded and there was always one 18-wheeler in the lot at night – or I could focus on the praise – did I mention the cinnamon buns to you yet? Often the place where I put my focus determines my experience – and also affects the experience of the people around me.
Thanks to the HEI. It was a wonderful stay and I appreciated that they were willing to join WordCamp Birmingham 2018 as a Community Sponsor.
Share your stays
Share your stories of “nights away” in the comments below. Share your favorite parts and how you think it could be better (or what others should watch for).