June 20 2015

Crowne Plaza Fredericton – Lord Beaverbrook Hotel Review

In decades of hotel stays, I can remember only one other occasion when I intentionally did not tip housekeeping. (At times I have unintentionally omitted a tip.)

But let me start at the beginning.

I chose the Crowne Plaza for a stay spanning several nights as it was a PointBreaks property that happened to work with my travel plans. (PointBreaks, for those unfamiliar, is one of the best deals in hotel loyalty programs.)

The hotel exterior
The hotel exterior

 

The location

The location is perfect for this city girl – right in the city center and easily walkable to restaurants and visitor attractions.

The town’s main street (King Street) is a block away, Officers Square (with its beautiful public skating rink) is down the street, the Beaverbrook Art Gallery is next door, and the Fredericton Playhouse is across the street.

The hotel is also set on the banks of the Saint John River, affording lovely views – even in the middle of winter:

View from my room
View from my room

 

The room

When a property describes itself as “historic,” that’s usually marketing code for “old.” The hotel may be historic in the traditional sense of the word, but it is also indeed historic in the marketing sense. However, its upkeep was good – albeit not impeccable.

Furnishings included a lot of dark wood. I’m not usually a fan of old-world design, but it works here. I wouldn’t expect a hip property at this location (that feels semi-remote, even if Fredericton is the capital of the province New Brunswick).

Room
My suite

I was given what the hotel described as a suite, although it was all one room so not a suite by definition. However, I typically prefer having everything in one room so the setup worked for me.

It was definitely spacious. I had a Jacuzzi Suite which, intuitively, had an in-room Jacuzzi tub.

The fireplace added much coziness to the room, especially during my winter stay.

Fireplace and sitting area
Fireplace and sitting area

The bed was very comfortable (if you like beds with soft fluffy mattress toppers).

I did notice the absence of an in-room safe. The guest booklet said they’re available at the front desk, but I never used them given the inconvenience that would have entailed.

 

The service

This was the hotel’s epic fail.

I generally like the service at Crowne Plazas – much friendlier and less stuffy than at the same chain’s luxury brand, InterContinental. Many of the staff here were great, but there are clearly bad apples and they unfortunately left a sour taste.

Internet was complimentary, but not reliable. It was also incorrectly described as “high speed” – I tested it several times and always got below 5 Mbps. I work when I travel so I’m sensitive to Internet functionality.

On a particularly bad Internet day – when it was completely out for several hours – I called the front desk. And the agent who answered basically told me to fix it myself.

I kid you not.

First she said maybe I’m using the wrong code. (Um…I did manage to graduate junior high. Besides, I couldn’t even get a signal to access the code-input page.) Then she said “you’re the third call I’ve had about this so let me give you the number of our Internet provider and they can help you figure it out.”

Yes, she told me to deal with the hotel’s outside Internet provider.

And since I’m the third call, shouldn’t that indicate the problem isn’t me?

After I said it is not my place to deal with the hotel’s contractors, to get rid of me she finally just said snapped “well then let me call you back.” (She never did.)

The worst part, though, was the housekeeping. OMG, the housekeeping.

On arrival, I found literally over a dozen hairs (that I am certain belonged to a stranger) on the bed. I picked off the first few but pulled back the sheets and kept seeing more and finally concluded the linens hadn’t been changed after the last guest. The lack of creasing on the sheets suggested the same.

Revolted, I picked up the phone and requested housekeeping, specifically telling the operator I was checked into a room with unchanged linens. She offered no apology; just a rote “I’ll send housekeeping right away.” (The “right away” turned out to be an exaggeration.)

The housekeeper came, took one look, and immediately acknowledged the linens hadn’t been changed. She said she didn’t service the room that day but would have a “private conversation” with her supervisor about it. Unlike the operator, she seemed sincerely apologetic, was (or at least acted) concerned about the situation, and thanked me for letting them know. She then changed the linens.

The next day a different housekeeper came. This housekeeper sniffled heavily the entire time and could barely speak. So, the person who made the bed I slept in and folded the towels I used was sick and possibly contagious.

I actually don’t blame the housekeeper; lots of people feel they need to work even when they’re not feeling well. However, I believe management should not have let her work in a guest-facing role that day given her obvious health condition.

Unfortunately the housekeeping issues only worsened. On yet another day, there were brown stains on the (supposedly newly-changed) sheets.

Not-chocolate stains on the sheets
Stained linens

I want to think it was chocolate.

But chocolate comes out in the wash, no?

If you’re a housekeeper and your job is to ensure guests have clean rooms, how do you miss a noticeably brown, dried-blood-like stain on white sheets? Either you overlooked the stain (in which case you’re incompetent) or saw it and used the sheet anyway (in which case you’re…let me find a polite word…indifferent?).

I mean, this is an upscale hotel. If there’s a big brown stain, take the sheet out of service! Even a mediocre hotel would do that (I hope). By now I was utterly disgusted, but in the end it is only a hotel stay so I just called down to have someone come change the sheets. Again.

End of rant. 🙂

 

The amenities

The indoor pool area had a saltwater pool, hot tub, and steam room. Though the area was mostly deserted when I took pictures, it was full of guests most evenings.

Pool area
Pool area

There’s also a small fitness room in the corner…

Gym
Fitness center

…and a business center whose printer came in handy as I had to work during my trip.

However, I think the hotel’s best attribute is its location – next to the river yet right in downtown. In winter the weather constrains river activities, but I’m sure in warmer weather the jogging path behind the hotel makes for a great amenity.

And I imagine the scenery would be stunning during Fall foliage season.

 

Summary

Overall, I’m ambivalent about this hotel. I did stay at another hotel – the Delta Fredericton – on this trip and had a much better experience in terms of service.

But the Crowne Plaza is best-located of all hotels in Fredericton. Despite its issues, for the location alone I might still stay here if I were in Fredericton again.

Upon checkout when I was asked how my stay was, I said I did have something to bring to a manager’s attention. The agent called a manager right away and when I conveyed my experiences about housekeeping she was (or at least acted) concerned and thanked me for letting her know. Hopefully they have addressed it by now.

Cost: 4,500 IHG points per night (5,000 PointBreaks rate minus a 10% rebate for holding the co-branded credit card). Since I value an IHG point at 0.7 cents, I equate the cost to $32/night.

Link to hotel website.

 

November 24 2014

Luxury Hotels for $35/Night – New PointBreaks Properties Now Bookable

Every few months, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) releases a new PointBreaks list. I consider PointBreaks one of the best deals in hotel loyalty programs, with award nights offered at the deeply discounted rate of 5,000 points per night.

IHG brands consist of the following: IHG Brands

A new set of PointBreaks properties was released for booking today. The list can be found here, and I have also pasted it below for convenience.

I value an IHG point at $0.007 (seven tenths of one cent), so being able to book a room for 5,000 points is like spending $35.

$35 a night is a good deal for just about any decent hotel property anywhere.

But among the 100+ properties on each PointBreaks list, there is usually a handful of extraordinary deals – InterContinental, Crowne Plaza, and Hotel Indigo properties that normally require up to 50,000 points for an award night (or several hundred dollars for a paid night).

PalacePortGhalib
The Palace Port Ghalib Resort in Egypt

A few of the gems on the list, in my opinion:

 

Ways to acquire IHG points

If you’re short on points, I previously wrote about how to earn IHG Rewards points. Among the methods described, there is a way to indirectly buy points for $0.007 each.

 

List of participating properties

Below is the full list as of this writing. The offer is valid through February 28, 2015, but award nights are capacity controlled and desirable properties go quickly so if interested I would book as soon as possible.

Once a property sells out of PointBreaks nights it drops off the PointBreaks page and the 5,000-point rate no longer displays for booking.

Each member may make up to two PointBreaks reservations per property. A reservation can be of any duration (availability permitting).

 

UNITED STATES

ALABAMA
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS MONTGOMERY – EAST I-85
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES SYLACAUGA

ARIZONA
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES ORO VALLEY-
TUCSON NORTH

CANDLEWOOD SUITES TUCSON

ARKANSAS
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES MALVERN
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES MORRILTON
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES VAN BUREN-
FT SMITH AREA

CALIFORNIA
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES INDIO
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES JACKSON
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES LIVERMORE
HOLIDAY INN PALMDALE-LANCASTER
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES TEHACHAPI
HWY 58/MILL ST.

COLORADO
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES CO SPRINGS-
AIR FORCE ACADEMY

CONNECTICUT
HOLIDAY INN NEW LONDON – MYSTIC AREA
EVEN HOTEL NORWALK

DELAWARE
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES DOVER

FLORIDA
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES BARTOW
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES BROOKSVILLE WEST
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES LIVE OAK
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES PANAMA CITY-TYNDALL

GEORGIA
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AUGUSTA EAST
STAYBRIDGE SUITES COLUMBUS – FORT BENNING
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES HINESVILLE EAST –
FORT STEWART

HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES MOULTRIE

IDAHO
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES SANDPOINT NORTH

ILLINOIS
STAYBRIDGE SUITES AURORA/NAPERVILLE
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES BOURBONNAIS (KANKAKEE/BRADLEY)
CANDLEWOOD SUITES CHAMPAIGN-URBANA UNIV AREA
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES MATTOON
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES MORRIS

INDIANA
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES KOKOMO
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS WASHINGTON

IOWA
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES CEDAR RAPIDS-I-380
@ 33RD AVE

CANDLEWOOD SUITES SIOUX CITY – SOUTHERN HILLS

KENTUCKY
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES HAZARD

LOUISIANA
CROWNE PLAZA EXECUTIVE CENTER BATON ROUGE
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS COVINGTON-MADISONVILLE
CANDLEWOOD SUITES DENHAM SPRINGS
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES MORGAN CITY –
TIGER ISLAND

HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES NEW IBERIA-
AVERY ISLAND 

MAINE
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS BIDDEFORD

MARYLAND
CANDLEWOOD SUITES ABERDEEN-EDGEWOOD-BEL AIR
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES BALTIMORE WEST –
CATONSVILLE

HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS WASHINGTON DC – BW PARKWAY

MICHIGAN
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES CANTON
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS HASTINGS
CROWNE PLAZA LANSING WEST
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES DETROIT
NORTH – TROY

MINNESOTA
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES ROGERS
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES ST. PAUL NE
(VADNAIS HEIGHTS)

HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES WILLMAR

MISSISSIPPI
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES CORINTH
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES FULTON
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES GRENADA
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES JACKSON
DOWNTOWN – COLISEUM

HOLIDAY INN HOTEL AND SUITES TUPELO NORTH

MISSOURI
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES MARYVILLE
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES SIKESTON
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES ST. JOSEPH

MONTANA
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES GLENDIVE
CANDLEWOOD SUITES SIDNEY

NEBRASKA
CANDLEWOOD SUITES OMAHA AIRPORT
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES YORK

NEVADA
CANDLEWOOD SUITES WINNEMUCCA

NEW JERSEY
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES CARNEYS POINT
NJ TRNPK EXIT 1

NEW MEXICO
CROWNE PLAZA ALBUQUERQUE
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES DEMING
MIMBRES VALLEY

HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES LOS ALAMOS
ENTRADA PARK

NEW YORK
STAYBRIDGE SUITES BUFFALO-AIRPORT
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS PAINTED POST – CORNING AREA

NORTH CAROLINA
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES GOLDSBORO –
BASE AREA

HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS HICKORY-HICKORY MART
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES MONROE
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES ROANOKE RAPIDS SE
STAYBRIDGE SUITES WILMINGTON EAST

OHIO
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES BOWLING GREEN
HOLIDAY INN DAYTON/FAIRBORN I-675
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES MARION
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES VAN WERT

OKLAHOMA
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES CHICKASHA
CANDLEWOOD SUITES MIDWEST CITY
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES GLENPOOL-
TULSA SOUTH

HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES PRYOR

PENNSYLVANIA
HOLIDAY INN BENSALEM-PHILADELPHIA AREA
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES PITTSBURGH SW – SOUTHPOINTE
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS EXTON-LIONVILLE
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES GREENSBURG
HOLIDAY INN WILKES BARRE – EAST MOUNTAIN
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES YORK

SOUTH CAROLINA
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES SUMTER

TENNESSEE
CANDLEWOOD SUITES KNOXVILLE AIRPORT-ALCOA
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES MORRISTOWN

TEXAS
CROWNE PLAZA DALLAS NEAR GALLERIA-ADDISON
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES HOUSTON-ALVIN
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES FAIRFIELD-NORTH
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES FLORESVILLE
HOLIDAY INN DALLAS-FORT WORTH AIRPORT S 
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES GRAHAM

UTAH
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES SPRINGVILLE-
SOUTH PROVO AREA

VIRGINIA
STAYBRIDGE SUITES CHANTILLY – FAIRFAX
CANDLEWOOD SUITES HARRISONBURG
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES SUFFOLK
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES WINCHESTER

WASHINGTON
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS VANCOUVER NORTH –
SALMON CREEK

WEST VIRGINIA
HOLIDAY INN HOTEL AND SUITES BARBOURSVILLE
CANDLEWOOD SUITES LOGAN

WISCONSIN
CANDLEWOOD SUITES LA CROSSE
STAYBRIDGE SUITES MADISON-EAST
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES PLEASANT PRAIRIE /
KENOSHA

WYOMING
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES BUFFALO

EUROPE

BELGIUM

CROWNE PLAZA LIÈGE

FINLAND
CROWNE PLAZA HELSINKI

FRANCE
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS STRASBOURG – SUD
CROWNE PLAZA LYON – CITE INTERNATIONALE

GERMANY
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AUGSBURG
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS STUTTGART AIRPORT
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS NEUNKIRCHEN
HOLIDAY INN STUTTGART
CROWNE PLAZA WIESBADEN

IRELAND
CROWNE PLAZA DUNDALK

ITALY
HOLIDAY INN SALERNO – CAVA DE’ TIRRENI
HOLIDAY INN NOLA – NAPLES VULCANO BUONO

RUSSIA
HOLIDAY INN MOSCOW – SOKOLNIKI

SPAIN
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS MADRID – GETAFE
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS VALENCIA – BONAIRE

SWITZERLAND
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AFFOLTERN AM ALBIS

TURKEY
CROWNE PLAZA ISTANBUL – ASIA

UNITED KINGDOM
STAYBRIDGE SUITES BIRMINGHAM
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS BIRMINGHAM – SNOW HILL
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS EAST MIDLANDS AIRPORT
HOLIDAY INN SOLIHULL

ASIA

INDIA
HOLIDAY INN AMRITSAR RANJIT AVENUE
HOLIDAY INN COCHIN
CROWNE PLAZA KOCHI

INDONESIA
HOLIDAY INN JAKARTA KEMAYORAN 

MALAYSIA
HOLIDAY INN KUALA LUMPUR GLENMARIE

THAILAND
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS BANGKOK SATHORN

CHINA-PEOPLES REPUBLIC
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS BEIJING YIZHUANG
CROWNE PLAZA BEIJING LIDO 
HOLIDAY INN TEMPLE OF HEAVEN BEIJING
HOLIDAY INN CHENGDU XINDU
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS CHENGDU WEST GATE 
HOLIDAY INN HOHHOT
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS SHANGHAI GONGKANG 

MIDDLE EAST & AFRICA

EGYPT
INTERCONTINENTAL THE PALACE PORT GHALIB RESORT

JORDAN
HOLIDAY INN AMMAN
HOLIDAY INN RESORT DEAD SEA

MAURITIUS
HOLIDAY INN MAURITIUS AIRPORT

QATAR
CROWNE PLAZA DOHA – THE BUSINESS PARK

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
HOLIDAY INN ABU DHABI

CENTRAL & SOUTH AMERICA

ARGENTINA
HOLIDAY INN ROSARIO

BRAZIL
HOLIDAY INN PORTO ALEGRE

CHILE
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS IQUIQUE

ECUADOR
HOLIDAY INN GUAYAQUIL AIRPORT

PANAMA
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS PANAMA DISTRITO FINANCIERO

MEXICO

HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS CABO SAN LUCAS
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS SALTILLO ZONA AEROPUERTO
CROWNE PLAZA TORREON
HOLIDAY INN CAMPECHE
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES PUEBLA ANGELOPOLIS
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS SAN LUIS POTOSI
CROWNE PLAZA XALAPA
INTERCONTINENTAL PRESIDENTE MERIDA

CANADA 

BRITISH COLUMBIA
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS FORT ST JOHN

NEW BRUNSWICK
CROWNE PLAZA FREDERICTON-LORD BEAVERBROOK

 

September 17 2014

Free Coffee, Up to 33% off Hotels, and an IHG Points Purchase Promo

Good afternoon! This will have to be another quick post but there are a few deals today I thought worth sharing…

$100 off a Travelocity hotel booking of $300+ (link)

This deal is valid only through 11:59 PM Pacific today (September 17), but if it fits your plans it’s a nice discount.

Use code BIGDAYHOTEL100 for $100 off a Travelocity hotel stay of $300 or more. Note that “pay later” hotel options are excluded.

Travelocity $100 off $300+

(If you’re a package-deal kind of person, also note code BIGDAYPKG100 saves $100 on a flight + hotel package of $500+.)

Up to 100% bonus on purchased IHG Rewards points (link)

In what is the largest bonus I recall ever seeing on purchased IHG points, you can earn a 100% bonus when buying 50,000 to 60,000 IHG points. The bonus offer expires September 22.

IHG Points Bonus

IHG Rewards is InterContinental Hotels Group’s loyalty program. The group’s brands include Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza, Hotel Indigo, Staybridge Suites, Candlewood Suites, and InterContinental Hotels, among others.

If you buy 50,000 points through this promotion, you’d pay $575 and end up with 100,000 points. Your net price would be $0.00575 per point.

Since I value IHG points at $0.007 apiece (and there is also an indirect way to obtain points at that rate), I think this promotion is decent. However, I would only buy points if I had a specific redemption in mind.

I don’t buy points just to hoard them as (1) loyalty points can be – and often are – devalued at whim by the company, and (2) I think it unwise to convert a liquid asset (cash) into an illiquid one (hotel points with little value outside their loyalty program) without good reason.

But if you had a specific use for IHG points, this promotion can be compelling.

Take, for example, the InterContinental Amstel. I pulled up a random date in May 2015 and the nightly rate was from €1,460 (about $1,900).

IC Amstel 2

Since a reward night requires 40,000 points, you can effectively book on points instead for $230 (40,000 x $0.00575). (But be sure to check reward availability before buying points!)

Free coffee at McDonald’s (link)

McDonald's

Finally, if you’re near a McDonald’s during breakfast hours, stop in for a free McCafe coffee through September 29. 🙂

 

July 28 2014

New IHG PointBreaks Hotels Bookable for About $35 per Night

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) just released its newest batch of PointBreaks properties.

I consider PointBreaks one of the best deals on hotel stays, with award nights offered at the deeply discounted rate of 5,000 IHG Rewards points per night.

IHG brands include InterContinental, Crowne Plaza, Hotel Indigo, Holiday Inn, and Staybridge Suites, among others.

I value IHG Rewards points at $0.007 each, so using 5,000 points is like spending $35 for a hotel night. A good deal for any IHG property; a fantastic deal for the luxury properties on the list.

As you’ll see in the full list below, there are quite a few upscale properties in this round. In the Central & South America region alone there are four InterContinentals and two Crowne Plazas.

InterContinental Cali pool
The InterContinental Cali – a steal at 5,000 points per night

I pulled up a random date for the InterContinental Cali. The cash rate is $469/night but, as you see below, the PointBreaks rate is only 5,000 points.

InterContinental Cali PB rate

The full list can be found here, and I have pasted it in its entirety below for convenience. These properties are available at the discounted rate through September 30, 2014 (while supplies last).

Ways to acquire IHG points

If you’re short on points, I previously suggested ways to earn IHG Rewards points.

Additionally, IHG is currently running a promotion offering a 60% bonus when you buy points.

IHG Promo - 60 bonus on purchased points
Click to enlarge

If you purchase 11,000 points, you’d pay $138 and receive 17,600 points including the bonus. Your cost would be $0.0078 per point ($138 ÷ 17,600). Buying points this way would enable booking a PointBreaks hotel for about $39/night ($0.0078 x 5,000).

Technically this offer is targeted, but it is widely targeted so if you’re a member just search your inbox for the email (mine came on July 25). If you’re not a member, it doesn’t hurt to sign up and see if you get the email (and if you don’t, call them to request).

With the co-branded credit card (described in this post) you also receive a 10% rebate on award redemptions, meaning your net cost is 4,500 points/night (about $35).

List of participating properties

Below is the full list. Award nights are capacity controlled and desirable properties go quickly so if you would like to snag one I would not dawdle.

Each member is limited to two PointBreaks reservations (of unlimited duration) per property. Once a property sells out of PointBreaks nights the 5,000-point rate will no longer display on the booking page.

 

UNITED STATES

ALABAMA

HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES GADSDEN
W-NEAR ATTALLA

HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS PELHAM – OAK MTN PK AREA

ARKANSAS
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES BENTONVILLE
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES MOUNTAIN HOME

ARIZONA
CANDLEWOOD SUITES YUMA

CALIFORNIA
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES EL CENTRO
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS SAN DIEGO-LA MESA (SDSU AREA)
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES LINCOLN-
ROSEVILLE AREA

HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES SACRAMENTO
NE CAL EXPO

CONNECTICUT
HOLIDAY INN DANBURY-BETHEL @ I-84

DELAWARE
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES HARRINGTON
(DOVER AREA)

FLORIDA
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS NICEVILLE-EGLIN AFB
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES PALM COAST

GEORGIA
CANDLEWOOD SUITES AUGUSTA
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES ATLANTA-CONYERS
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES MILLEDGEVILLE
STAYBRIDGE SUITES SAVANNAH AIRPORT
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES THOMASVILLE

IOWA
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES CLINTON

ILLINOIS
HOLIDAY INN CHICAGO NW CRYSTAL LK CONV CTR
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS CHICAGO-DOWNERS GROVE
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS ROCHELLE
STAYBRIDGE SUITES ROCKFORD

INDIANA
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES BEDFORD
STAYBRIDGE SUITES ELKHART NORTH
STAYBRIDGE SUITES FORT WAYNE
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES BLOOMINGTON
N-MARTINSVILLE

HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES TELL CITY

KANSAS
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES ABILENE
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES GARDEN CITY
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS JUNCTION CITY
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES LANSING-LEAVENWORTH
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES LAWRENCE
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES PITTSBURG

KENTUCKY
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS HENDERSON N EVANSVILLE SOUTH
HOLIDAY INN LOUISVILLE AIRPORT SOUTH
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES PIKEVILLE

LOUISIANA
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES SULPHUR
(LAKE CHARLES)

MARYLAND
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS POCOMOKE CITY
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS PRINCE FREDERICK

MICHIGAN
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES BAD AXE
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES CHARLOTTE
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS GAYLORD
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES ROSEVILLE
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES SOUTH HAVEN
CANDLEWOOD SUITES DETROIT-SOUTHFIELD
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES THREE RIVERS
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS WIXOM

MINNESOTA
HOLIDAY INN FAIRMONT
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES WORTHINGTON

MISSOURI
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES FARMINGTON
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES INDEPENDENCE-
KANSAS CITY

HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS JEFFERSON CITY
CANDLEWOOD SUITES KANSAS CITY AIRPORT

MISSISSIPPI
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES MAGEE
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS MCCOMB
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES VICKSBURG
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS WEST POINT

NORTH CAROLINA
HOTEL INDIGO RALEIGH DURHAM AIRPORT AT RTP
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS CLAYTON (SE RALEIGH)
CANDLEWOOD SUITES GREENVILLE NC
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES STATESVILLE

NORTH DAKOTA
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES DICKINSON

NEBRASKA
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS ALLIANCE
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS OGALLALA
STAYBRIDGE SUITES OMAHA 80TH AND DODGE

NEW JERSEY
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS WOODBRIDGE
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES MEADOWLANDS
AREA

HOLIDAY INN CLINTON
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES TOWER CENTER
NEW BRUNSWICK

NEW MEXICO
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES ALBUQUERQUE-N.
BALLOON FSTA PK

HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES GRANTS – MILAN
STAYBRIDGE SUITES LAS CRUCES
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES LAS VEGAS
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS SILVER CITY

NEW YORK
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES EAST GREENBUSH
(ALBANY-SKYLINE)

HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS ROCHESTER
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES WEST COXSACKIE

OHIO
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES DAYTON-
CENTERVILLE

STAYBRIDGE SUITES COLUMBUS-DUBLIN
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS LONDON-I-70
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS OAKWOOD VILLAGE

OKLAHOMA
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES ADA
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES ENID-HWY 412
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES MUSKOGEE

OREGON
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS GRANTS PASS
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS PORTLAND WEST/HILLSBORO
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES KLAMATH FALLS
CENTRAL

PENNSYLVANIA
STAYBRIDGE SUITES ALLENTOWN WEST
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS MEADVILLE (I-79 EXIT 147A)
CROWNE PLAZA READING

RHODE ISLAND
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES PROVIDENCE-
WOONSOCKET

SOUTH CAROLINA
CROWNE PLAZA GREENVILLE-I-385-ROPER MTN RD
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES LEXINGTON-HWY 378

SOUTH DAKOTA
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES VERMILLION
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES WATERTOWN

TENNESSEE
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES COOKEVILLE
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES CHATTANOOGA-
HIXSON

HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS KNOXVILLE-STRAWBERRY PLAINS
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES LENOIR CITY
(KNOXVILLE AREA)

TEXAS
HOLIDAY INN HOUSTON EAST-CHANNELVIEW
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES FALFURRIAS
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES KILGORE NORTH
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES UVALDE
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES WHARTON

UTAH
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES LOGAN
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES VERNAL –
DINOSAURLAND

VIRGINIA
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES CHRISTIANSBURG
CANDLEWOOD SUITES WASHINGTON-FAIRFAX
HOLIDAY INN NORTON

WISCONSIN
HOLIDAY INN CONFERENCE CTR MARSHFIELD
HOLIDAY INN NEENAH
STAYBRIDGE SUITES MILWAUKEE WEST-OCONOMOWOC
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES OSHKOSH-SR 41

WYOMING
HOLIDAY INN RIVERTON-CONVENTION CENTER

 

EUROPE

FINLAND

HOLIDAY INN TAMPERE

FRANCE
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AMIENS
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS GRENOBLE – BERNIN
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS LILLE CENTRE

GERMANY
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS FRANKFURT – MESSE

ROMANIA
INTERCONTINENTAL BUCHAREST

SLOVAKIA
CROWNE PLAZA BRATISLAVA

SPAIN
HOLIDAY INN VALENCIA

TURKEY
CROWNE PLAZA ANTALYA
CROWNE PLAZA ISTANBUL – HARBIYE

UNITED KINGDOM
HOLIDAY INN BRENTWOOD M25, JCT.28
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS BURTON UPON TRENT
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS CAMBRIDGE-DUXFORD M11, JCT.10
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS NEWCASTLE – METRO CENTRE
HOLIDAY INN NORTHAMPTON
HOLIDAY INN PRESTON
HOLIDAY INN SLOUGH – WINDSOR
HOLIDAY INN WOKING

ASIA

INDIA

HOLIDAY INN PUNE HINJEWADI

INDONESIA
HOLIDAY INN RESORT BATAM

JAPAN
CROWNE PLAZA – ANA KANAZAWA

CHINA-PEOPLES REPUBLIC
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS CHANGSHU
HOLIDAY INN JIUZHAI JARPO
CROWNE PLAZA XIANGYANG
CROWNE PLAZA ZHONGSHAN XIAOLAN
CROWNE PLAZA ZHONGSHAN WING ON CITY

 

MIDDLE EAST & AFRICA 

EGYPT
CROWNE PLAZA RESORT SAHARA SANDS PORT GHALIB RESOR

KUWAIT
HOLIDAY INN KUWAIT – DOWNTOWN

SAUDI ARABIA
HOLIDAY INN YANBU

SOUTH AFRICA
HOLIDAY INN JOHANNESBURG – ROSEBANK

ZIMBABWE
HOLIDAY INN HARARE

 

CENTRAL & SOUTH AMERICA

ARGENTINA

HOLIDAY INN CORDOBA

BRAZIL
CROWNE PLAZA BELEM
HOLIDAY INN MANAUS

COLOMBIA
INTERCONTINENTAL CALI

COSTA RICA
INTERCONTINENTAL COSTA RICA AT MULTIPLAZA MALL

GUATEMALA
INTERCONTINENTAL REAL GUATEMALA

HONDURAS
CROWNE PLAZA SAN PEDRO SULA

PANAMA
INTERCONTINENTAL MIRAMAR PANAMA

 

MEXICO 

MEXICO
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS CD. DEL CARMEN
CROWNE PLAZA TOLUCA-LANCASTER
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES TOLUCA ZONA AEROPUERTO
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS GUADALAJARA AUTONOMA
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS VILLAHERMOSA TABASCO 2000
CROWNE PLAZA NUEVO LAREDO
CROWNE PLAZA TUXPAN
HOLIDAY INN VERACRUZ CENTRO HISTORICO

 

CANADA

ALBERTA
HOLIDAY INN HINTON
HOLIDAY INN HOTEL AND SUITES LLOYDMINSTER

BRITISH COLUMBIA
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES LANGLEY

ONTARIO
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AND SUITES BARRIE
STAYBRIDGE SUITES TORONTO MISSISSAUGA
HOTEL INDIGO TORONTO AIRPORT

June 16 2014

Hotel Review: Crowne Plaza Amsterdam City Centre

Trip report index:

 

The Crowne Plaza Amsterdam City Centre was my “Plan B” hotel. I actually wanted – in fact partially built my trip around – the InterContinental Amstel Amsterdam. But the latter did not have award availability for my first night in town, so I booked that night at the Crowne Plaza instead.

As it turned out, I much preferred the Crowne Plaza over the InterContinental. However, both were very nice properties; a preference for one over the other comes down to a matter of personal taste.

I’ll review the InterContinental in a separate post in case you find yourself debating between the two, but the rest of this post focuses on the Crowne Plaza.

The location

This was the hotel’s best attribute in my opinion. It is just two blocks from Central Station, Amsterdam’s main transportation hub (and where I first arrived in the city upon leaving the airport).

I easily walked from the hotel to everything on my to-do list: the Anne Frank House, Westerkerk, Dam Square, the Royal Palace (unfortunately closed to visitors during my trip), The Spui, the Red Light District, and of course the maze of canals for which the city is famous.

(The only exception was Museumplein, home of the city’s main museums. But that was walkable from the InterContinental so I just saved it for my InterContinental stay.)

CP exterior
The facade on Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal

That said, the property fronts one of Amsterdam’s larger streets, Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal. While that’s great for people-watching, it also means traffic noise. Furthermore, trams run literally yards away from some of the rooms.

Tram by CP
The tram just outside my window

The tram was quieter than I would have thought, but if you’re noise-sensitive I recommend requesting a room away from the big street. The tradeoff is that you’ll likely get less natural light (due to facing a narrower street) and an inferior view (of the adjacent building’s wall rather than the interesting street life). But it’s better than losing sleep if street noise affects your sleep.

The room

Since I’m not sensitive to street noise, I loved the location of my room on Level 1 (which is actually one level above street level; Level 0 is street level) facing the big street. With a floor-to-ceiling window, it provided a front-row view of the city outside – although after sunset I dimmed my lights as I didn’t want the people-watching reciprocated.

Peoplewatching view
People-watching from the room

The bed was comfortable, I think. I hadn’t slept the night before due to being in flight so I probably would’ve slept like the dead either way.

Bed & door

There was a small desk next to the window. Perfect for people-watching while you work.

Bed & window

The bathroom was modern albeit on the small side for an upscale hotel, with only one sink. The stand-up shower was roomy but there was no tub.

Sink
Bathroom sink (stand-up shower reflected in the mirror)
Bath amenities
Bath amenities

There were robes, slippers, and an in-room safe in the closet. There was also a coffee selection on the counter.

Coffee
In-room coffee selection

The service

Here’s my thing about the service at some upscale hotels: often it seems fake, sometimes to the point of being bizarre. As in, I’ll be asked “how may I have the honor of serving you today?”

I mean, no one talks that way in real life, right? That kind of “service” just weirds me out.

And should one respond in kind? “Why yes, if you would process my check-out I will be forever grateful for your capable service.”

Instead, to me service stands out when it’s genuinely friendly.

That’s my long-winded way of saying I really liked the service at this hotel. Everyone was friendly and helpful – in a genuine way. Polite but not stiff; eager to help without seeming to linger for a tip afterwards.

My only nit about the service is that, 15 minutes after arriving in my room, there was a knock at the door. It was someone delivering my IHG Rewards member amenity (chocolates). The amenity was appreciated, but I would have preferred that it were left in the room ahead of time or given during check-in. It’s not ideal to disturb hotel guests in their room unnecessarily.

The amenities

As a complete oversight on my part, I neglected to take pictures of any common areas or amenities (sorry!!). But if my written description fails, you can always see photos on the hotel’s website. 🙂

For a hotel of 270 rooms, the lobby might have been a smidge too small. But it was nicely done – looked modern yet felt cozy. The lit fireplace was particularly nice given the chilly weather outside.

The hotel was hosting a business conference during my stay, and during conference breaks the lobby was overrun with folks socializing or talking on cell phones. At those times it felt crowded and noisy, but most hotel guests probably don’t use the lobby much in the middle of the day anyway.

In addition to 24-hour room service, there is an onsite restaurant and bar. However, being close to so many other walkable options in the city, I never took advantage of the on-site dining so can’t comment on it.

There is also a business center and small fitness room, but again I preferred to get my exercise from walking the city rather than being on an indoor treadmill.

Summary

Pros:

  • Very central location.
  • Fantastic people watching (with the right room).
  • Friendly, helpful staff.

Cons:

  • Some rooms face the big street and can be noisy, especially with the tram line just yards away. I recommend specifically requesting a quieter room if you’re noise sensitive.

Cost:

  • 36,000 IHG Rewards points for one night. (A normal redemption is 40,000 points but I received a 10% rebate from my co-branded credit card.)

Link to hotel website.