On a recent work trip I changed up my typical MO of taking the afternoon flight out of Sacramento to Atlanta with a late arrival into Virginia. It’s was $100s cheaper to fly out in the early morning, but it meant I needed an airport hotel. Even though it isn’t all that close to SMF, I settled on the Crowne Plaza Sacramento Northeast.
I’ve eyes this hotel a number of times due to the cheap rates I often see. Even though Crowne Plaza is supposed to be a more upscale brand within the IHG portfolio, the rates at the Crowne Plaza Sacramento Northeast are often $20-40 less than the Holiday Inn Express and Staybridge Suites hotels in the same area. The flexible rate after tax came to less than $100. Award nights will run you 20,000 IHG points, so not a good use of points, unless the rate climbs above $120. When it’s busy in the Sacramento are, rates can climb above $160. But I often see the Crowne Plaza Sacramento Northeast going for a mere $85.
Arriving at the Crowne Plaza Sacramento Northeast
My drive to Sacramento took five hours, and I arrived just before 7:00 p.m. The hotel exterior is pretty aged, which made me wonder if the facilities overall are pretty worn out, and that’s why rates are low. It also doesn’t have a location that is all that close to anything. It is a full 10 miles from downtown Sacramento, instead located in the community of North Highlands. You’ll need a car.
The lobby was deserted when I entered. Not even anyone at the desk. I took a look around at the lobby, which was definitely nicer than a Holiday Inn Express, but still not as welcoming as those of some of my favorite brands, like Hyatt House and Residence Inn. Too open.
The agent appeared within 2 minutes. I chose the bonus points as my welcome amenity, which I do 95% of the time when staying with IHG. Crowne Plaza stays award you 600 points as a Platinum member. The lady at the front desk was nice enough to give me a drink voucher anyway, which was the other option.
The room I’d booked was a compact queen room. I simply wanted the cheapest rate, but I ended up being upgraded to a standard king on the fifth floor. Didn’t really matter to me either way, as all I really needed was a bed and a shower, but this was a nice gesture. I don’t find that IHG Platinum gets you much.
The room was a bit more modern and fresh looking than I expected. Given the rates I have seen at this hotel over the months, I figured it was pretty worn out. But my room was pleasant, if still not especially large.
In-room coffee was even a Keurig.
There was a white noise machine on the nightstand, which is something I’ve heard about a couple times at hotels, but never actually had provided during any stay. The Crowne Plaza Sacramento Northeast is pretty close to the freeway, so I can understand this might be needed. However, I had been given a room at the end of the hotel, facing completely away from the freeway. I had no issue with noise during the night. If you’re looking for a quieter room, ask for one of these.
The bathroom looked like it had been refreshed since the opening of the hotel as well. It was compact, but a nice design, and everything was super clean.
The bathroom offers a standard tub/shower combo, not a tile and glass shower. But that is more a preference thing on my part than anything.
Overall, I was very pleasantly surprised by the room. It was better than I anticipated, given the rate.
Dinner at the Crowne Plaza Sacramento Northeast
I’d eaten a late lunch, but a light dinner was in order. I didn’t feel like driving anymore, so I decided to try out the restaurant. Using the drink voucher, I ordered a glass of Merlot and a flatbread from the appetizer menu.
The food was decent, and just enough to tide me over for the night. I’d grab a bite to eat early before my flight to Atlanta.
I didn’t use any other facilities. The Crowne Plaza Sacramento Northeast has an indoor/outdoor pool and a small fitness room. Hotel guests enjoy a discounted rate of $5 for the fitness center across the street from the hotel. The hot tub was not operational when I was there. My wake up call was too early, so I just headed to bed.
The noise machine didn’t help the sleep situation at all. I tried it for about 10 minutes and then gave up. The pitch of the sounds was too high, and not at all soothing like an A/C fan or *actual* water cascading.
I slept well for the first 4 hours, but then woke up and never really fell back to sleep after 1:30. A bit of a bummer when you have a cross-country flight ahead of you, but hey, it’s like practicing for the early Virginia wake-ups ahead of me.
I was pleasantly surprised by the Crowne Plaza Sacramento Northeast. The rates are really good at times for the quality of the hotel, and I might consider spending IHG rewards points (it costs 20,000 IHG Points per night) here if rates were really high. You can check rates for your dates here with Hotels Combined.
It’s definitely better than the Holiday Inn Rancho Cordova, at which my kids and I stayed a year ago (SEE: Holiday Inn North Phoenix review – why I hate Holiday Inns).
Note that Crowne Plaza doesn’t offer free breakfast. I wasn’t around anyway during breakfast hours, so that was a feature that didn’t matter this trip. But if I had been traveling with my family, breakfast would be a much bigger deal. For a solo business traveler, the Crowne Plaza Sacramento Northeast makes total sense if you’re in the area.