I mean…you’d figure I’d learn after a while that they aren’t the brand for me. After yet another stay in a rundown Holiday Inn, I’m wondering if I’ll ever stay at one again. Dan flat out hates on the Holiday Inn brand (SEE: Holiday Inn North Phoenix Review: Why I hate Holiday Inns), which are entirely different than Holiday Inn Expresses, which at least appease him with cinnamon rolls for his family of eight.
My first couple experiences with Holiday Inn hotels weren’t bad. But lately IHG has become the laughingstock of hotel programs; some of the nice properties I visited in the past are now 150% more expensive (SEE: Lucrative to ludicrous: IHG’s fall to the worst hotel program). I’m not sure I would return for the same points stay.
Since those first experiences, though, I’ve realized that there are a good number of old, tired Holiday Inns. Yet I still picked one for a recent trip.
Reason #1: IHG’s current promotion
The main reason I picked the Holiday Inn Greensboro Airport was to position myself to earn part of my Q1 2019 multi-brand bonus points. With a Holiday Inn Express and Crowne Plaza stay baked into the same trip, I’d be only one stay away from earning ~40,000 total points from my multi-brand promotion. Even though IHG points aren’t worth nearly as much as they were a few years ago, picking up some more seems prudent, as my stock was pretty low.
One of these days a IHG Point Breaks property will work out marvelously for a trip, and it’ll all be worth it.
Reason #2: Cost
It should always be a tip-off when the supposedly more upscale (or at least upper midscale) Holiday Inn is cheaper than nearby Holiday Inn Express hotels. Like $20-30 cheaper. I’ve seen this a few times in different locations when searching for hotels, and have learned to treat it as a warning flag.
The actual cost wasn’t a huge factor for work, as either hotel was close to the target budget, but this stay helped to even out my per-night cost to what it should be for the trip after three nights at the Hyatt Place Roanoke, which was a tad over the ideal rate. Plus, I knew that breakfast in the morning wasn’t a necessity, as I’d be departing before 5:00 a.m. for the airport. So no need to stay in a Holiday Inn Express over a Holiday Inn for that reason.
What a tired property
The Holiday Inn Greensboro Airport turned out to be a mix of old and tired with a few new elements. The lobby was fairly nice, but still not a place I’d consider spending time, unlike other brands with very inviting spaces. There were signs up alerting guests to a renovation going on. I never figured out what was being updated.
However, the age, or lack of care, of the hotel was apparent pretty fast. I immediately noticed essentially all the doors had marks on them, presumably from carts being pushed in and out. The door across from the elevator were the worst. But pretty much every door looked like this to some degree.
The furniture in the room was pretty worn as well. I mean, things looked fine on the surface (and you can’t see anything really in the photo), and it was a perfectly fine hotel room on the whole, especially as all I needed to do was sleep. But there would be no reason to pick the property otherwise.
The thing the Holiday Inn brand needs
Consistency. I’ve actually stayed at a couple pretty nice Holiday Inns. The two that come to mind are (oddly enough) both in Sydney. Actually, two different Sydneys, the first being the Sydney, Australia with which you are likely familiar, and the second being Sydney, Nova Scotia, with which you are undoubtedly less familiar (just don’t get them mixed up like this guy). The Holiday Inn Old Sydney was a nice pick during my quick trip down under (SEE: Holiday Inn Old Sydney Review), and the Holiday Inn Sydney Waterfront (Nova Scotia) was nice for a night before my wife and I took the overnight ferry to Newfoundland.
On the other end of the spectrum you have hotels like the Holiday Inn Greensboro Airport, where I just stayed, as well as the Holiday Inn Rancho Cordova. Both of these properties are badly in need of a face lift. It’s a bummer when you cannot trust a brand to provide a consistent experience.
It is crazy that there are over 1,000 hotels flagged as a Holiday Inn. If these provided a consistent experience, plus a better loyalty program, they could really compete with the other major chains. What’s sad, though, is that they may never get there, as they are categorized lower than even Hyatt Place or Hyatt House [SEE: How hotels categorize themselves (difference between upscale and “upper upscale”)].
Will I stay at a Holiday Inn again?
Probably. IHG will tag me with an excellent promotion and coax me back. Will it be a good idea? Probably not.