DURING THE WINTER AND SPRING OF 2013-14 I FOUND MYSELF VISITING SMALLER CITIES. NOT FOR BUSINESS REASONS, THESE TRIPS WERE CANVASSING VARIOUS PARTS OF THE COUNTRY WITH MY DAUGHTER CHECKING OUT COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES THAT SHE WAS CONSIDERING (HER COLLEGE CAREER BEGAN IN AUGUST OF 2014).
IN MOST CASES THE BEST CHOICE AVAILABLE FOR ACCOMMODATIONS WERE RESIDENCE INNS.
On business or leisure RI was never a first choice. I wrongly thought of RI as an Embassy Suites type of operation. I reserved RI only when my first choice was unavailable (for whatever reason).
Now, my daughter is happily in college (New York) - and I am finding myself reserving more and more RI as my first choice, even in major cities.
Why? What am I giving up I asked myself. ROOM SERVICE! (which I take advantage of rarely).
What are the advantages? I ALWAYS GET A SUITE (WITHOUT ASKING) Not a normal hotel suite, but a mini-apartment. I have a table to eat at. A nicely equipped kitchen - a small living room and a desk to work at. Add to that Marriott bedding, breakfast served in a dining room (yes with waffle machines) and if you are around, a complimentary cocktail hour (mostly wine) every afternoon- The only "unknown " is the size of the suite.
On a recent trip to Portland I decided to test out the service of shopping for groceries prior to my arrival. I was scheduled to arrive at the RI around midnight and didn't want to look for a place to eat knowing I would be tired and hungry. I contacted the RI, asked them if they would provide certain groceries. Upon arrival everything I asked for was in the room ready for me.
The next evening I had no plans (which translate into "no local business associate offered to take me to dinner"). All that was necessary (as to work) was to prepare for a conference the next day.
I called the front desk for a recommendation for a family style Italian place (in other words "casual pizza and spaghetti place" ) for dinner - they immediately handed me a menu and suggested I stay in my room as the restaurant delivers.
About ninety minutes later I was sitting comfortably at my kitchen table, sipping a glass of Chianti while enjoying my Chicken Parmigiana.
Two weeks later I found myself choosing accommodation in Chicago - it was to be a 3 night stay and I went (first choice ) to the availability on the Marriott site and reserved a suite at an RI and have been doing so about 50% of the time now.
It should be noted that I have never (as of this date) had a negative experience. Never have met poor service at this brand which are mostly franchises (franchises allows for the highest possibility of poorly trained staff) .
I should also note that I always receive the cliche "thank you for being a Platinum Premiere" etc etc.....
The reason for this description of my new choices is simply to let the community how much RI has (when utilized) made my life a little easier when on the road. It doesn't take a genius to know that when comfortable your productivity increases.
I welcome opinions pro or con of this brand as well as any stories of those that have made similar decisions to stay at RI's more often instead of FS properties.