Review: Holiday Inn Express Eureka
After a day of driving between Gold Beach in Oregon, and Eureka in California, we decided to set up for the night.
For our one night in Eureka, I was initially going to book the Hampton Inn and Suites Arcata, which is just north of the city.
However Sandy doesn't like to backtrack, and we figured it would be more convenient to stay in the area we actually wanted to see - Eureka has some beautiful Victorian architecture.
Online reviews showed that the Holiday Inn Express Eureka was one of the better hotels in the area - and I am a Platinum IHG Member, so I assumed our stay would be pleasent enough. So that's where I booked the night before.
The room rate was $142.69 USD.
When we arrived, there was plenty of car parking, so we really had our choice of how close we wanted to be to the front entry doors. Eureka is a pretty down-and-out place, with lots of undesirables, so I liked that there was plenty of lighting at night, and solid fencing along the street edge to make things feel more comfortable after hours.
The reception desk was located just across from the entrance, where I was quickly helped by an associate.
We were provided with a room upgrade, from a standard 2 bed Queen to a 2 bed Executive. The upgraded room would have usually cost $160 USD for the night.
I also received 500 bonus points, which posted to my account some weeks later. It's great that you receive these, even if you choose to earn airline miles (as I do for low value, one-night stays with the IHG group).
In a small room next to the reception desk was a self serve station with items for purchase, including coffee, soft drinks, snacks, fruit, etc. I didn't get a picture however as it seemd too close to comfort with the front desk associates, and didn't want them to think I was stalking them.
After check-in, we walked to our room. The hallways are quite bright and colourful.
We were assigned room 232.
The room featured an entryway with a closet and the bathroom to the left.
The bathroom was basic but clean, featuring a sink, toilet and shower/tub combo. Anyone who knows me, knows that I hate shower/tub combos and tried to avoid them with all my might during our US trip. Obviously couldn't be too picky in a smaller city like Eureka, though.
I liked the towel storage units on the wall, though I suppose its more for house-keeping efficiency than for aesthetics!
The amenities were Bath and Body Works, a brand not seen very often in my part of the world (though they have recently opened three new stores in Australia). They also included mouth wash, which I wish more hotels would provide. This was not a consistent amenity amongst US Holiday Inn Express hotels.
Also - while they're not included in the room like many upmarket hotels around the world, you can request a range of other standard complimentary toiletry items from the front desk, including a toothbrush, toothpaste, shaving cream, razor, or comb. Sandy reckons its much better than you have to request these, otherwise some guests just grab all of them each day without any thought as to whether they'll ever use them or not (which seems wasteful).
The bath/tub combo. Why are there so many of these in the US!?
There was a small sitting area, which was actually quite comfortable. The room description says that the sofa is a sleeper bed, though we obviously had no use for this.
The only USB charger point for the room was located on the lamp on the table adjacent to the sofa (odd that it would be here, and not next to the beds or on the desk).
There was a sink, microwave, and bar fridge, with a small bench area, between the sitting area and the bathroom. I had developed a taste for plain black coffee by this stage of our trip, so the Kuerig coffee machine was quite welcome. Still cannot believe how many foam cups they use in the US though.
On the opposite wall from the sitting area was a desk, with a faux-leather chair.
There were two Queen-sized beds, which were comfortable and pretty standard for the Holiday Inn Express brand.
Opposite the beds was a 46-inch flat screen TV atop a chest of drawers.
In the far corner of the room by the window was a lamp and chair.
The view from the room was pretty basic. I couldn't avoid the screen, sorry about that.
I found the intenet access to be easy to connect to at all IHG hotels across the US - you just login to your IHG account, and it automatically recognises your member entitlement to free access.
I found the swivel reading lights next to the beds to be nice feature.
Once we'd settled in, I decided to venture out and explore the rest of the hotel.
Ice machines are located on each floor near the lifts. Beverage machines are located on Levels 1 & 2 near the lifts.
Complimentary USA Today newspapers are available on weekdays in the lobby.
There is a guest laundry located on the first floor, near the pool room and this is open 24-hours. You can purchase supplies from the little shop area adjacent the front desk.
A fitness centre is provided, with the usual basics like treadmills, fitness bike, elliptical and free weights. While the in-room guide says that it is open from 5.30am - 11pm, it was seemingly open 24 hours (no times posted on a sign by the door either, like they usually have).
Towels are provided in the gym, with bins to dispose of after use.
The hotel has an indoor swimming pool, open from 9am - 10pm daily. The in-room guide says that it is open seasonally, which could suggest that it is not heated (we didn't try it out, nor did I get a picture of the pool itself as it was always occupied).
As with all Holiday Inn Express hotels, you receive a free standard buffet breakfast. The food selection is minimal, and as with most budget chain hotels in the US, typically not too healthy. The breakfast is served just off the lobby area between 6am and 10am, daily. I didn't get any pictures as the food is practically the same as the other Holiday Inn Express hotels that we've reviewed.
I did however take some photos of the communal areas, including where breakfast is served in the morning.
The communal area had plenty of power points available for use.
The set up of the space did make me question whether they considered making this a standard Holiday Inn with a restaurant/bar, changing their mind at the last minute (e.g. the bar area shown below wasn't used for the breakfast buffet in the morning - the space behind the sliding doors in the background was - so not sure what the bar space is used for, it looked under-utilised).
A table in the communal area contained self-serve coffee pots, and a decent range of tea products, which was far better than any other hotel we stayed at on our trip.
The hotel did seem to be built a bit cheaply - wooden floors and the like. I could keep hearing noises through the floor and walls. Though in saying that, we did sleep fine, so it may only be a problem if you are a very quiet sleeper.
When I woke up the next morning, I had received the following alert on my mobile:
This is something that I had been thinking about for some time - that it would be great if you could check out from your mobile. Good new feature, IHG!
Holiday Inn Express Eureka bottom line
We stayed at this hotel due to its location, price and my Platinum IHG membership. It was a comfortable hotel, we received an upgrade, and would stay here again if we were ever back in Eureka - which is not likely to happen!
It's also great that you can earn 10 Air New Zealand Airpoints dollars for a one-stay stay, which almost works out to be at least 5-10% of the room rate in most cases (given that 1 Airpoints Dollar = $1NZD on flights with Air New Zealand). I opt to earn miles for the shorter one-night stays as I find it to be better value. A bonus 500 IHG Rewards Points is also a nice sweetener.