Booked 4 nights stay on the hotel website for a 2 double bed/nonsmoking room at the AAA rate of $109.95/night. Arrived on Monday after Easter about 6pm and checked right in. Clerk gave us a room in the same building as our friends who had arrived the day before. We were in room 322 upstairs.
Rooms are upstairs/downstairs on two floors with doors that open to the outside. There was limited parking in front of the building, but we were always able to get a spot. Close enough to the stairs to easily carry up the luggage (didn't notice an elevator). There's a Carrows restaurant right next to the hotel, so there was always plenty of parking.
Room had two double beds, a large desk/table, chair by the window, microwave/coffee maker/refrigerator and TV. Beds were a little bit too soft for our taste, but reasonably comfortable. Lots of pillows. Door opened to a very large bathroom with two sinks and granite countertop, tub/shower with curved curtain rod. Bathroom area also had a deep 2 drawer chest and a closet. Under the sink was a wooden rack for drying ski boots, etc.
Lighting in the room wasn't spectacular. There are compact fluorescent bulbs in the ceiling that gave some harsh light. Lamps on the nightstand and the desks were much better but didn't light the room that well.
We moved the large desk/table close to the bed at night to give us room to play cards while the kids watched a DVD. NOTE: the TV in the room is an older style and did not have any inputs for hooking up a DVD player or video game. The hotel said they were going to upgrade in the future, but call to check.
Ice machine was in another building just a short walk away. Need a room key to get into the small room with the ice machine; also had two washers/dryers there for laundry. Hot tub was in the same building, didn't use it but looked ok. Dry sauna there as well. Outdoor pool was closed for the winter.
Breakfast was in the lobby area, although other reviewers were correct -- there is a very small breakfast area and it is quite crowded in the morning as everyone loads up before hitting the slopes. Not very good flow of traffic, although everyone was polite. It seemed like as soon as items came out, they disappeared quickly. Quality was ok, not as good as Embassy Suites but adequate. Good cinnamon rolls and coffee; orange and apple juice, bagels and bread for toasting. Scrambled eggs seemed like powdered eggs, bacon and sausage patties were ok. Selections alternated each day, one day had scrambled eggs and bacon, the next was "cheese omelettes" and sausage patties. Also had cold cereal, milk, yogurt, hard boiled eggs and some fruit.
One concern was that a single staffer was restocking all the food and also cleaning up the area. While we were eating, we noticed her emptying the trash, then going back a few minutes later and bringing out more food. Not sure if hands were washed in between and there wasn't any posted health inspection approval there. She was very busy, so we wondered a bit.
Overall, breakfast is better than your typical chain hotel, but I wish Holiday Inn Express put more money into food quality instead of wasting it on a national TV campaign.
Location of the hotel is just a couple blocks from the Nevada border. Way too far to walk (in my opinion) to the Heavenly Gondola. But a quick drive over there. We went to Harrahs/Harveys casinos one night and gambled a bit while the kids did the arcade. One note: beware the Harrahs food court chinese food. We're pretty sure that the eggplant/tofu was the cause of my wife's food poisoning that kept her sidelined in the room all day Thursday.
The Holiday Inn Express was a good base for our trip, nice location near the border and a convenient drive to Heavenly or Sierra at Tahoe resorts. Safeway grocery store just a few blocks south, Powder House ski rental shop just across the street. Personally I think I would have preferred to stay at Embassy Suites, but for half the room price, the HI Express was great.