Extended Stay Hotels was advertising a special and this one was running $40/night on the weekends. I had wanted to stay in Decatur (my actual destination), but decided that, considering the apparently poor quality of the hotels there, and the fact that this one featured a full kitchen, that it would be the better option. So I booked two nights.
I entered what I thought was the address into Google Maps and was excited by the location, which seemed close to a mall and lots of shopping and restaurants. When I actually arrived in Bloomington, I couldn't find the place. Then I realized that there were two Veterans Parkways, a north and a south, and I had the wrong one. I initially passed right by it because you can't get to the hotel from Veterans Parkway, even though it faces the road (pay attention to the map on the hotel's web site), and then had to go about a mile before I could turn around. I should have researched it though.
Check-in was quick enough. At ESAs (I've stayed in a lot of them), you have to pay ($5 per stay) for the wifi and you're then given a code which you need to access it. The clerk was smart enough to write the code down on my key envelope without me reminding her to do so. This is a college town though, and most of the staff seemed to be apathetic college kids. There was an instance where I wanted coffee for the next day (ESAs have an issue with not putting a new packet in the room when there's already a decaf packet there) but the staff seemed to disappear after about 9pm. I tried about 3 times, and ended up talking to a "Be Right Back" sign each time. In protest, I stole a newspaper and considered rummaging through the staff lounge cabinets (the door was open for most of my stay) for some coffee.
The only room left for the price I wanted when I booked was the handicap room. I hate these rooms, especially at ESAs. The shower is large, but its also awkward: there is no place to set anything down (except for the fold-down seat, which takes up a ton of space when down), it's barely off the ground, and the showerhead is detachable so that, if you move it at all, it will continually slip off of the holder and fall. I've had this experience at other ESAs. Again, it was my own fault for booking last minute and getting the room, but now you know what to expect.
The wifi wasn't particularly fast but, at the least, the connection was solid and reliable. The bed was fine and the rest of the furnishings were exactly what I'd expect from the chain. I mean, it's like you could cut out a room at 90% of their locations, transplant it right into another location, and you'd never notice the difference except for cracks in the walls.
The decor of this particular location definitely differed a bit though. There was a definite red theme, and a bit more of an artistic motif. I don't know if they were going for a sophisticated atmosphere, but the place is new and it actually lent itself well to the hallways. ESAs generally have art in the common areas, but usually of the store-in-the-mall variety. This one seemed more Pier One.
The location isn't great, but it is close to I-55 and there are things nearby. A Steak n' Shake keeps you company at night with its warm, red glow, there's a Texas BBQ place across the road (what's with Texas BBQ in Central Illinois? I saw this a lot) and a fast food place sort of inside the used car lot next door, that serves gyros, Chicago dogs, burgers, etc. at a very good price. There's also a gas station right next to the hotel with a Burger King inside.
For the price I paid, I was impressed with the room and what I got. There are a ton of hotels in Bloomington, so you may be able to do better, but I couldn't find better for the price that I was getting here.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.