I stayed at this hotel for 5 nights in July of 2004 (for Breyerfest). Overall, I had a pleasant stay, but this hotel is not without it's problems.
The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly...
The Holiday Inn N. is situated next to a very busy highway. Surprisingly, it is very quiet for so much traffic going by. I heard very little noise, and slept peacefully. There are no malls, or stores or anything of the sort nearby. Nor are you anywhere near downtown Lexington. However, there is a self-serve gas station and mini food mart right next door, just beyond the HI parking lot. Behind the gas station is a Denny's restaurant (which was packed every morning for breakfast). A little further past Denny's, and all well within walking distance of each other, is the Marriott Griffin Gate Hotel (more on that later).
The Holiday Inn North hotel provides a complimentary airport shuttle pickup, which I took full advantage of upon my arrival at Lexington Bluegrass. The shuttle arrived after a 15 - 20 minute wait. Since I was in no hurry, and this was my first visit to Lexington, I did not mind the wait. The young lady that picked me up was polite, courteous and efficient, but did not offer much in the way of friendly or idle chit-chat on the ride back to the hotel (perhaps a few pointers as to local attractions, or local landmarks would've improved my overall impression). As this was my first impression of the hotel and its staff, it was not an particularly warm welcome.
Considering this was the height of tourist season; and hotel staff, check-in personel, and hotel manager were swamped with hotel guests checking in and making numerous requests, etc; I thought the staff handled things reasonably well, and were - for the most part -accomodating, efficient and pleasant.
The hotel exterior, endless hallways and corridors, convention-banquet rooms, lobby areas, and pool/recreation/holidome areas were clean, bright, airy, and spacious. I didn't use the pool or recreation (holidome) areas during my stay, but I did walk around this area and found it to be clean, quiet and pleasant.
The Bad, and the Ugly:
The rooms - ah, the rooms. This is where the HIN fails badly, I'm afraid. I had a room in the west wing, and I found the room had a distinct musty odour, and somewhat damp. The air quality was very bad, and there were water stains on the ceiling. I thought perhaps I was unlucky and got a bad room, but I dropped in on several rooms (there were ongoing Breyerfest & vendor sales from room to room), and most of them had this same dank, musty smell. This was really too bad, because otherwise the beds were very comfortable, and the rooms spacious. Even an air freshener in the room could've improved matters considerably, I'm sure.
Judging by some of the other comments made by other reviewers, it looks like the HIN has done very little
to resolve this issue.
Food: The food at the Holiday Inn North's two restaurants ("The Post" and "Mandolin") isn't the greatest (and forget about ordering room service after 10:00PM). The first night I ordered room service, the food arrived (after a 45 minute wait) tepid, tasteless, and bland. A real dissapointment there.
Breakfast NOT included! This is really too bad. MOST hotels in the area offer (at the very least) a continental breakfast: toast, muffins, bagels, cold cereal, coffee, juices. The HI does not even offer free coffee for its hotel guests. I did have breakfast in the restaurant ("The Post") on the morning of my return flight, but I seem to remember breakfast being uninspiring as well. For what it's worth, the HI has ample room to provide its guests a simple continental buffet breakfast in its "Post" restaurant. I see no reason why this shouldn't be included in the price.
As mentioned above, forget about ordering room service after 10:00PM. You can always order out from a myriad of restaurants nearby (ask the hotel front desk clerk for a list of restaurants) that will deliver right to the HIN lobby, but be prepared to make the long walk along HI's numerous corridors and hallways to the front lobby to pick up and pay for your delivery order (try Papa Dan's for pizza - delivery was fast, and the pizza arrived fresh and hot).
Internet: During my stay, the HIN only offered dial-up for laptop users. However, they have since updated their web site which they now say has high speed wireless internet access available on both (2) floors. It might be prudent to call the hotel directly to confirm this.
HOTEL & MAID SERVICE:
Chambermaid service throughout my stay was always pleasant, gracious and accomodating. Don't forget to leave the chambermaids a tip before you leave. Remember, gratuities are NOT included in the hotel bill! Considering the enormous cleanup and amount of work these ladies had to do after the Breyerfest mass exodus - and with the minimum wage they earn for their efforts - the extra gratuities are more than graciously appreciated.
Hotel staff are accomodating and courteous enough, if not overly friendly. I asked to use the business centre staff if I could print out a word .doc file from a diskette, and they grudgingly obliged.
To sum up:
Although this hotel is close to all Breyerfest venues, including Kentucky Horse Park, for what it's worth (and for my money), I'd stay at the Marriott right next door. There really is not much of a price difference between both hotels, and the Marriott is much more upscale, with a Starbuck's coffee shop in the lobby (coffee lovers, take note), is cleaner, and much more contemporary.
If the Holiday Inn North could clean up its rooms, get rid of the dank, musty odours, improve air quality, and include a continental breakfast in its rates, then I would definately reconsider staying here.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.