I have spent much of the last 3 months at the Hilton Garden Inn. It is well laid out, clean and quiet, and as a business traveller it has more than I would normally expect. But without doubt the staff shine, their close knit teamwork results in the highest levels of service to their guests.
Rooms - I have stayed in the normal rooms and the suites. Both types are spacious, clean and comfortable and have all the amenities I require. The suites are divided into two areas (sleeping & lounge) separated by the bathroom. They have two flat screen TVs, settee, armchair, coffee table, work desk, free internet (wifi & wire), table lamp, ergonomic chair (very few hotels have these and it really helps when you're working). There is also a microwave, coffee machine, fridge, iron and ironing board. The beds have a facility to change the softness levels of the mattress and a duvet. The bathrooms are spacious with a full size mirror, good water pressure, and plenty of towels.
You can request a room exercise kit if you don't want to go to the gym, and an exercise video. A great idea (I keep promising myself that I'll get around to asking for one... one day!). The swimming pool is out the front of the hotel, it is a good size and has a jacuzzi. It overlooks the carpark, but you're not in a resort so it does very nicely for what it is. It is clean, well maintained and there are plenty of sunbeds and umbrellas.
The hotel is set back from the freeway but very little noise can be heard. Mostly guests are individual business travellers and many are regulars or here on longer stays so it's relatively quiet .
Breakfast is a buffet with a really good choice and excellent value for money. 3 or 4 types of milk (including Soya) to put on your choice of a dozen different cereals, half a dozen different fruits (always a large bowl of strawberries), a good selection of yoghurts, oatmeal, pastries, bagels (6 varieties), croissants, plus a cooked breakfast buffet with bacon, eggs, hash browns, omlettes, waffles etc. Free newspapers at breakfast.
Room Service - good choice, good quality and good value for money.
Lounge in Reception - nicely laid out, feels homely even though you're just off the lobby. Comfortable to sit and work if you're here on weekends. Plus there is complimentary tea/coffee available all day.
There is a small shop selling all those things that you might have forgot or, if you're on a longer stay, run out of such as hairspray, toothpaste etc. Also has wine, salads, microwave meals if you want to cook your own, cold drinks, etc.
Hotel bus - a real plus. The hotel run a free shuttle bus service to anywhere within a 5 mile radius. They take bookings for office runs in the morning when it is busiest so saves messing with hire cars and taxis. To come back to the hotel at the end of the day you either book a time in advance or just ring up when you're ready to be collected. It's like having a personal chauffeur. They will drop / collect you at restaurants, shops (Memorial Mall), wherever within the radius.
Staff - you can stay in the best hotel in the world but if the staff are haphazard or surly then your stay is marred or even ruined. I've travelled all over the world and in an average year, spend 150-180 nights in hotels. I can honestly say that this hotel has one of the best staff teams I've ever encountered. I won't name them all because I'm bound to miss someone, but when you have Nancy or La-La starting to worry about whether you've returned to the hotel at your regular time, or when the breakfast team give you a hug, then you know that the team really do care. They all take a great pride in their work, in looking after their guests, and they really do work as a team. Hilton - take note, your other properties could learn a thing or two from this team.
Downsides - of course there are some:
- Air conditioning units can be a bit noisy and draughty. They are next to the bed, but if they were at the other end of the room it would be better.
- Makeup mirror - would be good to have a magnifying mirror, but it's not a big deal.
- Room safe - plenty of space to put one, so would be good to have.
- In-room coffee facilities are good for coffee - but not good for tea. Tea needs boiling water and it shouldn't be put through a coffee machine because it taints the taste (you can tell I'm from the UK). An in-room kettle would be great. And I'm sure if I had ever bothered to ask for one, it would have been immediately forthcoming.