We found this hotel difficult to find, driving south along the 581, even though we came off the 581 at the correct junction. The correct turning to the hotel is immediately after a ramp to the 581 and before the junction allowing you to turn right for the shopping mall. It is possible to get to the hotel from the shopping mall but only if you know you way around it. Obviously, being first timers to the area, we didn’t!
We were warmly welcomed at reception and quickly checked in. Our room (200) was massive, with separate bedroom and lounge areas. There was lots of storage space. We even had our own exercise bike in the bedroom which we occasionally used.
We had independent air conditioning in each room but both were a little noisy. Also the a/c unit in the lounge seemed to have a mind of its own – it worked perfectly OK in the afternoon and evening but sometime overnight it always seemed to stop working. The chambermaid always seemed to be able to sort it out.
We had a microwave, fridge and carafe coffee maker in the suite. We also had a lovely little duck for the bath. Unfortunately ours appeared to be dead as it would only float upside down or on its side!!
The room and bathroom were always very clean, though we were surprised that the basin soap was removed after one day, even though it was perfectly usable. Thereafter we hid the soap to stop the chambermaid removing it! The main negative aspects of the room were the lack of a full-length mirror except in the bathroom and the only towel rail being above the w/c.
The breakfast area was very small, comprising ~5 tables. We ended up taking what we wanted back to our room! To be honest, and we know the lady responsible for it tried her best, we were disappointed by the selection available. There was yoghurt, fruit juice but only tinned fruit salad. There was a very limited choice of pastries (in cling film), some bagels and some cereals. There was also hot food. Coffee was always available when we wanted it and it was always hot.
The hotel claims that several restaurants are approximately 0.1 miles away. We definitely disagree with this. The nearest restaurant is the Red Palace (Chinese), followed by a Texas restaurant and Applebees – the first two are probably 0.1 miles away. TGI Fridays is about 10 minutes away by foot, which makes it about 0.5 miles at our walking speed. Carabba’s is a little further at about 15-20 minutes. The Olive Garden and Red Robin restaurants are a little further than TGI Fridays.
We were at the hotel for 3 nights but were surprised that both room keys failed to work on returning to our room on the afternoon after our second night. The hotel offered no explanation for this but we were quickly given two new room keys which worked. However, having experienced a similar problem later in our holiday at a different hotel chain, we wonder if it is a deliberate US hotel policy – for reasons unfathomable to us.
The hotel is very well located near to the Blue Ridge Parkway, Natural Bridge and nearby towns.
We very much enjoyed our stay at this hotel – the suite was great and very comfortable. However, the hotel should improve its breakfast selection for non-hot food (e.g. fresh cut fruit, bigger area, muffins).