Holiday Inn Express – Historic Savannah, GA Review

image from IHG

Destination: Savannah, GA
Date: May 2016
Hotel: Holiday Inn Express
Brand: IHG
Elite Status: spire
# of travelers: 4
nights: 1

Making the Decision

Like with the Doubletree from last week, I was trying to find the best place to stay on a graduation/Mother's Day weekend during early May. Prices were high and choices were limited. And to make matters even more complicated, my parents, who my husband and I were traveling with, were limited on money. As an IHG member with over 100,000 points, I decided it was time to visit my supply so that we wouldn't end up sleeping on the side of the road in a box … or, worse, end up at a dumpy motel where roaches and bed bugs come to play.

For a few thousand points (it's always a few thousand…) + around one hundred or so dollars, we found ourselves at the Holiday Inn Express in historic Savannah. There were a few others equally priced outside of the historic city perimeter located near the airport, but why pay the same price for a lesser product? The Holiday Inn Express would work out perfectly! Plus, I have a personal goal of staying at new hotels each time we visit Savannah. Considering this hotel was the right price and available (and downtown! making it easy to get away from parents despite only being in one vehicle), why not?!

Getting There, Check-In, Valet Parking, & Location

After a long day, my brother encouraged my parents and I (and the hubby) to head on out to Savannah, GA from his apartment in Statesboro. (My dad and sister-in-law's mom are talkers and take some encouragement to separate.) Once we were out of the house, my brother would have an easier time getting his mini-me, significant other, and in-laws ready to go out for dinner on the town. And in the meantime, my family would be able to check into hotel #2 giving us a chance at a room upgrade that may not be available later during the day.

The drive from Statesboro takes approximately 45 minutes, so we arrived at the hotel around 4PM, just in time for check-in. Or so we thought.

As it turns out, the hotel was behind in preparing rooms. The front desk staff offered to take our luggage, but we held onto it opting instead to sit in the lobby with a free (to all guests of the hotel) cup of coffee instead. It took nearly an hour from the time we sat down until they were ready for us. Got to be honest – I thought it was a bit ridiculous. Did they not see that I had status?! (But as with most IHG chain hotels, I was led to believe that my status did not matter; they didn't care. Argh.)

One perk of the hotel though was that once we handed our car over to the valet, we were free to explore Savannah. So, just as our room became available, when my brother called to say he and his "group" were in downtown historic Savannah waiting for us, we didn't even have to get in the car to go join in. A glance at Google Maps and we were on our way!

image from IHG

Room, View, Amenities

The room itself was a decent size. We had ample room to move around, and the beds were decently comfortable. There was a work desk, a big screen tv, free internet (!!), a fridge, a Keurig with coffee offerings, and iron + board. The bathroom came with soaps, shampoos and a blow dryer. Unfortunately our room did not have much of a view, so instead we found ourselves admiring the cityscape from the rooftop pool and lounge. Despite the heat, the pool area was beautifully maintained and a great getaway from the city below.

Breakfast & Lobby

Breakfast at the Holiday Inn Express was served in a large room next to the lobby. We arrived early, and soon saw why it was important to arrive early: the lack of tables! The crowd filed in, but after about 8:30AM there was nowhere for anyone to sit!

Breakfast itself wasn't terribly impressive. It was very much your typical "continental" servings. We got the choice of waffles, cinnamon rolls (probably from Costco), apples, bananas, sugary yogurt, sausage, scrambled eggs, bagels, toast, muffins, cereal, apple/orange juice, coffee, and water. And, of course, the water tastes gross since you are at a location near the ocean… (Probably not the case for people that are used to it!)

Check Out

After breakfast, we decided to head back to Statesboro (where my brother lives) to say goodbye. Checkout was quick and painless. From our room, we called the valet to get our car. Then we headed to the front desk where we handed over our room key and received our bill. We had to wait an additional 30 minutes for the valet to get our car (there is seating outside the hotel), but eventually we were ready to go. And by ready, I mean … ready! Our time in Savannah was up and we were anxious to start our journey home…

Overall Review
★★★ (average)

While the room was decently sized, the view from the roof was a stunner, and the location of the hotel worked well for us, the disappointment and aggravation I felt about having to wait for my room to become available (despite arriving after check-in time) as well as being unimpressed with the breakfast has resulted in this three star overall review. For the most part I've found that no matter what my status (whether elite or not), IHG seems to treat all of their customers … as customers and not royalty, for lack of a better word. When I'm on vacation, I don't need my every beck and call answered, but at the very least I want the hotel to live up to expectation – have a room ready and waiting after check-in time and not make the customers wait an hour, actually put effort into breakfast, and, if you keep a customer waiting (or disappoint them somehow), offer to go out of the way and provide something a little extra like a water bottle, a room with a view, a free drink from the bar… I don't think that's asking for too much.

Would I go again? Maybe. I think I prefer staying at the Historic Doubletree or Hampton Inn instead. Plus, did you know there is now a Hotel Indigo in downtown historic Savannah? With only 252 rooms and having just opened, I think this would be my first choice. Boutique hotel feel, IHG prices. Win. :)

Your Turn

Do you think the hotel was in the right expecting my family to wait for our room without offering us anything for our time? What would you have done if your hotel room wasn't ready upon arrival? … Do you ever get tired of the same old "continental breakfast" when staying at hotels?

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