My decision to relocate to Tampa in late Fall of 2016 provided me with the opportunity to experience several hotel chain offerings. While the process of reserving a room for an overnight stay was relatively consistent, the accommodation varied within the $70 to $90 per night price range that I chose to pay.
My sampling of accommodations as I traveled from Colorado to Florida provided a glimpse of what a cross-country solo traveler could expect to pay for a room for an overnight stay. Most of the hotels that I stayed with charged a $10 fee for my traveling companion, Spike the Cat, while one hotel chain charged no fee for my furry friend to share my room.
I provided Pam, my personal assistant, with the following criteria for selecting hotels to book my room reservations:
After driving approximately 400 miles per day, the goal was to select a hotel that would offer me:
The majority of the hotels that accommodated me overnight provide everything I needed for a care-free and restful stay. The only exception required relying on my trusty set of earplugs, to remedy the noise of late-night revelers returning to their room and continuing the party into the wee hours of the night.
Below are reviews that I posted to TripAdvisor and Yelp! for each of the hotels that I stayed with during my journey. If you have a favorite accommodation that you would recommend for booking an overnight stay, please post your recommendation below as a comment.
Days Inn (Hays, Kansas)
This Days Inn is located a few minutes of I70-- perfect after a long days drive when you just want to pull off the highway and get some rest. Check-in was fast and easy, with no surprises. Breakfast is included with the room rate.
First Impressions on Check-In: Room #134-- Master bed room that I booked is clean and smells nice-- ground floor is a plus. Fridge in room, plenty of coffee and security safe, the cost of which can be deducted from your account on checkout, if you have no need for an in-room safe.
Free Wifi speed is anemic with 1.7Mbs-- will get the job done if you need to simply connect and manage email. Internet quit about 9pm, and returned at around 7am. If you rely on high speed Internet, best have a phone will a cellular account and forget using the free WiFi. My Verizon data connection was 10mb download-- plenty of bandwidth to get work done.
Work desk is good if you need to catch-up on a few things before turning in. Air conditioning unit is very quiet and bathroom is clean, good bath/shower and plenty of clean towels. Pets are welcome with a $10 per night additional charge, which made my traveling cat companion happy.
Went to the free breakfast at 7:30am-- standing room only. Grabbed a banana, muffins and coffee and returned to my room. Based on the size of this hotel and the crowd of people in the hotel lobby (dining room and breakfast area share same space) it's evident that a separate dining room that can accommodate more guests is needed. Returned 15 minutes later and grabbed a table, just in time before another wave of hungry guests arrived. Food was good; fruit was fresh, coffee hot and eggs/sausages were plentiful.
La Quinta Inn (Tampa, FL)
This La Quinta Inn is located a stone's throw from Tampa International Airport. If excessive noise from arriving and departing jet traffic along with highway traffic will interfere with your sleep or in-hotel work during the day, it would be best to pass on this hotel and find another that is off the TPA’s flight path.
That said, the hotel is minutes away from the International Mall and Westshore Plaza, so add a star to this hotel if shopping and other amenities are important during your stay. A variety of great places to eat breakfast, lunch or dinner are within a few minutes drive of this hotel.
Check-in was fast and easy. A continental breakfast is included as part of the room rate, though you may opt to catch a hot breakfast at the IHOP that is located next the hotel. Pets are welcome with a $10 per night additional charge, which made my traveling cat companion happy.
Important to note that this two-story La Quinta does not have an elevator, so if climbing stairs with luggage is an issue for you, request a ground floor room when making your reservation.
Room #236 featured a double-bed room with a good table, office-style chair and standard cushioned chair, perfect for getting some work done before heading out. Coffee maker is located in the bathroom area-- not the best place for it as the bathroom sink and counter area is small as it is. Plenty of bath and hand towels in the bath/shower area.
Free Wifi speed is under 2Mbs; passable to check email and work with Web applications that do not require a broadband connection. Bed was comfortable and large-screen TV with cable local TV and popular movie channel made for a relaxing evening. Air conditioning unit was quiet and was in good working order.