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How Do Motel Chains Rate? Who's Good? Bad? Ugly?

How Do Motel Chains Rate? Who's Good? Bad? Ugly?

Old Jun 22nd, 2005, 07:28 PM
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How Do Motel Chains Rate? Who's Good? Bad? Ugly?

We have an unplanned segment in our upcoming northern California road trip, which means grabbing a motel room without meticulous overplanning and reservations.

What are the reputations of the major chain name motels, such as Motel Six, Super 8, Holiday Inn, Best Western, etc., etc.?

Experience, rumors, useful advice, all will be appreciated.
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Old Jun 22nd, 2005, 11:25 PM
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I don't know your budget, but Motel 6 is a chain with small bare-bones room and full-size beds. They are cheap and very basic. Most have a swimming pool.

Super 8 is a little better quality, but I've noticed many of them don't have a swimming pool.

Best Western and Holiday Inn are reasonably priced chains with more amenities than the other two you mention. We stayed at a Holiday Inn Express recently and were pleased with the room and their deluxe continental breakfast.

You might also want to look at the Choice Hotels chain - Quality Inn, Comfort Inn, Sleep Inn.

Lee Ann
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Old Jun 23rd, 2005, 04:53 AM
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We try to get a Holiday Inn Express, Hampton Inn or Residence Inn by Marriott. Second to those, Comfort and La Quinta....
 
Old Jun 23rd, 2005, 05:18 AM
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I don't know if they are on the West Coast, but when I have to travel "on my own dime" I stay at Baymonts (they tend to be new and clean and have pillow top mattresses) and Extended Stays (suite type rooms with fridge & micro. Both are usually less than $60 per night, and if you sign onto Extended Stays website you can get 10% off coupons.

I used to stay at Fairfields and Hampton Inn's but I seldom see them less than $70 anymore. They are both usually very clean.
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Old Jun 23rd, 2005, 05:43 AM
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In my opinion, there are two issues involved. One is class/price. The other is variables within the same chain.

Motel 6, Super 8, Holiday Inn Express, Fairfield Inn, etc... are quite standardized. Not too much difference between one Motel 6 and another. All basic, and relatively clean.

Best Western is a very large group of independently owned and run hotels/inns. You really don't know what to expect. Some are actually quite luxurious (and not cheap); while others can be old and basic. Just can't say.

I also find the Choice Hotel Group also has more loose standards - Comfort Inn, Quality Inn, etc. Some are better than others.
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Old Jun 23rd, 2005, 06:03 AM
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I agree completely with what rkkwan said - with one exception.

I stayed in two Fairfield Inns in NC (because a coworker chose the location) and both were not clean - at all. I can't bring myself to stay at a Fairfield Inn again.

Another coworker loved Red Roof Inns and always chooses to stay in one.

My top 3 are Hampton Inn, Holiday Inn EXPRESS and LaQuintas Inn and SUITES.

Older LaQ's are just called LI. The newer design of the LIS is very nice.

These three offer pretty good free complimentary breakfasts (cook your own waffles at LIS) and some protein choices often.

I can't stand the danish and juice option at many of the Choice hotels. I need protein in the morning!
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Old Jun 23rd, 2005, 07:26 AM
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Since most "chain" hotels are not owned by the company whose name is on the sign - they're franchised - it becomes difficult to rate an entire chain. As pointed out, some operators of a given chain-name run an excellent hotel, while others cut corners and are always at the verge of having their franchise revoked. How well the chains monitor the individual properties varies quite a bit too - some are very lax, others are real "hard-asses" about adhering to standards.

I've found Red Roof Inns, while providing minimal amenities, to be the most standardized from inn to inn. I've had good luck with Comfort Inns, Hampton Inns, and Holiday Select/Express. When I'm "on the road" without reservations, I often cruise the parking lot and inquire of a guest how they rate the place. If I'm only staying 1 night, I'm really not that fussy, as long as the place is clean.
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Old Jun 23rd, 2005, 07:28 AM
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We have had good luck with Holiday Inn Express and Hampton Inn but they are generally more expensive then Motel6 and Super8 (you get what you pay for tho). While they are not luxury hotels the ones we have stayed at were clean and comfortable and had edible breakfast food. I cannot comment on La Quinta as have never had the occasion to stay in one. Best Western can vary in accommodations/cleanliness etc. as they are individually owned - some can be very good, but others not so good.

One thing that concerns me if we are using motels rather then full service hotels is having Interior Corridors. I do not want to stay in places with those walkways past the rooms on the outside. It's just a safety/privacy issue as far as I am concerned. I also like elevators as hauling your stuff up and down stairs can get old real fast if you are not on the ground floor.
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Old Jun 23rd, 2005, 08:33 AM
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EVERYBODY'S opinion is going to be different on this, depending on what city they're in, and that every hotel is different. Personally, I wouldn't even put places like the Hampton Inn, Residence Inn, Fairfield Inn, or the Holiday Inn in the same category as most "motels." From MY experience with these "hotels", they're a lot nicer. Again, it all depends on which ones you've stayed at. Some Holiday Inns aren't as nice as others.
I agree with Lori's concern about the interior corridors.

I've found that most of the major motel chains are pretty much the same. La Quinta is fairly nice and I'd probably put that at the top of my list.
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Old Jun 23rd, 2005, 08:51 AM
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Best: Hampton Inn, Residence Inn
Worst: Any from the Choice Hotel chain - very inconsistent

I do not stay in the budget chains:
Motel 6, Super 8 etc.
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Old Jun 23rd, 2005, 09:34 AM
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Best: Hampton Inn, La Quinta Inn

Best Westerns can be just about anything quality-wise. Among the ones you name, Super 8 has been the best in my experience.
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