01. Introduction: Road trip hotels between San Diego and Washington DC
02. Comfort Inn & Suites, Deming, NM
03. Holiday Inn Express, South Amarillo, TX
04. Holiday Inn Express, Maumelle, AR
05. Hilton Knoxville Airport, TN
06. Comfort Suites, Salem, VA
07. Marriott Hotel, Washington Dulles Airport
08. Quick summary: Washington DC to San Diego (via Boston) on jetBlue
I discovered this Hilton while driving up and down US129 in front of the Knoxville airport while looking for a decent place to stay for the night. Part of me screamed “be sensible!” and choose one of the cheaper hotels across the street, but the aviation geek in me couldn’t resist a hotel right on airport property. I didn’t care how much it cost (to a point) – this Hilton looked good from the outside and I was determined to give it a shot.
The parking lot was full, which had me a bit worried thinking that they might be sold out for the night, but I was relieved to discover that they had plenty of rooms available. And speaking of that parking lot – it’s quite a walk from the main entrance, so if you stay here make sure that you pull your car up to the front door to unload your bags before parking. I actually had to do the walk several times: once to find out if there were rooms available, once to get my bags, and once to retrieve something I forgot after settling into my room. At least it was good exercise, which felt great after doing nothing but driving all day long.
As far as airport hotels with a view of the terminals goes, this is probably the best one I have *ever* stayed at. Immediately walking into the room I was hit with the sight of a Delta Airlines CRJ-200 that was literally parked right outside my window. Talk about a close-up view of the action! It was pretty exciting for the first few minutes, until I realized that the Knoxville airport is not a very busy place and there wasn’t much going on at all out there on the field. Oh well – it was a nice room and it overlooked an airport so I was pretty darn satisfied.
I ended up ordering room service as opposed to going down to the restaurant (or venturing outside the hotel), and I was pleasantly surprised with the menu. It was huge, and I didn’t have any problem finding something that sounded good. Unfortunately, the prices were huge as well (as expected).
Finally, there was one drawback to that great view of the airport: the windows aren’t very soundproofed, which led me to discovering how loud aircraft APU’s (Auxiliary Power Units) really are. Every time an aircraft arrived and parked at the gate, the APU’s sounded like jet engines. The only break I got from that noise was from about 11pm until 6am. As an aviation geek, I wasn’t completely bothered by it but I can totally understand how annoying it would be to anyone who isn’t interested in airplanes.
Bottom line, this Hilton is about as perfect as an airport hotel can be. The main terminal is just steps away, and it’s a huge property with a pretty good selection of shopping and dining options. And the view of the gate area at the airport can’t be beat!