01. Introduction: San Diego to Bellingham and back on Allegiant, Horizon, and Alaska Airlines
02. Allegiant Air A319 San Diego, CA to Bellingham, WA
03. Holiday Inn Express, Bellingham WA
04. Horizon Air Dash 8 Q400 Bellingham to Seattle
05. Alaska Airlines 737-800 economy class Seattle to San Diego
Hardcore SANspotter fans (lol – yes I just made that up) should be well aware by now about my attraction to Holiday Inn Express hotels. Somewhere, somehow, the cheapo Holiday Inn’s of the past have been renovated into some really nice properties, so much so that I will actually go out of my way to chose to stay at one of them over any other low to mid-tier hotel brand in the same area. And that’s exactly what I did during this trip to Bellingham.
Here’s a quick video of my room for those of you who want a quick preview before reading the rest of this review:
To be honest, there aren’t many plush hotel options around the Bellingham airport. My #1 requirement for this particular stay was to be as close to the airport as possible, but the options were few. A quick search on Hotels.com revealed a Holiday Inn Express just two minutes away, so that pretty much sealed the deal for me.
The two Holiday Inn Express properties I stayed at in Deming, NM and Amarillo, TX during my cross-country drive back in April of this year impressed the hell out of me so I knew that the chances of being disappointed with this choice were very low. What could possibly go wrong?
Well, my choice started to feel “wrong” the moment I stepped through the front door. The lobby of this particular property had none of the high-end touches that those other two Holiday Inn’s had, and it felt like a cheap Comfort Inn more than anything else. Sure, the lounge area was nice, but the check in desk and “kitchen” felt very low end.
Stepping onto the elevator confirmed my suspicion that I had set my expectations too high. This particular lift was old, smelly, and creaky with buttons that looked straight out of 1985. I guess it’s true – not all Holiday Inn Express properties are created equal.
Thankfully, I was once again a happy traveller as soon as I opened the door to my room. Now this is what I was expecting! While the rest of this hotel was poorly (and cheaply renovated) to fit the style of this new brand, the room was top-notch. I’ll let all the pics do the talking:
Overall, I can’t really complain about this hotel. It didn’t give me a very nice first impression, but the quality of the room made up for all the inconsistencies elsewhere. Combine that with the fact that I got lucky with very quiet neighbors (I slept like a baby), it’s a place I’d return to again.
One final note about my stay here: even though they advertise “free shuttle service” to and from the airport, they do not have their own shuttle bus. They simply cover the cost of taxi fare to and from BLI for all guests. Nothing inconvenient about that, but it would be nice if they would advertise it that way to avoid confusion.