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
One of the benefits (if you can call it that) of doing this cross-country road trip is that I learned a lot about low-end chain hotels here in the US. Basically, the business consists of only a few major corporations who each own a dizzying amount of brands disguised to look like completely different companies.
So while it appears that there a ton of different hotel brands to choose from, the reality is that there are only a few major players in this game. And to make things even more confusing, I discovered that there are actually a lot of variations of single brands that are really difficult to keep track of.
Comfort Hotels is one such example, with an eclectic mix of “Inn” and “Suite” properties, sometimes mixed together in one location. This particular property in Salem, VA just off interstate 81 features only suites – at least that’s what the name implies. The Comfort Inn I stayed at in Deming, NM a few nights prior was a mix of standard rooms and suites, while the one at the Anchorage Airport was suites only just like this one here in Salem.
Confusing, and admittedly a waste of my time to really think about. After all, I’m not a hotel connoisseur like some other travelers I know (as evident by my willingness to stay in cheap properties like this). But let’s have a look at the suite I had, shall we?
I was physically exhausted when it came time to choose a place to stay for the night, and the only reason why I chose the Comfort Suites hotel over any of the others in the immediate area was because there was a Food Lion grocery store right next door. Since I’m not a big fan of fast food, being able to stock up on healthy things to eat is always a plus.
The woman who checked me in was pleasant and very kind – I was browsing the snack shop adjacent to the check in desk, picked out a few items, and she told me I was free to take them for no charge even though there was a price tag on everything. Nice little perk there!
The room itself was pretty nice, and to be honest, I was so exhausted that I didn’t even pay attention to the fact that I this was a suite hotel. So yeah – walking into the room was a nice surprise, considering that I was expecting something small and cramped.
Being able to walk to the large Food Lion grocery store that was located right next to this hotel was the nicest thing about staying here (IMHO). Combine that with the fact that it was clean and quiet with a super-friendly staff, and I was rather satisfied with this choice!