Friday, October 15, 2004

Hampton Comes Alive

I just finished a two night stay at the Hampton Inn in Woodbridge, NJ. This is enough, in theory, to bring me up to 36 nights and Gold VIP status. I say "in theory" because there is some debate on FlyerTalk about whether free nights count. But I'll make it next week either way.

I originally had a stay at an Embassy Suites, but when the new hotel per diem rates came out, the allowable rate had dropped by around $35, and I had to switch hotels.

The Hampton I ended up with is the first one I've stayed at that has implemented the brand's new "Make It Hampton" enhancements. So, how do the enhancements measure up? Let's take a look.

  • Complimentary High Speed Wireless Internet Access will be available in the hotel public areas. I don't spend time in the hotel public areas, so this wasn't too useful.
  • Complimentary High Speed Internet Access in all guestrooms. This was great, although I wish it were wireless instead of wired.
  • Enjoy our new complimentary hot breakfast items on rotating menus, so you're sure to enjoy a variety of flavorful meals, including sausage patties and scrambled eggs. The scrambled eggs were pretty good this morning.
  • A new blend of robust coffee awaits you in a unique presentation guaranteed to make you smile. I hate coffee. I didn't smile; do I get my money back?
  • If you are in a hurry, ask the breakfast hostess for the new On the Go Breakfast Bag™, complete with water, fruit, a muffin, and a breakfast bar. This was very useful yesterday morning, when I was in a hurry to get to the conference. I didn't even have to ask; they had the bag ready.
  • Curved shower rods for extended shower space. I didn't notice this, which probably means it's a plus.
  • A one-of-a-kind alarm clock making it easier to set your alarm time in three simple steps, as well as find your favorite music. I liked the feature on the alarm clock where it told you both the time and the time the alarm was set for. Three "simple" steps? I guess holding down one button for a long time because an hour button is too complicated is "simple". I was disappointed there was no indicator whether or not you had pressed the snooze button.
  • A portable lap desk that allows you to work in comfort from anywhere in the room. This is a neat idea that would be more useful if the Internet access were wireless.
  • Our new Hampton alarm clock and lap desk are also available for purchase! If you would like to enjoy these new products each retail for $29 plus tax, shipping and handling. Please call 1-888-224-7730 for more information. I won't be calling.

All in all, I enjoyed the experience. There were other nice little touches -- the plastic utensils were actually labeled at breakfast -- no more digging around to find out if you had spoons or forks. I just hope they don't raise prices past the per diem to pay for all these improvements...

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