Life in the Triangle

In 1999, my wife Kathy and I moved to The Triangle Area of North Carolina from California. Interesting area, the Triangle. Here are some of our experiences.


Thursday, July 07, 2011

The Sleep Inn of Boone, NC – Review

My wife and I struggled to find last minute accommodations over the July 4th holiday after other vacation plans fell through.  All the beaches were booked, so we thought we’d try the mountains.  Boone seemed to be an interesting city, so using one of those Veloci-Pedia hotel room finders, I came across The Sleep Inn, one of the Choice Hotels line of hotels (Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, Quality Inn, Clarion, and others.)  The hotel was within our price range for the accommodations we desired.

Upon arriving at the hotel, I found it to seem much nicer than I had expected for the money over a holiday.  The lobby reminded me of the high-end hotels at which I’ve stayed during business travel.  Oak permeated the area.  Over the few days we spent at The Sleep Inn, we visited or called the front desk about seven or eight times, not for problems – just for information, extra towels, etc.  On every occasion I felt the front desk and housekeeping staff went the extra steps to be courteous and helpful.  They always made us feel as if we were the only guests at their facility.

When we first entered our room, once again I found it to be nicer than I had expected for the price.  In fact, we’ve stayed at much more expensive hotels with rooms not as nice as this room.  First, it was very spacious.  How many times do you remember rooms for which you overpaid yet found yourself tripping over all your belongings?  Both our bedroom and bathroom felt large.  Even the walls were painted a nice color rather than the typical drab colors found in most hotel rooms in which we’ve stayed.  And to add some space, our room had a large-radius curved wall rather than a corner one usually finds in a hotel room.  A design of form and function. 

I think the thing that impressed me the most about the room was the genuine granite vanity in the bathroom rather than the off-white cultured (fake) marble one usually finds.  Even both night tables and the large work table were of the same pleasantly colored granite.  The doors were heavy and resembled oak, rather than steel.

Of course, no room is perfect.  Our refrigerator was VERY small.  Though it looked like a full sized hotel refrigerator on the hotel’s website pictures, on the inside we noted that a great deal of space was “missing” - about the size of a 12 pack of beer cans.  Though the door held a lot, there was hardly any shelf space at all.  And forget about the freezer.  It was just one of those flimsy metal boxes covered in about a half inch of frost with a drip tray underneath, also taking significant shelf space.  It was large enough only to hold an ice tray, which was missing in our fridge.  The remaining space barely held a small container of leftover wings from Bandana’s.

The TV was fine, though somewhat “dated,” but the WIFI was really a nuisance. It was slow, which, to the hotel’s credit, was probably due to the holiday traffic.  Also, and this is probably Choice Hotels’ practice rather than a fault of The Sleep Inn of Boone, was the complexity of getting to the Internet.  After calling the front desk to find out the userid and password and entering those to login, we were taken to another screen to agree to the terms, and then, of course, taken to The Choice Hotels website.  Finally I was able to get to Google, though sometimes it took two iterations of this routine to do so.  But the real pain was that the session would time out if you were away from the computer for a while.  I guess in this day of others “stealing” WIFI time, all this is necessary, and it doesn’t specifically ding The Sleep Inn of Boone or Choice Hotels, but it was no less a nuisance.  I’ve certainly gotten better response at our local donut shop.

Oh and by the way, if your idea of family fun is to hang out at the hotel pool, you may not find so much here.  This outdoor pool was about the smallest I’ve seen at a hotel – only seeming about the size of a large home living room or two standard bedrooms.  It felt smaller than an 80+ room hotel should have – almost just big enough so the ads can say, “We have a pool.”  The irony is that our view from our room included the nice, large indoor pool at the adjacent La Quinta Inn.

The Continental Breakfast area was typical, but very nice.  A suggestion for this hotel, or for that matter ANY hotel, would be to help sleepy-eyed guests by providing enhanced directions to get coffee or to make waffles.  This is a rant, I know, but it is not natural for one to approach a coffee pot with black PRESS HERE embossed on a large black button atop the unit.  How many times did I hear guests say, “Just press the top,” to other dazed, confused, and otherwise decaffeinated guests.  Paint the letters white or put a fluorescent sticker on the top that says PRESS HERE.  And although the waffle machine has instructions on a tiny plate with burnt waffle mix stuck to it, it wouldn’t hurt to put a big sign on the wall that says, “To make a waffle …”  How many times did I hear, “Just flip it over.”  They have signs three feet tall that say, “No Lifeguard at Pool,” but you can’t get a darned waffle and a cup of coffee.

But seriously, and with those nit-pickings aside, The Sleep Inn of Boone was a great hotel, a terrific value, and a lot cheaper than the hotels at the beach.  By the way, if you go to Boone, be sure to check out The Mast General Store in Valle Crucis.  It’s only about 20 minutes from the hotel, has fun memorabilia, and great merchandise as well.

The Sleep Inn of Boone – a great value, and I recommend it for your next visit to the mountains of North Carolina.