I wouldn’t call myself a traveler, but I travel mostly for business frequently enough. I’ve had the opportunity to visit destinations domestic and abroad, staying in hotels in several cities over.
I have traveling down to a science so that most stress around it is removed:
- I have a carry-on roller bag that contains cables, batteries, chargers, and other equipment I’m prone to use away from home in relation to tech (and all items remain in this bag in between trips, so that I can grab it and go without worrying if I have everything I might need).
- I have a 47-pocket vest that helps me carry any personal items (or necessities) through to the destination. Again, I keep the vest packed with what I usually might need when I’m mobile so I never have to worry about it.
- You can’t have too much dental floss on you. Yeah, it sounds weird to suggest this, but I can’t tell you how many times an errant piece of beef jerky has lodged itself in between my teeth at the beginning of a long flight. I suppose I could avoid beef jerky or meat products… but, where’s the fun in that? Gum, mints, hand sanitizers: they’re all affordable helpers.
- Everybody has to eat and drink, right? You can save a ton of money by purchasing food at a nearby market and storing it / preparing it in your own room. So long as your room can help you accommodate non-snacky foodstuffs. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself always going out to eat and getting leftovers you can’t store (which is actually wasting money).
Yes, you could say I’m slightly organized — and that’s never been a problem for me or anybody I’ve ever traveled with (for good reason). Not every hotel has what you need, and there’s also no telling what might be around it within walking distance for you to fill the gaps.
Now, everybody has their own criteria as to what is (and is not) a “good” hosted accommodation, but my bar is not incredibly high.
I tend not to look for fitness centers, swimming pools, or fax services (which, yes, are still offered and used). Instead, I’m attracted to high-speed Internet access, a very comfortable bed, and a feeling of personal safety and security. I’m not much of a sightseer, and I’m usually “there” for other reasons.
Yes, you can certainly do a fair amount of research online these days to find what you need, but hotel room photos are typically taken to spur you on to press that “Reserve Now” button. And while a photo’s worth a thousand words, in-person experience with anything is worth far more.
Call me a fan of the hotel suite room — designed to be a home away from home, especially for those on extended stays. While I’ve stayed at plenty of Marriott hotels, I can’t say I’ve ever stayed in a TownePlace Suites by Marriott® room, so this was plenty of reason for me to make the journey and share my findings. Suffice it to say, even after one night of two here, I’d book again without blinking. To keep them top of mind, you might even Like ’em on the TownePlace Suites® Facebook page.
Upon entering the well-lit hotel lobby, I was greeted with a very friendly clerk behind her counter. Sadly, this kind of service seems to be the exception in the hotel industry — especially if you (like me) arrive in the late hours of the evening and staff is more interested in finishing other tasks than getting you to your room quickly. So I felt quite welcome up front — and there was little to no chance of them knowing I’d be writing a report about my experience.
I was handed a small welcome bag of snacks, though I think my wife would have appreciated the soda and candy more than me. Minutes later, I was microwaving some popcorn and managed not to burn it and minimize the unpopped kernels — that’s a personal win. It was something, and… certainly something more than I’ve been given at other hotels.
I tend not to unpack on long or short trips (though this is something my wife loves to do). Most hotel closets have a bar for anything you might need to hang, but… that doesn’t help when you live in t-shirts and don’t care about wrinkling much. So, when I saw the closet in my suite, I immediately thought to myself: “It’s almost like the one we have at home.” That’s the idea.
If you know me, you know I organize incessantly — for cleanliness and tidiness. There’s a reason they use the phrase “Closet Envy” to describe what they’ve set up for visitors, here. I’d imagine that for most, this double-entry storage area is better than what they might have at home. They partnered with The Container Store® for the elfa® closet, and I’ve certainly walked up and down their aisles a few times looking for better ways of organizing my life. That’s fun for me. I’m weird.
If I were staying longer (and able to take advantage of their lower rates for longer stays), I’d certainly be taking advantage of the laundry on-site option (and, of course, valet dry cleaning if I were planning on wearing something nicer). I’d also be taking advantage of the fully equipped kitchen — with its large refrigerator/freezer, stove, oven, microwave, and dishwasher. My King Studio has all that and the kitchen sink. As it stands, I’ll be heating up a pot of soup for dinner later (healthy, affordable, enough to fill me up without stuffing myself silly). Oh, and I’ll be having a side of more beef jerky, too. It’s a vice.
So I turn on the thin, desktop-sized LCD HDTV and discover that I… have more channels here than I do back in Seattle. Plus, they carry the channel that’s currently re-running Frasier episodes — something I enjoy tuning into every night (much to my wife’s dismay). It’s just one more thing that makes me feel at home. With travel being potentially hectic and quite disruptive to your regular schedule, every little bit helps. Small joys.
But what about what could arguably be the most important thing in a hotel room: the bed? Fluffy, soft, and consuming — like when you sink in and the mattress accommodates your weight, you don’t want to get up for anything. That’s a good bed — a crucial part of getting a good night’s rest. This was also my first full night’s rest in about a month’s time, with a newborn at home who needs to eat every couple of hours. Wait until I introduce my daughter to the wonders of beef jerky!
Outlets everywhere! Seriously, this is usually a problem when you travel — to the point where I pack a tiny extension cord. I’ve been in many situations where I’ve had to unplug a lamp simply because I needed to charge a device. From where I sit right now at the in-room working desk, I can see two outlets in front of me next to the Ethernet port, two on the desk lamp to my right, four in a panel beneath the desk with two occupied (that’s six open options within arm’s reach). There are single outlets built into the switchable lamp units flanking the bed (great for helping keep your phone charged overnight), outlets in the kitchen, outlets in the bathroom, outlets next to the large window and away from the curtain. In fact, the only area that doesn’t have any outlets is the closet (and, yes, I checked). They’re all in very convenient spots for use. This is like a dream come true, and if you’ve done any amount of business travel, you know exactly what I’m talking about. I have more outlets than I can use, and that’s a huge bonus.
I cannot stress enough the importance of staying organized while you travel. Have you ever left something behind? Then you know exactly why I’m telling you it’s very important to keep in mind. But, the thing is, why do you have to worry about staying organized when the hotel’s room can help you with the process? Yep.
I’m used to renting Internet access for a few nights at a price that rivals the average monthly ISP bill, but was pleasantly surprised to see perfectly serviceable, complimentary wireless and wired connections in-room. I was able to upload today’s video to YouTube with an upload rate that topped at at 15 Mbps (which is really awesome, and likely better than the upload speed that you’re paying for at home).
I picked up a bagel and cream cheese this morning for breakfast, given as a complimentary item for guests. It was enough to get me going, though I much preferred finding my coffee at a local cafe (which happened to be within a half hour’s walking distance, so I even got some likely-needed exercise in).
There have been times I’ve found myself wearing socks in the bathroom at all times and not wanting to touch the floor with my bare feet. When a surface looks dilapidated, my mind starts wondering what’s been on it before me. Now, the bathroom floors in my suite looked to be quite the opposite of that. And the shower faucet handle didn’t take a 300-page manual to figure out how to use, either. I swear, I’ve walked out of hotel bathrooms before wondering why I couldn’t figure out how to produce hot water in less than 10 minutes.
It’s been a great room to live in temporarily — and TownePlace Suites® clearly has a solid approach to what a business-class suite can (and should) be. Did I remember to rave about all the outlets in my room? If this suite doesn’t help you stay better organized on your short or extended-stay business trips, no suite can.
So you’re thinking: “Did he really check for outlets in the elfa® closet?” Yes, he did. And he (I mean, “I”) also want to give you an opportunity to receive a $100 gift card to put towards your first or next stay at a TownePlace Suites® in the future. Here are the official rules.
Leave a comment, answering one (or both) of the following questions: What do you do to stay organized on extended-stay travel? What would you use the most in the elfa® closet to stay organized while traveling. You must be a U.S. resident over the age of 21 to participate in this giveaway, and only one person will be selected at random.
Now, if you’ll pardon… I’m going to see if I can conduct any business around the other (currently) 11 locations of TownePlace Suites® featuring the elfa® closet just to have the opportunity to stay in one again — if only for the outlets. I’ll bring the beef jerky.