Joe Urban | Sam Newberg, Urbanist

Hilton Garden Inn and Hotel Concepts

Dateline: 10:25 am March 17, 2008 Filed under:

By reading entries on this website, it is obvious that I travel quite a lot. I stay in a lot of hotels, and usually do a little research ahead of time to ensure they are well located, in a walkable part of the city. I have also done some market studies on hotels over the years, allowing me to survey the numbers and read up on industry trends.

Between consulting and firsthand experience, I have come to understand a few things, including hotel concepts. Nowhere was this more apparent than at the Hilton Garden Inn in The Woodlands, Texas. I was there earlier this year to see The Woodlands and Ian McHarg’s work firsthand, and may I just say the Hilton Garden Inn gets it right.

From the moment you park and walk in the airy but comfortable lobby, you let out a deep breath; you feel welcome. The lobby itself has a high ceiling, couches and chairs, wi-fi service, a pantry, bar and dining room, all in one but not crowded. Breakfast is served there, and you can get a drink in the evening – not a big selection, but does the business traveler really care? We arrive at all hours, are harried from today’s airline experience, and want comfort. The lobby exudes that, and you can even pick up late night food at the pantry.

The rooms are just as comfortable, with desk, easy chair, attractive dark wood television console, large bathroom and most importantly, a nice, big comfortable bed. Hotels with a brand-name bed (Radisson with the Sleep Number, for example) are highly sought after.

The Hilton Garden Inn is not a discount hotel, nor is it luxury. It just works. When I travel, I will still stay in a variety of hotels, but Hilton, with its Garden Inn, has demonstrated that they did their homework and have created and branded a hotel worthy of our business.

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