Hotels around parks

Saturday, May 11, 2013 11:13 PM

Has anyone been to the King's Island Resort and Conference Center? I'm making a trip down to King's Island in two weeks and just wondered. I've been down there once before and stayed at Microtel and it sort of sucked. The resort has good deals. The Super 8 is actually more expensive. Only like $10 or so though so it doesn't matter.

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Sunday, May 12, 2013 12:06 AM

No, but I can give you this much advice... even if you don't book through them, travel websites such as Travelocity are a good place to start. If nothing else, they have a ton of good, mostly honest reviews that can really help out with the decision making. NEVER EVER stay at an unfamiliar hotel without reading plenty of reviews first. Also helps to be able to compare many at a time and find out things like Free breakfast, wifi, etc.

Forgive me if I'm insulting your intelligence, but if I learned anything from a night at the Safari Lodge across the street from BGT...

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Sunday, May 12, 2013 12:48 AM

Also if you plan on traveling a lot, you might want to look into joining a chain's reward program. I personally have Hilton Honors (which includes Hampton Inn, Embassy Suites, Homewood Suites, Waldorf-Astorias and obviously all the Hiltons) and have gotten plenty of free rooms off of this program. Even the cheapest hotel in that chain (Hampton) is usually not near the "cheap places" but you get breakfast, and I have not had any problems with my room.

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Sunday, May 12, 2013 1:00 AM

I stayed at the hotel the year Diamondback opened. I believe even though it carries the KI name it isn't owned by the park anymore. It was ok, nice and clean enough. The exterior needed a little work and the place seemed slightly run down, but we didn't have any issues with the room or safety/security or anything like that. I seem to remember a really great rate there, too.

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Sunday, May 12, 2013 8:13 AM

If you read all of the reviews for any hotel, you'll never stay anywhere below a 5-diamond. Maybe that's my problem...

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Sunday, May 12, 2013 11:52 AM

Well, of course you need to take all reviews with a grain of salt. Some people write 0-star reviews based on the fact that they ran out of pancake batter at the free breakfast. Other, 5-star reviews are obviously shills.

But yeah, I second the rewards program thought. We are Priority Club, soon to change name to IHG Rewards, members. This is the Holiday Inn family of hotels. HI Express hotels have always been good to us. Want free rooms right off the bat? Get the credit card associated with the rewards program. The Priority Club Visa give you 80,000 pts, enough for 4 rooms. Think of it as a $500 bonus for signing up. Also you get a certificate for one free room every year. $50 annual fee, but well worth it for the benefits.

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Sunday, May 12, 2013 12:16 PM

I've been working on the Choice Hotels reward program because I stay at a certain property when I go to Pigeon Forge every once in a while. I have stayed in their hotel for 15 nights so far, and when I called them to ask if I have a free night yet they told me that I'm about halfway there, and that it expires soon. I told them that it wasn't worth it.

Maybe I'm doing it wrong. From now on, I will "choose" a different hotel.

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Sunday, May 12, 2013 12:31 PM

I draw the line at about the Hampton Inn/Fairfield Inn level. There or above and you've have a pretty consistently good experience. Below that and you'll probably have pretty inconsistent experiences.

With that said, you couldn't pay me to stay at a Microtel, Super 8 or anything off-brand like the "Kings Island Resort & Conference Center" - ick.

Now that all comes with the caveat that the chain hotels in touristy spots tend to be below what they are elsewhere. Essentially, families out having fun abuse hotels much more than normal travelers. And they tend to go longer without updates because location goes a long way to keeping business. Mostly, they can get away with less because they offer convenience...and sometimes that's enough for their guests.

With all of that said, Tripadvisor's rankings of Mason hotels looks like it's probably pretty accurate. That Marriott is run by the company my wife used to work for (the reason we moved to Dayton) and it's a terrific hotel. Never had an issue with a Hilton Garden either, they're consistently nice. Obviously, Great Wolf should be a decent stay. I would think the Hyatt is solid. Under that you hit the middle-of-the-road stuff (Hampton, Holiday Inn Express, Comfort Suites). From the Baymont down is what I'd call the 'low end' places. Hit or miss. If you need a mattress and a low rate (*shudder*), there's where you look.

Last edited by Lord Gonchar, Sunday, May 12, 2013 12:33 PM
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Sunday, May 12, 2013 2:04 PM

I'm all about the courtyard, myself. I've never had a bad experience at one of those. Also, you can't really go wrong with most Disney properties, though I tend to prefer the moderate and deluxe resorts for their slightly quieter atmosphere, and the level of service seems to be a bit different and more catering toward the adult without children kind of crowd.

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Sunday, May 12, 2013 4:43 PM

I have sometimes had good luck with an "off-brand" place, but they are usually boutique hotels, and require at least a personal recommendation for me to consider one. Even then, they can be iffy.

Otherwise, I'm a total hotel snob. Gonch is right about tourist area hotels: they can let themselves go much farther between refurbishments than almost anything else, because location trumps many other considerations.

Last edited by Brian Noble, Sunday, May 12, 2013 4:44 PM
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Sunday, May 12, 2013 5:15 PM

I'm with Tommytheduck about HI Express. When I travel by car to coaster destinations I look to see if there's one nearby. They're nice and tend to be newer and less worn out. I really liked the one in Newport News near Williamsburg, the one in Hershey, and the one at Universal was ok too. The one near Disney was really nice. Club members get a goody bag, and there's that free breakfast with hot cinnamon rolls every day.

I also stay at the one right on the Sevierville / Pigeon Forge line when I go to Dollywood. It's obviously one that used to be something else, and it's maybe a slight notch down, but still nothing really wrong there. I think it's the one that goes with Gonch's comment about variables at the touristy destinations.

I looked for one in Sandusky and I couldn't find one. That turned out ok in the end, as I never would have found that sweet deal at Castaway Bay if I had.

Last edited by RCMAC, Sunday, May 12, 2013 5:17 PM
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Sunday, May 12, 2013 10:19 PM

As someone who spends 2-3 nights per week in a hotel, (work) I'm a hotel snob too. I've learned my lesson in the whole "ooh, look, only $50 per night" deal. Places like that sell on location and price, and cater to noisy, messy families who are only looking for a deal and nothing else.

There are certainly better chains than H.I.E. even, but we are too far invested in the Priority Club to switch now. And yeah, we get treated decent. Goodie bags and free upgrades when available. (unfortunately, most hotels do not give me points for my work stays, so it's not like I'm super platinum elite or anything, but we still get a lot of perks and saye a lot of $.)

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Monday, May 13, 2013 7:09 AM

Tommytheduck said:

The Priority Club Visa give you 80,000 pts, enough for 4 rooms.

That's not fair!!! LOL. You only get 10,000pts in the UK, same for Hilton and Marriott. That's only enough for one night and at the lower end properties, and the 10,000pt properties are usually in the middle of nowhere and not many of them.

I stayed in a Microtel once near Dorney. NEVER AGAIN. Didn't like the micro rooms or the micro breakfast and the "non-smoking" room smelt of smoke. I complained and she said "it's non smoking" then carried on talking to her friend.

I'm being forced to stay in a Super 8 on my next trip as there was nothing else near, but it is a "Pride of Super 8" so hopefully it will have been cleaned this year.

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Monday, May 13, 2013 9:40 AM

The nicest hotel I've stayed at in Sandusky is Great Wolf (disclaimer: my wife is an ask-a-mom for the company). That's why I have such high expectations for the eventual Breakers renovation. It just seems wrong to have almost no good choices.

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Monday, May 13, 2013 11:20 AM

Traveling around 60 days a year, I too am a “hotel snob.” I am fortunate that my park puts me up in some decent “business class” joints during my travels, but even when I travel on my own dime, Hilton’s, Marriott’s or Hyatt’s are usually my minimum standards.

I get real nervous if the rate is much less than $100 a night. Not saying that there aren’t any decent $79 rooms out there, but in the $100+ a night range, your odds are just much better getting a decent room.

I also lean on TripAdvisor quite a bit...if you throw out the hi’s and lo’s and read the reviews objectively, TripAdvisor nails it for the most part. I pretty much ignore the reviews that rip apart every detail of the hotel….even my worst stays had some positives…

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