Friday, December 23, 2011

Hotel Review - Holiday Inn Seattle-Tacoma Airport (Sea-tac)

Holiday Inn Sea-tac
17338 International Blvd
SeaTac, WA 98188

Hotel Review and Trip Report - Holiday Inn Seattle Airport

This is a fairly standard Holiday Inn - friendly staff, easy to access, clean rooms, reasonable room rates. There are a couple Holiday Inns close to the Seattle-Tacoma Airport - this one is right across the street from the Airport Terminal. You can actually walk to it via the new Light Rail station during operating hours.

(sorry for the low lighting - it was about 10pm when I checked in)

The checkin agent was really friendly, she noted I was a Gold Priority Club member and promptly gave me my keys plus a "welcome gift" (snack of nuts - nothing fancy, but much appreciated since I was hungry). 

I got a standard room this time (previously I had a nice corner room - which is a bit bigger and has more windows).
The rooms have been remodeled to the new Holiday Standard -- flat screen tv, multiple pillows, higher quality bedding. There is free Wi-Fi at the hotel - be sure to ask the front desk staff for the code.

As with most older Holiday Inns  - the bathroom is small, but very usable. It was very clean, had plenty of towels, soap, etc.

One minor disappointment -- there was no really closet, just a small alcove with a hanging rack - the iron and board were placed behind the room door. I was only here for a very quick overnight - so not a big deal. Frankly, I am not sure there is enough width to put in doors - so I think it just is what it is.

The morning shuttle starts at 4am and runs every 20 mins. It was fairly busy at 4am since many folks for outlaying areas stay over at Sea-Tac Hotels since its a long drive from home for early flights. The shuttle driver was nice and after a very quick stop at another hotel we were at the terminal. You can walk to the Airport via the Light Rail Station, but it doesnt open until 6am I believe.

There are nicer hotels almost as close to the airport (Hilton, Red Lion, DoubleTree) - but for the money the Holiday Inn Sea-Tac is hard to beat - frankly for a overnight stay its a fine value for the money.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Keauhou Beach Resort (Outrigger)

Keauhou Beach Resort (Outrigger)
78-6740 Alii Drive
Kailua-Kona, Hawaii 96740

Hotel Review and Trip Report - Keauhou Beach Resort (Kona)

We randomly found this hotel after reading the Hawaii The Big Island Revealed Guide Book. Just to be clear, this is not a 5-star Resort like you will find on Maui or Oahu. But it is one the best places to stay in my opinion if you get a Ocean Front Room. Plus its south-of Kailua-Kona is a better location for snorkling and kayaking. The Kahalu`u Bay beach area is right next to the hotel for some of the Islands best snorkling.

The hotel itself is very casual with a very friendly and helpful staff.  The hotel was renovated in 2007, but its starting to show a bit a wear (which is not unusual for Hawaii hotels with the moisture and salt air.

The rooms a fairly small, but contain a decent bed, small fridge and very efficient bathroom. Our Maid service was always very prompt and well done. The front desk staff were extremely friendly and happy to offer advice and suggestions.

While many folks stay well to the north of the Kona Airport in the Waikoloa Resort area,
we liked that our area had more of a local feel and felt like we were really on a Hawaiian Vacation. The hotel is close to a shopping area that contains a Longs, Supermarket, Hawaiian Plate Lunch place and a new (very good) Sam Choys restaurant.

The hotel offers FREE wired and wireless internet access and FREE hot breakfast - with no resort fee! That's a savings of at least $15-20/day at most bigger resorts. One draw back is there is no formal restaurant on location for Dinner. The Bar does serve some food - but its mostly burgers and lunch meals. For Dinner just make the quick 10 min drive into Kailua-Kona. We did the Kona Inn for dinner one night and on another we enjoyed the Luau at the Royal Kona hotel.

While this is technically a 3-star hotel - there are a group of rooms that give a 5-star view. The OceanFront rooms offer a over the water view of the lagoon.

We enjoyed sitting out on the balcony every morning and night. It was like staying at Seaworld 24hours a day - lots of fish, eels (at night) and sea Turtles. We even had a visit from the world famous "Lefty" the Sea Turtle.

The pool is fairly large (no shortage of chairs when were we there). They also have a great grass area that overlooks Kahalu`u Bay where you can layout for some sun.

Just a really well-run, great place to stay on the Big Island. Is it a 5-star hotel? No - but in the right room, it gives you a very unique view and Hawaiian experience.

Looking for things to do during your stay on the Big Island, click here

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Trip Report - Alaska First Class SEA-KOA

Here is what they are serving this month on the Seattle-Kona Flights on Alaska in First Class

The Coconut Chicken was fairly good - service was great.