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When I first get off a plane in a foreign country I always feel jetlagged, dirty, hungry and generally all-round yucky.
On arriving in Houston my Dad and Hubby felt exactly like this, so my friend H and I took them to our hotel for the night, La Quinta Inn & Suites at Houston Bush International Airport.
WHY CHOOSE THIS HOTEL?
La Quinta is a big US chain of budget hotels. Our rooms were only $60 a night (split between two sharing!) My friend H selected this one for our first night in Houston as it was so close to the airport where my Dad & Hubby were flying in to. It was just a 10 minute hop by complimentary bus from the airport to the front of the hotel.
The hotel itself was a bright, low-rise yellow structure with a large car park out the front which was free for residents. H was able to park her car right by the reception area which is protected from the vicious Texan sun by a large concrete roof.
Inside, the open-plan reception area was decorated in earthy beige, yellow and burnt orange, with a large wooden reception desk staffed by two people every time I saw it. The rest of the area is furnished with big, squashy sofas and chairs as well as a water dispenser (a legal requirement in Texas) and complimentary chocolate chip cookies (not a legal requirement in Texas, but should be everywhere!)
The reception staff were friendly and professional, assigning us the two twin rooms we had booked. Unfortunately, even though they knew we were one party, with two of our members arriving imminently, they assigned us one room on the first floor and one on the fourth! While we were there we asked about the complimentary airport bus, were told of the times it ran (every 30 minutes) and after requesting a booking, we were booked on to the next bus out.
There were two lifts by reception as well as complimentary luggage trolleys which we were able to use to get our luggage up to the rooms. There was no bell-hop to help us, but hey, it's a budget hotel so we didn't mind.
Rooms were opened with electronic swipe keys which worked well. Both rooms we were assigned were decorated in the same earthy tones as reception, augmented with lime green (it looked better than it sounded!) We had fridges in both rooms and a microwave in H & my room (although not in Dad & Hubby's even though all are supposed to have one). The two double beds in each room were fully made up with plenty of bedding. The rooms had easy-to-operate air-conditioning units
Bathrooms in both rooms included a full spread of toiletries and plenty of towels. Each contained a loo and a combined shower/bath. The shower worked on a simple mix-tap system and was easy to operate.
Both rooms were very clean, had hairdryers, coffee makers (you can't make tea with them despite the official advertising), large TV's with multichannel options, clock/radios and free wifi.
OTHER HOTEL FEATURES
This La Quinta hotel features an outdoor swimming pool and a small gym. I was too hot to use the pool and too tired to use the gym so I can't review them! There's also a free laundry room (very useful!)
GETTING TO THE AIRPORT
After settling in we went back to reception and waited outside for the airport bus. And waited. And waited.
Ten minutes after departure time H went back into reception to find out what was going on. She saw different staff to those on the desk originally. It turned out the dozy reception staff hadn't booked us on the bus after all! She made a fuss, telling them we had to go and meet the rest of our party off their flight, so the reception staff telephoned the bus company and promised one would be there to pick us up in five minutes.
After another ten minute wait we were thoroughly fed-up, jumped in H's car and drove to the airport to meet Dad and Hubby!
There's no restaurant at the hotel and we couldn't find information on room service. Since Hubby & Dad were feeling rough (as described in the introduction) they just ate some plain sandwiches we'd brought with us. H and I wanted more substantial fare as we were both on US time and were both hungry. Unfortunately the only option near the hotel was a Burger King. We were both too tired and hot to jump back in H's car again and go exploring for alternatives.
After a good night's sleep (comfy beds!) we all met up downstairs for breakfast, which was a far nicer proposition than dinner.
Breakfast was included in the price of the room and was a serve-yourself buffet affair. There were plenty of tables and lots of space to sit. The buffet was what I now know to be a standard US breakfast bar: coffee machine, juice, a few (sugary) cereals, sweet pastries, eggs & bacon and waffles (which you made yourself in a really cool machine!). There were also what I thought were pancakes, which I covered in maple syrup. It was only when I took a mouthful I discovered they were actually boiled eggs! Eggs and maple syrup do not go together, I can assure you!
Checking out after breakfast was simple and straightforward so we were in good shape for the next leg of our trip.
The hotel itself was good. The rooms were clean and comfortable and breakfast was OK (but terribly unhealthy!). I would have given the hotel five stars but I'm deducting one for the dozy reception staff bus mess-up, and one for the lack of advertised facilities for tea-making facilities and microwave in the 'boys' room (we didn't use them, but it's the principle). Plus lack of dinner food except for the next-door Burger King? Poor!