Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Just returned from another trip, this time trying to convince someone to outsource the remainder of a particular piece of work to my team overseas. It would result in a doubling of our headcount on this line of business.

I almost have new favorite 'business travel' hotel after staying at a Hilton Garden Inn. It was very nice but I am not quite ready to give up my current top pick.

Hilton Garden positives included a VERY comfortable bed, free freshly baked cookies and coffee in the lobby 24/7, free made-to-order breakfast and one free bar drink of any kind in the lounge between 6-10pm

Negatives? None. Unless you count free freshly baked cookies in the lobby 24/7 (Goodbye Diet, Hello Gut)

I normally try to stay at a Drury Inn when possible (Southern and South Western USA) but the Hilton Garden may give them a run for the money. Why do I like Drury so much?

Truly amazing staff and customer service. You get this at almost any hotel but something about Drury makes it seem more genuine. I am on a first name basis with the Managers at the locations I stay frequently. Free dinner including 3 free drinks and also the free breakfast.

Now the "free" food is nothing special. Breakfast is a buffet of eggs, sausage, biscuits, french toast and waffles. Plus some healthy stuff like yogurt and fruit that I try to stay away from. Dinner is a combination (depending on the day of week) of chicken wings, spring rolls or meatballs and a variety of sides (potatoes, salad, etc.) Plus three free drinks is ALWAYS a good way to wind down after a long day.

I like the free food at Drury because it means I can pocket my Per Diem ($35/day). If I play my cards right I can not spend a time on food. Every trip I take adds a couple hundred to my wallet that I can spend on souvenirs for the kids or alcohol at the duty-free.

Now the Hilton Garden may not have free dinner and they may only give one free evening beer instead of three but a made to order breakfast counts for something. Freshly made eggs are 10x better then anything that has been sitting on a buffet. Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day when it is done right and I always like to have a real breakfast when traveling on business. You never know if you will get a chance to eat again if you are running from meeting to meeting all day long.

Final verdict? I think Drury will still be what I request via my corporate travel team but Hilton Garden was very nice and I would recommend them to anyone.

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