Once again, I want to thank my BlogHer09 sponsor, Best Western for their support. Being able to stay at their properties for free was a big help to our strained budgets on our GM sponsored carpool to Chicago.
(To learn more about my sponsorship, see my post An interview with my BlogHer '09 sponsor, Best Western to find out how Best Western is making travel affordable for families and small business people.)
We stayed at two Best Western properties – one in Ames, Iowa and the other in Ogallala, Nebraska. In between we stayed at the Sheraton Towers in Chicago.
Great customer service on the phone and online
I made the reservations online and entered an incomplete email address. So when I was trying to find my reservation, I panicked and called their reservation line. The very nice person on the phone gave me my reservation numbers and corrected the email address. Then she resent my reservation confirmation emails.
After we got to Chicago, I decided to change our reservation on the way back. We were originally going to stay again in Ames, but we decided to push on through Nebraska so we’d have a short drive through Colorado the next day.
Again, I called the reservation line and the customer service agent and I looked up the properties in Nebraska between the Colorado border and Lincoln. She gave me three properties, looked up prices and availability and quickly rebooked the reservation using the same confirmation number.
Also, just before and during my trip I was emailed a reservation reminder.
Great customer service in person and after the fact
My roommate Amy and I were greeted warmly by the front desk personnel and quickly checked in. When we couldn’t find the elevator – we were on the second floor and had heavy bags – the front desk clerk carried our bags up the stairs.
The front desk lady in Ogallala apologized for the hot tub pump being out and was super sweet.
Also, I had no problems with billing. After getting several mysterious charges and not so great customer service at the fancy Sheraton in Chicago, I wished the conference was at a Best Western instead. Forget those squishy “heavenly beds,” too.
Rooms met our needs
Both rooms were clean, and the beds were comfortable and firm. We were so tired that we didn’t even turn on the TV.
Now Best Westerns aren’t five star hotels, so the furnishings can be a little funky and warn. Still everything was spotless and there was plenty of room to set up my laptop and check email. The Ames property had ethernet and Ogallala had wireless. Both worked great.
Also, both rooms (we had a family suite in Ames and a regular room with two queen bed in Ogallala) had small refrigerators. This was terrific, since we had snacks and drinks with us. I was even able to refreeze my cooler packs overnight. Having the refrigerators came in handy, and are a great feature for families, too.
We were pretty much in and out of there and didn’t have much chance to do anything but sleep and shower. In Ames, my roommate used the small workout facility and wished she had brought her bathing suit to soak in the hot tub for awhile. (They had a very nice pool area.)
We didn’t get a chance to eat the complimentary breakfast in Ames since we left at 5 a.m. (!) but the lobby had plenty of room for people to grab a table and eat.
We did eat breakfast in Ogallala and I was impressed at the spread. It was better than the breakfast at the conference! There were all kinds of bagels and breads to make toast, cereal, milk, pastries, tea and coffee, juice, hard boiled eggs, fruit, and even hot sausage patties. I ended up making a sausage sandwich on an English muffin. It was perfect.
On the road again
We may be taking a short trip to visit my husband’s relatives just a few hours away from home. Since I don’t want to stay at my mother-in-laws (she lives in a senior’s apartment and keeps the temperature in the 80s all year round) I’m considering booking us a night at a Best Western nearby. Since kids stay free and the breakfast is complimentary, I won’t have to worry about eating her not-so-great cooking either. Hope they have a pool!