Holiday Inn, take two: do you get what you pay for?

Maybe I spoke too soon.

I wrote a post late last night about my very positive first impressions of the Seattle Airport Holiday Inn. In the post, I described the clean, modern space and offered some thoughts on why (to our surprise!) we preferred this hotel to the higher-end Kimpton Hotel Vintage in downtown Seattle.

Now I have to eat a few of those words. They don’t taste very good, but fortunately there aren’t very many of them. The main issue was sleep quality – which is kind of a big deal. The issue that followed was apathy – which is a bummer, but clearly not as big a problem as a semi-sleepless night.

Here’s what happened: we got back to our room at the end of the evening and were excited to get into our jammies and go to sleep. The beds looked very inviting, and we were exhausted.


Our first disappointment was the quality of the pillows. They were lumpy and small…all eight of them! However, since it was late and we were tired, we decided to make the best of the situation and simply go to sleep: no late-night phone calls to housekeeping.

As soon as I snuggled into the bed, I realized that I was in for a long, cold night. The down comforter was completely deflated, and felt about as warm as a thin cotton blanket. I searched for a spare blanket in the closet, but to no avail: there wasn’t one. I got up and put on socks and a hat.

Then our real temperature woes began. First we were blasted by freezing cold air for several hours. This was despite adjusting the thermostat to a more comfortable number; our adjustments just didn’t stick…until they did. In the middle of the night, the temperature had skyrocketed to 75 degrees, and we were sweltering.

All of the wild temperature fluctuations caused both of us to get a little congested. When Hottie started snoring, I didn’t want to wake her up, so I downloaded the Sleep Pillow app on my phone and used it for white noise…which then woke her up…but she didn’t want to wake me up.

So we didn’t get much sleep.

At check out, I mentioned the weird pillows, lack of extra blanket, and schizophrenic thermostat to the front desk agent. He was super nice. He listened. He wrote down our room number on a piece of scratch paper. He smiled sympathetically. And that was it. That was as far as it got. As I walked away from the front desk, I saw him deposit the piece of scratch paper somewhere below the desk. I can only assume it was the circular file.

Holiday Inn, I was really rooting for you.

Why you got to do me like that?



  1. Had a similar experience with the bedding. Got the room comped and free dinner.

    • Points Pixie says

      gregogih – Wow, sounds like a “hang up, call again” situation. Maybe I should have told a different front desk agent.

  2. Out last stay at HI in FLL was a disaster as well. The small pillows really sucked, and the window shades could not be closed. So the bright lights from the Denny’s across the street shined through the night, and of course, there were no blocking the daylight shining in early in the morning.

    Fortunately, we did not have to deal with a temperamental thermostat. The only saving grace was the over 25k+ points from the IHG promos…

  3. Last time I commented, I talked about inconsistencies between different Holiday Inn hotel properties — but I was not expecting you to report inconsistencies within the same hotel property!

  4. Pillow quality at many IHG properties is an issue. I’ve had great pillows at some HI and most CP/IC and then really bad ones at a few CP and most HIX. You never know what you’re gonna get. Inconsistency with IHG properties is really making me consider another chain.

    • Points Pixie says

      Brian – It seems like HI is in the process of refreshing their properties, but they skipped the pillows. 🙁

  5. Travel Dude says

    Not much difference from my experience with Aloft

  6. Oh, come on! Gimme a break! Is this another first world problem?!?! Next time go to a Four Season!

    • Ummm this is a blog about travel. Evaluating various chains falls within that realm. Her friend needed the stay credit. Do you understand the point?

  7. You know, I have the same exact sentiments about a recent stay at another Holiday Inn. Property was gorgeous (for a Holiday Inn); all was great on Day One. Then Day Two, I leave my room…and find my folio laying outside the room. Not halfway slid under the door, not merely peeking out, but entirely outside in the common hallway. Of course it shows my full name and full home address (among other things). Presumably had been there for half a day (I took late checkout). Went downstairs, sought a manager, and contained my ire enough to explain what happened. Got a half-hearted apology and that was that. I soooo wanted to like that hotel. I should write a review one day, but probably better to wait until I cool down. 🙂

  8. You can email the hotel from their web site – I got a reply from the Manager when I did that about the points not posting.

  9. JustSaying says

    I am a big believer in improved living thru pharmaceuticals………ambien!

  10. Sorry you had a bad experience. To me most hotels are a game of chance. You never know how good or bad the pillows, noise, HVAC, TV, remote, lighting, electric outlets, etc. etc. are going to be. I don’t care if it’s a 7 star Ritz or a $39 Super 8. Obviously your odds improve with the hotel rating. I guess what I’m saying is don’t rate Holiday Inn in general on one property (which it doesn’t sound like you are). I stay at a bunch of HIX’s on my job and they vary widely. One thing I can track this back to is the owner or company that has the franchise. Although they are all Holiday Inn Expresses the local ownership makes an impact.

  11. I find lower end Marriott’s, like courtyards etc to be more consistent with better beds and pillows than any HI.

  12. Sorry you had such a bad experience! Makes not getting the breakfast not too bad after all. My room on the 7th floor was very good. Definitely send in a complaint.

  13. I know it was late so you didn’t take time to call for new pillows or a blanket. But I would like to see a review that allowed the hotel to respond to the situation. “Holiday Inn, I was really rooting for you.” I think you still can since they didn’t have a chance to make things right. It certainly looks like a nice hotel for the price.

  14. This is just disappointing, and the pillows are the worst part. I hope Holiday Inn can fix it, because I’m about to head to Seattle by this week. Sleep quality is something all hotels should work on, and I’d like to share this article about where the best of the best are. You can read it here:


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