Best of the Road -- Christmas Update

By their nature, "best of" lists are always limited and subjective. That said, I present my personal evaluations of the "best of" my recent hotel experiences, as updated at Christmastime 2012.

My most recent focus is on Internet connectivity.

As we're heading into 2013 (having escaped the Mayan apocalypse), when most of us travel with at least one laptop or tablet and a smart phone or two, good connectivity is vital. A personal pet peeve are those properties that actively solicit meeting and conference business, yet provide substandard connectivity. I mean seriously, if we're there on business, we need to stay connected -- and at rates that are faster than dial-up!

INTERNET CONNECTIVITY: Lodge at SunCadia/Cle Elum, WA While an in-room connection speed of 1 or 2 Mpbs per second download is typical (if arguably unacceptable) the Lodge at SunCadia  provided in-room Internet access at a blazing 40 Mbps download speed, as measured using

Worst: Hotel del Coronado in San Diego, where speeds were 0.75 Mbps, despite a "resort charge" of $25 per day that supposedly included "high speed Internet access." As I write this, I'm at a humble Homewood Suites, which provides 2 Mbps speed, almost three times as fast as The Del.

BATHROBES: Spindrift Inn/Monterey, CA and Oxford Hotel/Bend, OR (tie)

TOWELS: Hiltons (the flagship brand, not other associated brands like Hilton Garden Inns) 

BED: Spindrift Inn/Monterey, CA (sorry Westin; your Heavenly Beds are great, but the Spindrift Inn's bed edges you out!)

HAIRDRYERS: Spindrift Inn/Monterey, CA; Rosewood Hotel Georgia/Vancouver, BC.; Westin Hotels (three-way tie). The Spindrift Inn and Westin hotels provide the powerful Andis 1850 watt blow dryers, while the Rosewood Hotel Georgia provides an equally powerful ConAir unit.

IN-ROOM COFFEE: Oxford Hotel/Bend, OR; Rosewood Hotel Georgia/Vancouver, BC (tie). These hotels offer coffee that is distinctly different, from each other as well as from standard hotel coffee. The Oxford Hotel provides a French press, freshly-ground coffee, a hot pot for heating water, and instructions. The Rosewood Hotel Georgia provides Nespresso machines with a variety of different coffee capsules.

AMENITIES: Ritz-Carlton/Lake Las Vegas, NV (now closed) Bulgari amenities provided a true touch of class.

BUSINESS CENTER: Hilton/Ft. Collins, CO This facility was spacious, provided all the usual business machines at modest per-use costs, and offered free internet access. 

MINIBAR: None. While many hotels still offer minibars, none was really outstanding. In addition, they are fading in popularity, as hotels can provide better selection and freshness (and have better control over access) at lobby bars or pantries.

Bay - Spindrift Inn/Monterey, CA
Mountains - Hilton/Ft. Collins
Ocean - Inn at Spanish Head/Lincoln City, OR

 I'll be updating this post as I find new "bests" so stay tuned!

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