Tuesday, December 9, 2014

AURORA, CO: Fairfield Inn

The Fairfield Inn Aurora can be described by a single word.

While “basic,” “adequate” or “uninspired” would all be accurate, my preferred adjective is “Meh.”

The Fairfield Inn Aurora checks all the boxes of things travelers want in a hotel, but it does so in a manner best described as “minimum due.” Based on the rate I was paying, I didn’t expect a four- or five-star experience, but I did expect a bit more in terms of both surroundings and service.

Regular King guest room
As for the surroundings, the main area of my guest room, a regular King, was about 14 feet by 14 feet and contained the bed, a bedside chair, a smaller (27 inch) flat-screen TV, and a basic desk with one power outlet on the desk lamp – hardly sufficient for the range of electronic devices with which many of us now travel.

Complimentary wireless Internet access was provided but was relatively slow, with download speeds of 0.75 Mbps and upload speeds of about 1.0 Mbps, as measured by Speakeasy.net/SpeedTest. The hotel offers higher speed access – which the sign-in page says is "up to three times faster" – for a modest $4.95 per day.

The bathroom is on the smaller side but includes a combination tub and shower and toilet. The sink is immediately outside the bathroom, which makes it easier for people traveling together to get ready. Shampoo, cream rinse, and body lotion are provided but are strictly the “economy” variety. Rooms have an open area for hanging clothes as opposed to an actual closet. An iron and ironing board are also provided.

On the plus side, my room had a small coffee pot as opposed to the now-popular Keurig machines. I think that’s an advantage because I was able to use both packets of coffee to make a pot of brew strong enough for my taste. With a Keurig or similar, you get what you get and there is no adjusting for taste, save for selecting a different capsule for your type of coffee-like beverage. (Sorry, I just can’t justify calling Keurig brew “coffee.”)

The most egregious negative was the paper-thin walls. As soon as I entered my room I noticed that I could hear the TV in the adjoining room, and it wasn’t as though the other guests had it on particularly loud. I ended up downloading a “white noise” app to my tablet so I could actually get to sleep.

Fitness center
Breakfast is offered on site and includes both hot and cold items. While it may not appeal to a breakfast snob (which I readily admit to being), it does offer a good variety from which to choose. However, the hotel is also popular with families so the breakfast room can get a bit noisy and guests may have to bob and weave around other guests’ kids. For other meals, the hotel is close to several chain restaurants, including Ruby Tuesday, Boston Market, Texas Roadhouse and a local Mexican restaurant, which I tried but can’t recommend.

The facility also offers an indoor swimming pool, a modest fitness center and a small business center. 

With regard to service, the desk clerks who checked me in and out were efficient and the breakfast room attendant helpful when I had an issue with the waffle maker, but “polite” is the best I can say. Unlike the service at a higher-end hotel, no one I encountered made me feel particularly welcome or like a valued guest.

Damaged screen
The hotel needs to pay closer attention to maintenance issues. The window screen on my third-floor room was bent as though someone had tried to push it out, the iron was missing the door over the water port allowing water to splash on the shirt I was trying to iron, and there were several dings in the walls, especially around the in-room work station. On the ground floor, both restrooms next to the fitness center had signs announcing that they were “Out of Order.”

While the hotel is close to I-225 and convenient when visiting Aurora, there’s nothing else about it that made it stand out or encouraged a return visit. If basic, adequate or uninspired is OK with you, the Fairfield Inn will be fine. As for me, I expect more for my money than meh.

Visit my main page at TheTravelPro.us for more news, reviews, and personal observations on the world of upmarket travel.



Photos by Carl Dombek
Click photos to view larger images 

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