BEND, Ore. - Hilton Garden Inn revisited

After nearly four years since our last stay, we returned to the Hilton Garden Inn in the Old Mill District of Bend, Oregon for a recent weekend visit. We were as delighted with the property as when we stumbled upon it for the first time in 2014.

While many Hilton Garden Inns can be quite humble, this particular property was built as an Ameritel Hotel, which could explain its many upmarket features, including private balconies overlooking the Deschutes River and an indoor swimming pool and hot tub. The property also offers meeting space along with many of what might be considered more standard features, including a fitness center, business center and guest laundry.

At the time of our initial visit, we selected a King Deluxe room, No. 320, which turned out to have a sofa bed, fireplace and double shower in addition to the balcony and incredible views.

Interior of Room 320
This time, knowing a bit more about the property, we decided a standard King room would be fine, and Room 212 was excellent. Generously sized, the main living area was about 300 square feet -- more than enough room for the sofa bed, table, easy chair and ottoman, TV, desk/workstation and King bed. The entryway added another 70 square feet with room for the large closet and cabinet with the in-room Keurig coffee maker, small fridge and a microwave. The balcony added another 144 square feet.

Shower for two
Those in the area to work can rest assured that the work station with ergonomic chair was comfortable and offered both wired and wireless Internet access, free for up to three devices. The property recently upgraded its Wi-Fi, which returned both download and upload speeds of 5.0 Mbps as measured by Wired connections are available for those who carry network cables. Speeds at the computers in the business center were much higher: 78.7 Mbps for downloads and 66 Mbps for uploads.

Bathrooms included the standard amenities including a hair dryer; high-quality Neutrogena lotions, shampoo, and conditioner; as well as a kit with an Emory board and cotton swabs.

But a lovely physical setting is only part of the picture. Service is also vitally important, and the Hilton Garden Inn in Bend did not disappoint. 

View of The Old Mill
from the room's private balcony
The desk clerks on check-in were as attentive and professional as many of the four- and five-star hotels at which I’ve stayed. They were young but quick and efficient, polite and refined. They confirmed my selection of room type as well as my request that our room not adjoin any others, then completed the check-in quickly.

They provided a brief run-down of the amenities the property offered including the pantry next to the front desk that offered beer, wine and snacks; then provided our room keys and directions to the elevator. They did not once refer to as “you guys” nor did they use the grating phrase “No problem!” instead of the preferred “You’re welcome” or “My pleasure.” High marks for professionalism.

An on-property are a dining venue – The Garden Grille and Bar – offers breakfast, dinner and beverages. Room service is available during the restaurant's opening hours and there is also a 24-hour pantry offering prepackaged food and beverage items next to the front desk.

It is also just up the hill from the Old Mill District, which offers a wide variety of shops, stores and restaurants, though many are outlets of national chains. Downtown Bend, which is a short drive away, offers many more locally owned stores and restaurants.

The hotel does not offer some things one might expect to find at many upmarket properties. It does not have 24-hour room service, a concierge, in-room safes or valet parking, though self-parking is complimentary. But unless those things are deal-breakers, I highly recommend the Hilton Garden Inn in Bend's Old Mill District.

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Photos by Carl Dombek
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