May052013

Traveling Utah where the hotel chains are

This piece focuses on room rate and reward rate survey for over 60 hotels along the I-15 and I-70 route from Las Vegas to Colorado. Most hotel reward analyses and surveys I have done focus on one city. In Utah there are so few hotels that this survey covers all the major brand hotels along the Interstate in five locations.

I will be traveling east and south of the Utah interstate I-15/I-70 route to Colorado as I travel to Utah’s National Parks over the next week. Hotels in the parks region will be covered in different posts as I travel.

This piece is a comparative look at seven major hotel chains with particular emphasis on Best Western, Choice and Wyndham brands which are the majority of hotel properties in southern Utah.

  • Best Western Rewards
  • Choice Privileges
  • Club Carlson
  • Hilton HHonors
  • IHG Rewards Club
  • Marriott Rewards
  • Wyndham Rewards

Utah is not like Disneyland.

At Disneyland last week I could choose from over 100 hotels in a 10-mile radius of the park in every major hotel chain. Utah is a situation where only about 100 or so hotels exist in a 400-mile stretch from St. George to Moab, Utah whether you stay on the Interstate or take routes through the National Parks south of I-70.

 

Interstate Travelers

Most travelers passing through Utah will likely stay at hotels in cities and towns along the interstate highways of I-15 and I-70. There are only a few places with lodging on the 400 miles of highway from St. George to Green River.

759 miles  – West to East on I-15/I-70

  • Las Vegas, NV – St. George, UT = 123 miles
  • St. George – Cedar City, UT = 53 miles
  • Cedar City – Richfield, UT = 115 miles
  • Richfield – Green River, UT = 123 miles
  • Green River, UT – Grand Junction, CO = 102 miles
  • Alternate route via Moab = 165 miles: Green River – Moab, UT = 52 miles and Moab, UT – Grand Junction = 113 miles.
  • Grand Junction – Denver, CO = 243 miles

There are basically five places to stay in southern Utah where there are clusters of hotels representing most major hotel chains with Hilton, IHG, La Quinta, and Marriott. Best Western, Choice and Wyndham are the main brands in the rural national park areas in the small towns with services near park entrances. Along the highway are St. George, Cedar City, Richfield, Green River and Grand Junction, Colorado. These are the only major towns and cities along the interstate highways and Moab, UT is a 60-mile detour south of I-70. 

Stay on Interstate 15 and the room rates in places like St. George and Cedar City are under $100 at most hotels. Both of these towns are about a one hour drive to Zion National Park.

St. George, Utah (pop 75,000) in the southwestern corner of Utah has a

  1. Best Western Coral Hills ($71) BWR 16,000 points
  2. Best Western Travel Inn ($63) BWR 16,000 points
  3. Best Western Plus Abbey Inn ($88) BWR 20,000 points
  4. Hilton Garden Inn ($119) Hilton HHonors 30,000 points
  5. Hampton Inn ($99) Hilton HHonors 30,000 points
  6. Fairfield Inn ($109) Marriott Rewards category 4 hotel 20,000 points.
  7. TownePlace Suites ($129) Marriott Rewards category 4 hotel 20,000 points.
  8. Courtyard ($139) Marriott Rewards category 4 hotel 20,000 points.
  9. Holiday Inn Express St. George North ($103) IHG Rewards Club 20,000 points.
  10. EconoLodge ($40) Choice Privileges 6,000 points
  11. Rodeway Inn Red Hills ($90) Choice Privileges 6,000 points [I wondered where those 6,000 points hotels are located.]
  12. Quality Inn South Bluff ($67) Choice Privileges 8,000 points
  13. Clarion Suites ($80) Choice Privileges 12,000 points
  14. Comfort Inn at the Convention Center ($75) Washington, Utah Choice Privileges 10,000 points
  15. Quality Inn I-15 Red Cliffs ($49) Hurricane, Utah Choice Privileges 16,000 points [Here is a hotel with a disconnect between room rate and award rate and a place to book cheap nights.]
  16. Comfort Inn Zion ($60) Hurricane, Utah Choice Privileges 10,000 points
  17. Rodeway Inn ($49) Hurricane, Utah Choice Privileges 10,000 points
  18. Knights Inn St. George North ($35) Wyndham Rewards 5,500 points
  19. Super 8 St. George ($55) Wyndham Rewards 10,000 points
  20. Days Inn St. George ($50) Wyndham Rewards 10,000 points
  21. Ramada St. George ($71) Wyndham Rewards 16,000 points
  22. Howard Johnson St. George Highway I-15 Exit 6 ($51) Wyndham Rewards 10,000 points
  23. Knights Inn St. George ($55) Wyndham Rewards 8,000 points
  24. Wingate by Wyndham ($109) Wyndham Rewards 16,000 points
  25. Days Inn Hurricane – Zion National Park area ($45) Wyndham Rewards 10,000 points
  26. Super 8 Hurricane – Zion National Park area ($50) Wyndham Rewards 10,000 points
  27. Travelodge – Zion National Park area ($55) Wyndham Rewards 10,000 points
  28. Country Inn & Suites – St. George ($79) Club Carlson 28,000 points.

Rates shown are Best Available Rates for Tuesday, May 7. All rates shown in this post are BAR and most hotels offer a 10% discount with AAA or senior rates.

St. George, Utah gives a good representation of hotel market segment with Courtyard and Hilton Garden Inn being higher priced. Fairfield Inn, Hampton Inn and Holiday Inn Express look like a competitive set of hotels. TownePlace Suites are apartment style and fetch a premium price. The three large hotel chains of Hilton, IHG and Marriott compete in this one small town with lots of transient guests passing through Utah.

Then there is also the lowest market segment in branded hotels in St. George with Knights Inn, part of Wyndham Rewards, offering hotel rates under $35 per night and EconoLodge from Choice Privielges at $40 per night.

18 of 28 hotels in St. George, Utah are either Choice Privileges [8 hotels] or Wyndham Rewards (10 hotels) hotel brands in these two chains. Best Western is another 3 hotels. St. George is an outlier in Utah with hotels in 7 of the top 10 global chains. Most travelers in southern Utah off the interstate find Wyndham, Choice and Best Western are the loyalty programs that matter for hotels.

Hilton is opening a Hampton Inn at Springdale, the town closest to the entrance of Zion National Park.

image

 

Cedar City, Utah (pop. 30,000) has more upscale brands from the same chains.

  1. Doubletree Resort & Spa Brian Head ($109)Hilton HHonors 30,000 points. (Located in ski resort area).
  2. Hampton Inn Cedar City ($99)Hilton HHonors 30,000 points.
  3. SpringHill Suites Cedar City ($99)Marriott Rewards category 4 hotel 20,000 points.
  4. Holiday Inn Express Cedar City ($91) IHG Rewards Club 25,000 points.
  5. Best Western Plus Town & Country Inn ($86) BWR 16,000 points
  6. Best Western El Rey Inn & Suites ($54) BWR 16,000 points
  7. Quality Inn Cedar City ($75) Choice Privileges 10,000 points
  8. Comfort Inn & Suites Cedar City ($87) Choice Privileges 16,000 points
  9. Knights Inn Cedar City ($50) Wyndham Rewards 8,000 points
  10. Super 8 Cedar City ($54) Wyndham Rewards 10,000 points
  11. Days Inn Cedar City ($64) Wyndham Rewards 14,000 points
  12. Cedar City Travelodge ($38) Wyndham Rewards 5,500 points
  13. Days Inn Parowan ($43) Wyndham Rewards 10,000 points

SpringHill Suites by Marriott and Doubletree Brian Head look like good lodging options at bargain rates this next week. Now I know where one of the Wyndham Rewards 5,500 points hotels is located. 25,000 points for HIX Cedar City or a $91 rate is a no-brainer cash stay.

Richfield, Utah (pop 7,500) is the town closest to where I-70 and I-15 diverge with Richfield on the road to Colorado and I-15 Fillmore going north to Salt Lake City. Richfield on I-70 has the big chains of Hilton, IHG and Marriott with one hotel each and all three in their low market segment brands:

  1. Hampton Inn ($99) – Hilton HHonors 20,000 points.
  2. Holiday Inn Express ($104) IHG Rewards Club 20,000 points.
  3. Fairfield Inn ($119) Marriott Rewards 10,000 points.
  4. Quality Inn Richfield I-70 ($65) Choice Privileges 10,000 points
  5. Comfort Inn Richfield I-70 ($85) Choice Privileges 12,000 points
  6. Rodeway Inn Salina I-70  ($55) Choice Privileges 10,000 points
  7. EconoLodge Salina I-70 ($67) Choice Privileges 10,000 points
  8. Comfort Inn Fillmore I-15 ($80) Choice Privileges 12,000 points
  9. Super 8 Richfield ($63) Wyndham Rewards 14,000 points
  10. Days Inn Richfield ($65) Wyndham Rewards 10,000 points
  11. Super 8 Salina/Scenic Hills ($60) Wyndham Rewards 14,000 points

Salina, Utah is off Interstate 70, but this town has the lowest market segment hotels with only Rodeway Inn and EconoLodge by Choice or Super 8 with Wyndham.

Fairfield Inn wins the reward stay value in Richfield, UT with the hotel only 10,000 Marriott Rewards points per night when room rates are $119.

Green River, Utah is the last town on Interstate 70 with a hotel cluster when driving east to Colorado. Grand Junction, Colorado is a much larger city with more hotel choice than Green River. Green River is for those who don’t want to stay in Moab and don’t want to drive another 100 miles on the interstate.

  1. Holiday Inn Express Green River ($115) IHG Rewards Club 30,000 points. (I stayed in this hotel on July 2011 road trip on PointBreaks for 5,000 points.)
  2. Comfort Inn Green River ($88) Choice Privileges 16,000 points
  3. Knights Inn Green River/West Winds ($55) Wyndham Rewards 5,500 points
  4. Ramada Limited Green River ($90) Wyndham Rewards 16,000 points
  5. Super 8 Green River ($75) Wyndham Rewards 14,000 points

Green River is a pay cash town unless Knights Inn is in your market segment. I enjoyed the Holiday Inn Express here by the river when the city was flooding in July 2011.

The big hotel brands have their hotels in Moab, some 50 miles southeast of Green River about 30 miles south of Interstate 70.

Moab, Utah is a small town of 5,000 residents that is also a popular travel adventurer destination. The area is famous for mountain biking and off-road vehicles. Moab is also the gateway city to Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park. This town has the highest average hotel rates among the southern Utah towns.

  1. Best Western Plus Canyonlands Inn ($214)  BWR 32,000 points
  2. Best Western Plus Greenwell Inn ($160)  BWR 24,000 points
  3. Hampton Inn Moab  ($189) – Hilton HHonors 50,000 points.
  4. Holiday Inn Express & Suites Moab ($194) IHG Rewards Club 35,000 points.
  5. Quality Suites Moab ($149) Choice Privileges 25,000 points.
  6. Sleep Inn Moab ($119) Choice Privileges 20,000 points.
  7. Rodeway Inn & Suites Landmark Inn Moab ($120) Choice Privileges 20,000 points.
  8. Days Inn Moab ($120) Wyndham Rewards 16,000 points
  9. Ramada Moab Downtown ($130) Wyndham Rewards 20,000 points
  10. Super 8 Moab ($100) Wyndham Rewards 16,000 points

Moab is just plain expensive. My plan is to pass through Moab mid-day or afternoon and head into Colorado for a hotel. The only value I see for Moab is paying a AAA rate for Sleep Inn and getting a Choice Privileges credit for the 8,000 points after two stays.

Brokeass Mountain trip 030

I-70 west of Green River, Utah.

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

More articles by Ric Garrido »

Comments

  1. I have had good experiences at the Best Western Town and Country Inn in Cedar City. It is located in the center of town, within walking distance of several restaurants and stores. There is a nice indoor pool with spa and the free breakfast is nice. They have a few rooms with interior corridors, which I prefer. I have only stayed here through reservations booked via Priceline, where I have paid $38 or $48 per night.

  2. Thank you for doing this post. We are taking the grand kids on a tour of the West this summer and our Utah swing is the only night without room reservations. You have helped mr tremendously.

  3. I enjoyed my stay at the Country Inn and Suites (Club Carlson) in St. George. I also stayed at the Comfort Inn Zion, which I did not like very much.

  4. Stay at Best Western three separate times between now and June 9th and get a $50 USD Best Western travel card. It must be a separate check-in/check-out each time to qualify, a three night stay on the same folio will not qualify.

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