Apr182014

Hotel Review: Upgraded, Hilton Garden Inn Ames, Iowa

On the third night of an Iowa Ag Tours two weeks ago, our group checked into the Hilton Garden Inn Ames, Iowa. My surprise was learning I had been upgraded to a one-bedroom suite. I did not tell the other travelers about my upgrade.

Only today, did I realize that I am Hilton HHonors Gold. I had not stayed in a Hilton hotel in 2014 and I forgot that I received HHonors Gold for 2014 by purchasing a $50 MilePoint premium membership in October 2013.

I had not been in a Hilton Garden Inn for about a year. The lobby was stylish.

HGI Ames IA

Hilton Garden Inn, Ames, Iowa

HGI checkin

We only had about 30 minutes between arrival and our departure to a wine bar and brewery.

HGI lobby-2

I checked out the public space and headed up to my room.

HGI breakfast bar

Breakfast bar space in lobby.

HGI suite-1

I walked into my room to see a sitting room and a separate bedroom. My first thought was this must be an all-suites Hilton Garden Inn. I walked over to the door to check the room floor map. Then, I recalled the hotel manager greeted us on the tour bus and said there were 12 suites in the hotel. I had seen two other members of our group walk into their rooms and the map showed those two rooms were not suites. I felt special. This was a group tour and I had no knowledge of the hotels before starting the tour. The hotel only had my name and not my HHonors number.

Did they know I write a hotel loyalty blog?

HGI suite-2

Hilton Garden Inn Ames, Iowa suite.

This reminded me of the old days a decade ago when I was Hilton HHonors Diamond for several years and the suite upgrades were frequent.

HGI suite -3

The room was equipped with a microwave, refrigerator, Keurig coffee maker and sink. I truly felt hotel love when I arrived back to the room after dinner to see a tray of cookies and a bottle of milk. Sweets had been plentiful on the trip and although the three large cookies of different types looked delicious, I only tasted one. Morning coffee was the true pleasure with the bottle of cold milk.

Hilton Garden Inn Suite Bedroom

HGI bedroom-1

My one complaint about the room was the clock was off by several hours and I could not figure out how to set the correct time. I used my iPhone for a wake-up alarm.

HGI bedroom-2

HGI bedroom in suite.

HGI bedroom-3

Even the bathroom was upgraded with a spa tub.

HGI spa tub

The spa tub was a great feature that went unused for my brief stay. Our group went out to Della Viti wine bar in Ames followed by dinner at Olde Main Brewery.

Olde Main Brewery

After 90 minutes at a self-serve wine bar, yours truly who only had one glass of wine, had free rein to all the beer I could drink. And I was storytelling that night with some of the fine folks of Ames, Iowa CVB. A spa tub bath was something to avoid when I got back to the Hilton Garden Inn room.

HGI-shower

The shower was much quicker when I woke up in the morning.

HGI bathroom

The Hilton Garden Inn suite was a room where I would have liked to sleep in, but group tours do not wait.

The other issue I had with the hotel were the Las Vegas pool hours.

HGI pool

Remember all those glasses of beer?

I got up in the morning and went down to the pool. My key card did not open the door. I am a magnetic person. Disabling key cards is a common occurrence when in my pockets. I went to the front desk to get a new card and returned to the pool. The pool door still did not open.

Then the sign beside the door came into view. Pool Hours: 9:00 AM – 10:00 PM.

No swimming before reboarding the Iowa Ag Tour bus.

HGI lobby-3

Hilton Garden Inn Ames, Iowa lobby.

This was a good looking Hilton Garden Inn hotel. As one of the largest hotel brands in the USA, the décor had style, comfort and appeal.

I redeemed over two million HHonors points between 1999 and 2005, and then started focusing on Starwood and Hyatt hotels. Now that I realize I am Hilton HHonors Gold for 2014, I think I’ll be spending more time staying at Hilton Hotels to refresh my blog content on one of the largest hotel chains globally.

Blogger Disclosure: Iowa Ag Tours was a 4-day, 3-night sponsored tour for attendees of U.S. Travel Association IPW convention. The Hilton Garden Inn Ames hotel stay was complimentary for me as a tour group member and the wine and beer at Della Viti and Olde Main Brewery in Ames were also complimentary drinks and meals.

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.

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  1. […] On the third night of an Iowa Ag Tours two weeks ago, our group checked into the Hilton Garden Inn Ames, Iowa. My surprise was learning I had been upgraded to a one-bedroom suite. I did not tell the other travelers about my upgrade. Only today, did I realize that I am Hilton HHonors Gold. I had not stayed in a Hilton hotel in 2014 and I forgot that I received HHonors Gold for 2014 by purchasing a $ 50 MilePoint premium membership in October 2013.I walked into my room to see a sitting room and a separate bedroom. My first thought was this must be an all-suites Hilton Garden Inn. I walked over to the door to check the room floor map. Then, I recalled the hotel manager greeted us on the tour bus and said there were 12 suites in the hotel. I had seen two other members of our group walk into their rooms and the map showed those two rooms were not suites. I felt special. This was a group tour and I had no knowledge of the hotels before starting the tour. The hotel only had my name and not my HHonors number. Read full article […]

Comments

  1. Hubby & I stayed here last summer on our Friends and Family Iowa tour last summer. very nice had similar upgrade as Milepoint HH Gold Sweet

  2. I went to grad school at Iowa State. The Olde Main Brewery opened right around the time I left. I don’t know of the wine bar you went to. Maybe that’s new.
    It was a great place to live for 5 years. Hope you enjoyed your visit. Did you get a chance to go to the campus? It’s a very pleasant place to walk around.

  3. Strange.

    As I recall, there are no stated upgrade benefits at Garden Inns for any HH members

  4. Ric,
    I am delighted that you were upgraded. I find it amusing that a perspon of your travel calibre was “suprised”.
    (Obviously you were with a group and you didn’t want to offend them.)

Comments are closed.