I’m thinking about starting a new feature here involving hotel and restaurant reviews, given the amount that I’m travelling lately. Of course, the information contained herein would likely only be of use to folks travelling to Atlanta or various portions of North Carolina, but who knows, maybe somebody would find those scribbles useful. There’s certainly nothing to report on the poker front, since I haven’t played a hand of cards in weeks. I’ve got a seat at a new small buy-in tourney tonight, though, so we’ll see how that goes. This weekend might even see a return of the home game if I can make the schedule work. Summer’s tough for home games with people taking long vacations and other travel, not to mention my screwy work schedule.
So last week was spent mostly on the road. I drove to Atlanta Sunday afternoon to be there in time to do my scintillating recap of the Sunday Warm-Up for PokerStars, then was in Atlanta through Tuesday afternoon. Spent Tuesday night at home, then headed east on Wednesday morning. I went to Elizabeth City on Wednesday, then continued on to Manteo (home of the first honky child born in the US and the Lost Colony outdoor drama). From Manteo went back to Elizabeth City, then to Greenville, NC (NOT G-Vegas, dammit), then to Washington, NC (also the less interesting of two cities of the same name), then back home after a couple of meetings in Raleigh. That road trip sucked up 3 days and roughly eight or nine hundred miles. I typically stay in Marriott hotels when I travel, because I’m high on the rewards list with Marriott, and the rooms are typically harmless. I crashed in a nice Marriott in Atlanta, then a decent Fairfield in Elizabeth City.
FairField Inns are kinda hit or miss. As the entry-level hotel in the Marriott chain, the older ones are pretty dumpy, with exterior doors (a big negative on my travel requirements) and crappy beds. But some of them (like the one in Wytheville, VA) are pretty damn swank. The one in Elizabeth City was pretty nice. I sprung for the jacuzzi room upgrade, which turned into a suite, with a pair of LCD TVs and an iHome stereo rig. So I put the iPod on the stereo and settled in for a nice soak. Just what the Dr. ordered after a long day in the car.
Less impressive was the Courtyard in Greenville, NC. I’m always baffled by the fact that the Courtyard, which is designed for business travelers, is typically more expensive with fewer amenities than a Fairfield. Yes, it did have wireless internet while the Fairfield had wired internet, but that was the only upgrade. The bed was hard as a rock, and the shower head was located at about 5’5″ off the floor of the tub. I’m 6’1″, so this was an issue. I do not enjoy doing backbends in the shower in the morning. Any place with low-hanging shower heads goes on my “not again” list.
So I’ve been skewing my lodging choices to the ends of the spectrum, either hitting a full-scale Marriott, or trying to find a new or newly renovated Fairfield. The rooms (and bathrooms) in the Marriotts tend to be bigger and nicer, but the automatic inclusion of the mini-fridge in a Fairfield counts for a lot when I’m going to be in the town for several days.
Later on, we’ll talk about road food, when to explore and when to concentrate on getting something harmless that won’t have you doing unpleasant butt-clenches on the highway.