Quality Inn and Suites, Bloomington, IL – HaliPawz

As mom’s summer adventure with me draws to an end, we begin the fun task of getting her back to Michigan.  While it is only a 13 hour drive, I have learned it is better for her to stop half way to rest then it is to try to make it the whole way if we leave later in the day.  She had an appointment at 9:30 am on the day we were heading out, so I knew we would not get out until the late morning / early afternoon.  We ended up staying the night in the Quality Inn & Suites in Bloomington, Illinois.

Bloomington, Illinois is about half way so it is a good place to stop. As I have mentioned before, LaQuinta tends to be my first “GoTo” hotel. The LQ in Bloomington has disappointed me personally once before and then, on the trip down, we were reminded how horrible they are from an ADA (American’s with Disabilities) standpoint if you choose to stay in a non ADA room.  My biggest complaint with most hotel chains is they do not have ADA rooms with two beds. So any parent traveling with a child who may need this have to “throw a cot” in there or, as in my case, two adults traveling together have to pay for two rooms or if we want to save money and share a room, mom doesn’t get the benefits of the ADA facilities.  It’s fine for one night, but if it was more than one, we would probably have to go with a more expensive hotel chain or get two rooms.  I have written LaQuinta about this and was assured they were working to correct it and every location would have at least one ADA room with a roll in shower and two beds by the end of the year (two years ago) so clearly that has not happened.  Back to my dilemma for THIS trip….I needed a dog friendly hotel my mom could use.  The LaQuinta in Bloomington was out because their non-ADA rooms have a weird bathroom layout where the toilet is in a corner.  You can’t get the walker in there and the toilets themselves are extremely low.  She had difficulty getting up and without the walker to help or handles, it is horrible for her! I don’t understand WHY hotels continue to use the low toilets.  If they would just put ADA height toilets in every room, it would be easier.  I went through and switched all of mine to ADA height, even the ones my mom won’t use.  I love them!

But again, back to the review on THIS hotel……We ended up here because they advertised their dog friendly rooms and when I called, they had an ADA room with two queen size beds.  Worked for us.  I broke the review down into sections to make it easier for the ADA traveler, the Pet Traveler, the every day traveler, etc.

Rooms:

Our room was pretty spacious and I don’t think it was just because of the ADA portion. It seems like they would all be similar.  Sometimes in hotels in this price point and older styles, the rooms are a little cramped.  Not the case.  The rooms were clean, well laid out with the two beds, a desk, refrigerator, dresser, and a chair.  While the room was clean, I can’t say they are well maintained everywhere.  The dresser had two broken handles.  It had an older feel to it, except the shower! The shower looked like it had been renovated and were featuring Quality Inn’s “Q Shower” which includes a nicer shower head with multiple spray settings, premium bath amenities, curved shower rod for extra room, and a shower curtain with a sheer window for extra light.  The shower itself had a nice granite look to it.  You could tell it had recently been changed. I will address the ADA standpoints in a separate section towards the bottom of the post.

Q Shower at Quality Inn & Suites Bloomington, Illinois

Q Shower at Quality Inn & Suites Bloomington, Illinois


Q Shower Amenities


Breakfast:

The breakfast was pretty impressive for a hotel in this price point.

Three types of eggs; scrambled, hard boiled, and over easy (round to fit on a biscuit or muffin)

Waffles: Original and Blueberry. I would have preferred the spray to keep them from sticking, but not bad. Syrup was on every table. I appreciate little touches like that.

Biscuits and gravy (my mom, who is somewhat easy to please said they were so/so)

Fresh donuts

Bread, biscuits, bagels, and muffins

3 different types Cereal

Apples

Yogurt

Orange, Apple, and Cranberry Juice

Water

Skim milk & 2% milk

Plenty of peanut butter, cream cheese, jellies, and honey

Fitness Room:

They converted a room into a fitness room.  It has three pieces of equipment. Enough for you to get a decent workout in but nothing extensive. To be fair, I looked at it to comment, but I did not use it.

Swimming Pool:

It is an outdoor pool. I didn’t swim this trip, but saw others swimming. It looked clean, decent size.

A nice touch is it has a chair lift so anyone needing assistance into the pool would be able to utilize it with minimal effort.  Again, a surprise to see for the price point. Good ADA points there!  

Staff

The staff I encountered appeared pleasant, the associate working in the breakfast area was very nice. Asked if we needed anything more than once. A touch you don’t expect, but appreciate.  The night manager, Kevin, was great about helping me get the online rate even though I had to book the ADA room over the phone because the ADA room was not an option on the Choice Hotel app.  When I checked in, he hand crossed out the rate and wrote in the correct rate, the one he agreed to over the phone.  He wasn’t going to give me a copy of it at first but I insisted.  Without it, it would have been my word against his about the rate.  I am glad I did because sure enough, when I went to check out, they had charged me the higher rate!  I brought it to their attention and the two young men working the desk at the checkout had a heck of a time fixing it because they had already checked me out of the hotel.  They were extremely nice and worked diligently to get it fixed without making me feel like I was being a pain.  It was about a $20 difference.  They finally figured out how to get it corrected and were friendly and apologetic throughout the whole ordeal.  I had no problem waiting because their attitudes were GREAT! Even the staff I passed in the halls with the dogs were smiling and friendly.

Pet Friendly


Bella enjoying the comforts of the Quality Inn & Suites

They advertised themselves as being pet friendly.  Referenced their “pet friendly rooms” and they had a sticker on the door telling you to rate them on Bring Fido.  I think this set the bar high for me as to their pet friendly qualities.  As I mentioned, the room was pretty spacious, so it allowed the dogs ample room to play.  I was happy about that.  They needed to release some energy. When I took them out is when I had areas of concern.  The first is, NO TRASH CANS at the doors!  As a responsible pet owner, I pick up my dogs poop.  Everyone should if they travel with their dog(s)!  Other owners don’t want to walk in it.  I walked almost all the way around and saw one trash can at an entrance besides the main entrance.  There really needs to be more.  The next problem is the limited space to actually walk the dog(s).  There is very little grass around the hotel and where it was, it was extremely drenched, tore up with some tire marks, making it muddy.  My dog Zipper will poop or pee anywhere so he went on the rocks around a tree near the entrance by our door, but Bella is a little more selective and has to have just the right spot.  She didn’t even go to the bathroom the morning we were leaving.  She waited until we arrived at a rest stop and then went.  I know they can’t do a lot about the grass because of their layout, but they really need to add more trash cans!

Quality Inn and Suites Bloomington Illinois

Zipper doing the “terrier roll” within minutes of getting into our room

ADA 

This is the ONE area this hotel is severely lacking.  They get the bonus points for having an ADA room with two beds, but that room doesn’t have a roll in shower.  That isn’t my real complaint though.  My complaint is that they slapped some side bars on a low toilet and some handrails and called the room ADA.  The toilet WAS NOT ADA height, so it was still difficult for my mom to get up and down on.  In addition, the bars were just tucked up UNDER the seat, not permanently attached.  My mom was starting to get up and the bar slipped out from the seat and lost support.  She could have gone down and been severely hurt!  They were constantly slipping out.  Another thing is that it narrows the width of the seat.  It didn’t affect my mom, but as I openly admit, I am not a small woman, so I felt like I was being wedged between the bars when I went to use the bathroom.  Another problem is there were NO towel bars or hooks within reach of the shower.  The towels were over the toilet so it was impossible to reach from the shower.  The other hook was on the back of the door, again, impossible to reach from the shower for ANY person. An ADA person would never be able to reach it easily.  I know those with disabilities are used to adapting to make things work, but it was disappointing the lack of attention the hotel gave this room.  They did the bare minimum to call it an ADA room

Quality Inn and Suites Bloomington Illinois

Toilet seat in room with just bars hooked under the toilet seat. You can see the shower chair in the bottom right

Quality Inn and Suites Bloomington Illinois Not ADA

You can see the distance between the shower and the towels with no bars, hooks, etc

The “bar” just slips out very easily. It just tucks up under the seat with nothing holding it there.

As I mentioned with the swimming pool, they do have an ADA chair lift to swim with though. I just wish they would take a look at their rooms and update them just a little more when it comes to being ADA standards.

OVERALL

If you are looking for a reasonably priced room in Bloomington with a great breakfast and a welcoming staff, I would recommend this location.

Traveling with pets?  Again, a nice place to stay, just be prepared to throw your pet’s poop away in your room or take a hike around the hotel!

Need a good ADA room?  I would have to recommend skipping this hotel.  I just don’t think they are where they need to be yet.  Hopefully they will take the steps to improve this over time and if we visit again, I will update this post if they do make changes.  Since we stop near Bloomington whenever I bring mom back and forth between Michigan and Missouri, I am sure I will have another chance at some point.

It might not be the fanciest place to stay in Bloomington, but when you’re saving your pennies and you appreciate the Choice Hotel line, this is one to consider!

Have you stayed here before?  Do you travel with your pets?  Leave your comments below!
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Traveling with pets? My go to hotel is LaQuinta when available – HaliPawz

I love travelling with my two dogs.  They are part of my everyday life, so it only makes sense I enjoy them when I am on the road as well.  When I moved from Michigan to Missouri eleven years ago, I learned how to travel better with my one dog, Jake, because I was on the road so much for work.  Even traveling home for a visit, I had to plan accordingly because it wasn’t always easy to find a place to stop if I drove.  When I flew, Jake had to be in a travel carrier and travel as cargo.  I hated it.  I was always worried something would happen to him.  It caused me to choose car as a way of traveling instead.  A thirteen hour drive without stopping can make for a long trip, especially when I was traveling after working all day.

Then I discovered the LaQuinta hotel chain!  They quickly became my go to hotel chain of choice.

Let’s discuss the reasons why:

LaQuinta currently operates over 830 locations throughout the US, Mexico, and Canada.  I know they have grown quite a bit over the last few years, so they are becoming easier and easier to find in a location I am traveling to.  Of course, I have emailed them more than once to open one up in my home town of Port Huron, Michigan so I can stay there when I go home to visit family.  Maybe one day!  They may not always be in the prime spot in the city, so if you are hoping for an ocean view room, or a location right in the heart of the city you are traveling to, then you may want to consider a different hotel, but they are usually within a close proximity of where I want to be.

LaQuinta is affordable!  Yes, cost is a huge factor for me when I travel.  I try to find the best priced location when I travel and I have found LaQuinta to participate in many of the travel discounts available.  This is an important side note, LOOK FOR DISCOUNTS!!!!  You should NEVER pay full price for any hotel.  Don’t always assume the discount option you chose the last time is the cheapest option this time.  I will write another blog about traveling on a budget later.

The rooms are nice.  Now, I do want to put in a disclaimer.  If I am not familiar with the location, I will call them to find out if they are a corporate location or a franchise.  If they are a corporate location, I will book with them in a heartbeat.  If they are a franchise location, I will first look to see if there is another location within the same proximity.  If there isn’t, I will go and look for reviews, study the pictures, and I will have to consider if I still want to book at the location.  Not every franchise location is bad, but there has consistently been a difference in the quality of the rooms between the franchise locations and the corporate locations.  The corporate locations have been redesigned.  The rooms are nice, the colors are cheery, the staff always seem to be friendly.

Speaking of staff, the staff is another reason I like to choose the LaQuinta hotels when I travel with my dogs.  With the exception of one location in Georgie, I NEVER feel like traveling with my dogs is a pain to them.  I never feel like I have to hide the fact my dogs are with me.  The staff seem genuinely happy to see them.  They greet them.  They smile when they see them.

All of their locations, with three exceptions, are dog friendly in the US.  I have never travelled outside of the US with my pets, so I can not speak for their Mexico and Canada locations.  I was told the reason the three do not is because of where they are built, there is no grass for the dogs to be taken outside, so they cannot be welcoming of pets.

They have a great rewards program.  If you do any traveling, always look into the hotels rewards program, but I can attest to LaQuinta’s being great.  It is so easy to earn free nights or turning the points into gift cards, airline miles, charitable donations, magazines, or even luxury resort partnerships.  I use mine for free nights except one time I turned it in for a gift card.  Redeeming for a free night is extremely easy.  You can do it on their website or by making a phone call.  I have never had a problem redeeming points, even at midnight ten minutes before I arrived at the hotel because I was driving overnight and got tired.

Their rewards program is on a tiered system, where the more you stay, the quicker it is for you to earn points towards a free night.  I have been at the Platinum level every year except this year.  I am not traveling as much so I am not staying in any hotel as much as I used to.  Another nice thing about their rewards program is you usually receive a follow up survey about your stay.  While you do not earn any points for filling it out, I can speak from personal experience someone DOES indeed read them and follow up.  On the rare occasion I have had a bad experience, I receive follow up rather quickly and even received a partial refund on my stay because of the situation. I can probably count on one hand how many times I have had a bad experience, so when it does happen, it doesn’t deter me from the brand, just that location.

One of the best reasons for choosing LaQuinta when traveling with pets is because they do not have a breed restriction, a size restriction, or a number’s restriction.  They are just as happy to see my 100lb Neapolitan Mastiff Bella as they are to see my lovable, Jack Russell Terrier Zipper.  Of course, Zipper wins them over because he constantly tries to jump up on the counter (a bad habit he was taught at a LaQuinta we frequented often shortly after I adopted him).  There are a few locations that ask you to fill out a pet release where you include your cell phone number.  There are some that state the animal can not be left in the room unattended.  I find these are usually at the franchise locations.  I have never had a problem at a corporate location.

Most of the corporate locations have designated areas to walk your dog, including pick up bags.  The property is usually well maintained, so you don’t have to worry about stepping in messes left from lazy dog owners.  The dogs are not allowed in the breakfast area, for obvious reasons.  They do not want dogs in the area where food is served.  They are usually welcomed in the lobby area provided they are behaving and leashed.  Again, the only exception I have ever had is the location in Georgia where I was clearly informed they were not allowed in the lobby and I had to remove them.  It stunk because I was with a large group, my entire family was staying there, so I would have preferred to have my dog with me instead of locked up in the room, but I respected their wishes.

Speaking of breakfast areas, they have a decent continental breakfast.  There are always waffles, one of their signature items, but then, depending on the location, they may have biscuits and gravy or hard boiled eggs, in addition to the traditional continental breakfast items.

So, the next time you are getting ready to plan a trip and your fur babies are going with you, consider staying at a LaQuinta if one is available in you area of travel.  You can visit their site, which is easy to navigate, at LQ.com.  It is important to remember, as pet owners, you are responsible for your pet.  If they have an accident on the floor, CLEAN it up.  If they are chewers on doors, don’t leave them unattended.  Even if your dog is well behaved off leash, when you are staying at a hotel, USE A LEASH!  Not only is it probably a requirement where you are, but you also don’t know what other dogs are going to be traveling.  Just because a dog travels, doesn’t mean they are dog friendly.  My Jack Russell is not dog friendly.  More than once, I have had to tell a dog owner to recall their dog because it comes running up to mine off leash.  I am always quick to say he isn’t dog friendly from a distance but too many owners say, “Oh, my dog gets along with everyone.”  Those are the owners who ruin it for everyone else.

I want to note I wrote this blog completely to help other owners.  LaQuinta was not aware of this blog at all.  I do want to say a special thank you to one LaQuinta.  I never formally thanked the La Quinta Inn Little Rock at Rodney Parham Rd  1010 Breckenridge Dr., Little Rock, AR for their amazing support towards me and my late Rat Terrier Jake.  Jake was suffering with cancer and our last trip was to Little Rock.  We had been there many times, so the staff knew him and me very well.  I am sure the same staff is not there as this was back in 2008, but his last couple of days here, he lost control of his bowels.  He stopped eating.  He, sadly, had a horrible accident in the hotel room.  I knew the end was near.  I took him to a veterinary down there and they were able to get him rehydrated and we took the chance of getting him home to Kansas City, to his cancer specialist.  When I told the staff about the accident and offered to pay extra for cleaning, not only did they tell me to not worry about it, but they were genuinely concerned about him and me.  When I notified them of his passing, many of them I had encountered throughout my stays signed a card and mailed it to me.  I have never forgotten how wonderful they were.  I had ever made a collage for them to hang up, but circumstances happened and I wasn’t able to return for a couple years.  By then, they had a new manager and it didn’t seem fitting to give them the collage.  Even with new staff, that particular location will always hold a special place in my heart.

Zipper in Little Rock.

Zipper in Little Rock.

I hope this helps the readers the next time they are getting ready to travel with their pet(s).

 

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