If you live outside of Seattle and fly out of SeaTac Airport, getting to the airport for an early morning flight can be a challenge. For those of us on one of the many peninsulas in the area, public transportation for those early flights simply isn’t an option. So, unless you want to get up in the middle of the night and drive a couple of hours, a stay in an airport hotel is inevitable. This is exactly how I ended up booking a room at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites on busy International Boulevard, just a stone’s throw from the Seattle Link lightrail and a quick one mile to the airport.
Now, most airport hotels are none too exciting and that’s true of the Holiday Inn Express. However, this is a hotel that has everything you need and want in an overnight airport hotel—clean, spacious rooms, courteous staff and plenty of freebies, including fast Wi-Fi, newspaper, breakfast (starting at 5 a.m.), free auto parking for those who drive, a 24-hour workout room, and shuttle to the airport (every 30 minutes, starting at 3 a.m.). That’s a lot for the bargain price of about $79 I paid for being an IHG Rewards Club member.
When I checked into the Holiday Inn Express at 4:30 p.m., there was a fire truck with lights flashing out front and the lobby was filled with fireman. Some youngster had pulled the emergency fire alarm in one of the elevators and the guests, some who were still sitting in the lobby area, had been evacuated. The firemen were just finishing up their inspection and were getting the elevators back online. Despite a few guests grumbling, the young woman at the front desk was all smiles and professionalism. She quickly checked me in, informing me that, as an IHG member I’d been given an upgrade.
I was pleasantly surprised to find my room was a suite with a good-sized living room with couch, side table, coffee table, TV, and large writing desk, a kitchenette with a full-sized refrigerator, a mini-dishwasher and sink, and Keurig coffee maker.
The bedroom was spacious with two queen beds, a dresser with flat screen TV, and double closet. Best of all, there was a heating/cooling unit I could control (too often, hotel rooms are overly hot for me) and the window opened wide. I stay in a lot of hotels and, fearing both escalating heating/cooling costs and liability for guests who might fall out, most hotels these days seal up their buildings and don’t allow a breath of fresh air in. Holiday Inn Express & Suites Seatac solves this with a sign on the window that says, “Caution Window Opens Fully.” Yes! Finally, a hotel that treats guests like grown ups! I was almost giddy as I opened the window and let in the delicious, fresh, cool air. (And yes, there is a bit of plane nose. After all, the airport is only one mile away.)
The beds were comfortable with two labeled soft and two firm pillows. Blessedly, the ubiquitous hotel duvet was lightweight and none too hot.
The bathroom was the standard shower/tub combo and the hotel provides lovely smelling White Citrus lotion, shampoo and conditioner, a hair dryer, and (mercifully) a magnifying make-up mirror. I took advantage of the bath and found it large with an angled backrest (too often modern tubs feature uncomfortable, straight-backs) and plenty of hot water. In the morning, my shower was equally satisfying with a good quality showerhead and plenty of hot water under good pressure.
My wake-up call arrived promptly at 5 a.m. After availing myself of the Kuerig coffee and a hot shower, I headed down to breakfast in the spacious lobby/breakfast area. Breakfast was the standard corporate full breakfast menu—omelets, scrambled eggs, sausage, biscuits and gravy, cold cereals, yogurt, fruit, pastries and bagels. I chose a surprisingly tasty omelet and biscuits and gravy. It wasn’t gourmet, but it filled the pie hole just fine.
At 6 a.m., I boarded the free airport shuttle and, within a few minutes, was dropped off in front of my airlines’s terminal. Easy peasy.
Real Bottom Line: If you’re in need of a Seattle airport hotel, the Holiday Inn Express & Suites offers a comfortable and easy alternative. This modest and modern hotel offers plenty of value and all the extras travelers need. The IHC Rewards Club, which is free to join, offers special rates and upgrades. Would I stay at Seatac’s Holiday Inn Express & Suites? Absolutely. – Bobbie Hasselbring, RFT Editor