Round The World and other travels

A frequent flyer's collection of trip diaries

This is: Voyage of the Glaciers (2015)


Hotel 1: The Morrison, Dublin
Wednesday 19 Aug to Thursday 20 Aug (1 night)
Room 211 (Junior Suite)
The Morrison is situated on the banks of the Liffey at Lower Ormond Quay, close to the Millennium Bridge. It was quite unlike any DoubleTree-branded hotel that I had ever stayed at previously. I learned that this stylish and modern boutique hotel had entered into a marketing agreement with the Hilton group, as a result of which it had become The Morrison, a DoubleTree by Hilton hotel. The photos give a good idea of the standard of presentation of both rooms and public areas, while the familiar cookie at check-in proved the property's adherence to its new branding. I sampled Quay 14, described as a 'cool, contemporary destination bar', with food served from the adjacent Morrison Grill. Both food and drinks proved to be excellent, while breakfast in the Halo restaurant (used only for this purpose) again showed what a classy operation this was. Thoroughly recommended, if an acceptable rate can be found.
Hotel 2: Hilton Garden Inn, London Heathrow
Thursday 20 Aug to Friday 21 Aug (1 night)
Room 540 (Queen)
This hotel is a short walk from Hatton Cross station on the Piccadilly Line, and is therefore either a 1- or 2-stop ride on the London Underground from any terminal at Heathrow Airport. I would advise against hoping for a room with a view as the immediate neighbourhood is made up of car parks, industrial units and far-flung corners of the airfield. This was my third stay since the property opened under Hilton branding. On previous occasions I had found that while insulation against external noise was very good, the same could not be said about internal soundproofing. Thankfully there were no issues on this stay.
Hotel 3: DoubleTree Las Vegas Airport
Friday 21 Aug to Saturday 22 Aug (1 night)
Room 613 (King)
This hotel is situated two miles from McCarran Airport and is linked to it by complimentary shuttle. The property has a plain and functional (and in many ways, generic North American) appearance. The entrance was undergoing reconstruction at the time of my visit, but the 'late night to early morning' nature of the stay meant that this had little impact on me. The standout attraction of this hotel is that it is non-gaming. (You need to have made a previous visit Las Vegas, or indeed anywhere else in Nevada, to realise just how unusual that is!)
Hotel 4: Hampton Inn, Helena
Saturday 22 Aug to Sunday 23 Aug (1 night)
Room 333 (Queen)
Located just off I-15, this Hampton Inn is convenient both for downtown Helena and for the city's regional airport. It amused me that in this market sector, my room looked more stylish than the DoubleTree in which I had spent the previous night! I noticed that the included breakfast was how I remembered it (i.e. pretty basic), whereas my one stay at a 'Hampton by Hilton' in the UK had featured a comprehensive buffet. The staff here were very friendly and helpful.
Hotel 5: Hilton Garden Inn, Kalispell  
Sunday 23 Aug to Monday 24 Aug (1 night)
Room 447 (King)
This hotel is situated on the main Hwy 93 in Kalispell and makes a convenient and comfortable stopover when exiting (or heading for) the western side of Glacier National Park. The property offers a good choice of dining options, comprising the Garden Grill in the lobby, the more comfortable and atmospheric (but still on-site) Blue Canyon Kitchen and Tavern, and if all else fails, a 24-hour Pavilion Pantry.
Hotel 6: Davenport Grand, Spokane
Monday 24 Aug to Tuesday 25 Aug (1 night)
Room 1617 (King)
This was one of four luxurious Davenport hotels in Spokane, all now marketed as part of Marriott's Autograph Collection. While the Grand was arguably the least centrally situated of the four, it nevertheless had a great location for the visitor, adjacent to Riverfront Park and the Spokane Falls. This was a stylish, modern hotel that - in the words of its own website - "travelers would not expect to see in Spokane". The use of bold colours and striking design features was notable, and on the whole successful. A number of dining options were available, ranging from a Starbucks concession, through to a tapas restaurant and on to The Grand, a full-service American restaurant.
Hotel 7: Hampton Inn, Ellensburg
Tuesday 25 Aug to Wednesday 26 Aug (1 night)
Room 201 (King)
This Hampton Inn is located just outside Ellensburg, WA, very close to I-90. It provided a perfectly acceptable night stop, but accomplishing almost anything (eating dinner, for example) required a short drive into town.
Hotel 8: Hilton Garden Inn, Yakima
Wednesday 26 Aug to Thursday 27 Aug (1 night)
Room 217 (Double-Queen Accessible)
This substantial hotel is very conveniently situated, right in the middle of downtown Yakima. I was allocated an accessible room as a means of providing some extra space. Parking was available both at street level and in an underground garage. As usual in a Garden Inn, a Garden Grill served breakfast and other meal options.
Hotel 9: Salish Lodge & Spa, Snoqualmie Falls  
Thursday 27 Aug to Friday 28 Aug (1 night)
Room 404 (Historical King Deluxe)
As this hotel had been recommended by Bruce, my expectations were high. I was not disappointed. This 84-guestroom luxury lodge is just over half an hour from downtown Seattle, but felt much more remote when approached from the opposite direction. It is directly adjacent to the spectacular Snoqualmie Falls, which provided location shots for the TV series Twin Peaks. My room featured a king-size bed, window seat, fireplace and jetted spa tub. On-site food options comprised The Dining Room (full service) and The Attic (casual).
Hotel 10: Fairmont, Vancouver Airport
Friday 28 Aug to Saturday 29 Aug (1 night)
Room 1122 (Twin Deluxe)
Oh wow, this was almost certainly the best airport hotel I've ever stayed at! But what else would you expect from a Fairmont? The award-winning property was accessed by taking an escalator directly from the terminal building, and the feeling of quality began immediately on stepping across the threshold. It was simply one of those places where everything was exactly as it was meant to be. Jetside Bar, complete with runway views, was an outstanding space and served beautifully made cocktails.
Hotel 11: Hilton, Seattle Airport
Saturday 05 Sep to Sunday 06 Sep (1 night)
Room 1323 (Twin Courtyard View)
This was a repeat stay at an airport hotel that had worked well for me in the past. Although a shuttle is available, it is easily walkable from the terminal, even with luggage.
Hotel 12: Hilton, Boston Airport
Sunday 06 Sep to Monday 07 Sep (1 night)
Room 1006 (Executive Twin)
As for Seattle above, this was a repeat of a successful previous experience - and again, within easy walking distance of the terminals.
Hotel 13: Maldron, Dublin Airport
Monday 07 Sep to Tuesday 28 Sep (1 night)
Room 182 (Triple)
The Maldron shares with its neighbour, the Radisson Blu, the distinction of being located within the airport complex. Just as with the three hotels immediately above, it is therefore feasible to reach it on foot. Apart from some kind of an administrative mix-up with our booking - the last thing you want when arriving after midnight - this was a perfectly acceptable one-night stopover with a decent breakfast the next morning.