Saturday, March 03, 2007

Weekend in Atlanta - Part Two

It's taken a few years, but I think I've found a hotel chain that I can feel pretty confident if I reserve a room, I won't be terribly disappointed upon arrival. We stayed at the Country Inns & Suites in Atlanta; this was the second location in the area we've visited. (I would provide a link to the exact location but their website is down at the moment.) The hotel is new, the staff there was exceptionally friendly, the rooms were quiet and the breakfast was good. The thing I like about this particular chain is that I have almost come to expect this level of service at all their locations. Amazingly enough, I've yet to be disappointed. The price is always moderate, the rooms quiet and spacious enough and all seem to be well maintained. This particular location had the best iteration I've seen of the hotel "night light." Usually they consist of a flickering orange light tied to a light sensor but this one didn't flicker and had an on/off switch. I also like hotels that have the curved shower curtain bar. It keeps the curtain from blowing in and sticking to you when you're showering. Maybe it's just my inner germ freak coming out, but the idea of a shower curtain that's been rubbing on several someone else's smelly bodies as they shower then blowing back on me just has no appeal whatsoever. The shower curtain isn't an item I would expect to be changed out or even cleaned top to bottom between every single guest. I really should never take one of those CSI type flashlights into a hotel room if I ever want to travel again.

While I was very pleased with the hotel, I'm struggling for positive words about the Georgia World Congress Center. The phrase "completely chaotic nightmare" immediately comes to mind, followed by "a vast monstrosity" and the notably inadequate signs for anything of consequence. I won't even go into the pain that is parking. There were numerous events at the facility, all going on at once and several were of similar interest areas, just adding to the confusion. I saw a lot of frustrated and utterly lost looks from others trying to find their way to an obscure location like "Building C, Rooms A through G." The bright spot in the locale was an unexpectedly good lunch. I had thought lunch that day would be an overpriced hot dog, chips and a bottled soda. Instead, we stumbled upon a food court of sorts with a nice variety of options available. I had a very good BBQ Brisket sandwich and bottled water (priced at the expected overcharged rate of $10 of course.) Avoid the Minestrone Soup though; my mom made the mistake of buying it first and I think someone who is on a low-salt diet might end up hospitalized after just one spoonful. Just around the corner was an Italian restaurant, with a full buffet for just under $20. It smelled good enough to make me wish I were still hungry.

The International Motorcycle Show, once we found it, was packed full of people and bikes of every flavor. Despite roaming through display after display and trying several to see how they fit, I've not found that elusive bike that says "take me home" yet. The Moto Guzzi did have a lot of appeal, but we'll see.

For dinner we went to Houck's Steak & Seafood Restaurant. I would highly recommend it! While I may be minding my girlish figure, I couldn't pass up sampling something called "The Best Shrimp in Georgia." It was really good shrimp, I'll give them that. The pork tenderloin was very good and the Red Velvet Cake made the entire trip worthwhile. What was most notable were the portions. Normally restaurants like to load plates with enough for three people, or they go the opposite extreme and provide about two bites, just to taunt your taste buds. The portions here didn't leave any of us hungry, they were sized just about right. It was a little out of the way to find but a sign just inside the door indicated they would be moving this spring to a new location. If you're in the area, I would suggest making a dinner reservation at Houck's anytime.


Anonymous said...

Marriott chains have the same shower rods, plus they are non-smoking.

Lorrie said...

I've found a couple of Hampton Inns that were that way too. It doesn't seem to be a chain-wide type of thing, but more a decision left to the local franchise owner.

I wish more would do this, and I think it would be a selling point online for hotels when I'm looking at two options to reserve. All things otherwise being equal, I'd choose the one with the better shower.