During one of my first business trips in the US in the 90s, I ended up staying at a Holiday Inn near Chicago (thankfully, the memory of the name of the hotel has been long suppressed). The hotel was so dilapidated and the experience sooooo bad that I called our travel agent and
demanded begged to be moved somewhere else asap. I never stayed at a Holiday Inn for close to a decade. If you had a similar experience and not stayed at a Holiday Inn for a while, you might want to check one out, because a lot has changed since then. So much so that the IHG group has become my go-to chain and rewards program for hotels!
So, who are they? Holiday Inn (HI) has over 1200 hotels, resorts and clubs around the world, with plans for hundreds more, making it the biggest brand within the IHG group of hotels. In their own words, Holiday Inn “…is the world’s largest mid-scale hotel brand by number of rooms… for the contemporary traveler looking for innovative comfort in a relaxing hotel environment. Holiday Inn aims to provide guests familiarity, convenience and reliability.”
Holiday Inn’s are full-service hotels with restaurants, meeting rooms, fitness rooms and pools. They are positioned as a mid-range hotel between the InterContinental, Crowne Plaza and Indigo hotels above and the Holiday Inn Express below it. While most of the Holiday Inn properties are in the Americas, there also are close to 300 in Europe and more than 100 across Asia, the Middle East and Africa, giving you a good chance of finding one anywhere you travel.
So, why should I care? After my miserable experience in the 90s, Holiday Inn embarked on a worldwide brand overhaul, increasing the minimum requirements a Holiday Inn had to meet and renovating many of the old properties – or getting rid of them. HI also continued to add new properties, especially in Asia. While an HI is probably not a hotel you dream of for your honeymoon, I think Holiday Inn gets their target right with “familiarity, convenience and reliability” – you get the basics, every time and are not taking much of a risk.
More importantly, Holiday Inn is part of the IHG Rewards program, allowing you to earn points at many decent hotels for dream vacations at fantastic hotels, like the InterContinental Thalasso Resort Bora Bora. You also can have instant VIP status through the IHG MasterCard, giving you very nice service, even if you are not a frequent traveler. Also keep in mind that many of their new properties, especially in Asia, are much, much nicer than in the US or Europe.
Update: Holiday Inn has announced a new design that will be rolled out at newly built and renovated Holiday Inn Hotels in North America – check out my post here!
Check out my review of Holiday Inn properties below:
Holiday Inn Bangkok Sukhumvit 22