When my business travel became more global and pulled me towards the Intercontinental Hotel Group as one of my top frequent guest programs (dragging is probably more accurate), the Holiday Inn Express brand got my attention during a trip to a small town in Utah with few hotels to choose from – and they made a new fan that day!
So, who are they? Holiday Inn Express (HIE) has over 2,300 hotels around the world, or almost 50% of all IHG hotels, making it the biggest brand in the group! In their own words, Holiday Inn Express is “The smart choice for travellers who need a simple, engaging hotel to rest, recharge and get a little work done.”
IHG launched the Holiday Inn Express brand in 1991 – at a time when the Holiday Inn brand had lost its shine – and it was a breath of fresh air. It’s a limited service hotel, giving you a very nice room, free breakfast (and today) free wifi, but no restaurant, bell boys, concierge or other staff typically found in full-service hotels. You may find a pool or fitness room, but not at all properties. More than 85% of the HIE hotels are in the Americas, but that leaves approx. 300 hotels for Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia, with new hotels being added quickly, especially in Asia.
So, why should I care? I like modern hotels, somewhere on the contemporary to stylish end of the spectrum, and the room is a big part of the hotel choice to me. I don’t like to eat at hotel restaurants, other than for convenience, and don’t usually use the services of bell boys or concierges these days. So, I grew to like this type of limited service hotel – giving me a lot of what I like and without paying for things I don’t need or want.
I found the HIE brand to be one of the most consistent in the industry, right up there with Marriott, so you know exactly what you will get with little to no risk. That makes them a good choice in places where it’s all about the destination and I spend little time in the hotel other than to sleep and recover for the next day of activities and adventures.
A great added benefit is the membership in the IHG Rewards program, allowing you to earn points at lots of hotels for dream vacations at fantastic hotels, like the InterContinental Thalasso Resort Bora Bora. You also can have instant VIP status through the IHG Rewards MasterCard, giving you very nice service, even if you are not a frequent traveler. They will also frequently show up in the IHG promotion called “PointBreak”, allowing you to stay a night for 5,000 points (the equivalent of $35) – a true bargain in most cases.
So, the next time you need a bed for the night before heading into your next adventure, give Holiday Inn Express a try, it might be all you need.
You can check out some reviews here
Holiday Inn Express Sathorn
Holiday Inn Express Kuta Square (coming soon)
Holiday Inn Express Siam (coming soon)
Holiday Inn Express Singapore Clarke Quay (coming soon)