Midscale hotels at discount prices – Comfort Inn & Suites Experience

Comfort Inn and Suites is the largest brand of Choice Hotels with over 2,200 hotels worldwide. Despite their budget roots in the motel market, Comfort Inn have moved upmarket and are today positioned as a midscale brand in the Choice Portfolio.Find out who they are and what experience you can expect in my experience review below!

Who are they? Choice introduced the Comfort Inn brand in 1982 and positioned it above the Quality Inn brand of motels and below the upscale Ascend Collection and Cambria Hotels. About 600 of the 2,200 hotels are Comfort Suites, with a 25% larger room that features a separate sitting area separated with a half wall from the sleeping area. All of the hotels are franchised and many are conversions from other Choice brands, other chains or independent hotels.
Choice Hotels describes them as follows:
When you travel, what do you need to be ready for the day ahead? At Comfort Inn hotels we think we’ve got a pretty good idea. With all the amenities you need, and hotels everywhere you want to be, Comfort Inn will get you rested and ready for anything.“
Off all the Choice brand descriptions, this is one of the least helpful ones. All the amenities? That’s a lot to promise for a midscale hotel with an Average Daily Rate (ADR) of $90/night. At that price point, Comfort Inn competes with Best Western and about 20% less than a Holiday Inn Express or Hampton Inn! And “everywhere” is pushing it when Comfort Inn is only present in 20 countries around the world with the vast majority of properties “everywhere” in the US!

What experience can I expect? Comfort Inns promises midscale rooms and amenities like you find them at a Hampton Inn or Holiday Inn Express, but at a lower price. That includes a full hot breakfast including eggs, meats and waffles, as well as access to a pool and fitness center. You can also expect free internet in your room. Rooms feature more upscale bedding, with real comforters and comforter covers, instead of wool blankets and sheets, and soft and firm pillows – features that have trickled down from more expensive hotels. Some properties also offer coffee/tea facilities, a fridge and microwave, a safe or even bathrobes! Choice is rolling out a prototype design for new-built hotels that could easily be confused with more expensive brands and is advertising a massive overhaul of existing properties, so you should see the modern look in the photo below over time: choice-comfortinn-prototypenewBut a lot of Comfort Inns are conversions of older motels, still with exterior corridors and parking in front and all are franchise owned, so you still find a lot of hotels that are not nearly as nice as this. Here is an example from the Comfort Inn Calistoga that I stayed at – it’s an older motel that’s well maintained, but not nearly as nice as the new-built hotels in the picture above! cal-comfortinn-calistoga-bed1While Comfort Inn is positioned above Quality Inn (read my review of the Quality Inn Experience), they are so close that they are hard to distinguish – a new, well run Quality Inn can be a better experience than an older, poorly managed Comfort Inn. So, I recommend you check out online reviews and traveler photos to make sure you find a nice Comfort Inn.

If you want a midscale hotel with free, hot breakfast at a value price, Comfort Inn fits the bill and offers significant savings over a Holiday Inn Express or Hampton Inn. Prior to my research into the “Battle of the Budget Hotels”, I never stayed at a Comfort Inn, but now that I have tried them, I will consider them in the future. As long as you make sure it’s a nice example of the brand, you can have a great stay for less!

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