One ten-hour flight, two airline meals, three in-flight movies and a hire car pick after leaving London and I was thanking my lucky stars that we only had to drive 20 minutes from the airport before we arrived at the Park Inn Hotel in North Houston. One of the big selling points of this modern and comfortable hotel is its proximity to Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport and its convenience for those travelling by road through Houston. After a long day travelling all we wanted was a bright, friendly and clean environment where everything works and that’s what we found at Park Inn Hotel Houston.
The Park Inn Houston North is just beside the Sam Houston Parkway, a ring-road that loops around the northern edge of Houston, which makes it pretty easy to spot as you drive along the two lane highway from the airport. With the road being in the process of being widened, I have to admit that the front of the hotel isn’t exactly picturesque, being a flat fronted 2 story building with a large portico stretching out in front that seems to be the standard design of this kind of just-off-the-highway hotel. Around the hotel and on either side of the highway are offices and other commercial buildings so it’s a place to drive in and drive out rather than wander the neighbourhood.
I hope you enjoy the video below from my visit to the Park Inn North Houston
If you can’t see the video above about the Park Inn North Houston, please view it on my blog here
Subscribe to all my videos in I-tunes
Download the Park Inn Hotel Houston Video [MP4]
If you enjoyed this video, check out the others in my Video archive
It’s time to check in
We parked out front and headed into the airy and colourful reception area with some seating areas to hang out while waiting for your airport transfer. We received a friendly welcome and found our way to our rooms, a short distance down one of the wings that run on either side of the garden at the back of the hotel. We were on the ground floor with glass sliding doors onto the landscaped gardens with grass, ornamental trees and flowering shrubs. Our two adjoining rooms had a connecting door which made an ideal arrangement for families. Me and hubby had a nice big king bed and some time to ourselves while our three children were happily watching Fox soccer and eating junk food next door with two queen beds between them.
We found that the rooms were more spacious than average with plenty of wardrobe space and all the conveniences we needed, such as an iron and ironing board, wired in hair-dryer and flat screen TV, not to mention the blogger’s essential of free WiFi. The rooms were decorated in neutral colours with cherry-wood coloured furniture and the colourful corporate Park Inn colours on the bed throws and valence, with a mattress that was extremely comfortable and gave us the good night’s sleep that we needed after our long flight.
The bathroom was compact but had everything we needed with a shower over the low bath, small bottles of toiletries, a hair dryer on the wall and a small yellow rubber duck in case you were feeling playful at bath-time. The walls were a cream patterned paper and there was a patterned granite vanity surface around the sink, with everything clean and in good condition.
Next door to our bedroom was a suite area which the hotel had given us the use of through a connecting door, which was decorated in typical Texas style with large comfy brown leather sofas and a big, flat screen TV on the wall – an ideal place the watch the big game while knocking back a few beers. The suite also had a separate dining area with fridge, microwave and bar area and a desk with computer. As this suite area was accessible from the corridor I imagine it also gets used for business or entertainment gatherings.
Out into the garden for a swim
Despite our body clocks being well past our bed-time in UK time, we headed into the gardens to enjoy a bit of unaccustomed warmth and sit outside the bar with a drink while the children tried out one of the two pools that sit within the garden. I imagine that in the heat of the Texas summer, a pool is pretty much essential in any hotel to cool off or do a few quick lengths before going to your business meeting. Although you could still hear the road noise when outside in the garden, I was impressed by how pleasant and well maintained the gardens were with pretty red shrub roses and other flowering plants and shrubs. I was told that once the road widening has been completed at the front of the hotel they will be adding some garden landcaping there too to improve the appearance at the front.
Eating at the Sam Houston Restaurant
There wasn’t really anywhere around the hotel that you could go out without getting back in your car and onto the highway, so we ate in the evening in the Sam Houston restaurant that serves typical Texan and Southern dishes such as burgers, tacos, steaks and herb crusted chicken and grilled fish. Most of the other guests appeared to be business-men with a few family groups and we enjoyed our BBQ pulled pork sandwiches and Vegetable melt with Burgers and Caesar’s salad for the children. The hotel serves a complimentary breakfast which although quite normal in Europe, we discovered is less standard in hotels in the States. Compared to European standards I found the breakfast fairly basic, with a few different cereals, fruit juice, whole fruit such as apples and bananas, a selection of different rolls, bagels, donuts and sliced bread and tea or coffee.
We were also amazed to find that the scones that we normally eat with jam and cream for afternoon tea in the UK are served as a Southern speciality called ‘biscuit’ with ‘gravy’ which looks nothing like Bisto but is a lightly spiced white sauce that is poured hot over the biscuit. Of course, being on holiday, the boys insisted on a cooked breakfast for which there is an extra charge – pancakes with scrambled eggs and bacon and a choice of ketchup or maple syrup. I could have done with a few more healthy options at breakfast – a bowl of fresh fruit salad or some meusli rather than rice crispies or corn flakes, although the taste I managed to steal of my son’s pancakes was yummy.
What else is on offer?
There were a few other services at the hotel, which we found are typical of the hot, steamy south, such as vending machines in the corridors selling cool sodas and ice machines to fill up the ice bucket that sits in your bedroom – everything has to be chilled for comfort in the hot, humid south in Texas. It goes without saying the the rooms had air conditioning which is pretty essential in the summer although marginal whether you need it in April when we were there. We found that we could sometimes do without it although the children seemed to enjoy sleeping in a room like a fridge.
I also made use of the small business centre beside the reception area where there were 2 desks with computers and printers, a facility I found useful even though I had my laptop with me, as I needed to print off some tickets for our visit to the Houston Space Center the next morning. Unfortunately I couldn’t get either of the printers to work but luckily the hotel manager offered to print off my tickets. We also found that the hotel offers a free airport shuttle bus that will take you to and from Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport which is only 15-20 minutes away.
What’s the Cost?
We were being hosted by the hotel but at the time that we were there on a Monday in April, Standard rooms were available from $99-109 + 17% tax and Executive rooms from $109-119 + 17% tax. There are also Townhouse suites available which are split-level with a living area downstairs and a bedroom upstairs from $169-209 + 17% tax. When comparing prices, be aware that in the US prices are normally quoted excluding tax, while on websites where you will book and pay in advance tax will be included in the quoted price. If you’re coming from the UK or Europe the lowest price room is likely to be around £70 or €85 which I think is good value and is about mid-range compared to other hotels close to Houston Intercontinental airport. The Park Inn Hotel Group gives a Best Online Rate Guarantee, so you should get the best deal by booking directly through the Park Inn Houston North website, or you can check for the best hotel prices in Houston and book here.
(Prices are quoted as at April 2012 and are given as an indication, but please check for yourself)
Park Inn Houston North is ideal for business travellers who are staying for a day or two while working at nearby offices around the ring-road or leisure travellers who are travelling in and out of Houston or stopping over from the airport. This hotel is not a destination in itself, but for those like us who are passing through Houston and want a comfortable room and pleasant environment to rest for a night or two I’d certainly recommend it.
Disclosure: Our thanks to Park Inn Houston North Hotel who hosted our stay for 1 night
More things we enjoyed in Texas
You’ll also find our sister blog with tips on how to build a successful travel blog at My Blogging Journey