A great value among the many MOA-area hotels! A review of Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Bloomington / Airport / Mall of America
Myself, my wife, and my 4-year old son stayed 5 nights in this hotel (Sunday, August 8 thru Thursday, August 12) based on the incredible rate I got thru Expedia---, and I'm very happy with our stay.
First off, note that the hotel is "Tharaldson Hospitality Inn & Suites"--don't look for the Bloomington name on the sign. Also, the hotel exterior looked much better in person vs. the pics I'd seen on the net--perhaps a little architectural flair or renovations were done?
That said, here are the pros:
1. INCREDIBLE rate. I got a non-smoking room with 2 queen beds for $68.30 each night thru Expedia---. Regular rate was listed at $99. None of the other hotels in the immediate Mall of America (MOA) area could touch this rate, and I did a LOT of research. Most hotels were $100 or up per night for similar rooms, and they did not even include a refrigerator or microwave, which ours did! A quick trip to the Wal-Mart a few blocks away let us keep cold sodas and juice in the fridge all week, rather than paying higher prices for sodas out of the machines.
2. Beautiful rooms and nice lobby. For such a "non big-name hotel", the room was beautifully decorated. I was only paying $68.30 per night, but I felt like I was definitely in a $100+ per night hotel.
3. The Embers restaurant's food was surprisingly very good. Had breakfast and dinner there a few times, and my family enjoyed it.
4. No pressure/lukewarm water problems in our shower. Perhaps the other reviewer who mentioned the lukewarm shower had a bum shower, I don't know. Hot water lasted for showers for me and my family after pool time.
5. Very large jacuzzi--plain on looks, but giant-sized. Nice water temp, too!
6. Free wireless high-speed Internet access if you have such a device to take advantage of it.
7. Shuttle service to MOA, though I didn't partake in it.
Cons (all minor):
1. Pool water temperature was on the cold side. The pool area can also get a bit crowded at times, and there isn't much room between the tables/chairs and the pool itself. To the reviewer who complained of pool rules being broken--I saw none of that during my stay. And if I had, I would have spoken with management promptly--why didn't you do the same? You're paying for the room and the amenities, you have a right to speak up when other guests aren't using common sense.
2. No room service, although you CAN order food from the Ember's restaurant to go (sort of a happy-medium, I guess. :-)
3. Room keys must be used in the elevators to activate them. While I appreciate the security measures, halfway thru our stay, my wife's card would no longer work in the elevator. My card stopped working a day later, while I was still in the hotel (worked going down to the lobby, but stopped working when I tried to go back up to my room). Found out from front desk staff that MOA security detectors tend to "deactivate" the cards, so you have to stop by the front desk to get them reset. Let's face it, MOA is a big reason people are staying here--it's less than a mile from the hotel--so wouldn't it make sense to use some other form of security or room key so folks don't have to go thru such nonsense?
4. No business center. Even a cheap PC connected to the net would have been nice to check my e-mail periodically, but there was none. They do, however, offer free high-speed wireless Internet access, so if you have a laptop or PDA with a wi-fi card, you're good to go. I can't speak for how well it worked, though.
5. The mattress covers on our bed did NOT fit the mattresses. As a result, they rolled and bunched up at night. Not a big deal to me, but it was an annoyance. No problems with housekeeping, though--room was always cleaned and beds made upon arrival back at the hotel each day.
Overall, for the price I paid and what we got, this was a STEAL. The Tharaldson Hospitality Inn & Suites should DEFINITELY be on your radar if you're planning a trip to the Bloomington or MOA area.