Every Engineer, Geologist, or Landman who has ever performed field work in the E&P sector of the oil patch has spent countless nights in roadside hotel/motels. Stays in these hotels can range from nice to nasty. Either way, they add to the flavor of the people and the experiences that make up the Oil & Gas Industry.
To effectively analyze hotels/motels throughout the oil patch I will focus on a few major chains – I chose Quality Inn, Best Western and Hampton Inn. I reviewed them on bed comfort, ac/heating units, cleanliness, and staff. Please keep in mind: these are solely the opinions of this blogger and in no way reflect the opinions of Drillinginfo.
Quality Inn Quality
Let’s start out with the worst – Quality Inn. Quality Inn is owned by Choice Hotels and has over 700 locations throughout the United States. While some of their chains such as Comfort Suites and Clarion are acceptable, I’ve never had a quality experience at a Quality Inn. (Many of the locations are franchised out – there is no way all of them can be this bad.)
The nightlife typically consists of drinking beer in a parking lot with a cross section of humanity rivaling that typically found at the DMV. The bed quality would be acceptable for a small child; however, middle-aged adults should wear a back brace. AC units are awful – typically wall mounted units that emit odd cranking and grinding noises and produce a pool of water outside the room. As they only have low and high settings you can never find the perfect temperature – you’re either shaking or sweating. Cleanliness and insects/predator sightings have been few. However, I did stay in one hotel that had a cricket hatch outside one evening. I had to battle the crickets when entering the room (you can’t blame that one on the hotel). Staff has been acceptable. Maid service and front desk employees have always been pleasant. However, if offered a choice, avoid a Quality Inn.
I have a really hard time evaluating the Best Western Hotel Chain. Owned by Best Western International, the hotel’s 2,000 locations range from accommodating to awful. Best Western is the world’s largest hotel chain, but each hotel is independently owned and operated. I’ve stayed at some hotels that would rival any of the major upscale establishments typically found in major cities and I’ve stayed in some that give strong support to the term “roach motel”.
While most of the Best Westerns in or around the cities are typically nice, the ones on the sides of highways leave something to be desired. The rooms almost always open to the outdoors, so you are always exposed to outside noise. If you are lucky enough to get a room on the first floor, you are always at the mercy of someone parking directly outside your room at night (with their high beams glaring through your windows). The beds are alright. Typically, I would rate them much higher than those of a Quality Inn. Most of the AC units are wall mounts so you are subject to the same issues at a Quality Inn.
I have never had a truly bad experience staying at a Best Western. While I have stayed at some in South Texas that need to invest in new televisions, I’ve generally found the staff to be pleasant and the rooms to be clean.
In cases where I’ve had the continental breakfast many of these roadsides establishments serve, I must confess I’ve been a little disappointed. They seem to always serve Otis Spunkmeyer Muffins – the only bread product to have a shelf life over ten years. Despite my criticisms, if you are weary from the road, I would recommend staying at a Best Western. You could always stay at worse places.
Hampton Inn – best of the oil patch
Overall, I’m going to rate Hampton as my favorite hotel/motel chain primarily because in their 1,700 North American locations their beds are consistently comfortable and their rooms tend to always have central air. Another reason is that Hamptons are owned by Hilton Worldwide. Therefore, each stay will earn you points towards staying in Hilton Hotels. Most other chains I would never consider joining their frequent stayer clubs. (Like I really would stay at a Red Roof Inn on vacation even if the room were free!) Staff has always been pleasant and the rooms are consistently clean. My major complain about Hampton Inns has always been their elevators – it seems like I could climb the stairs faster than their elevators move. Despite this shortcoming, I really do like Hampton Inn. Overall, I look for Hamptons when traveling around the highways and byways throughout the oil patch.
There are always other places
I apologize for just reviewing a few hotel chains. There are many more I have opinions on. However, due to time limitations I could only pick three. I could have easily rated Holiday Inn Express high on my list or rated multiple establishments as disgustingly low. Please enjoy your time out in field and safe travels to all.
What do you think? What is your favorite hotel chain of in the oil patch? Should I do another post on the great independents? Leave a comment below.