When we drove home from Key West, our original plan was to leave early and visit the Morikami Japanese Gardens in Delray Beach and then go to dinner at Mai-Kai in Fort Lauderdale (click here for a recap of our visit to Mai-Kai). After driving from Key West and then having a full day of events, we figured we would most likely need to rest after dinner instead trying to drive three more hours to get home. We do have family in the area so we figured if we stayed overnight, we could plan to meet them the next morning for breakfast. We’ve stayed in the Fort Lauderdale area recently but decided we’d rather drive a little ways towards home after dinner so that our ride the next morning would be that much shorter.
Since I’m not loyal to any specific hotel chain, I looked at what options I had that were near my relatives’ house and still close to the highway. I usually end up obsessing over these one night stays just as much as I do about where to stay for a week in Austria because I just never want to end up in a bad hotel. So I spent way too much time looking at TripAdvisor reviews before deciding that the best combination of location and price for us was the Fairfield Inn & Suites West Palm Beach Jupiter.
Now when looking at where the hotel was, it would be a stretch to consider this location to be near West Palm Beach. However since we needed to stay near Jupiter, this was a good place for us. It was located right off of I-95 and the Florida Turnpike and would therefore be a great location for anyone wanting to staying overnight near the highways.
On our last night in Key West, we decided that we were going to sleep in and stay in Key West until around lunchtime. We’d miss going to the gardens and would drive straight to our dinner in Fort Lauderdale. This worked out well but we also didn’t plan on dinner ending so much earlier than we thought it would. So after all that planning, we arrived at the hotel around 8PM, pretty well rested (we thought we would be there around 10PM and exhausted from our travels that day). We worked out our plan while walking to the lobby: if the front desk would allow us to cancel the stay, we would just drive home that evening. If we were going to pay for the room anyway, we’d stay at the hotel and get up early the next morning to drive home.
The front desk clerk on Sunday evening was exceeding pleasant and funny. I explained our situation and asked if we had to stay in the room. She said that she understood our dilemma and we weren’t forced to stay there. Unfortunately, Marriott would still charge us for the stay because we were past the cancellation deadline. I said that if we were going to pay for the room anyway, we might as well stay. We had a good chuckle over this and she then told us that since I am a Marriott Rewards Gold member, they upgraded us to a suite so we could live it up!
We were handed our room keys and went up to our suite, which was quite nice.
It had a living room with a full sitting area that included a desk, couch and TV. There was a dividing wall separating the bed area from the living room but it was still quite open so it would be difficult for someone to watch TV in the one area and someone else to watch TV in the other. Since we usually just read or watch our iPads in bed, this wasn’t a problem for us. I would say that for the $89 plus tax we paid, it was a very nice room.
The bathroom was a typical basic set up for a mid level hotel. The sink was outside of the bathroom, along with a microwave, coffee maker and refrigerator. The bathtub/shower and toilet were behind the door and there wasn’t all that much space (or light) in the room.
The hotel did have a pool and hot tub that were in good enough condition that I considered changing into my bathing suit. When push came to shove, though, I decided that changing to sit in a hot tub for 15-20 minutes and then having to shower that night before going to bed just wasn’t worth the effort. Instead, Sharon and I sat in bed and watched a special on the History Channel for two hours about the Shroud of Turin. Don’t be too jealous of our glamorous lifestyle.
The hotel offered a free breakfast, as is normal at most Fairfield Inn properties. Because we were meeting relatives for breakfast, we didn’t try it but it looked pretty standard for a hotel in this range. Think eggs, pastries, coffee, juice and oatmeal. For those interested, as we are, there is a Starbucks coffee directly in front of the hotel but the drive-thru line was about 10 deep when we drove by on a Monday morning, so plan your time accordingly.
This hotel was a perfectly acceptable as a right-off-the-highway place to sleep. It had a great location which was close to the two major highways but did not get any of the traffic noise. The upgraded room was almost too big for what we needed. The person working the check in desk on a Sunday evening was very pleasant and funny (something rare to find with night staff). The room was quiet and dark, which let us get a good night sleep so we could get back on the road the next morning. While I doubt we’d ever need to stay in the area again, we wouldn’t hesitate to stay here if we needed to.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary