Ever since hotel chains started offering multiple brands with different personalities, there have been times when several hotels from the same parent company have shared the same development. The first one I ever saw was when the Marriott Village opened just outside Walt Disney World in 2000. At this property, Marriott built three separate hotels around a central plaza.
While this was an innovative idea 20 years ago, it’s now a widespread practice. The Hilton Garden Inn I stayed at in Tampa had a Homewood Suites and Hampton Inn in the same complex. We just finished a stay in New York where a Courtyard and Residence Inn were in the same skyscraper, with Courtyard rooms on the lower floors and Residence Inn rooms on the upper levels. In this case, the front desk shared duties for both hotels.
So when I noticed that the Hilton Garden Inn I was booked into for my first business trip ever shared an address with a Homewood Suites, it wasn’t even worth a shrug. Until I got to the hotel.
Driving up to the hotel, I noticed that there were two entrances. The Homewood Suites, or HS, was the door to the left and the Hilton Garden Inn, or HGI, was the door to the right. Hmmm, that’s a little odd.
So here’s where things get strange. Each hotel has its own check-in desk and lobby but there’s a hallway connecting the two areas, so it’s easy to walk back and forth between them. Despite this connection, the lobbies have totally different design styles.
Here’s the Homewood Suites lobby:
and here’s the Hilton Garden Inn lobby:
You’ll notice they do share the same carpeting but otherwise, the color schemes and design aesthetic are totally different.
To get to your room, each hotel also has its own bank of elevators. It’s obvious when you get to your floor that you’re in two different hotels because the art and the wallpaper are different, even if the carpet is still the same.
The hotel has 270 rooms spread over seven floors. There are 160 HGI rooms and 110 HS rooms. Here’s what the floorplan looks like. The larger rooms on the right are for HS and the rest are for the HGI.
That’s right, as you’re walking down the hallway you’re in one hotel one second and then you’re in the other one. What’s that look like you wonder?
Room 324, Hilton Garden Inn
Room 322, Homewood Suites
Notice that the wallpaper is the same but the HGI appears darker. That’s not my poor photography skills; the HS area of the hall is significantly brighter than that of the HGI. The contrast is accentuated because the HGI has dark brown wallpaper while the HS is a light tan color. Here’s what that looks like when you’re walking to your room.
Where the hallway gets brighter, that’s the Homewood Suites. 🙂
It looks just as odd in reverse.
I guess if you’re staying on one of the wings of the hotel, you’d never even notice where the changeover happens. However, if you’re like me and have a room right on the cutoff, it just looks odd.
While this was the first time I was staying in a hotel like this, it appears to be a popular trend. Come to think of it, it’s a better option than having a Hilton Garden Inn (and Suites). What does a suite in that hotel look like? Is it any different from a suite at the Hampton Inn (and Suites)? This way, a hotel can offer a larger selection of room types and guests will know exactly what to expect in from their room. Kinda smart if you think about it.
So, have you stayed at a dual-branded hotel before? How did they differentiate between the two hotels? Do you think it’s a good idea or just plain confusing?
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary