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Hotel Review: Country Inn and Suites Port Canaveral

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When I go to a cruise port, I always check out the hotels in the area that may stick out to a potential cruiser.  This journey was destination Port Canaveral, Fla., and this is what I found.

Country Inn and Suites

9009 Astronaut Blvd., Cape Canaveral FL 32920,

Reservations: 1-800-596-2375 US/Canada Toll-free

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This hotel is for you if you’re: a cruiser, a business traveler, if you need plenty of room for family activities, enjoy complementary breakfast,  and comfortable beds.

This hotel isn’t for you if:  you prefer an outside hotel room.

This property is located approximately 1 mile from the Port Canaveral and sits right off Astronaut Blvd. (you can see some of the cruise ships from the hotel)

The property offers amenities such as shuttle service to Port Canaveral, 24 hour business center, complimentary hot breakfast, heated jacuzzi, pool, childrens pool, arcade and fitness center.

My Experience:

I arrived at the hotel property at 11 am. There was plenty of parking and a well kept landscape. When I walked in, a friendly and courteous staff greeted me.

This Country Inn and Suites property is slated as the #1 Country Inn & Suites in North America ( includes Canada & Mexico with over 500 Country Inns ).  They were named #1 because of their scores on cleanliness and friendliness by Carlson.

The inside and outside appearance of the hotel was immaculate!  Always paying attention to detail, I noticed a member of the house keeping staff cleaning the base of the stairwell.  Outside of a cruise ship, I have never seen a housekeeping department so kept and together.

My reservation was in the system and was booked through the property so check in was hassle free.  Booking online though offers a low price guarantee.

My room ( 2 doubles)  included:

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-Complimentary Wired and Wireless High Speed Internet

-2 Phone Lines

-Desk with Ergonomic Chair

-Side Wing Lounge Chair

-Microwave

-Fridge

-Coffee Maker

-Iron/Board

-Hairdryer

One cool feature that impressed with was the fast internet and recycling receptacles in the room.  Green friendly is good!

Dinner was at Fish Lips, a seafood restaurant that offers a great view of all the ships leaving port.  After watching the three ships in port leave, we headed back to the hotel to do some online work. Talking to the front desk, they  told me on weekends they offer complementary shuttle service to the area restaurants.

The hotel was very quiet and peaceful at night with no distractions.

I got an opportunity to meet the General Manager, Bud Burch.  Mr. Burch was very informative about the property and answered all our questions on how the shuttle system operates from the hotel to the cruise terminal.  The cruise package (park and shuttle) is per room and you can park your car on the hotel property (save the 15/per day at pier) and enjoy the shuttle service to and from the ship.  In three years, the hotel hasn’t had one passenger miss their ship because of error.  Very comforting to know.

This property also participates in the ‘Read It and Return’ program. Kids can rent books from the hotel and return it at their local ‘Country Inn and Suites’ once home.

The next morning we checked out the complimentary hot breakfast buffet, no complaints there.  The buffet offered omelets, bacon, home fries, cereal, waffles, danishes, yogurt, etc.

Check out was a breeze and we were on our way. There is a gas station right next to the hotel too, in case you forget any of the little things.

Closing comments

A GREAT pre-cruise hotel and family friendly!

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7 Reasons to Stay at InterContinental Miami

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When I recently had two back to back events in Miami, I needed a hotel that was close to the cruise pier and an event on Biscayne Bay. So I picked InterContinental Miami for the night – and I’m glad I did.
Here are 7 reasons to stay there:

1. Biscayne Bay views are stunning

Biscayne Bay

Stunning may not give the views enough credit. When we checked in and went to our room on the 24th floor, it was mind blowing. We could see the five ships in port that day straight down the harbor to the Atlantic Ocean.

2. Close to cruise pier

You can see PortMiami from the hotel and you could even walk there if you wanted (though it involves walking over a big bridge). Once we left Norwegian Escape it took less than 10 minutes to get to the hotel.

3. Spacious rooms

InterContinental Miami

The rooms were nice sized, with comfortable beds and a huge L shaped desk in the room perfect for laying out your cruise documents, catching up on emails, or just gazing over Biscayne Bay for hours.

 

4. Walking distance to Bayside

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Take a short 10 minute walk through a fabulous park and you’ll stumble upon Bayside, a two story outside mall with quite a few places to eat and dozens of shops. There’s even a margarita bar on the plaza. We went to Chili’s and dined overlooking the harbor. Again, awesome views.

 

5. Delicious Dining Onsite

If you don’t feel like making the walk you’ll find two restaurants, Toro Toro and Ole’, and a Starbucks inside of the hotel. We didn’t get a chance to dine at either venue but Starbucks was a nice treat before an early morning meeting.  A local friend met us for drinks and was raving about Toro Toro so I hope to make it back one day.

6. Relaxing atmosphere

From the moment we arrived until we got to our room the atmosphere was very relaxed and casual. It’s a ‘come as you are’ type of place. Shorts and flip flops or business attire; anyone will fit in.
The front desk staff went out of their way to explain the parking to me.  In case you’re wondering, valet is $39 or $2 hour at the meter, but the meter is free from 2 am to 7 am. You can control it all through a parking app on your smartphone. We used the meter.

7. Tech Savvy

Since we checked in right after we got off the ship (around 10 am), the room wasn’t quite ready yet. But they told us they’d call us when it was. An hour later I received a text from the hotel telling me my room was ready and to pick up my keys from the front desk. They provided us with the WiFi code to use while we waited. The best part: WiFi is free for guests and the speed was excellent.
The next time I’m in Miami and need to be close to the cruise pier and Biscayne Bay I will definitely stay at the InterContential Miami.
You can find more information on this hotel at icmiamihotel.com.
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BEFORE YOU GO

5 Lodging Hacks for Your Next Vacation

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When people go on vacation they have one thing on their mind, getting the most bang for their buck. I can’t blame them, I was just in New York City for three days because of Winter Storm Juno, while I got a great rate at the Yotel (not a typo) – other hotel prices were through the roof!

Before you jet off to your next destination, try these lodging hacks:

1. Hotel Tonight app. If you’re feeling last minute, download the Hotel Tonight app and look for a hotel in the city you’re going to be in. When hotel rooms aren’t selling, the property has to occupy the rooms otherwise they aren’t generating revenue. That’s when hotels puts their rooms on Hotel Tonight at a heavily reduced rate. If you see a hotel that you think is a good deal, grab it because they don’t last long. Use this promo code for $25 off your first Hotel Tonight booking – DPARKER173.

The promo code is the gift that keeps on giving because you’ll get one too and you can share it to help your friends save money. 

2. AirBNB. So this is a fairly new concept that allows you to rent a house, condo, room or even share a room. I know what you’re thinking: it’s weird staying in someone else’s house. It’s really not. Plus, everyone is vetted with state or federal issued identification and through Facebook and Google.

I’ve used AirBNB three times and never had a problem. We rented a condo on Miami Beach, a townhouse in Midtown Atlanta and most recently a room in New York City. All the experiences were flawless and it saved me a lot of money.

In NYC I rented a room for $30 per night, the cheapest hotel was $199. In Atlanta, I rented a townhouse for $99 a night. There are plenty of good deals to be had on AirBNB that are totally safe. You can get a complimentary $25 AirBNB credit by clicking here.

AirBNB lets you read the reviews before booking a property and correspond with the landlord.

3. BetterBidding. This website has saved me a lot of money over the years, in fact, it saved me over $100 per night in Boston recently. The website works in conjunction with Hotwire and Priceline, where the hotel isn’t revealed until you make the booking.

Before booking, BetterBidding helps reveal what property you’ll get by posting a guide of star ratings and amenities at every hotel offers. I’d give it a 90% accuracy rate when using it with Hotwire and Priceline.

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4. Groupon. Sometimes you’ll find a diamond in the ruff. It never hurts to check Groupon. The other night when I was looking for a hotel in Orlando, I searched Groupon and found a hotel  33 percent cheaper than the rates online. Some Groupon deals have really strict rules and regulations, but if you are flexible you’re in for a great deal.

5. Get Social. Contact the hotel and ask them what their social channels are, or just do a quick online search. More specifically on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I was at the Intercontinental in NYC and was mentioning them on Twitter, when I got back to my room I had a gift basket with complimentary drink cards inside. Score!

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Brands love for you to talk about them and some of them are willing to show their appreciation.

In closing

These are just a few ways to save money on your hotel. I know when I go to a new cruise port I like to spend a couple days pre-cruise and post-cruise decompressing, with the tips above, you won’t have a problem kicking back without breaking the bank.

Also, I’d be remiss not to mention the importance of travel insurance when you’re traveling. My Winter Storm Juno experience in NYC that canceled over 6500 flights is evidence that you should always expect the unexpected.

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Cruise News

Cruise Port Hotels Offer Discount

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IMG_3855If you’re cruising from one of the cruise ports that Red Roof Inn is located, you may be able to take advantage of their discounted snooze and cruise package.

Cruisers who book with the hotel chain can receive 20-percent off when doing a pre- or post-cruise stay during their vacation.

Cruise port hotels that are offering the discount are Jacksonville, Miami, Tampa, Boston, Baltimore, Charleston, Secaucus, N.J., and Seattle.

The Miami property will even provide round-trip transportation to the cruise pier and a hot breakfast for $99 per room.

Visit the Red Roof Inn website for more details.

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