DE Travel Guide
While driving down the highway on the way to the popular Delaware weekend destination of Rehoboth Beach, you'll end up passing a stream of Comfort Inns, Rodeway Inns and various other "Inns," but it's this one that caught our eye.
First, it was the "Best Buy on the HWY" sign that made us turn our heads, but then the faux-White House structure set just back from the highway had us intrigued. It looked like some sort of dressed up old brick apartment building, and yet it was a Golf Club as well as a hotel?
This, the Heritage Inn and Golf Club, where nightly rates starts at $129 during the summer, is a perfect example of the type of accommodation that appears every so often along the East Coast highways.
Most of our talk about hotel key cards lately has concerned whether they're recyclable or not, but the whole "ease of use" factor is a pretty important to us, too. They can be fiddly things when you have to insert them a particular way or swipe them at just the right speed, and we've been frustrated by them more than once.
Thankfully, over at the X Room at the Courtyard Newark University of Delaware, the prototype room where they try out lots of new gadgets on real guests, they are looking carefully at proximity-based keycards. With these, we won't need to worry about inserting them in the right direction or even finding them in our bags: just holding them vaguely near the door should open it, and the X Room people are also considering using this technology to sign restaurant checks and access other hotel services, like gyms or pools.
This is the kind of technology trial that makes experimental rooms like the X Room useful – much better than that distressing running alarm clock that forces you out of bed to turn it off.
Every so often, we showcase hotel tips from readers that we think deserve a little attention. Now it's important to note that in this case, the tip was from, uh, the actual hotel owner. But! After checking the hotel out on TripAdvisor and elsewhere, we deemed it worthy of our ever-precious time — and that’s even in spite of the owner’s self-praise, in which he described the hotel’s website as “the bomb!”
So without further ado, we present Delaware’s Hotel Blue, which professes to be the tiny state’s first boutique hotel, located in beachy Lewes on the Eastern Shore, near the livelier Rehobeth Beach. From its website description, which also calls itself “a simple palette of unpretentious luxury:”
“Hotel Blue is redefining luxury in historic Lewes. "Blue" is an inspired fusion of coastal Victorian, contemporary design and first class amenities. Sixteen suites and rooms offering lush surroundings with a modern twist.”
The hotel hangs art by local artists, and “whimsy and surprise abound” throughout the hotel, from a blue-glowing sink to an ice bucket that changes hue (think lime green, hot pink) when you fill it with ice cubes. The website says each room comes stocked with a “romantic” gas fireplace, private water-view balcony, access to rooftop pool and lounge, and the all-important free wireless access (!). Guests under the age of 18 aren’t allowed, so don’t fret that the rooftop pool will be clogged with kiddie floaties.
Hotel Blue’s TA reviews are really pretty impressive, with a whopping 49 “excellent” ratings, nabbing the No. 1 ranking of six hotels in Lewes. A few highlights: “Much more style than the usual beach place with lots of space in the rooms.” “The room was spacious and felt more like a nicely furnished condo of a friend than a hotel.” “In a town filled with Victorian Homes, Hotel Blue has a modern European feel. The owners pay attention to every detail.” As usual, a few bad eggs spoil its perfect rating, but honestly, the grousers mostly sound like the usual cranky culprits always whining on TA.
Summer rates start at $250 weekdays, $275 weekends, which admittedly seems a little spendy for a beach hotel in Delaware, but we could be wrong. Have you stayed at the Hotel Blue? We’d love to hear how it went.
Whoops! After Game 5 of the World Series was postponed in the sixth inning as Philadelphia got pounded by rain, the visiting Tampa Bay Devil Rays were forced to go back to their hotel -- the Westin Philadelphia -- until the game could be rescheduled.
But oh noes! According to reports, the team had already checked out for the evening (the plan was to hop on a plane and go home to Florida after the game) and their Westin was booked for the night. And, apparently, so were the other hotels in Philly. What's an entire Major League baseball team to do?
After what we can only imagine was an unpleasant series of hours for whoever was in charge of figuring this whole debacle out, the poor baseballers were forced to trek all the way to Wilmington, Delaware (25 miles from the stadium, really) to check into the far, far swankier (in our opinion) Hotel du Pont for the evening. According to TripAdvisor, the average price at the Du Pont is around $399 -- as opposed to the $297 rooms at the Westin.
See? Who says luxury hotels have to be hurtin'? All it takes is a visiting MLB team and a couple of unfortunate weather occurrences, and the luxury hotel biz will be flourishing again in no time.
There's a very special room at the Courtyard Newark - University of Delaware, part of the Marriott brand: it's called "the X-room". That sounds a bit scary, but in fact it's really fun, because this room contains the new hotel technologies and gadgets of the future.
As part of a research project, potential new products for hotel rooms are trialled here for between 6 and 12 months, with real guests. You can book this room specifically or end up there by chance, but in exchange for being able to try out all these new toys, (like the universal battery charger, digital picture frame, touch-screen climate control) you'll need to fill out some survey information to help the research program.
But that extra bit of form filling sounds more than worthwhile to us. We're intrigued by "Clocky", the alarm clock who runs away from you and screeches louder and louder if you don't actually get out of bed (intrigued, we said, but we don't want one ourselves), and the proposed electronic wine chiller sounds interesting too. And if you have 6:50 to spare, check out this video to see the remote-controlled candles which this guy calls "romantic."
So far, guest feedback has inspired other potential gadgets, for example the development of a voice controlled system for operating the gadgets after guests complained that too many remote controls made it confusing to work out how to operate some of the new systems or products. It also became clear that guests need more power outlets in a room, and better located, so they're working on that too.
· The Hotel Room of the Future is Here at ND [Delaware Online]
· Hotel Technology Coverage [HotelChatter]
[Ed. Note: Hotel Maven AmandaK had the misfortune of visiting Delaware. Usually, we don't post pictures of Hotel Hell but this was necessary. Enjoy.]
Highway Motel Choice Mistake #451: Believing what you read. We learned this lesson the hard way this summer on Route 95. An unplanned overnight stop in Delaware enroute to Maryland had us thumbing through our coupon book, and the Quality Inn University in Newark promised an adjective-laden swimming pool. Steamy weather and a long drive meant a quick dip would've been the perfect end to the day.
We checked in. Ten nanoseconds after handing over the cash, we looked out the other side of the reception office. There was the pool. See the picture, worth much more than my twenty or so words here. We went straight to bed.
The hotel brochure taught us all kinds of stuff about Delaware (sorry, we didn't even know it was the "first state") and even that Delaware's home to some nice beaches. Next time we'll be finding the motel near the beach and not relying on the swimming pool.
· Quality Inn University reviews [TripAdvisor]
[Ed. Note: We still have scars from our elementary-school days when you got called into the nurse's office for a head-lice check. We can practically feel that wooden stick poking through our hair as we read this story about head lice in at a Holiday Inn in Delaware. As always this is just one person's side of the story.]
My daughter and I got head lice from Bethany Beach, Holiday Inn bed on September 23, 2006. We woke up to find head lice in our bed and the bedspread. I insisted that we must be moved to a different hotel. They booked me at the Holiday Inn in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. I spent hours treating my daughter and myself for head lice. I told them upon check in that we had lice and that all items used would be put into the hallway for immediate pick up by the housekeeping department.
I was shocked to see that every lice infested item was still in the hallway when we checked out at 9:00 the next day. Obviously, they were not concerned with spreading the lice in that hotel as well. I would never recommend anyone staying at either hotel. We have been dealing with the lice for the past two weeks, because a few eggs hatched and we had to treat ourselves all over again.
· Holiday Inn Bethany Beach reviews [TripAdvisor]