Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Good Breakfast, Friendly Service, Decent (Not Extraordinary) Hotel: Comfort Inn Livonia!
The Good: Decent sized room, Amenities, Breakfast, VERY friendly staff!
The Bad: No grounds, Odd location, Dark, Broken bathroom door.
The Basics: Excellent customer service and a decent breakfast are the hallmark of this hotel that seems ideal for business travelers, even in the middle of winter!
Those who follow my reviews know that I have recently become (quite happily!) involved with someone in Michigan. This is a pretty different world from upstate New York for me and given that I am likely to be moving to Michigan and be married by the end of the year, I figured there were some important things to do. One of the big ones for me was scouting out the places nearest to where I will be moving for movie premieres. It just so happened that there was a movie screening the day after my planned trip in nearby Novi, Michigan. So, I decided to extend my trip by a day (scoring major points in the process!), surprise my fiance by dragging her south to see Hotel For Dogs and staying over another night together. Yes, I'm looking at the prospect of moving to a place where I'll have to drive two hundred miles to see my free movies (and Michigan is unforgiving with its roads!).
After our movie and a dinner at a local Chinese Buffet, we journeyed on the treacherous, frozen roads from Novi to Livonia, Michigan. I was on edge because of the weather and that morning while checking out at the Quality Inn On The Bay in Traverse City, there was a problem. Still, when we slid (literally) into our parking space at the Comfort Inn, Livonia, I was prepared to give it a fair shake and - truth be told - we had a wonderful stay in this hotel room, though we were both quite exhausted. It was quiet, generally clean and the staff was perfectly friendly. The breakfast was enjoyable and we left with the feeling that this was a hotel we would return to again (probably when I move to Michigan, we will end up spending overnights when we go to screenings). It was a nice hotel and I cannot wait to not have to defy death to get into it.
The Comfort Inn Livonia, MI081 (in the Choice Hotel numbering system, a good number to have if making a reservation on the phone, etc.), is located at 29235 Buckingham Ave in Livonia, Michigan. This is quite conveniently, is about thirteen miles away from the many malls of Novi, Michigan. It is easily accessed from Novi by Interstate 96, which is a pretty decent highway in Southern Michigan. We arrived during a snow storm with freezing rain, but even so, it was easy to get to Buckingham Avenue from the interstate. Mapquest provides solid directions when the address was input.
The Comfort Inn Livonia has one entrance, right off Buckingham Ave. and a fair amount of parking. The long, three-story hotel has about a hundred parking spaces out front and I only saw the front entrance to the hotel. The Comfort Inn Livonia in Livonia is not a huge hotel and it is not much to look at on the outside. There are no grounds to speak of; it is essentially in what appears to be a business park. Our view was out onto the parking lot and the parking lot of the offices next door. It is a three-story hotel and it was not next to anything we could see, save offices and the interstate. It is, however, rather close to Detroit and if one is looking for an inexpensive, safe option outside of the city proper, this might be ideal.
The Comfort Inn Livonia almost looks like an office building itself, set back as it is in the brick and pavement of the office park. Rooms here are designed for comfort, but it is not a resort-type location. This hotel is designed to be more a place to stay as opposed to luxuriate in.
Upon entering the hotel, I was greeted quite warmly by the desk clerk. In fact, the staff expressed immediate concern about us, with our bags and the state of the frozen parking lot. They were attentive and I noticed as we went up to our room, that the desk clerk went out to salt the parking lot. Check-in was very quick and despite the late hour we were arriving, there were no problems with us getting the exact room we had reserved.
The room we chose for our first visit was one of many that had an in-room whirlpool. Off season, the room was running in the mid-$70 range and that was fine for us. The room was a a bit longer and wider than some we had stayed in recently and it immediately made us feel less claustrophobic (driving in the dark and ice and entering a somewhat dimly lit hotel had made me feel boxed in). Measuring thirty feet deep by fourteen feet wide, the room included a king-sized beds, a whirlpool in the room and a full bathroom with shower, toilet and sink. The room felt large and inviting and this room had the whirlpool between the bathroom and the sleeping area. As a result, the only thing separating the sinks in the bathroom from the bed was the whirlpool and the curtains on either side of that.
The atmosphere at the Comfort Inn Livonia was split. The staff was remarkably friendly, but the room was a bit dark, even with all the lights on. I noticed this both in the morning and at night, so fatigue was not the only thing leading me to evaluate it this way. As far as cleanliness goes, all of the major things were clean, but there were some issues. We had a nonsmoking room, as always and it smelled perfectly smoke free. There was no evidence or trace of scent that would have indicated it had ever had a cigarette smoked in it. Indeed, the entire hotel smelled good.
Every time I enter a new hotel room, I flush the toilet (past experience has proven this is an excellent thing to check out right away!) and the Comfort Inn Livonia easily passed the first flush test with no difficulties. The wallpaper in the room was tasteful and none of the wallpaper or paint was peeling. However, the bathroom (toilet area) at this hotel was separated from the sink and hot tub portion of the room by a sliding door. Our sliding door did not work. It did not budge at all and we were forced to go to the bathroom with the door open (we drew the curtains on the hot tub for privacy). While this works fine for a couple, families might find this problematic.
As well, the hot tub had flecks of what appeared to be stucco or paint enameled to the bottom of it. Conversely, all of the linens were perfectly clean and we were happy enough to crash there and act like an old married couple as opposed to complain.
The common areas were all clean and well-maintained. Given that there were no grounds, some of the maintenance is easier than at other locations. The breakfast area was kept constantly clean. In fact, when we went down to take advantage of the free coffee, cocoa and tea around midnight in our bathrobes and slippers, the hotel staff asked if they could get us anything and we felt perfectly safe and both attended to and like we were walking around a clean building.
The Comfort Inn Livonia has a pretty decent package working for it for a hotel in the Choice Hotel system. In every room there were the standard coffee packets, shampoo and conditioner, along with an air conditioning unit and the usual bars of soap. There were also tea bags with the coffee as well and that was a nice touch!
The friendly staff (which I continue to emphasize) was consistent and kind and there was a 24 hour coffee and tea service. The tea service has at least four different flavors of tea and there are packets of sugar, sugar substitute and powdered creamer. In addition to the coffee from the room, there was coffee in the lobby with tea and hot cocoa packets, insuring that the guest need never go thirsty.
The free continental breakfast at the Comfort Inn Livonia was one of the better ones I have had at a Comfort Inn. This hotel was emphasizing the hot food options, with the trademark belgian waffles that the Choice Hotels are known for. In addition to fresh made belgian waffles (we made our own!), there were omelets with american cheese and five types of oat meal. The omelets were a nice touch and though they were pre-made it was something different and distinctive and there was a microwave to heat them up in, so it made for a pleasant breakfast. There were three types of prepackaged GM cold cereals, milk, and apple, cranberry and orange juice from a machine. There were pre-sliced plain and raisin bagels, English muffins, cream cheese, and hard-boiled eggs. As well, there were the hugest blueberry muffins I have ever seen and bread for toast. Finally, there were fresh bananas and apples.
There was an indoor pool, though we arrived too late at night to use it and were too busy in the morning to check it out. There is also a free high speed internet in every room, though the traveler must provide their own computer. The television has approximately fifty cable television stations (I swear we only watched the Weather Channel that night!).
While we were eating breakfast, a staff member came in and asked us (three times) if we were finding everything we needed and that level of interest and attention was pretty impressive given how inexpensive this hotel was.
Ultimately this is a good Comfort Inn and a more than adequate hotel room. This is definitely a hotel room to crash in as opposed to one where one makes an event of staying at, but for the price, the proximity to the movies (and Detroit), it is a worthwhile one to look into staying at when in the Detroit/Livonia/Novi area!
For other hotels in the Choice Hotels chain, please be sure to check out my reviews of:
Comfort Inn Towson - Towson, MD
Quality Inns & Suites Warren - Warren, MI
Comfort Suites Grand Rapids North - Comstock Park, MI
For other travel reviews, please be sure to visit my travel index page by clicking here!
© 2012, 2009 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.