Monday, November 7, 2011

North Of The Chaos, This Quality Inn Comes Through - Quality Inn North - Altamonte Springs, FL

Quality Inn North
Quality Inn North - Altamonte Springs, FL

Click to reserve a room directly through Choice Hotels!

The Good: Good location, Friendly, competent staff, fair breakfast, Nice amenities, Nice pool
The Bad: Nothing is especially superlative, Usual safe charge stuff
The Basics: With clean rooms and a hotel staff is agreeable about everything but the safe charge, the Quality Inn North is a decent place to stay in the Orlando area.

Orlando, Florida is one of those places in the United States that the traveler wonders frequently about how people who actually live there actually live there. As a resident of upstate New York, so much of Orlando is alien to me; it's bright virtually all of the time, by six in the morning the corners and parking lots find migrant workers waiting for pickup, and there are swarms of shopping centers, restaurants and hotels for a ten mile radius around Disney World. I've been lost frequently around the Orlando area, which I travel to an average of twice a year on business, and I've never yet seen an obviously residential neighborhood. Maybe there are no residents of Orlando and it's all a business hub that people drive into each day . . .

Regardless, for years I have journeyed to the suburb of Orlando called Altamonte Springs as there are conventions there that I attend as a dealer. Up until my latest trip, which was closer to Orlando proper (which resulted in me staying at the Quality Inn Airport, reviewed here!), Altamonte Springs was where I stayed at the Quality Inn North. Truth be told, two things disappointed me about the move from Altamonte Springs; the ease of getting to my hotel and the enduring quality of the Quality Inn North.

The Quality Inn North is FL630 in the Choice Hotel numbering system - having that number may make telephone reservations real easy. The Quality Inn North is located at 235 South Wymore Road, Altamonte Springs. This is a nice, affordable option for a traveler who is looking for a place to crash when not doing things around Orlando. It's nice because it is out of the way, in a generally quiet, safe neighborhood.


The Quality Inn North is right off Interstate 4, which is a major arterial running east-west across northern Florida. 235 South Wymore Road is visible from exit 92 and is very easy to get to, despite having to cross four lanes of traffic to turn onto South Wymore Road. The only real problem I've ever had with the location is that oncoming traffic on Wymore Road (the sidestreet the hotel is on) seems to come very quickly and there's a lot of overgrowth on neighboring properties that make it difficult to see when turning into or out of the driveway for this hotel. The Quality Inn North conveniently has two entrances, so if you miss the first turn, there is a second that allows access.

The Quality Inn North is located 25 miles east of Disney World (if such things matter to you) and Universal Studios is 15 miles west of this hotel. Basically, the heart of Orlando (the tourist area) is about twenty miles away. According the the website for the Quality Inn North, the Altamonte Mall is a mile from the hotel (it feels closer when driving!). Within a mile of this hotel there are a Denny's, Red Lobster, Olive Garden, diners and fast food restaurants (on my last trip, I stopped in this neighborhood and it looks like a newer, upscale mall was being built within walking distance of the hotel!). So, it's easy to find food in the neighborhood!

Outside that, the location is fine. The hotel is off a main strip of very commercial properties and, truth be told, I never ventured further down South Wymore Road to see what is on the other side of the overgrowth. I know there's a library down the main drag (very friendly librarians there!) and that for being literally right off the interstate, the rooms are very quiet. The property has a parking lot that wraps around the building, the requisite palm trees, a central swimming pool and a breakfast nook attached to a sizable dining area.

Room Size

My stays at the Quality Inn North have found me in rooms that range from the single king bed to the two double bed rooms. Having stayed many times, on both floors, on all sides of the hotel (where there are nonsmoking rooms), I feel fairly assured in saying most of the rooms are the approximately the same size. I've never stayed in one of the King Suites, but that's mostly because I use the Quality Inn North as a less expensive hotel than the convention hotel, which was on the other side of the interstate.

Over the years, I've watched the rates at this hotel slowly creep up. Currently, a king bed nonsmoking room books for $62.99 + tax a night when booking through the Choice Hotels website. For those who've not traveled much, rates change drastically in Florida depending on the time of the year. As well, as this review ages, obviously that price is likely to go up.

The Quality Inn North's rooms are spacious enough for one or two people. The rooms are approximately twenty-five feet deep and twelve feet wide, extending back from the front door. Like virtually every hotel these days, the door opens inwards with a key lock. Inside, there is both a chain and deadbolt lock. The rooms are fairly secure, with half the rooms facing outward (toward the treeline, the interstate and the higher office buildings next door, and the other half facing the courtyard pool.

The bathroom has a shower/tub combination with a toilet next to it that is medium sized and comfortable enough. There is the usually sink and mirror outside the bathroom. This is a good-sized room for one or two people. Furniture includes: the king-sized bed (or two double beds), a desk, a kitchen assembly (microwave above a refrigerator) and the obligatory television stand with the dresser drawers beneath it. There is a nightstand on either side of the bed. The rooms are well-lit as all seem to get some ambient light with their door-side being a giant window. Also, each room with no less than six lights (wall and floor lamps) around the main room, plus one in the the wash area and one in the bathroom. Only one light is activated by the switch when entering the room.


Having spent ten stays at the Quality Inn North over the last five years, the cleanliness has been the greatest variable in my stays. When I first stayed at the Quality Inn North, I remember being disgusted by having a nonsmoking room with a comforter on the bed that had cigarette burns in it. There was also one of the resident giant roaches (for those unfamiliar with this area of the States, there are three inch long lizards and slightly bigger, fatter and freakier roaches) that managed to get into my room and freak me out. With all of the palm trees, incursions like this happen occasionally and the roaches are not like cockroaches and the ONE time one invaded my room was my first trip, five years ago. I've not even seen those roaches the last few years (my last stay at the Quality Inn North was in November, 2006).

My last few stays, I have found the rooms - usually the king-sized bed, nonsmoking rooms - to be clean and without problems with the linens or bedding. I tend to arrive early, whenever I get in from driving and I always have a request in for early check in to this hotel. The hotel has a cleaning staff that starts earlier than most, so even when I've arrived ridiculously early from my overnight sojourns down to Florida, I've never had to wait past 8:15 (A.M.) for a room to become available and be cleaned.

The rooms are very clean and even when I arrive to inconvenience the hotel at weird hours, they've never delivered anything less than a virtually spotless room. The walls are clean, the windows are spotless and the mirror is always clean as well. The first thing I ever check is the toilet and this one flushed with no problems. The bathroom was spotlessly clean and all of the linens were perfectly clean (after that first trip) and well-maintained. As one often hopes when renting a hotel room, there was no evidence that suggested this room had ever been used by anyone else, which is a feat when one considers often I'm in a room less than half and hour after the prior resident checks out!

The main lobby is always well-lit and promotes a feeling of safety. The breakfast area is a giant room off the main lobby, the same size as the lobby filled with tables and chairs. Conversely, the serving area for the breakfast area is a claustrophobic area the size of two walk in closets next to one another. The only way to get into the food area is through a single set of double doors that becomes quickly congested when things like children and groups attempt to get in and out all through the same area. There is no natural flow there. This odd breakfast area allows the staff to keep it remarkably clean and they seem to always have a person in there straightening it all up.


The view from the outer rooms is not much to look at; overlooking the parking lot, the highway, the nearby building and the one side that is overgrown with palm trees and other vegetation. Rooms facing inward face the pool and the view then depends on one's notions of human beauty.

The rooms include a safe, which I never use. The hotel is easily able to remove the safe charge from the bill, but you need to tell them to remove it before they ring you out. My last two stays at the hotel, this became a point of contention as the person checking me out insisted I could not have the charge removed and the other insisting I had to say I didn't want the safe charge when I first checked in. I recall, as well, a few years back they tried to insist that there was no added safe charge (it was easy to find on the bill, though at the time, it was not listed as "Safe Charge," like many places do). I object to paying for the service I will not use and eventually, on all cases, I've gotten the front desk personnel to relent on this.

As a Choice Privileges member, I get free local calls. This is convenient when calling for take-out.

The breakfast was decent for a continental breakfast, despite the access to the food. The Quality Inn North offers a free continental breakfast which includes the usual coffee, juices from a machine, and milk. In addition to two cereal options, there are plain bagels and cream cheese, fresh danishes (types vary greatly, I've notices), waffles, white bread for toast and muffins (types vary greatly). The waffles and bread for toasting are on a table outside the main nook, which reduces the congestion some. To the left of the main food area is a bar which is where the complimentary cocktails on the weekday nights are (I've never sampled for the review, sorry!). All in all, this is a very standard continental breakfast offering and certainly nothing to sell the hotel on.

Every room at this hotel has a microwave and refrigerator. That is wonderful for me, because it allows me to plan ahead and bring food with me and the tiny freezer in the room is nice for keeping my freezer packs (and ice cream) frozen solid. The microwave is fine.

One of the highlights for me was the television. The television itself was pretty standard and the last time I was there, it had about fifty channels worth of programming on it. As usual, the room comes with the usual coffee, bible, shampoo and soap.

The help at this hotel is very helpful. Whenever I've needed new bedding (like on that first trip), needed a roach evacuated from my room (also on that first trip) and/or needed a room cleaned up so I could check in, the help has been very helpful and attentive. The cleaning staff was quite friendly when I approached them for additional shampoo and the front desk staff was helpful when I needed to check in early.

But moreover, the hotel seems to continually be improving. I've never had as mixed a stay since that first time and since then, it seems like it is constantly getting better (though getting rid of the lobby computers they once had in favor of in-room internet service - which is dependent upon having one's own p.c. - was a letdown for me).

The air conditioner is great (it is Florida after all!) and the pool at this hotel is wonderful and well-maintained.


This Quality Inn is certainly one of the better ones in the chain and its affordability pushed it over the edge for me. For what I'm paying for for a less expensive option while on business, this was a great option, which is why I kept returning to it again and again.

Having stayed at many hotels, though, this is a very clean, comfortable room and it's affordable. Having loathed many Florida trips for the expense lodging can incur, this is a great choice if you don't mind driving to your nearby destinations. It's almost too bad my convention moved; otherwise, I'd likely continue to stay at this hotel!

For other Choice Hotels reviews, please check out my take on the Comfort Inn North Shore - Danvers, MA


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© 2011, 2007 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.

Quality Inn North
Quality Inn North - Altamonte Springs, FL

Click to reserve a room through!

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