Intercontinental Dallas on PointBreaks Oct 2011

Discussion in 'IHG | Rewards Club/Ambassador' started by Clocktower, Jan 13, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. Clocktower
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    Clocktower Silver Member

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    Last September, I was minding my own knitting browsing MP, when I was reminded by a thread that the newest PointBreaks list had been posted on the PC website. I flitted over with only minor curiosity, as I'd never before found a deal there I could take advantage of, given our limited ability to travel lately.

    However, I was delighted to find a listing for the InterContinental Dallas at a whopping 5K points per night. I booked three nights in October so fast I nearly broke my clickin-finger. That's three IC nights for a total of 15K points, nice.

    What follows is a tedious review, unfortuantely with few photos. We stayed with our toddler, and with the late arrival and grabby little hands, I didn't manage to get any views of the room in its natural, undemolished state. Also, my photographic efforts are usually focused on him on these trips, for the benefit of the grandparents.

    Plans: Our drive up to Dallas took just over 5 hours, so we arrived nearly at 9pm. I managed to inadvertently use a electronic-only tollway along the way, for which I expect an outrageous fine to come in the mail at some point. We planned on seeing the Texas State Fair, and any other attractions we could find.

    Location: The InterContinental Dallas is in a northern mixed-use suburb area of Dallas (technically, Addison). It is, to put it bluntly, not a very tourist-accessable area. There is some shopping and a good mix of restaurants, but nothing that would wow an out-of-towner. I gather the hotel mostly caters to upscale business travelers and convention hall clientele (The hotel features several very large halls).

    Welcome: As I mentioned, it was nearly 9pm when we arrived. I drowsily trudged to the check-in desk to procure the particulars, and was warmly greeted at the large desk area. I was recognized as a PC Platinum (and IC Ambassador Nothing) and told I'd been upgraded to a top floor room. Nice, really identical to a standard room, but on the top floor with a nice veiw of the Dallas skyline, such as it is.

    Being a rewards stay (and a cheap one at that) I was perfectly happy with it, delighted in fact once I saw it. I also suspect all their Suites were already taken, as there was a large wedding party in most of them on our floor.

    I was given the room access packet, and the desk agent informed me I'd been given a card for a complimentary drink at the bar. It was in the elevator that I noticed how thick the packet was.. and what else I'd been given: three coupons for a free 'full American breakfast' for two (which turned out to be their excellent buffet), four coupons for two free drinks for two people during happy hour in the bar, and another coupon for one free drink anytime at the bar or coffee from the coffee shop in the lobby. I was floored! There must be some mistake, I thought.. did I get someone else's packet? But no, they all had my name handwritten on them, signed by the manager. I.. will.. not.. cry..

    The room was a good size, and well furnished, with a huge 42" flatscreen which you could suntan in front of. The bed was an extremely comfortable King, I usually have trouble sleeping in a hotel bed the first night, but no problems this time. Alas, no photos. I was only in it a minute to look it over before heading back downstairs to schlep our luggage up. I arranged for the customary rolling crib we needed for the little one.

    In case you've never seen one, I have to point out that the cribs IHG hotels use are great. The are very sturdy white metal affairs on wheels with a proper (baby-sized) mattress. They look a bit institutional, but are as nearly as comfortable as my son's bed at home, and save us having to carry an awful folding crib (which he never sleeps well on). They also come with child-sized linens and a blankie to match, and most properties add a travel-sized bottle of baby shampoo as well. We all settled in for a much-needed night's rest.

    I should now point out an incident that I think illustrates an important rule I try to follow: that we frequent travelers should never expect others to know what we take for granted...

    When booking, I remarked to my wife: "You know, this is a fancier hotel, and as such they may not have microwaves or fridges in the rooms. We might want to plan how we're going to keep milk or heat meals for the little one."

    "Nonsense! It's a nice hotel! Even La-frigging-Quinta has microwaves and mini-fridges! Enough of your jibber-jabber!" she replied.

    "I know, it's counter-intuitive. But I think it's expected that if you're in that level of hotel and you want something hot or cold, you'll just have your butler or manservant go out and get it or something." She still refused to believe me.

    I think you know where I'm going with this. To Wal-Mart, the first morning, to buy a microwave. :( The funny thing is, on our floor opposite the elevators was a defunct, disused club-like room with stairs down to a smaller seating area on the lower floor. It looks as if the hotel once had a tiny club area, but shuttered it. The club area included an enclosed kitchenette, with.. a microwave. I could have easily snuck in and used it if I'd noticed earlier.

    After my little retail trip, I returned to pick up the little one and take him out for a bit while my wife got dressed. I visited the lobby coffee shop, which turned out to be one of those Starbucks-festooned type (We proudly serve Starbucks Coffee), but not an acutal Starbucks. I ordered an iced coffee and a yogurt for the little one. The coffee was simply undrinkable, had clearly been made from twice-brewed grounds, awful. Luckily I had not used up my drink coupon for it.

    The first morning we went down for our complimentary breakfast. I was expecting the customary stale pastries and runny eggs. Nothing doing. While it was not large (maybe, 20-23 feet) it was hands down the best breakfast buffet I've had.
    A few examples: there were no "filler" items on offer. Everything was good. There were not "cheese cubes from a bag", there was a Blue Stilton, Camembert, Irish Cheddar, smoked salmon. No "plastic bowls of supermarket cereal", there was museli, granola, and steel-cut oatmeal. There were no "soggy, wet fruits", there were fresh berries and fresh sliced fruit, with fresh whipped cream (not from a can). Toasted English Muffins were served in one chafing dish, little slices of ham topped with poached egg and hollandaise in the next, so that one could have either a muffin or Eggs Benedict as one wished. The excellent bacon was piled upon a layer of toast in the chafing dish so that it retained moisture, but did not wallow in its own confit. Nothing was rediculous-over-the-top, just great quality, and very fresh.

    Regular price for the buffet was $20 per--and while I'd usually blanch at that price, I can say it would be worth it. The resturaunt staff was extremely courteous and helpful as well. I tipped handsomely, free breakfast or not.

    We went out looking for something to do, and saw the Texas State Fair (a ripoff, but at least I had a fried Snickers.. not as good as I hoped), and the Cavanaugh Flight Museum which was a lot of fun. If you have the money they'll even take you up for a ride in a classic airplane (I do not). We saw various malls, but our excursions were pre-empted by the fact of the OU/Texas game, which essentially paralized much of the city for about 18 hours with traffic. The day of the game we had dinner blocks away (the furthest we dared go in that traffic) at a little family-run Indian restaurant that was fantastic.

    During our stay there was a large wedding party, but it was well organized so as not to interfere with regular hotel traffic. Things did get a little tight in the parking lot, though (there were both paid and free lots).

    I have to say I was routinely impressed by the courtesy and level of service we received at every point. At some times I was taken aback.. thinking to myself "You DO know I'm staying here on a paltry 5k points a night, right?!" This even extended to the elevators: they were programmed so that at any one time, there was always one elevator in the lobby, doors open, ready for passengers.

    Our final night I managed to get down to the bar, alas after happy hour, so those coupons went unused. I did use my other drink coupon and got, shall we say.. relaxed. My wife joined me for a drink and then we headed back up to the room. Still not sleepy, we decided to order a dessert from room service, which has become a bit of a ritual for us on reward stays. There was a berry tart for which I also attempted, in my jubilant state, to order a scoop of ice cream:

    "Sir, you should know the berry tart comes with a scoop of vanilla ice cream."

    "No ****?, how ******* civilized. Bring me that ****."

    It was awesome. The berries inside were fresh and plump, the pastry still warm and flaky.

    So, would I stay again? Definitely, if I had a reason to be in the area. Which.. I don't really. But, it was a fun little getaway. 5k points a night is of course a steal, but I'd consider it well worth the regular rate (reward or paid). This is one of the best aspects of PointBreaks, it encourages people to try properties they might not otherwise stay at. Now, if anyone says "Ugh, I have to go to Dallas for work, can you reccomend a good place to stay?", I'll have an answer for them.
     
    kyunbit, KathInJax, sendaiben and 4 others like this.
  2. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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    Agreed... I had a bunch of IHG stays last year where we took our (now) 18 month old and he had no problems snoring it up in their cribs.
     
  3. miles and smiles
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    miles and smiles Gold Member

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    I certainly agree that many amazing deals are found in the PointBreaks list! Glad you found a good one.

    I have learned the same truth that your wife did. Middle of the road, inexpensive motels almost always give me free wi-fi and fridge/microwave. Higher end/more expensive hotels rarely do. I now know to always ask in advance about them and never assume.
     
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  4. KathInJax

    KathInJax Silver Member

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    Great trip report! I never expect a fridge or microwave - but I don't understand charging for Internet.

    Did the staff say anything as you were carrying the microwave through the lobby? Did the bellman offer to help carry it to the room?
     
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  5. tomthbomb

    tomthbomb Active Member

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    Saw the 5,000 Points Break rate and started to jump on it UNTIL I discovered that the Sunday Champagne Brunch had been discontinued. At one time it was the best in the Dallas area.

    Sorry you did not enjoy the Texas StateFair. Sounds like maybe you went there for the wrong reason. I have not missed one in 20 years. Each one is better than the last and I do not live close to Dallas so is a journey for me as well.
     

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