Hotels are a dime a dozen here in Indianapolis. You can stay at the Holiday Inn or at Best Western, even at a nicer hotel like the Hilton or the Conrad. Not too long ago I needed a place to stay but didn’t want to break the bank. After a little bit of research, I ended up at the TownePlace Suites located at Keystone at the Crossing.
From the moment I got to the hotel, I knew I made the right decision. Having worked all the details out with Clint Sheets, the hotel’s General Manager, I was ready to take in a couple of nights and see what this entire place had to offer. From the moment I walked in the door, to the relationship I created with the hotel staff, to the complimentary chocolate chip cookies that awaited me every time I came and went, I could not have been happier.
Welcome to TownePlace Suites Care of Clint Sheets, General Manager
When I walked into the room, I was impressed to find two separate bedrooms, a full kitchen and a large living space. There was also a decent size table sitting in the center of the suite with a hard-wired Internet connection, several outlets, and a welcome letter from the General Manager, Mr. Clint Sheets. The letter read:
“Thank you for choosing to stay at the TownePlace Suites Keystone. We look forward to you having a wonderful experience with us. If at anytime there is anything you feel we could do to enhance your experience please contact one of our service team experts.”
Clint Sheet, General Manager
What better way to make us feel welcome than a welcome note from the general manager? I have heard that the folks here at TownePlace Suites try to make you feel as close to home as possible. From the time I walked into our room I couldn’t agree more. This was a perfect way to start off our stay here at TownePlace Suites. (Not to mention there were two bottles of water sitting on the table. This came in handy because the day we checked in the temperatures outside were hitting close to 100 degrees Fahrenheit.)
Getting to know the Marriott
TownePlace Suites is just one example of the great hotels offered by Marriott International. This public company began back in 1927 and has been going strong ever since. As a matter of fact, their revenue is bouncing around $13 billion a year right now. Not bad considering the current state of our economy. They also employ over 150,000 workers all over the world to help serve their guests on a daily basis.
The company Marriott was founded by J. William Marriott and his wife. This couple actually got started with a root beer stand in Washington, D.C., before taking their concept to a bigger and more profitable level. They now have over 3,000 lodging properties in the United States and in sixty-seven different countries.
Not to scare any of the readers out there, but the Marriott name has suffered a lot of turmoil since their inception way back when. In 2001 the organization suffered a brute force attack in New York City during the bombing of the Marriott World Trade Centers, then again in 2003 with a hotel bombing and in 2008 in another hotel bombing in Islamabad. Again in 2009, they suffered yet another series of bombs in a hotel just outside of Jakarta. But they have managed to come back strong and offering full service hotels all over the world from New York to LA and beyond.
Not all Marriott hotels go by that same name. You can stay at a JW Marriott hotel or resort, a Renaissance hotel or resort, a Ritz-Carlton, BULGARI, or even the Edition hotels. You can even stay in an Autograph Collection hotel and resort or stay like I did in an extended stay hotel like the TownePlace Suites. You can take advantage of timeshare opportunities with the Marriott offering various locations for these around the world as well. No matter your lodging needs, they have been covered by this great company.
Marriott Rewards offers More Ways to Save
If you travel a lot, you might want to take advantage of the Marriott Rewards program. With Marriott Rewards, you can earn valuable discounts and even earn air miles that will help pay for your next trip. If traveling for work, this makes it even better!
There are several levels to the Marriott Rewards program, including the Elite members, Silver, Gold, and even Platinum members. Each level has a different set of guidelines and you reach these levels based on how often you use this rewards program. Besides the hotel chain, you can even use these rewards on over thirty U.S. and international airlines.
The beauty of the Marriott Rewards program is that nearly all Marriott hotels participate in this program allowing you to earn points all over the world. As a matter of fact, this program is so widely accepted that in 2009 the Marriott Rewards Program was rated as the number one hotel rewards program on the market. So if you stay at a lot of Marriott hotels, I highly suggest you enroll in this program. Nothing beats earning free stuff, right?
Pets are Always Welcome
Sheryl and I like to travel a lot. We are always going somewhere whether it is to Chicago for a weekend, or on a weeklong trip to visit some remote island. We just love to travel and it is something that we are doing more the older we get. But one challenge we have every time we travel is what to do with Sophie, Sheryl’s adorable dog. Her mother dislikes watching the dog for various reasons, and most dog kennels are way too expensive for our budget. So we usually end up begging some friend of ours to watch the dog offering a place to stay and some instructions on how to take care of her.
When I first began looking to stay at TownePlace Suites, the first thing Sheryl asked me was what we would do with Sophie. Sure enough, I would come to find out that animals are allowed here at TownePlace Suites. You can bring your dogs or cats with you, but you will have to pay a $50 fee for the animal. The reason for the fee is to help maintain the clean facility and to help cover the cost of the deep clean that the hotel gets on a regular basis.
Regardless of the price, it is a great advantage for those families traveling with pets. They have a pretty detailed list of rules, but nothing too crazy. The hotel just has to make sure they are covered with your little furry friends staying over. Sheryl and I brought Sophie’s crate with us so that when we left she could feel as if she was at home. Sure, she barked a little bit each time we left, but nothing too serious. She didn’t bark any more than she would have if we were at home!
One of the highlights of our trip was having Sophie with us to share in the beauty that is TownePlace Suites. Its something so simple but it goes a long way for guests.
Total Temperature Control
It doesn’t matter which hotel I am staying in, whether I am there for a few nights or camping out for the entire week, the first thing I do when I walk in the room is turn the AC on as cold as I can get it. I love the feeling of walking into an ice-cold hotel room after a long day in the sun. I rarely stay in hotels in the winter months, and if I do I am usually on some remote island anyway.
When I walked into our room at TownePlace Suites, I didn’t know where to begin. There was an AC under the window in the main room. There was an AC under the window in the spare bedroom. There was even an AC under the window in the master bedroom. I didn’t know where to start! I immediately turned them all to their coldest settings and waited for the cold air to fill the space around me.
One thing that I disliked about the air conditioner units is you have no control over the exact temperature. You can set the unit to be anywhere from cooler to warmer but it is truly a guessing game when you are trying to judge the exact temperature you are trying to reach. Lucky for me I want it as cold as I can get it. But for those of you who want a nice, comfortable temperature when you get home from work, you will have to adjust it to suit your need accordingly.
Grabbing a Bite to Eat
TownePlace Suites has a great location on the north side of Indianapolis. There are tons of places to get a bite to eat. If you want American, head across the street to T.G.I. Friday’s. In the mood for Asian? Right next to Friday’s you will find P.F. Chang’s China Bistro. You also have Champps Americana, the Cheesecake Factory, Sullivan’s Steakhouse, and a wide variety of other restaurants up and down 86th Street.
If you are looking to save a few bucks just stop by the front desk. There you will find a wide range of coupons on the counter. For instance, we grabbed a pair of free appetizers at Sullivan’s Steakhouse. We also snatched up a 20% coupon for Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar (located across the parking lot on the same side of 86th Street), a free appetizer at P.F. Chang’s, and even a stack of free appetizers at T.G.I. Friday’s. Going hungry is not an option at TownePlace Suites.
If you happen to be staying on a Monday or Tuesday night, the food actually comes to you. On Monday nights, from 5:30 to 7:30 PM, T.G.I. Friday’s caters in for a guest reception each week. Here you can sample many items off the Friday’s menu including their Jack Chicken Tenders, fresh grilled chicken bruchetta, chips and salsa, spinach artichoke dip, and more.
To help you enjoy your meal even more, TownePlace Suites provides plates and silverware as well as unlimited complimentary lemonade. We were afraid it wasn’t going to be enough to satisfy us for dinner, but by the time we were through three plates of food, we were stuffed. Not to mention we grabbed a couple of chocolate chip cookies on our way out the door.
On Tuesday, you are hit with a repeat of Monday night with P.F. Chang’s catering for you. Again you are hit with a wide variety of menu options and are offered the same luxury as you were on Monday night. After speaking with Clint Sheets, the hotel’s general manager, they are hoping to solidify restaurants to provide dinner for their guests every night. The goal is to have a different restaurant cater in each and every night of the week.
One thing they do need to work on, however, is their seating arrangements. Unless you want to sit in the conference room, located in the back of the building, you are going to either stand or be forced to take your food back to your room. There are no tables and chairs for you to sit at. The same goes for the free continental breakfast each morning. The selection is similar to most other hotels, but there is nowhere to sit and enjoy your breakfast. Sure, I can grab a cup of coffee or a bagel and hit the road, but if I wanted to sit and enjoy a nice breakfast before a long day at work I am out of luck.
You Shall Be Entertained
Depending on how long your stay is at TownePlace Suites, you might be tempted to see what else the city of Indianapolis has to offer. Perhaps you want to see a movie during your visit. Or perhaps you want to see a live concert while in town. There are also two shopping malls near the hotel. No matter what you want to do while you are staying at TownePlace Suites, you aren’t far.
If you want to take in a movie, you have a few options. Right across the street at the Keystone Fashion Mall you can visit the Keystone Arts Cinema. Here you will find a wide range of blockbusters as well as more independent films. There is also a bar in this theatre, which is something unique to the Circle City.
If you want a more typical movie theater experience, just head east a little bit and watch a film at the AMC Entertainment theater, located at the Castleton Square Shopping Mall. I told you there were some shopping malls close by! Here you can see all the latest releases, grab a tub of popcorn, and enjoy an evening out. If you get there early, you can even visit any one of the stores located just next to the theater.
If you are more in the mood for live music, then head down the road and see a show at Birdy’s Bar & Grill. Located on 71st Street and Keystone Avenue, you will find a staple of the Indianapolis music scene. The stage at Birdy’s has seen the likes of national touring artists like The Fray and Daughtry, but also plays host to local singer/songwriters and regional touring artists just the same. Birdy’s has live music seven nights a week, and always has some of the best drink specials in town.
As a matter of fact, if you see a show at Birdy’s, chances are the stars on stage are staying in the same hotel as you. Birdy’s Bar & Grill actually has an exclusive relationship with TownePlace Suites. Both TownePlace Suites and Birdy’s have nothing but good things to say about the relationship. So if you are a band touring the country, check out Birdy’s and you might just get a chance to crash in the same hotel I am sitting in right now!
If movies, shopping, and live music are not your thing, then take in a comedy show at Cracker’s Comedy Club. There are two locations for this comedy joint, one located just south of Birdy’s in the heart of the Broad Ripple Village as well as one downtown located just off the circle. Regardless if you go to a rock show or see a show that makes you laugh your head off, TownePlace plays a great host to folks and allows for a comfy place to sleep not too far from these great late night entertainment spots.
Keeping Your Room Clean
Like most hotels, the cleaning crew at TownePlace Suites will come into your room every day and make sure the beds are made, all of the trash is taken out, and that you have fresh towels and toiletries in the bathroom. If you are planning an extended stay here at TownePlace you will get your bed made every few days and a deep clean once a week. A deep clean will basically mean that the cleaning crew will come in and clean everything from the showers and toilets to the carpets and kitchen.
We were only here for two nights, but after the first night when I came home from work, the hotel was nearly perfect. The kitchen had been cleaned up, the bathroom was how it was when we first got here, and the beds were all made. Minus the mint on the pillow it was like walking into the hotel room for the first time all over again. (Are there still hotels that put a mint on your pillow?)
Amenities for the Working Man (And the Working Woman)
The concept of an extended stay hotel like this one aids the businessman more than anyone. Here at the TownePlace Suites, you can take advantage of numerous amenities that will make your workday that much easier. First is the complimentary high-speed wireless Internet. If you are not interested in using the Wi-Fi there is a hard-wired connection waiting for you on the table in the living area.
Downstairs, in the lobby, you will find two desktop computers with Internet access. You will also find a stack of USA Today papers free to all guests. If you need meeting space, they have that too. Just ask about the full service conference center that features a huge white board for dry-erase presentations or a projector display, or even video conferencing on the television screen.
Staying in Shape
I am not known for working out on a regular basis. But during my stay at the TownePlace Suites, I felt obligated to check out the workout facility. So I laced up my sneakers, tossed on an old t-shirt, and headed down to the gym to workout for a couple of hours.
The gym is nothing to write home about. Inside you will find a single treadmill, one stair stepping machine, and a bike. The bike is actually quite uncomfortable as I tried that first. And the treadmill is actually quite old and has quite a few buttons that stick from time to time. Overall, I don’t suggest coming to the TownePlace Suites to work out.
Perhaps that is why they formed a relationship with Lifestyle Family Fitness Club located just down the road. While staying at the TownePlace Suites you have full access to Lifestyle Fitness. It is located just a couple of blocks east of the hotel and very easy to get to, even if you are not from here. Just show your room key and a photo ID and you get full access to all their equipment. It is a nice added perk, especially if you are trying to stay fit and are planning on staying for a while.
Taking a Dip
Weather permitting, and it was during my stay, make sure you check out their swimming pool. Just outside the main office you will find a small swimming pool as well as a few chairs for sun bathing. The pool is not that big, reaching a max of only five feet in the deep end, but it allows you a chance to cool down after a long day in the office. And if you just want to work on that nice tan you have going on, you can do that too.
Also near the swimming pool you will find a gas grill for all your summer cookout needs. Grill some burgers or hot dogs and invite some of the other hotel guests down for a bite to eat and quick dive in the pool. Of if you want some alone time you can just take a seat at the picnic table on the far side of the parking lot. Either way you look at it, the TownePlace Suites has something for everyone.
Getting Some Shut Eye
Inside the hotel rooms you will find either one or two beds for your comfort. Whether you just want to lay down for a quick nap or a long night’s rest before your big meeting the next day, you have come to the right place. These beds are incredible. They are so soft, almost too soft, and the pillows remind you of clouds at how soft they are. The second I pulled the sheets down on this bed (we had two beds in our hotel room) I knew I was in for a good night’s rest. I woke up the next morning feeling refreshed and ready to attack the day. It was truly a great night of sleep.
You can also lie on the couch if you like. The rooms here at TownePlace Suites have a chair and couch in the main living area. Here you can work on your laptop, watch a movie on TV, or just take a load off for a while. While the couches are not as comfy as the beds are, they do offer nice options for relaxation.
Checking In & Checking Out
The process for checking in was as easy as they come. As soon as I said my name she knew where I was coming from and what room I was in, and proceeded to tell me a bit about the surrounding area. She offered me a welcome packet from the front desk and said that I could come to her with any questions. I don’t recall her name, but she made me feel right at home from the start.
As easy as the check in was, the checkout was just the same. I walked down to the hotel lobby, grabbed another one of those complimentary cookies, and handed in my key. I was in and out in a matter of moments. The rest was taken care of by the man behind the counter. It goes to show they care about the business traveler who is on a schedule and is trying to make a meeting or an early morning appointment. As they say, the early bird gets the worm.
Our stay at the TownePlace Suites was great from the moment I walked in the front door. We were only there for a couple of nights but the staff went out of their way to make sure we had a great experience. It was the little things that mattered most, like the free coffee and the fresh sheets. But it was the way I felt at home that made this a special visit. The next time I book a hotel, I will keep an eye out for not only the Marriott name but also the name TownePlace Suites.
I would like to personally thank Andrew Lyon of the Circle City Chamber Group for introducing me to the TownePlace Suites as he is an avid visitor and has spent many a night in those same comfy beds as we did. I also want to thank Clint Sheets, the hotel General Manager, for being so accommodating and for literally going out of his way to make sure we had a grand experience. Your attention to detail did not go unnoticed and I hope that here in this article you can see that. I can’t stop talking about the TownePlace Suites.