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I chose Allentown since it was about halfway between home and our destination of Virginia Beach, VA. I researched various hotels. I ended up booking a room at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. It was supposedly a 3 star hotel (or 4 star?). I used the name your price feature and got a pretty good deal.
I used my TomTom One GPS to guide me to the hotel. It took us right to where the hotel was supposed to be, but we didn’t see the Crowne Plaza Hotel. We hadn’t been looking at addresses. So we made note of the hotel’s address, and went around the block. We found the hotel at the address was now a Holiday Inn. I had only booked the room like 3 weeks earlier. We parked in the parking garage next door, and went inside. The front desk was short handed. Apparently someone was sick, and there was only one girl handling the check ins. There was some kind of marriage weekend seminar thing gong on with lots of people checking in. But the girl did a great job being pleasant, and keeping her cool while being overwhelmed. Eventually another guy showed up to help. Check in went quickly, and we got a non-smoking room on the 5th floor. We asked about a good restaurant nearby. She asked what kind of food we wanted. I told her just some local restaurant. She suggested a place just down the street name Allentown Brew Works.
We dropped our stuff off in the room, and headed out to get something to eat. Allentown Brew Works was okay. Nothing to write home about.
Our room had two double beds. It seemed reasonably clean.
The hotel was supposed to have wi-fi. But I was not able find a wi-fi network I could connect to. I tried calling the front desk, but the phone rang and rang for at least a minute or more with no answer. I thought maybe they were still busy with a line of people to check in. I walked down but they didn’t seem too busy. The guy told me the wi-fi didn’t reach the 5th floor. But he gave me a network cable and told me there were a network jack near the desk. When I got back to my room, I plugged my computer in. It attempted to acquire a network address. But it kept saying limited or no connectivity. After visiting the front desk again, they called a tech. The tech came and checked it out and after some testing, told me the connection for the whole 5th floor was out. He called someone and said it would probably be back in 30-45 minutes. For some reason I didn’t really believe that. Sure enough it is over an hour later, and there is still no network connection.
My wife had a complaint that the water for her shower wasn’t hot enough. I ran some water over my hand later, and found it very hot. Maybe when she took her shower, a lot of hot water had already been used. It seemed fine later. But when I took my own shower the next morning, I had the water cranked all the way to high, and it was barely warm.
The internet connection never worked while I was there. I suppose I could have gone downstairs and sat in the lobby with my laptop. But that did not appeal to me.
Oh and I was surprised to find that parking in the garage cost $6. I thought it was free. Oh well.
Was I satisfied? Well…I got a great price through Priceline’s name your price thingy. But if I had paid full price, I probably would have been a bit ticked off. But for $60 including taxes…well $66 with parking, I am doubting I could have found a better place. So I am not totally disatisfied.

When we visit Seattle, we normally stay with family. But due to other people coming into town at the same time, we needed to stay in a hotel for a few days. I spent time looking for a hotel that was clean, and not too expensive. Many of the less expensive hotels sounded good when I read the amenities. But when I would read reviews, the hotels would sound like flea-bags. I kept searching, looking farther and farther, and at more expensive places.
I found a room available at the Econo Lodge in Federal Way for $60/night. The hotel was built in 1999, so I figured if it was only 8 years old, it couldn’t be too bad.
We arrived in the late afternoon. Check in went smoothly. The guy manning the front desk was friendly and very helpful offering us suggested of where to and not eat, places to rent bikes, and a place to work out..
We went up to our room. The elevator smelled a little funny. The smell was strong, but not too bad. Our room was on the third floor. The hallway smelled like cigarette smoke, and I was fearing that our room might smell like that too. I had booked a non-smoking room. When we got into our room, thankfully it didn’t smell like cigarettes. It did have a strong vanilla smell though. The room was reasonably clean.
I set up my laptop, and searched for wifi. The wifi provided by the hotel is through a place name Ethostream. I found it, and connected to it. I entered the user name and password provided by the hotel. Great! Wifi! But the signal was weak. And frequently it would disappear. There was also another free wifi signal available; FWWireless. When I couldn’t connect to the Ethostream, I would connect to the FWWireless. But it too would come and go. Maybe it is just being on the third floor, we are too far from the wifi base. I don’t know. But the wifi was something I was looking forward to using, and found it extremely annoying to use.
We missed the continental breakfast the first morning. But the second day we made it down. They had basic stuff: cereal, hard boiled eggs, bread and English muffins with a toaster, fruit, juice, and milk.
Would I stay here again? Probably. I would try to get a room closer to the wifi base though.
The Econo Lodge in Federal Way is located at 1505 S. 328th St, Federal Way, WA. 98003. Phone (253) 838-7700.

I needed to find a hotel in the Buffalo area for the night before the Buffalo Marathon. The Hyatt was the hotel associated with the race, but unfortunately they were book solid. I started looking around for other hotels in the area. The closest ones were very expensive. There were some less expensive hotels, but they were quite a ways away. I looked for something that was somewhere in between. I found the Econo Lodge Buffalo South was less than 8 miles away, and cost about sixty some bucks.
So today we arrived at the hotel. It’s just down the street from a mall. Check in went smoothly. The rooms all have exterior entrances. Our room was on the second floor. So we parked out front and drug our stuff up the stairs to our room. The area doesn’t looked great so I tried to bring in anything valuable from the car. There is a safe in the room to lock up valuables. The room is not very big, and the bed is only a double.
A couple of the wall mounted lights didn’t work. I thought the bulbs were burnt out. Later when we stopped by the office, I told them about the lights not working, and they gave me a couple new bulbs. When I got back to the room, I replaced one of the bulbs, and the light still didn’t work. I had turned on the switches, nothing. Then I found the light was unplugged back behind the nightstand. I pulled out the nightstand, and plugged it in. Then out of curiosity, I put the old light bulb in and it worked. I checked out the other light, and found it was only unplugged too. With effort I managed to reach behind the dresser and plugged it back in. Then that light worked too.
We found a dirty wash cloth hung over the shower rod.
I also just noticed that there is a deadbolt on the door, but it won’t engage into the doorframe for some reason. Like the slot in the door frame is too small, or located in the wrong spot so they don’t align right.
I kind of wish we had maybe tried one of the more expensive places.
Econo Lodge Buffalo South is located at 4344 Milestrip Road, Buffalo, NY. (716) 825-7530.

Since we were going to be starting at Gloucester, MA, driving to Mystic, CT, and then heading for Buffalo, NY it was going to be a long drive. We were looking for a place to stay somewhere between Mystic, CT, and Buffalo, NY. We decided Albany, NY might a good place to stop. I got online and looked for a hotel for a reasonable price, and booked a room at the Clarion Hotel in Albany, NY.
Today we arrived, and check in went smoothly. Our room was clean and in good repair. I was happy to find that they had free WIFI. I don’t remember if that was mentioned in the write up.
We were hungry after a long drive, so we headed down to Scenarios, the hotel’s restaurant. They were empty except for us, though a few more people eventually showed up. The presentation of the food was great, but taste-wise, it was just okay.
After dinner, we head out to the car, and brought in some more stuff. I grabbed some Diet Pepsi out of the car, and brought it back to the room and put it into the hotel supplied refrigerator.
I changed into my running gear, and headed down to the fitness room. They had a treadmill, a stepper machine, and couple recumbent exercise bikes, and a weight machine. The treadmill was a Precor. It needed a little maintenance as the belt was rubbing on one side, and needed to be centered. Nonetheless it worked for my 20 minute jog.
After my jog, I headed back to the room, and talked m wife into going swimming. We changed and headed down to the pools. They have an indoor pool and an outdoor pool. We stuck our toes in and found the water was kind of on the cold side. I couldn’t talk my wife into putting anything more than her feet into the water. I managed to get all the way in. I swam for a little bit, but it was just too cold. So we abandoned the pool, and head back to the room. The TV has cable, and has a ton of channels. But we were only looking for CBS.
Since it has been very hot here, we have had the air conditioner going. The fan is kind of loud. Every once in a while we would hear a click, and then a loud deep rumble. I thought it was semi starting it’s engine outside. But we finally figured out it was the air conditioner.
I also noticed the little neon night light in the bathroom flickers and would sometimes go out.
I guess all these things are why this is a $61 a night hotel and not a $100+ a night hotel.
The Clarion Hotel Albany is located at 3 Watervliet Ave, Albany, NY 12206. (518) 438-8431.

My wife and I booked a room at the Marriott Fallsview in Niagara Falls, Ontario in Canada. It was our anniversary, so I got a room with a whirlpool and a view of Niagara Falls. When we arrived, we found the hotel did not have self parking. We could either park a block away, or use the valet parking. Either way it was going to cost us $20 a day. Ouch! We decided to go for the valet parking. The valet service was very efficient though. They gave us a card with a valet number on it. When we wanted to use our car, we just had to dial extension 4242 on the phone, type in a 6 digit number, and we would be told that our car would be available in 20 minutes. But our car was usually down there in less than 10 minutes.
Check in was smooth, and we went up to our room. The view of the falls was spectacular! The window in our room overlooked the Canadian falls, and we had a great view of the American falls as well.
I hooked my laptop and booted it up. There were two wi-fi connections available. One was from the Marriott Fallsview, and the other was listed as Free Public Wi-Fi. I tried the Marriott Fallsview connection. It came up with a page asking for a pin #. I called the reception desk and asked about it. I was told the internet cost $20 a day. OUCH! I told them I would think about it. I tried the Free Public Wi-Fi connection. I connected with no problem. I had a strong signal. But whenever I tried connect to a webpage, I would get server not found. I gave up. I decided I could get along without the internet for a few days. I wish I had done a search before I left home for free wi-fi locations.
I went down and used the fitness center. They had a couple treadmills, an elliptical trainer, a couple exercise bikes, and a weight machine. It was all high quality equipment. I ran 6 miles on the treadmill, while watching TV on the treadmill screen. I also got to watch the people in the swimming pool through the glass window.
After my workout, I head back to the room. I was hungry and so was my wife, so we decided to get something to eat. There were several restaurants near the hotel. There was an Outback and a Tony Roma’s right across the street, and a TGI Friday next door. We decided to go to the TGI Friday’s. Another ouch! The prices were pretty high! Even in US money! We ended up eating there anyway. I had a burger and fries, and my wife had a soup and salad. With a couple of soft drinks and tip, the bill came to about $45. Yeah that was Canadian, but even converted to US money, that was kind of expensive. Tomorrow we will try to find a few restaurants away from the falls for some less expensive food.
Something we have noticed in the room is the water controls are backwards. When you turn the knob towards hot, it gets cold, and when you turn it towards cold, it gets hot. It seems like this might violate some sort of safety code. Nonetheless the Jacuzzi tub was nice.
The view of the falls continues to be amazing. In the evening the falls are illuminated by ever changing color lights. Also visible is the Casino Niagara all lit up reminiscent of the Rio Casino in Las Vegas.
One annoying thing we encountered was that our card keys would not admit us to the pool/fitness area on the morning of the day we were due to check out. Check out time was noon. But when I went down there at 6:15am to run, my card didn’t work. A security guard let me in, and said my card might have been demagnetized. He suggested I go to the front desk to get a new one. After m run I went to the front desk, and they redid it. The card worked fine to get me into our room. But when we went down about 9:15am to use the pool, neither my card nor my wife’s card would work to get us into the pool area. We went to the front desk, and the girl swiped a 3rd card just to get us into the pool area. We got in, but it was kind of annoying to have to go through the extra steps to get into the pool and fitness room when we hadn’t check out, and weren’t due to check out yet for hours.

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