V&R@5: Five Favorite Hotels

Photo by Randy Stern

Photo by Randy Stern

When you are working, you need a home away from home.

Such a place should always be affordable to the budget, but full of value. That would mean a comfortable bed, a good place to work, reliable and fast wi-fi connections, places to relax and good food available within walking distance.

Good service is always welcomed. If it came with the person behind the desk or the turn down service, you appreciate being welcomed so you can work and relax while you are there.

It should also be an address to welcome friends…even if those friends just happen to be your colleagues working the same event as you are.

These Five Favorites for V&R’s Fifth Anniversary include some of the finest hotels V&R enjoyed while on travel. These were places where even for a single night I enjoyed a fine rest, respite and energy to work at an event or on an extended drive with one of the vehicles in for review.

These accommodations have one thing in common – service levels and comfort that were above standard for the time spent there. Which of these hotels made the cut?

THE W HOTEL AUSTIN – AUSTIN, TX: If someone told me before I went on my first media drive trip that I would be staying at exquisite locales with fabulous accommodations and a possible good night’s sleep, then I knew I picked the right career path. Dodge sent us down to the Texas capitol to drive the 2013 Dart. They chose the right address to start and finish, with great food, amazing accommodations and great work/rest balance.

J.W. MARRIOTT HOTEL – GRAND RAPIDS, MI: When I went on the Scion iA/iM trip, no one thought anything of Grand Rapids as a destination. Then again, they brought us to the best hotel in town. Right on the Grand River, this place had fantastic accommodations, restaurants and access to everything downtown. You could see the Gerald R. Ford Museum from across the river.

WESTIN BOOK CADILLAC HOTEL – DETROIT, MI: Right in downtown Detroit is a classic place to stay. It is not a casino nor the Renaissance Center, but the Book Cadillac is the address when business needs to happen in the Motor City. FCA put me up there for their Motor City Pride diversity immersion trip last year. They picked a perfect location with great room accommodations and walking distance to the places we needed to be for the program.

UMSTEAD HOTEL AND SPA – CARY, NC: I never stayed at a Five-Star resort until Lexus invited me to drive the 2016 RX. Established by the founder of SAS software, this extraordinary place is just a stone’s throw from its corporate campus. The room was comfortable and offered space to unwind. The service was immaculate. I never had turndown service before. That I could get used to in the future trips…

SHERATON GRAND CHICAGO – CHICAGO, IL: In 2011, they simply called it the Sheraton Chicago and Towers. It was home during my return to the Chicago Auto Show’s Media Days. My huge room had a great view of the river, which helped in combining rest with work. It is sad that the Auto Show no longer uses that hotel for its media. Though I was glad to have stayed at a location worth enjoying some other time.

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