Looks deceive. Please read.
In town for a conference...and the words “Best Western” as hotel leave me just a little bit cold. I know, I know...”First world problems” when the conference hotel makes ya cringe, right?
But that’s the power of a brand. Names mean things. When I think of “Best Western” I think of 1980s hotels that are overbuilt, outdated and crappy little soaps.
Indeed, driving up, I’m thinking, “I bet this place smells like old people too.”
Driving up, walking up, doors part... I’m thinking...yeah. I’m right.
A gentle reminder to road-snobs who judge a book by its cover, “Don’t.”
Firstly, my checkin was lightning fast. Whoever you were, “Miss-short-blonde-hair-and-quick-brain,” you are either a hospitality natural or you were trained by a genius. My checkin was about 180 seconds. I’ve often wondered why checkins took so long but...this young woman had it down. Having “loyalty points” with competing brands, BW has obviously figured this out...seriously. 3 minutes.
I was a last-minute registry and the phone conversation with the (male) manager the day before went smoothly - no complaints about overbooked capacity, no comments about “you should have registered earlier (as other brands have done)...the rate, the reservation were easy. Again, about 3 minutes.
But interestingly, after letting the manager know that I’d be hungry when I arrived and, “...are there good nearby restaurants?” He replied, “Of course. There are good restaurants but if I were you, I’d just eat here. We’re an unusual hotel in that our restaurant is one of the better places in town. Try it. You will enjoy your meal.”
Heard that before x 100 but for some reason I believed and...was glad I did!
Nestled in said ‘80s decor is an Applebees-esque bar/restaurant that screams of fried “xyz” but... DANGIT! The service was outstanding - I watched the bartender manage a full bar with food, drinks and conversation a’la Cheers®. To her, “Thank you” for the recommendation - the Gouda Philly was very good and fast. The aioli was good (not great) but that’s subjective. The fact that you knew your menu thoroughly and was impressive and the fact that you came back to check on my food, in a busy restaurant, and remembered every question I asked...and seemed to care about my experience... you’re awesome. Ask for a raise.
Your wine list is “Idaho” btw. If I were you, I’d make it purely Washington but that’s besides the point.
I ended up enjoying two meals at same restaurant with two different crews - each one a master of small-talk, the menu, smiles and good cheer. I even experienced a dissatisfied customer explain his drink was made to perfection and the server nailed the relationship as if she’d been loving people like this her whole life. To you, “Well done and I agree with you and you handled it perfectly.” To the disgruntled drinker, “Bet you’re coming back, right?” :)
So walking past the dark halls, the painted corrugated concrete...I get to my room. Decor, of course, 1980s...and aside from finding someone else’s charger cord (later) it was immaculate, the bed new and comfy...fine. :)
Two-days down and I’m impressed, totally forgetting that there’s no jasmine-water and piano player in the foyer. (Actually, I’ve never really had that, I’m just making a point of my own snobbery. Well, actually I DID experience that but it was ridiculously stupid).
So, the defining moment came when I left something valuable in the room and figured, “Totally lost. Totally lost. Don’t even bother.”
To the honest and courteous housekeeping and front-desk staff, “THANK YOU” for mailing them back to me. Received.
To me, there’s only one hotel in Moscow, Idaho. This one. I will be back...and to anyone looking to book a conference or show, “No worries.” less