Yes, I know I live in Dallas, but a conference 40 miles from home on the other end of the Metroplex with an 8 A.M. start the next morning had me searching for a room for one night. The conference center I would be going to provides free shuttles to and from DFW Airport, about a 15-minute ride away, so a hotel near the airport was a natural choice.
Though I would have preferred one of the airport Hyatts, the cheapest room available was nearly $400, and not having any Hyatt points, I didn’t want to burn a big pile of credit card points to transfer for a one night stay. I do, however, still have a fairly sizable stash of HHonors points, and the most efficient option was the Home2 Suites in Irving, just outside the north airport entrance, which offered a points & cash option for 12,000 HHonors points and $50.
Not a terrific deal, but this would give me the chance to try out the Home2 Suites product for the first time, and it would save me from an hour and a half commute the next morning. Plus, I intended to take full advantage of the free adult beverages at the conference reception the evening before. And let’s face it, 12,000 HHonors points and $50 beats a DUI.
Home2 Suites by Hilton Irving/DFW Airport North
- 4700 North Plaza Drive, Irving, TX
- Features: free airport shuttle (6 A.M.-11 P.M.), all-suite hotel, free breakfast, free WiFi, wireless printing, fitness center, guest laundry, outdoor pool, pet friendly
Just outside the north entrance to DFW Airport, off of State Highway 114. Coming from the airport, take the north airport exit and then follow State Highway 114 east towards Dallas. Exit at Freeport Parkway, stay on the service road past the light, then turn right at Heathrow Drive (great name, huh?). Immediately take a left on Plaza Drive, and the hotel is on the right. Heading to the airport, turn left on Plaza Drive, then right on Airfield Drive. The north airport entrance is approximately a mile and a half straight ahead. Downtown Dallas is approximately 16 miles east via Highway 114; travel time is 20-40 minutes depending on traffic. You can also take the shuttle to Terminal A and catch the DART Light Rail; travel time is approximately 50 minutes.
Date of Stay: February 25, 2016
I’ve stayed at Homewood Suites, Hilton’s other all-suite brand, lots of times, though I’ve never tried Home2 Suites. Though somewhat similar in concept in that it’s ideal for extended stays, the best way to describe it is a more “hip” and eco-friendly version of Homewood Suites. The design is more modern, and the rooms more compact though efficiently used, as the photos will demonstrate. I had checked in online before leaving the office earlier in the day, and when I arrived around 9 P.M., everything was already set, and I was on my way to my studio suite in under a minute.
First impressions – though the 1-room studio suite is decidedly smaller than Homewood’s 2-room variety, the room didn’t feel small at all. In fact, it felt quite spacious, even with two beds and a work area crammed inside. That’s a testament to the efficient use of space here. One thing I didn’t care for was the placement of the desk, which is to the left of the TV towards the door. I like to have the TV on and occasionally glance at it while working, which is difficult to do at that angle. On the other hand, the TV is movable, which I could have done if I weren’t so lazy. An especially cool feature – the TV is Bluetooth-enabled, so if you need a dual-monitor setup, you should be able to do so here. If you need more room, Home2 also offers a full 1-bedroom suite, which is similar to Homewood’s offering.
There is also a couch and ottoman in one corner by the mirror. One person can probably sleep on the couch in a pinch, though it’s more useful as a quiet spot for eating.
The kitchen features a microwave, dish set, dishwasher, and full-size refrigerator, but you’ll notice one significant omission. That’s right – there’s no stove. A placard indicated that you could call the front desk, and they would bring a portable cooktop to your room. Still, that does diminish the kitchen’s utility somewhat.
The bathroom, meanwhile, is functional but small, with a shower-only setup befitting a hotel that bills itself as eco-friendly. Most importantly, they didn’t skimp on the towels. Many lower-end Hilton chains provide Neutrogena bath products, which was the case here. These were fine, but personally, I don’t care for wall-mounted dispensers.
One important thing to be aware of – full maid service is not provided daily unless specifically requested. I forgot the exact schedule, but I believe it was a “deep clean” every 3rd or 4th day, and “express” service which just involves replacing towels and emptying the trash on other days. No service is provided on weekends, unless your deep clean day comes up. BUT – the website contradicts this, indicating full services every weekday and express service by request on weekends. So I’m not sure what the real story is, but if you’re concerned about it, ask before finalizing your reservation or when checking in.
Up front is a large-ish dining area where breakfast is served. For the most part, it’s your standard cereals, breads, oatmeal, and yogurt, along with a few fresh fruits and a waffle maker. The hotel’s website also says eggs are available, though I couldn’t find them in my admittedly brief look. It’s fine, nothing special, and dosn’t really look any different than what you’d find at a Hampton Inn. Unlike Homewood Suites, there is no cocktail/dinner hour in the evening, one of my favorite perks of that chain.
I’m not exactly sure why, but I did like the long dining table directly in front of the food stations. I guess it’s because it makes it easier to grab an empty seat if you’re by yourself; you don’t have to hog up a table for two. And there’s a clear view of the TV.
From the front desk, to the left is a small – as in two computers – business center if you don’t have your laptop and/or need to print a boarding pass (remember, if you do have a laptop, the hotel offers wireless printing).
Directly in front of the front desk are various tables, chairs, and sofas, to serve as both a waiting area and a place to eat breakfast if you don’t fancy sitting at the long dining table.
I’ve alluded to it a couple of times, but the overarching theme of the Home2 brand seems to be sustainability and eco-friendliness. Everything about the hotel echoes this theme: salt water pools instead of fresh water to reduce the use of pool chemicals, recycling stations throughout the property, using real plates in the breakfast area instead of plastic, Energy Star-rated appliances. Home2 also encourages its employees to volunteer with local, community-based charities.
The hotel itself was just fine for my stay, and the concept is an interesting play – trying to appeal to younger business travelers who need an extended stay hotel, but for whom things like sustainability and corporate responsibility are important. Will it work? Maybe, though I’m wondering if a better strategy would have been to simply rebrand Homewood Suites instead of creating an entirely new chain that might cannibalize it to some degree. In any event, if you’re in the market for an extended stay hotel, and are an HHonors partisan, Home2 Suites is worth considering.