The front desk clerk was patiently helping a couple sort out a complicated reservation, while the woman behind them began ranting about how her car, outfitted with a rooftop carrier, wouldn’t fit in the hotel garage.
Unfazed, the staffer excused herself from the first couple and assured the woman that she’d be able to assist her in just a few minutes.
“But my kids are waiting in the car!” she wailed.
“Why don’t you go back to your car, and I’ll come get you just as soon as I’m done?” the clerk patiently suggested.
“No,” the woman huffed, turning to look at me. “You’d just help this woman first, and I’d have to wait even longer.”
Someone was clearly having a bad day.
Welcome to Bloomington
Still unruffled, she finished assisting the first couple and swiftly sorted out the ranting woman’s parking issue. When she began to check me in, she apologized with a smile.
As I gave her my name, she informed me, “Oh, your sister’s already here. I’ve got a room for you right near hers.” I didn’t even have to ask.
I grew up in this university community, 50 miles south of Indianapolis, where my parents still live. My sister and I were back in town for a family gathering, and with the help of this cheerful clerk, we settled into one of Bloomington’s newest hotels. Here’s the scoop:
Guest Rooms and Amenities
Though the SpringHill Suites Bloomington opened in 2014, it still feels brand new. The property has been well-maintained, and all the staff we met exhibited the enthusiasm of new employees.
The guest rooms in this five-story brick building are all modern studio suites, with either two queens or one king bed topped with simple white bedding, and a separate sitting area with a sofa and a work desk equipped with easy-to-reach electrical outlets and USB ports. Wi-Fi is complimentary throughout the property.
In a nook opposite the sofa is a microwave, mini-fridge, and coffeemaker, along with glasses, coffee cups, paper plates, and plastic utensils, handy for in-room meals or take-out from any of the downtown restaurants located nearby; the hotel is just three blocks from the main square, with its restaurants, pubs, and shops.
The large bathroom, separated from the bedroom by a sliding door, had a walk-in shower, plenty of shelves, good lighting, and an ample supply of towels.
Facilities and Services
A breakfast buffet is set up daily in the spacious window-lined lobby, where guests can work or mingle throughout the day. The buffet went far beyond the ordinary cereals, breads, and muffins. A rotating selection of fresh fruits included strawberries, pineapple, and watermelon, along with yogurt, dried fruits, and nuts, plus hot oatmeal, hard-boiled eggs, and make-your-own waffles.
The selection of hot dishes changed daily but typically included scrambled eggs, bacon or sausage, and biscuits or tortillas, along with fresh spinach and grated cheese to add to your eggs. Why don’t all hotels include fresh greens on their buffets?
My sister, a vegan, was thrilled to find that they stocked two varieties of almond milk, alongside the regular milk and selection of juices.
Also in the lobby is a small shop/snack bar, with its Indiana University flag prominently displayed.
The hotel has a tiny indoor pool in the street-facing solarium, as well as a basic but well-outfitted fitness room. If you’d rather work out outdoors, the hotel is only about two blocks from the B-Line Trail, a three-mile rail trail that runs both north and south from downtown.
Double room rates at the SpringHill Suites Bloomington, which include the daily breakfast buffet, start at about $100/night. Parking is available in an underground garage for $10 a day. You can also compare rates at Priceline, Travelocity or other booking sites.
And that Hoosier Hospitality…?
It wasn’t just the front desk clerk who gave me a warm welcome. The housekeeper decorated the note pad in my room with this cute dancing bunny — one more sign of that Hoosier hospitality at the SpringHill Suites Bloomington.
Hotel review by Vancouver-based travel, food, and feature writer Carolyn B. Heller. Photos © Carolyn B. Heller.