Cheery, Updated Comfort at the Holiday Inn Express, Chapel Hill

The Holiday Inn Express in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, right off I-40 and close to the University of North Carolina, is a newly renovated, cheery place to land for a couple of days.  After white-knuckle driving in the dark through the rain and the mountains of West Virginia, my dad and I arrived at this Holiday Inn a little after midnight.

Check-in was super fast so we were in our double queen room in time to catch up on Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s  pre-wedding hoopla on the large flat screen TV. Our asked for wake-up call woke us up in time for the “I-dos.”

Recently updated,(the renovations were completed in May),the guest rooms are well-appointed with everything that a business, casual, or wedding guest traveler needs for a comfortable stay.

The small fridge served as a place for our road trip snack food. My dad eyed the bathroom mirror with its sleek, modern artsy look for a possible design for a place he is renovating. When one eyes the hotel room fixtures as ideas to replicate at home, you know you’re staying where someone has a decent eye for design.

Instead of stark white or beige as the most noticeable colors, this Holiday Inn incorporates neon blue highlights from the soap dish to the subtle blue flecked pattern of the bathroom’s wallpaper. There was also thought put into the refrigerator and coffee maker arrangement. An alcove space was included between the bathroom and the main room which adds a sleeker, more polished look with the appliances in spaces created for them.

The cottony soft duvet style comforters were my attention grabbers. I slid between the fresh, smooth sheets, and settled in for a welcome night of slumber. Now, that was a comfortable bed. Because the thermostat to the air-conditioner was easy to regulate, the room temperature stayed at just right.

Items at the breakfast buffet were plentiful and offered enough variety that over a multiple day stay one can switch it up to not be breakfast bored. Hot items also varied. One day there was crispy bacon and the next day there was sausage. Egg styles also vary. Even though the breakfast officially ends at 9:30, the staff didn’t immediately whisk items away giving latecomers the chance to grab food. Coffee is available 24/7.

Long after breakfast was over, guests hung out visiting in the spacious breakfast lounge area. Large windows and orange highlights create a sun room effect.

Along with the cleanliness, this Holiday Inn impressed me because of its landscaping. This area of Chapel Hill has office buildings and a few businesses but it’s not overdeveloped. This means there are trees, bushes and flowers that create a peaceful, pleasant atmosphere. There’s even a small pond with a fountain and a bench nearby. A couple was enjoying conversation and coffee when I went outside for a walk.

The updating and renovation included adding stonework to the outside of the building which ups the ante on its aesthetics. The feel is more upscale than budget.

This Holiday Inn also has an outdoor pool and a fitness center. WiFi is free and high speed.

Room rates start at $109. Book online here or check out deals at Hotels.com.

Post and photos courtesy of Jamie Rhein

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