Four Continents and 37,000 Miles in Two Weeks: Holiday Inn Express Los Angeles Airport

Filed Under: Hotel Reviews, Hotels

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I’m actually mildly embarrassed to be reviewing a Holiday Inn Express in the same trip report as Qantas A380 first class, Singapore Airlines business class, etc. But sometimes loyalty programs make you do crazy things. In this case I needed another Saturday night stay to complete my Priority Club “Crack the Case” promotion. I had stayed at the Holiday Inn LAX and Crowne Plaza LAX before, so decided I’d try the Holiday Inn Express. Just to point out how brilliant loyalty programs are, this place cost more than the Sheraton Gateway LAX, which really is a very nice hotel. Anyway, on to the actual stay.

Upon landing, when I called to ask about when the next shuttle would be, they said it would be 15-20 minutes. After 30 minutes I called again, and they once again said it would be 15-20 minutes. After waiting for about 45 minutes the shuttle finally showed up. The shuttle bus driver was just so damn nice, which made up for over 30 minutes of wasted time (compared to most other LAX hotels, which have shuttles every 10-15 minutes).

Hotel exterior

At check-in I was immediately thanked for being a Platinum member and informed that I had been upgraded to a suite. I was also offered a “welcome gift” consisting of a bottle of water and a granola bar, “as a thanks for being a Platinum member.” Hey, it’s the effort that counts, and in that case they succeeded.


Welcome amenity

I headed up to my room on the sixth floor (the highest floor), room 602. The “one bedroom suite” was really a single room basically cut in half and separated with a wall in the middle. It had a small living room and a small bedroom, with the bathroom separating the two parts. My only pet peeve was that the sink area was in the middle of the room, instead of being in the bathroom.

Living room





View from bedroom

The furnishings were reasonably well maintained, though of the quality you would expect at a Holiday Inn Express. My room had a mini fridge, though the door was open when I arrived, and as it turned out, wouldn’t close. You’d think they would take a look at it at a certain point, though I guess it’s not really a priority for them.

Fridge that wouldn’t close

The wireless internet was pretty fast, and the following morning I went to their restaurant area for the infamous Holiday Inn Express breakfast. Now, I’m pretty sure I hit a new low in my life with my visit to the restaurant. Why? Because I took pictures of the breakfast spread at a Holiday Inn Express… for you guys. Man, the looks I got from the other guests for that. Anyway…

Breakfast area

This was my first time at a Holiday Inn Express in years. The lesson I learned is that their cinnamon rolls are delicious, while their omelets are indescribably nasty. I’m pretty sure their secret ingredient is battery acid.


I headed back to my room where I tried to get some work done, though despite having the “do not disturb” sign up, housekeeping knocked on my door to see if I had checked out yet. I mean, I guess a lot of people leave the “do not disturb” sign out even after they check out, though it’s still not appropriate to knock. Either communicate with the front desk to see if the guest has checked out, or at least wait till the published check-out time before knocking.

I ended up taking the 11:30AM shuttle to the airport, which dropped me off at Bradley Terminal. With that stay out of the way, I was ready for the real fun to begin.

While the hotel was fine, I probably wouldn’t return. The Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza share shuttles with other hotels, meaning shuttles run every 10 minutes or so. Since the Holiday Inn Express has their own shuttle, it only runs every 30 minutes and sometimes only on demand. I’d avoid the hotel for that reason alone. While the Crowne Plaza is far from luxurious, it’s my preferred Priority Club property at LAX, I think. That being said, the Sheraton Gateway blows all of these hotels out of the water, as I’ll review in a later installment, so now that I’m a Starwood Platinum I’ll always be staying there.

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  1. I’m generally a big fan of airplane/cafeteria/(insert food here that most people find unappealing) food, but even for me, that omelet looks beyond awful.

  2. I can’t remember the last time I got something other than a bottle of water and granola bar (or popcorn) at a Holiday Inn Express. It always made me feel special as a Platinum member, until I saw someone who was just a regular member (not Platinum or Gold) get the same gift. “And here’s a gift to thank you for being a Priority Club member.” That sure made me feel a lot less special.

    But man, they have amazing cinnamon rolls.

  3. A while back the Courtyard Los Angeles Westside in Culver City, about a 10-minute ride from LAX, eliminated their airport shuttle. A manager told me this actually improved customer satisfaction, since customers were no longer upset at the hotel when the shuttle was late. The hotel’s two close-by competitors still offer complimentary airport shuttles.

  4. Is this the sketchy looking building at Manchester & Airport, out past Hertz? I don’t know why you’d ever choose to stay there.

  5. @ Sam — Very true! Funny you mention that, because usually when I’m given something like that they just say “this is a thanks for being a Priority Club member.” So you’re recognizing the fact that I spent 60 seconds to sign up for a loyalty program more than the 60 nights I’ve spent at your hotel over the past year?

    @ Carl — Hah, it is, though I didn’t realize just where it was. It looked nice on the website, that’s my only excuse…

  6. Your experience with housekeeping is not limited to Holiday Inn Express hotels. Actually, I had a similar experience at the Hyatt Minneapolis at the beginning of May. Even though I had the “privacy” sign up and it was well before 3pm (I had asked for late check-out at reception the day before), housekeeping knocked and tried to open the door. Fortunately, I had locked and bolted the door or housekeeping might have entered the room while I was under the shower…

  7. My LAX stay is usually driven by how close I can get to In N Out Burger. My preferred property in that regard is the Courtyard on Century Blvd., which is about a 15min walk.
    Really hit the spot a couple months back after the 17hr TG n/s from BKK.

  8. Ben, I think I’ll pass on the Holiday Inn Express LAX! What’s next a review of the Motel 6! 😉

  9. I agree with you on Sheraton Gateway, it is my preferred choice at LAX. Westin is OK, but further away and club lounge.

    I have found the same thing thing regarding LAX hotel pricing. They generally are all about the same price, regardless of quality. The Four Points is frequently more expensive than the Sheraton and Westin.

    Hilton is also pretty good with a nice lounge that, in my experience offers good food choices.

  10. No pictures of the pancake machine? Or haven’t they put one in at this property yet? HIX rolled them out just in time for my Crack the Case stays, and man, the combination of cinnamon rolls + automatic pancakes usually lands the breakfast at HIX properties pretty close to atop the non-cooked-to-order, non-luxury lounge choices.

    Pancake machine:

  11. What is so bad about that omelete ? It is perfectly fine with me. It is one thing I like HIX’s breakfast, omelet, bacon or sausage, and the signature cinnamon roll. It is way better than any 2 stars hotel’s complimentary breakfast. If you said that omelet is nasty, I wonder what are you going to say about Hampton Inn’s scramble eggs. They changed from the infamous “fake egg” to scramble eggs, which is still bad bad bad.

  12. Oh btw, that thank you gift for platinum member, I am sure they will give to even a general member, as I had stayed at HIX JFK, they gave it to me when I was only a general no status member, but that HIX I stayed, they were much generous than what you got. Other than what you had, I also had an apple juice box, a bag of chips, chocolate, and a small bag of jelly belly.

  13. @ ORDnHKG — What was so bad about the omelet was that it tasted like toxic rubber. And that’s me being nice.

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