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Amway Grand Plaza Hotel

April 13, 2010

  • 187 Monroe Avenue NW
  • Grand Rapids, MI 49503
  • (616) 774-2000
  • Website

After striking out at The North Face yet still finding some values at other outlets, we left Birch Run to drive across the state back to Grand Rapids.  The reason for the Grand Rapids leg of our tour actually came about a few weeks ago.

Sometime earlier this year, I had entered a contest to win tickets to Rain – A Tribute to the Beatles and an overnight stay at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel from Broadway GR.  I got an e-mail the week of the show saying I had won.  J’s a pretty big Beatles fan so she was excited about that, but I was excited about the hotel.

The night of the show, we couldn’t stay in Grand Rapids because J was a little under the weather and she had to be up early the next morning, so we saved the gift certificate until we could enjoy it.  Since we were looking for a getaway, we decided to use our stay and see what all the fuss was about.

The Amway Grand Plaza Hotel is in downtown Grand Rapids on the corner of Monroe and Pearl Street.  The building takes up the whole block between Monroe and the river.  There are two parts to the hotel.  The building closest to Monroe Street is the old Pantlind Hotel which was built in 1913.  The other part is the 29 story tower which was built in 1983 when the Amway Grand underwent extensive renovations.  The two towers are connected by a gorgeous reception area that also has a number of ballrooms, shops, and restaurants.

The parking garage for the Amway Grand is across Pearl Street from the hotel.  The Grand River Promenade connects the parking structure to the hotel (as well as other hotels, DeVos Place, and Van Andel among others.)  Of course, there’s also a valet option if you’d rather do that.  The valet entrance is on Pearl Street right in the middle of the structure underneath the flags.

The skywalk  brings you in on the second floor and you have to take the elevators downstairs to get to registration.  On the way, you pass through some of the original parts of the Pantlind Hotel.  You end up walking above what was probably the original lobby area and ballroom areas.

We checked into our room using our gift certificate which covered room, taxes, self parking.  In addition to all that, we also got a $25 credit towards food at one of three of the restaurants in the Amway Grand Plaza or room service.

We grabbed our keys and headed back towards the north elevators.  Our room was in the Pantlind Tower on the tenth floor.  When we were checking in, the lady taking care of us paused and had to ask her supervisor something.  The room that we were put in was an adjoining room to the Presidential Suite.  Since no one was using that suite, it wasn’t a problem putting us in the adjoining room, but we almost felt like royalty.  If only someone had left the adjoining door unlocked……

Anyway, our room was gorgeous.  This is the kind of room I expect for $180/night.  The first thing I noticed was the LCD HDTV.  Unlike our room the previous night, this room had a proper TV with 80+ channels including quite a few in HD.  The room was small by today’s standards, but it was very comfortable.  The desk was pushed up against one wall and there was a chair next to the window which provided us with a great view of downtown Grand Rapids and Rosa Parks Circle.

The bathroom was pretty tiny, but everything in it was nice.  J had a hard time getting all her stuff in there and with a lack of counter space, she was afraid something would end up in the toilet.  I liked the shower though.  It had one of those great shower heads with different settings.

The only drawback to the hotel was the lack of free wi-fi.  There was a $10 charge per day to use wi-fi in the rooms.  I was able to get a connection from somewhere when we were downstairs, but I was a little annoyed that they would charge for something that is so vital nowadays.  J and I were laughing at some signs in Mt. Pleasant that boasted “Free HBO.”  By today’s standards, free Wi-Fi is more important than free cable and HBO were twenty years ago.

In what should have been a sign that we were in way over our heads, J and I walked to dinner just across the street from the Amway Grand.  When we got back, there was a radio on in the room and the shades were drawn.  That’s not how we left.  We both though we had been robbed, but then we noticed a tray on the bed.  We weren’t robbed.  It was just turn down service.  We both had to laugh at ourselves a little bit.  Neither of us have ever been in a hotel with turn down service.

The bed was one of the most comfortable I’ve ever slept in.  Not only for a hotel, but ever.  We both got a great night’s sleep and it was hard to get out of bed the next morning.

Had we not had the gift certificate, the room would have been $180 with taxes.  To give you some sort of comparison, my parents stayed at another hotel in the same area and paid over $200 by the time you include parking.  With the Bed & Breakfast Package at the Amway Grand, you get not only the room but parking is covered as well as part of a meal…there’s almost no way to eat at one of their restaurants for $25, but it’s a good start.

I would totally stay again.  Even if it is just for another weekend getaway.  The location is fantastic right in the middle of everything in Grand Rapids and it’s really worth the price.  The unfortunate thing is I think I’ve ruined J.  She’ll never let me book a Red Roof Inn again…..

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