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“Welcome,” she said with a sincere smile. “Let me know if there’s anything else I can help you with.”
That cookie is a perfect example of the hospitable ambience that envelops the Doubletree Spokane, located in the second largest city in Washington state. The 375-room hotel dedicates itself to looking after its guests as well as its staff through a program called Care, one of Doubletree’s primary brand strategies.
“Care stands for caring, attentive, responsive and empowered,” said Doubletree Spokane general manager Mike McLeod. “It reflects Doubletree's overall commitment to total service quality. The concept grew out of the belief that if you treat guests and team members with care, they'll stay with you.”
Here’s a prime example of the Care program in action at the Doubletree Spokane. One week, a hotel housekeeper asked to be assigned to a certain guest room each day. It turns out that she made the request so that she could assist an elderly guest with his shoes each morning to help him get to his meetings on time.
Then there was the hotel engineer who, on a record snowfall night, worked for over 12 hours keeping the Doubletree Spokane’s entrances and driveways clear, rotating through three different jackets to stay warm and dry.
“Our employees are proud to work at our property,” said McLeod. “The Care program truly inspires and empowers our team members, and their efforts do not go unrecognized.”
A Product That Matches The ServiceWhen it comes to the physical plant, Doubletree Spokane holds itself to the same high standards as its service. In 2010 it completed a renovation of its lobby, which is clean, bright and attractive, and it added LCD high-definition televisions to its accommodations.
For 2011, plans call for a guest room renovation to include new furniture, wall vinyl, paint, artwork and lighting. Corridors will also be completely refurbished at the same time.
“The project will be done by floor so we do not impact our guests in-house,” said McLeod.
My guest room was super-comfortable, thanks in part to the Sweet Dreams bed -- a Doubletree trademark -- with its plush-top mattress and down pillows. Accommodations also come with free wireless high-speed Internet access, a business-ready work desk, two dual-line speakerphones, an alarm clock/radio with MP3 connectivity, complimentary Wolfgang Puck coffee service and Neutrogena products in the bathroom.Since my visit took place over a chilly weekend, I welcomed the use of the hotel’s indoor fitness center, which has been recently renovated. There’s also a heated outdoor pool, open seasonally, and a hot tub that’s available year-round.
A Laudable LocationOne of the things I like best about the Doubletree Spokane is its proximity to the Centennial Trail, a 37-mile paved pathway that follows the Spokane River. Just a few steps from the hotel, the trail embraces Riverfront Park, home to year-round fun family activities. Clients can experience the park’s IMAX theater, gondola rides over Spokane Falls, a 1909 carousel, mini-golf, amusement park rides in the warmer months and train tours of the park. During the heat of the summer, kids love to play in the park’s interactive fountain. Come winter, there’s ice skating available.
The Doubletree hugs downtown Spokane, notable for its shopping, restaurants and entertainment venues like the restored Fox Theater. Immediately adjacent to the hotel is the INB Performing Arts Center, hosting Broadway touring shows as well as national and international entertainers. The nearby Spokane Arena is home of the Spokane Chiefs hockey club and the Spokane Shock football team.
Just seven blocks from the Doubletree awaits Gonzaga University, with a variety of events and activities for the general public. And, it’s an easy drive from the hotel to world-class wineries, ski resorts and golf courses.
Meetings and Special EventsAs the only hotel connected by skybridge to the Spokane Convention Center, the Doubletree is by far the best place to stay for clients who are attending meetings, exhibits and sporting events next door.
“About 48 percent of our mix is made up of the leisure and business traveler with the rest comprised of groups and airline crews,” said McLeod.
A random sampling of groups that have called the hotel home includes the Sweet Adelines; Delta Kappa Gamma; National Rural Letter Carriers; International Police Chaplains; National Association of Campus Activities; Future Business Leaders of America; and numerous Broadway show touring groups.
Additionally, the hotel participates in most of Spokane’s larger sporting events such as NCAA basketball tournaments, national qualifying volleyball tournaments, the Bloomsday run attracting tens of thousands of participants, and Hoopfest, an enormous three-on-three street basketball tournament and festival.
But even when there are groups in-house and major events taking place at the adjacent convention center, the Doubletree Spokane makes a point of maintaining that sense of personal care for each guest, as I noted at the end of my stay. As I checked out of the hotel feeling less than enthused over the long drive home, the front desk employee offered me a warm cookie for the road.
“Safe travels, and come back soon,” she said. Chances are very good that I will.
Doubletree by Hilton Hotel Spokane City Center322 North Spokane Falls Ct.Spokane, WA 99201509-455-9600www.doubletree1.hilton.com
Nightly rack rates from $129-$179.Commission: 10 percentDowntown Shopping Package: $50 gift certificate good for shopping, dining and entertainment at River Park Square; breakfast buffet for two; and free parking (from $179 per night through Nov. 28, 2011).