Upgrade Yourself to a Luxury Hotel

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Washington Duke Hotel, Durham
Just by asking, we got a great view of the golf course at The Washington-Duke, despite the fact I booked through Expedia.

After reading a few Trip Advisor notes about the hotel I’d booked to move my daughter into her apartment in Durham, most notably the one in which the reviewer said he moved in the middle of the night because the hotel was just that  creepy, it was time to regroup. I mean I’m all about saving a few bucks, but a hotel is not really a deal if you spend half the night in fear, and the other half in your car. So I did a little research and voila! Three days in advance we had a reservation at the most beautiful hotel in Durham, The Washington Duke, right on the Duke campus. Rather than toughing it out in a creepy hotel, we’d be in luxury accommodations.

My daughter was thrilled, as she had always wanted to stay there, and I was happy to have a nice room to look forward to after the grueling work of packing, driving and getting her into her apartment.

Two weeks later we were Nashville-bound to drop my son off for his first year of college. I had a reservation at a good hotel, but decided to try my luck at one I’d seen on a previous trip there in March. We were in luck – I booked The Hutton Hotel, and saved $100 over our previous reservation.

The Wa-Duke, as its known there, is a beautiful room and just by asking, I got a view of the golf course where we could watch the sun set over the tree-lined North Carolina sky.  Our room was very spacious, and we made use of the hot tub in the covered pool area. Parking was right up front, and free, something I increasingly appreciate.

There was no coffeemaker in the room, but I did discover free coffee in the

Washington Duke Hotel, Durham
Coming back to a room like this makes a tough day so much better.

lobby downstairs. Because of its forest-like location, you can’t walk to any close restaurants but there are several nearby.

Because The Hutton Hotel is near downtown, we did have to pay $24 a day parking, and on one occasion, wait a bit for our car. We were so close to Vanderbilt we could have walked, had we not had a carload and overhead full of items deemed necessary for dorm-life by my son. (I wasn’t going to argue – the more he took, the less clutter in my house.)

The room here was smaller than Wa-Duke, but had a very nice view of downtown Nashville, where I could watch the sun set over adjacent buildings. We had a coffeemaker in the room, as well as access to a free espresso machine, provided on every floor.

The bathroom was very pretty, but had no tub, which I often enjoy while traveling. It had a unique showerhead, a square one directly overhead. I wanted to tilt it to get a better angle, but wasn’t tall enough. I thought of standing on the tile ledge on the side, but realized that was just a disaster-in-waiting. I really didn’t want my son to start his college career being known as “the kid whose mom cracked her ass on the first day of school.”

I finally figured that if I stood on tippy-toe and reached my razor up there, I could tilt it enough to rinse my hair.

The oddest thing about the bathroom is that the toilet was square, which

Hutton Hotel
Toilet tissue comes in squares, so why not toilets?

led me to spend way too much time contemplating shapes of toilets, which led me a blog post that claims that Sheryl Crow believes overuse of toilet paper has contributed to global warming, at which point I decided my time would be better spent on other things. Like figuring out directions to The Loveless Café for melt-in-your-mouth biscuits.

Both hotels had nice, plush bathrobes, free wi fi and mini bars. And both are reputed to have excellent restaurants, although our schedule didn’t allow us to verify that.

Not surprisingly, both hotels had incredibly comfortable beds, and I fell instantly in love with the pillows at The Hutton Hotel/

I got my great rates on both hotels through Expedia, and even saved money over my previous reservation in Nashville.

And I wasn’t the least bit tempted to leave either one in the middle of the night.

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