Having Spire Elite status with Intercontinental Hotel Group, I stay at many IHG properties across the continent. This Holiday Inn Express in li'l ol' Clute, TX was a pleasant surprise in two ways.
First, I've never stayed at a HIE like this one. It's apparently quite new, and I guess it's got the latest HIE decor: it looks and feels like a HIE, but it's somehow fresh and different. Most of the new HIEs are quite nice, but this one was almost classy. The first floor room they put me in had an unusually high ceiling, which added to the sense of not staying in just another box-in-a-box.
Second, I commend the hotel management for instilling in the front desk staff an attitude of, "let us know how we can make things better for you" - and for empowering them to do so. After a late-evening check-in, I brought an issue to the woman working the front desk, and she was very responsive. And the next day, when my travel plans changed after the checkout deadline, the same person was on duty and made the "executive decision" to let me get on my way without requiring another day's room charge. Perhaps she accommodated me that way in part because my Spire Elite status, but the hotel was under no obligation to flex on the matter. My sense is that all guests, Spire status or no status with IHG, would receive the same customer-first treatment.
Without meaning to sensationalize, the Clute HIE sets the standard for not only all IHG properties, but all similar-class hotels in the industry - in terms of both the quality of the facility and the quality of service by its staff. [Less]