New hotel brands have been popping up like crazy over the last few years. The largest hotel chains are adding new brands in an effort to continue capturing customers. A little over 2 years ago Hilton announced a new brand, Tru. Their 13th unique brand, it was announced as geared towards millennials. That’s usually nails on a chalk board for me. I haven’t had the opportunity to stay at a Tru hotel until recently. As the brand continues to grow I figured it was worth spending a few nights and reporting back.
Checking In To Tru
Tru is something of a limited service brand. You won’t find a full-service restaurant or room-service. But, you will find new hotels with most of the amenities you’re likely to need in a limited service property.
When I walked in the front door I was greeted by an employee at the check-in desk. The lobby was actually bigger than I was expecting. If you set aside the funky lighting of an Aloft hotel, I saw a lot of similarities. Nooks and crannies for people to work, snacks for sale, pool tables, soft seating and a dining area. The hotel actually had a pretty wide selection of food for purchase. Color me impressed.
To my knowledge, all Tru hotels are new construction. That’s generally good news, especially when I think about the sheer number of tired Holiday Inn Express, Hampton Inn and Hilton Garden Inns I’ve seen over the years. Hilton spent some time figuring out how to build the rooms more compact and affordably. It shows in a very compact but usable footprint.
Looking for a closet and a big desk? Keep looking. You’ll find a small area to park your suitcase with an area for some hangers. And, you’ll find a mobile desk. The desk chair is one of the more comfortable ones I’ve seen in a hotel in a while, but the desk needs to be bigger for business travelers. My laptop took up most of the space on it. The designers were smart enough to carve out a bit of space under the bed to store suitcases for longer trips. There’s a small fridge as well.
Of note here are the lighting controls and plugs beside the bed. USB outlets are perfectly located and you can turn on and off all the main lights in the room from right beside the bed. It’s a small touch, but one normally found in higher end hotels. It’s a smart, cheap amenity to provide guests.
The bed is a platform bed, no box spring. I suspected it to be somewhat comfortable. I was pleasantly surprised that the bed and pillows were both very comfortable. You could attribute that to it being a new hotel. I think that would be selling Tru short. I’ve stayed at a brand new Holiday Inn Express or two in my day, and those pillows are bad from day one, even with the monogrammed pillowcases to explain to me the soft pillow is, well, soft.
The bathroom is clean and well-lit. I actually thought I would hate the soap dispensers. I probably would have hated them more if I had this experience. These aren’t pumps, per se. You squeeze the sides to dispense the product. Maybe the unique nature of the dispenser made me feel better about it? If I’m being honest, I actually liked the scent of the soap very much (lemon & sugar, go figure). Coincidentally, I haven’t liked some of the standard scents in hotel room soap dispensers. Bottom line, I’m open to the possibility that a unique design and a nice smell is the reason the dispensers didn’t bother me at all.
Fitness Center and Pool
The fitness center is compact but nicely equipped. Along with treadmills and an elliptical there were free weights, medicine balls, stretching bands and other sorts of things that looked pretty hanging on the wall but my lazy butt never bothered using. There is a small indoor pool and I apparently did a pretty bad job capturing a picture of it.
Color me impressed with breakfast. I had set my expectations low and they were met and exceeded. Paper plates, a juice machine that pumped from concentrate and a bunch of dried cereal towers? Check, check, check. I wasn’t expecting well-made oatmeal (multiple days in a row), very fresh, very hot eggs and sausage and multiple waffle irons. And, each area had multiple toppings to dress up your breakfast. 3 types of fresh salsa for eggs, half a dozen types of syrups and a whole host of toppings for oatmeal and other such things.
I don’t know how many people are using bacon jam, pepper jelly or everything bagel seasoning. I’m sure it doesn’t cost much for Tru to offer these add-ons. It certainly gave me a better impression of variety. And, it was one of the most enjoyable breakfasts I’ve had at a limited service hotels. Hyatt Place is the only one that strikes me as better, and the quality varies by property.
The only thing that puzzled me was why they felt the need to tell me there were no donuts in the toaster. I mean, I am the donut experts. I could clearly see there were no donuts being stored in the toaster. 😉
The Final Two Pennies
One of my co-workers likes to say he wants to write down all the quirky sayings I repeat and make a book of them. One of those sayings is, “I don’t go to Morton’s (the upscale steakhouse) expecting McDonald’s and I don’t go to McDonald’s expecting Morton’s.”
I made my Tru reservation with fairly low expectations. Tru was at least $20 cheaper than the other comparable properties in the market I was staying. That made it an easy choice. When I got there, I was pleasantly surprised. Don’t label me “blown away”. But, safely put me in the camp of “I like it!” Tru has just over 60 units sprinkled across the country with more under construction.
I really like a well-lit room, almost too bright for some people. Everywhere at Tru was very bright. I loved that part of it. All the public spaces were incredibly well-lit and clean. The room was bright as was the bathroom, table stakes for me to really like a room. Hyatt Place is generally my go-to limited service brand. I like their desk and room layout better. But, Tru wins hands-down on bathroom, lighting and noise from the air-conditioning (Hyatt, please replace the old AC units in the Amerisuites properties).
Tru felt very “clean” to me. It’s a sample size of one for me. Tru story, I’ll be back.
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