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Old 08-02-2011, 08:39 AM
 
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Hello all. I will be heading up to Menands for a business trip next week. I will probably be there for a few weeks. My company is letting me choose between two hotels:

Crowne Plaza Downtown (next to Capitol Building)- 3 miles from work
Holiday Inn Express (Western Ave near SUNY Albany)- 8 miles from work

Is one of these areas safer than the other? The Holiday Inn seems to have much better reviews on TripAdvisor. Is the Crowne Plaza really that bad? Which option is better for hitting up good restaurants/bars after work?

Thanks!
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Old 08-02-2011, 03:22 PM
 
Location: Albany, NY
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I have never stayed at the Holiday Inn Express-SUNY, but many of my colleagues from around the state choose to stay there when they have to come into town. It is their favorite hotel. However, most of them are very suburban/rural and afraid of anything urban. I don't think the Holiday Inn Express-SUNY is anything special, but I understand it is very clean, has a responsive staff and has breakfast included. You will need a car to get most anywhere from there. It is in a very safe area and a few blocks from an upscale strip mall, Stuyvesant Plaza. The places in Stuyvesant Plaza are not open extremely late, but a lot of young & middle-aged professionals do go to Creo and Provence for drinks and/or dinner. You could walk from the Holiday Inn. There are sidewalks, but be careful crossing Western Ave. It is not a wide street (I think it's 4 lanes there), but drivers are not used to seeing pedestrians around there.

I have stayed at the Crowne Plaza. There was an article in the paper this week about the fact that the hotel has been around awhile and will need some work. It is older, but I found the rooms very comfortable with great bedding. The staff was good and the hotel restaurant is decent, but it is more of a conference hotel than the Holiday Inn, so there is more hustle and bustle and noise. You may also have to pay for parking. The one thing that bothers some people is the indoor pool - it is on the ground floor and open to several stories, so if you are sensitive to chlorine, it may bother you in some of the common areas. The Crowne Plaza is downtown and within walking distance to the bar scene. There are also some decent restaurants nearby.

Any chance your employer will allow you to stay at the Hamton Inn - Downtown on Chapel Street? It is a newer hotel with a couple of excellent restaurants right in the hotel. It also is near downtown restaurants and bars. It is only a couple of blocks from the Crowne Plaza, but in an area that has a little more traffic, so it doesn't feel as deserted as the Crowne Plaza. I think it might be the best fit for what you want.
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Old 08-02-2011, 03:31 PM
 
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Thanks for the info! I may be able to choose the Hampton. I will look into it. Are there bars in that area?
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Old 08-03-2011, 10:10 PM
 
Location: Albany, NY
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Go Blue 99 View Post
Are there bars in that area?
This is where I hope the younger and childless folks chime in. There are bars, but I certainly don't know them all. The Hampton Inn itself has a pretty hopping somewhat upscale bar in its dp brasserie restaurant. It has a Wine Spectator Award and an in-house sommelier. (I know, that's weird for a Hampton Inn.) Another upscale bar within walking distance is in the restaurant Taste (formerly Dale Miller). They also have a garden patio with occasional events. Nearby Angelos 677 Prime is an expensive steakhouse with a bar.

If you're looking for something a little more "bar-like" and catering to a slightly younger crowd, look to nearby Pearl St. There are several along there, although so many have been closed for infractions like serving to minors or being overcrowded and then reopened with a different vibe that I can't keep them straight. I think Blue 52, a sort of hipster bar with music, Trivia Nights, etc., is still open. The Bayou Cafe is one that hasn't been in the news for being in trouble. They have music most weekends.

MCGeary's Pub is very close to the hotel. It has become very popular since a fire ruined a hopping Tavern and a lot of the staff moved to McGeary's. Also, Savannah's, which has now become the Dublin Underground, has music or comedy most nights - lots more than Irish music despite its name.

These are all very close to the hotel. There are also a number of bars & restaurants on Lark St., which is a long walk or short cab-ride from both Hampton Inn & Crowne Plaza. Heading further uptown - between downtown and the Holiday Inn - there are lots of bars, but they mostly cater to rowdy students, so may not be your scene.
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Old 08-06-2011, 07:01 AM
 
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Another place to see if they'll let you consider is the Towne Place Suites on Holland Ave. They are usually the least expensive downtown option, and walkable to a number of local watering holes, restaurants, dry cleaners, and a grocery store. I travel a lot for business and make all of my travel arrangements with no set travel budget, yet that is still my #1 choice--also they aren't affected by "track" rates in August.

In fact it's the only place I've gone back to a number of times in Albany, overall I find the hotels in that area to range from needing an update to downright dirty.

They offer free breakfast, and each room has a great workspace, sofa to relax, large bathroom, and kitchenette with microwave, coffee maker, and mini-fridge.

PS--Don't stay in the TownePlace on Washington Ave up near SUNYA, it sucks.
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Old 08-07-2011, 01:30 AM
 
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The Crowne Plaza is a bit pricey. Their room service is decent. Their breakfast is so-so. For a strategic downtown location it rocks. If I were in your shoes, go with the Holiday Inn. It's newer and cleaner. Especially, if you'll have a car then go with the Holiday Inn.
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