Culture & Criticism From the Far Distant Realms
No one needs to be reminded that the country has languished in the midst of its worst recession for over three years, with dollars and jobs hard to come by. Consequently, travelers everywhere are hard-pressed to stretch their travel dollars as far as they can.
And that’s just where the Holiday Inn Express in Corning, California comes into the picture.
In terms of pure value, we’ve found no better hotel or inn along the I-5/Sacramento Valley corridor. Simply, Express-Corning combines the amenities of an urban hotel with the charm and customer-service of a small-town B&B – a true anomaly stuck smack-dab in the middle of an area known for olives, strawberries and 112 degree summer days.
What makes the Holiday Inn Express notable comes wrapped in the fact that the hotel is able to offer real comfort and those little extras without gouging the customer – stressing value at a price that sings fair rather than excessive.
There are 78 guest rooms at the Corning Holiday Inn Express and they blend comfort with utilitarian flair – exactly what is necessary in any hotel room. All rooms come out-fitted with coffeemakers, hair dryers, irons and complimentary high-speed WiFi. Bigger king rooms offer roomy pull-out couches which give extra bed-space to couples with kids. Additionally, the Holiday Inn Express mini-suites present like modest-sized studio apartments, the microwaves and refrigerators allowing for travelers to prepare some of their own food and save on restaurant bills. However, the most impressive attribute of the Holiday Inn Express rooms are their cleanliness. Nothing is more disappointing to anyone than plunking down a hundred bucks for a hotel room, only to find it covered in dust, grit and some stranger’s filth. Rest assured, that’s not an issue here. To the contrary, these rooms are spotless – the carpets clean, the tables and chairs and drawers free of odors and stains. The beds are also worth mentioning: Firm mattresses and extra pillows are the standard here; simply, this is as comfortable as a ‘roadside bed’ is going to get.
There are countless intangibles about the Holiday Inn Express that should make this the number-one choice for lodging in the mid-Sacramento Valley. The complimentary breakfast served in the dining room is plentiful – this kind of meal along the I-5 corridor would cost at least $12 bucks and it’s another tangible example of the value you can expect here. The Inn’s breakfast bar menu features an array of cereal, toast, juice, 100% Arabica coffee, cheddar cheese omelets, bacon, biscuits, yogurt, fruit and the Holiday Inn’s own warm cinnamon roll recipe. Other amenities you won’t find at too many other I-5 roadside hotels include a first-class outdoor pool and spa with big beach-style towels, a full-service fitness center and a dry sauna. In addition, the business center offers travelers without lap-tops complimentary high-speed computer access and some basic desk supplies – another one of those little extras that set this place apart from other highway-hotels in this area of California.
LOCATION: Positioned at the second Corning exit in the land of olive trees and endless summer days, the Holiday Inn Express is only about an hour from Chico and Mount Lassen, smack-dab in the center of the agricultural belt of the Sacramento Valley. If you like to explore the real side of America, exploring the places where so much of the country’s fruit is grown, then the surrounding countryside will be a treat – the lush fields dotted with fruit trees and berry vines like a picture from Andrew Wyeth’s sketch-book.
THINGS TO DO IN THE AREA: This area is known for the Rolling Hills Casino, which offers a wide-selection of gaming tables and slots. The Casino also offers the best food in the area, with the daily dinner buffet (for around 15 bucks) boasting countless entrees (including first-class prime-rib) and a desert cart that would take at least 15 visits to eat your way through.
EXTRAS: Prominent extras include a full breakfast and a staff that does the little things. Need a pen or some shaving supplies at 2 AM as you shuffle in the door? All you have do is ask and they’ll find the stuff for you.
PRICE: This is where the Holiday Inn Express sets itself apart from the competition in the area. Along an Interstate known for price gouging, the Inn offers real value. Prices range from $85 for a basic room to $110 for a high-end suite (including the complimentary breakfast with all rooms).
John Aiello is the Editor and Publisher of The Electric Review.
Feli Mercado, who was born in Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico, is a freelance writer; she now resides in Northern California.