SVV and I are frequent road trippers. In fact, in the past year alone, we’ve spent more than 150 nights in hotels and short-term rentals, the majority for business travel, but some also for leisure. I’d be confident saying we know our stuff when it comes to what we’re looking for in the perfect business hotel, which is why I’m pretty excited about the new Tru by Hilton hotels.
This post is sponsored by Tru by Hilton. All opinions are my own.
The Tru by Hilton hotel model has slimmed down the overall costs for the business traveler by eliminating things that many itinerant nomads don’t appreciate anyway. It’s subtle, definitely, and the buildings are still gorgeous but fractionalizing expenses associated with things like room size, a restaurant/bar component or a concierge/valet service makes all the difference for us as consumers. You won’t believe the pricing difference between Tru by Hilton and a competitive brand in terms of value.
Why do I love this new concept?
It’s affordable. As a small business owner, I’m footing the bill for a lot of my expenses. And if a client isn’t paying, and I’m traveling for a work project, I’m probably not going to shell out $300 for a hotel I’m just in for a few hours a night. Tru by Hilton’s rooms range from $99 to $139 a night, which is right in my sweet spot, price-wise. (Note: Pricing varies per market.)
It offers plenty of freebies. Nothing annoys me more than having to pay for Wi-Fi when I travel; luckily, this isn’t the case with Tru by Hilton. It’s got free Internet with remote printing, as well as a complimentary coffee, tea and hot chocolate bar, plus a lavish breakfast spread with everything from donuts to bagels—and plenty of toppings.
It has awesomely designed social spaces. When I’m staying in a hotel, I’m really just in my room to sleep and shower; I get antsy stuck in my room, particularly when traveling alone. As someone who loves to work out of cafes, I like that the Tru by Hilton brand offers me a coffee shop experience without ever leaving my hotel (or having to buy a coffee every hour to justify my presence!). And the lobby is 2,880 square feet—that’s bigger than our stately old Victorian house!—so we had plenty of room to spread out and get comfortable.
The rooms feel like being in an urban boutique hotel. While I may have been 20 miles from downtown Atlanta, the modern design of my room made me feel as if I were staying right in the heart of the city. I’ve always been one who gravitates to cute boutique hotels, and Tru by Hilton felt like just that—without the hefty price point.
Tru by Hilton’s got game. And games, too! Encouraging guests to socialize is one of the brand’s pillars, so there’s a pool table, giant ConnectFour and other board games, all backed by a fun, splashy mural (and you know I love me a good mural).
The gym is baller. I’m always training for something, but I’m usually not one to utilize a hotel gym as quite frankly, many of them just don’t have what I need. Then I met this gym. Not only does it have hand weights, kettlebells, stability balls, bands, yoga mats, cardio machines, the works, but it also has customizable workouts available through a tablet mounted on the wall.
There’s a local touch. Tru by Hilton may be nationwide, but it’s got that local feel thanks to the Tru-ly Local Wall outside of the elevator bank where guests and staff add their suggestions (we added ours, too!). As a frequent Yelper who’s always looking for the best local recs, I love that I didn’t even have to turn to my phone to hunt down the best places to eat and drink in McDonough.
There’s a market on site. The first thing SVV and I usually do upon arrival is search for a beer, and the Eat. & Sip. market had both local and domestic beers on offer, in addition to wine and gourmet snacks aplenty—and it’s open 24/7 with a connected interface that syncs directly to your cellphone.
What can you expect from the rooms?
They’re on the cozier side. The rooms at Tru by Hilton are designed similarly to a hotel room in New York City or San Francisco: They maximize storage with clever alternatives like TV shelving, an open closet and panels, but take out all the unnecessary spaces and features to make the rooms more budget-friendly for guests.
They’ve got plenty of outlets and USB ports, including at your bedside. It irks me not being able to charge my legion of electronics while I sleep, so I love when new hotel builds include plenty of places to recharge.
They’ve got sass. I’m always keeping an eye out for clever branding, and I am in love with the personal details Tru by Hilton uses throughout its rooms, common spaces and, in particular, bathrooms.
They’ve got all the amenities you could need. I never travel with shampoo, conditioner, body wash or a hair dryer, so I’m grateful for a hotel that covers all these essentials for me. And because we’re Hilton Honors members, we also got a complimentary goodie bag of snacks and bottled water upon check-in (only valid for certain levels of membership).
What we did in McDonough:
The first Tru by Hilton location to break ground was in McDonough, Georgia, not far from the Atlanta airport. While there are now more than a dozen opening and/or in the works, we visited the first location, which happened to be at the exact exit where we attended a wedding earlier this year. Through a combination of feedback on the suggestion wall and tips from friends, we had an action-packed weekend without much downtime at all.
We ate dinner on the historic square. McDonough has a darling square that’s flanked by local businesses and reminds me a lot of our own historic squares in Tennessee. We met our friend Trish for dinner at Pastamax, a beloved local trio of restaurants. She told us about so many other local points of interest, such as Atlanta Motor Speedway where her husband works, that we have a huge list for our next visit.
We found the craft beer scene. We wound up at Taco Mac for dinner the second night, thanks to the suggestion wall, and our server was so knowledgeable about beer that she let us sample an array of Georgia’s finest brews. Then, she went one step further and told us that one of the breweries was just five miles down the road, so after dinner, we headed to Jailhouse Brewing Company, where there happened to be a special event going on: a huge musical fundraiser with a band member from Collective Soul playing that evening. It was the perfect way to get a taste of the local scene, and the beer was so delicious, I brought a six-pack (and a T-shirt) back home with me.
We stocked up our wardrobes. Winter is coming, and we’re not prepared. Luckily, Tanger Outlets is just 10 minutes down the interstate from Tru by Hilton, so we found a lot of great deals at all our favorite factory stores: Banana Republic, Gap, J. Crew, Loft, Columbia and more. I am always on the lookout for a good bargain.
We headed into Atlanta and did a bit of mural-chasing. The Tru by Hilton McDonough is 30 minutes south of Atlanta, so we spent one afternoon at Ponce City Market and along the Beltline exploring Atlanta’s street art scene. There’s so much to do in the ATL, though, that you could honestly stay at this hotel a full week and just barely scratch the surface.
While, true, this hotel may target business travelers, we found it a great place for a leisure stay, as well—and met several other travelers returning from vacation and using the Tru by Hilton as a stopover for the night.
What’s the most important thing you look for in a hotel when traveling for business?