In more than years of travelling I have easily spent 1,000+ nights in hundreds of different hotels/motels across some thirty states and a dozen different countries. I know people who travel much more frequently than that. Still, even at the level of my own travel experiences I have developed an appreciation for certain hotels and motels. Over the past ten years I have tried to stay at Hampton Inns as often as I can. Listed below are the Top Five Reasons I Like Hampton Inns (in reverse order):

5. Great Value

I find Hampton Inns to be a great value for the money. They are consistent in their quality, and they are reasonable in price (most that I have stayed at run between $75 and $99).

4. Great Breakfasts

Hampton Inns offer a hearty and free breakfast from 6-10 a.m. that often includes eggs, sausage; make your own waffles and other kinds of road food that I tend to prefer. Of course, they also have the healthy alternatives for those who prefer that, too!

3. Curved Shower Rods

It was at a Hampton Inn some years ago where I first saw what I think is the greatest invention since fire: The curved shower curtain bar. I like having a little elbow room when I’m in the shower, and I was forever batting my elbow against shower curtains that came straight down. The curved shower curtain bar was clearly invented with me in mind. If I should ever find out the name of the inventor of the curved shower rod I just might launch a campaign to name a national holiday for him or her.

2. Really Good Coffee and Tea Offerings 24-Hours a Day

I know some people who like the hot cookies that Hampton Inn offers throughout the evening (our now grown sons were once among them, many years ago). However, the thing that I appreciate about Hampton Inn is the impressive coffee/tea service that they make available 24 hours a day. You can get your coffee in regular, bold, or decaf. There is hot chocolate (instant, but still something of a treat for young ones). I prefer tea, myself, and Hampton Inns always have between 6 and 12 different offerings of teabags, including my personal favorite, Earl Grey. At the end of a long drive or flight, a hot cup of Earl Grey hits the spot.

1. A Company That Cares

I have spoken with a number of folks who work at Hampton Inns and they have said things that have led me to believe that it is a company that cares for its employees, and for its community. Several years ago I began to notice signs promoting awareness of their efforts to save landmarks along Route 66 and elsewhere. On their website I see a listing of their “Save a Landmark” campaign in which Hampton Inn workers will go out and refurbish run-down landmarks in small towns and along the roads across America. While I haven’t yet seen the word “servant-leader” appear yet in their literature, Hampton Inns strike me as having something of a servant’s heart—and another reason I choose to stay with them when I can.

--Larry Spears [Thursday, Jan. 14, 2010]