By Paul Giambroni
It’s not every day that I have something positive to say about a hotel chain. After 6½ years of eating, drinking, and delivering this paper along the poker trail I have seen the highs and lows of Northern California hotel lodging. I’ve stayed at so many different hotels it takes me a minute to remember what city I’m in when I wake up in the morning. And, like anyone else, I’m always looking for the best deal. But when you get right down to it, what is the best deal?
Is the best deal the cheapest price? The biggest room? The best location? Clearly, the best deal depends on the wants and needs of the individual. Speaking for myself, I am not a cross-section of a demographic that can be plugged into a database for further analysis. I’m a road warrior with a bundle of poker papers in one hand and a slice of pizza in the other. I drive thousands of miles and stay up for days at a time with one goal in mind—get those papers out and keep the card game going.
When you get down to the nitty gritty, the best deal for me consists of a large bed, a hot tub, a good breakfast, and a short drive to the local casino. I can’t afford to waste precious time fighting traffic just to get to the fishing hole. With this highly subjective criteria as my yardstick, I hereby declare Comfort Suites to be the Best Deal for 2012.
In the East Bay Area I had an excellent stay with Castro Valley Comfort Suites. Their GM, Chandan, puts our paper out likes it’s the good china—in the middle of the lobby where everyone can see it. The only thing hotter than their breakfast was the indoor hot tub. Between that and the Comfort Select bed I slept in, I probably added another week to my lifespan. Best of all, The Palace Poker Casino in Hayward is only five minutes away. The Oaks Club in Emeryville and the Livermore Casino are about 10.
In the Clear Lake Area, the Ukiah Comfort Inn and Suites is the place I call home when I’m in town to visit Coyote Valley Casino. The GM, Taher, runs the newest hotel building in the area and his staff, consisting of Ava, Hector, and Jamie, has been most helpful. More than once I have had Fedex deliver 5,000 poker papers to their lobby in advance of my arrival. The stack of boxes waiting for me to pick up represents the Clear Lake circulation. The size of the pile resembles a small Mayan pyramid.
It’s at times like this (when you know you’re pushing the envelope) that you are likely to see a hotel staff’s true colors. In this case they shined—like they see a pyramid of poker papers in their lobby every day. Oh … and the huge comfortable bed, the hot breakfast and the heated pool didn’t hurt either. Neither did the fact that they are only five minutes from Coyote Valley Casino.
Last, but certainly not least, I need to mention the Comfort Suites at River Park in Fresno. Since I had such good luck with the other locations, I felt good about walking in the front door and introducing myself to Mahesh, the GM. As it turns out, this particular location is right in the middle of Greater Fresno’s six different casino locations. From here, I could easily hit Table Mountain, Chukchansi, Clovis 500 Club, Tachi Palace, Mono Wind, and Club One.
While providing the usual exceptional bed, hot breakfast, heated pool and hot tub that I’ve become accustomed to, they also had one very unique amenity that I had not seen before. Every Monday through Saturday evening they host a “Manager’s Reception” with complimentary wine and hors d’oeuvres. This provides guests an opportunity to say “hi” to Mahesh who, from what I gather, treats his guests’ feedback like they’re gold nuggets.
To all of our casino advertisers throughout Northern California, please consider contacting your local Comfort Inn and Suites to accommodate your players and arrange shuttle service. And for you individual road warriors out there, don’t look anywhere else. Comfort Inn and Suites won’t let you down.