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  1. InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) was founded in 2003, and is an English hotel conglomerate owning such brands as Holiday Inn, Kimpton, Staybridge Suites, Crowne Plaza, as well as several others. They're based in Denham, Buckinghamshire, England, and currently operate over 5,000 hotels worldwide, most of which are franchises. Believe it or not, the origins of the company can be traced back to 1777. Practically speaking, being an IHG Rewards Club member (the IHG Rewards Club is the world's largest hotel loyalty program) can result in many unwanted emails unless you're pro-active in preventing it - I just now changed my subscription preferences. I suggest using a "secondary" email account with them (I personally have a secondary email account that is used exclusively for things "such as this," but even that needs to be weeded out from-time-to-time, in order to prevent so much unwanted spam that it's unusable). Nevertheless, if you can control the spam, or don't mind the spam going to an email account used for this purpose, it's a worthwhile group for special offers and discounts (that said, I don't think I've ever taken advantage of one).
  2. I spent two nights here last weekend, and can say - comfortably - that if you're staying in the eastern peninsula (the "Route 4 side," as opposed to the western peninsula - the "Route 5 side"), you have two solid choices for lodging, both being polar opposites of each other - you'll remember the B&B ten-years later; you won't remember the hotel ten-years later: 1) If you're there for charm, romance, solitude, and a classic B&B: There's Solomon's Victorian Inn, and nothing else that even comes close. The location is perfect - smack dab in the middle of charming, bucolic, quiet, residential Solomon's at the southern tip near Sandy Point (that link will show you the relative locations of the two hotels vis-a-vis Sandy Point), one of the nicest places I've seen recently for a pleasant stroll (you'll see what I mean when you get there) - it's ultra-charming, and it's most likely worth paying the highest charge to get a top-floor room for a memorable stay (top-floor suites were booking for $250 when I went, and they looked like they were worth the money). 2) If you're there with children, want to be left alone, or just don't want to stay at a B&B for whatever reason, the Holiday Inn Solomon's Conference Center & Business Hotel is your answer. In particular, the upcharge to stay in one of the nicest suites in the hotel - room 527 on the top floor - which is one of very few suites having a balcony (I couldn't really tell if the ones on the ends did or not) - room 527 is worth the upcharge, in our case, it was $155 a night compared to $110 for a normal king room, and was the best $45 per night I've spent in a good, long while. The nice thing about staying for longer than one day is that days 2-x are full, 24-hour days, and you get full enjoyment of your surroundings; a one night stay has a 3 PM check-in and an 11 AM check-out. The hotel has lousy Holiday Inn linens and towels that need to be replaced, the furnishings are clean but pedestrian, the bathrooms are completely ordinary; but the view over the creek is splendid, you're on the top floor, the suite is quite large and irregularly shaped, and it really feels like you're staying in a substantial room. The swimming pool is the focal point of the hotel, and is a very large rectangle, is often guarded, and has an outdoors bar - it's packed full of people during the summertime, enjoying family time together and the outdoor bar. There isn't much more you can realistically expect for $155 a night, and it's solely because of the linens, towels, furnishings, middling bathrooms, and the fact that we had one of the nicest rooms in the hotel (it was close to being a four-star room), that I can only bring myself to rate the hotel-as-a-whole three stars - but it's a solid three stars with no hidden expenses (there's plenty of free parking, free continental breakfast and happy-hour drink, and free WiFi (which isn't the strongest signal I've ever had, but it's acceptable)). Customers get one coupon, per day, per person, for a free continental breakfast, and a second coupon for a free happy-hour drink Mon-Thu. If you can get hold of a schematic (I have one as the last picture below), there are suites on either end of the hallways (ours was in the middle) that appear slightly bigger, and are perhaps slightly more expensive - according to the picture, those look to be exactly triple the normal room size; the ones in the middle are about 2.5-times normal room size). I couldn't tell if the corner suites had balconies, but the center suites do, and although it was a little grubby, it was still a beautiful view - one you could admire through the window if you didn't wish to go outside. Oh, and by the way, the coffee at this hotel is simply *abysmal* - not just the "bathroom coffee" in the rooms, but even the coffee in the lobby - it's atrocious - as bad as any hotel coffee I can remember - and enough to make you pine away for Starbucks, I'm sorry to say. There's a kitchenette, but if you want a burner (instead of just a microwave), they have to bring you up a hot-plate, which they'll do on request - cooking your own meals here isn't a bad idea, as Southern Maryland isn't a restaurant haven. A warning for people driving to Saint Mary's City, then coming back to this hotel during afternoon rush hour: It took me nearly 90 minutes to get from Saint Mary's City, across the two-lane Thomas Johnson Bridge, and back to the hotel - which is about how long it took me to drive there from Arlington - make sure to time your trips well, and think about seeing the western peninsula either "on the way to the beach" or "on the way home" because summertime weekday rush hour is Traffic Hell getting over that bridge. Learn from my terrible commute, and do not ignore this warning. Here are some pictures of the room (bear in mind, this was one of the nicest in the hotel): \ Note in the final picture, we had the suite with the red dot, in the middle - the ones on the end appear larger, and may also have balconies - you should ask when you call. It shouldn't take much to see that the patios themselves are no great shakes, but they do have beautiful views. Note also that the outdoor pictures confirm that there are no balconies in regular rooms - the very first outdoor picture is why you pay the upcharge to get the suite - whether or not that's worth it is entirely up to you.
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