Three Weeks in a TownePlace Suites by Marriott

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Three Weeks in a TownePlace Suites by Marriott

image for Three Weeks in a TownePlace Suites by Marriott

Image: – – Macho Spouse

 

When TownePlace Suites reached out and asked if I would be interested in writing a few blog posts about their hotels, I immediately said “yes.” I always enjoy reviewing products and services I've used and appreciate, plus TownePlace offered a few free nights for my efforts.  Pssst…don't tell them, but that really wasn't necessary.

How many of you have ever stayed in one of their hotels? My first experience with a TownePlace Suite was at the Colorado Springs South location near Peterson Air Force Base.  We were preparing to PCS from Peterson to Little Rock and had run into a slight problem selling our first house.  We sold it way too fast!  I know, I know…a great problem to have, but it was still a problem.  We had no place to stay while Dana waited for her official orders to leave and that was expected to take several weeks.  Since it was the start of “PCS season,” rooms were impossible to get on base, plus I was still working my civilian job and relocating to an on-base location would've been very inconvenient.  When Dana brought up the idea of an extended stay hotel, I admit to being pretty skeptical.  We have a dog.  We are clean freaks.  We like our own space.  We need convenience.  Creature comforts such as clean, soft bedding and strong water pressure are a must.  Moving from our house to basically an efficiency apartment was not my idea of comfort!

It didn't take long for us to find TownePlace Suites through a simple internet search; their south location looked good so we felt we should give them a try. Driving up to the property helped put me more at ease since the building and landscaping looked clean and well-kept, so well-kept in fact that before checking in I asked Dana if she was sure these guys welcomed pets. Not only did they welcome our dog Brutus, they actually appeared happy to see him! I immediately got a taste of the staff's friendly professionalism once they allowed us to inspect our room before booking. I guess since we were staying there for a few weeks they wanted to make sure we would be happy with the accommodations. To my surprise the room was bigger than I expected, the king-sized bed looked very clean and firm, the carpets were in great shape, the bathroom passed my cleanliness inspection ( including a water pressure test in the shower), and the kitchenette was complete with microwave, sink, and refrigerator. I didn't take photos, but the ones on their website are accurate.


We ended up staying in that room for nearly three weeks and couldn't have asked for a better experience under the circumstances. Believe me, three weeks in a hotel is about as much as I can take, but TownePlace definitely did their part to make sure we were comfortable. Every night after work Dana and I were able to get a good workout at the hotel's gym, soak in the hot tub, and then grab some dinner. Most of the time we brought our food back to the hotel and just ate in our room with Brutus because I think he liked the company. There were a few nights we actually cooked dinner in the room, but those were simple dinners that didn't require a ton of space. We really used these three weeks as an excuse to eat out a lot more than we normally would, hey, every little bit of excitement helps pass the time! I did enjoy the breakfast every morning, a fresh waffle and banana was a great way to start my day! By the end of our stay, the staff knew our names, our schedules, and our story. They knew when we would have Brutus out of the room so they could come in and clean, but most importantly, they empathized with our situation. Leaving was a little bittersweet. I can say that those three weeks definitely put TownePlace Suites on my radar and it's a hotel brand my wife and I always search out while traveling.

 

About the Author:  Chris Pape is a male military spouse who has been happily married to his recently retired Air Force wife for nearly 12 years.  He has survived being an "odd-ball male spouse" through three deployments, four PCSs, and countless TDYs.  In 2012 he created Macho Spouse because he literally had nothing better to do, and in 2014 he was awarded the Armed Forces Insurance Air Force Spouse of the Year.  In 2014 and 2015, Air Force AETC awarded Chris the Joan Orr AETC Air Force Spouse of the Year.

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November is Military Families Appreciation Month, and the 2014 Armed Forces Insurance Branch Spouses of the Year (Branch SOYs) want to help everyone, everywhere participate in thanking and honoring military families.

Americans love our military, but many people don't quite know how best to express their gratitude. As National Guard Spouse of the Year Dr. Ingrid Herrera-Yee notes, “saying "thanks" to our military families is something that many want to do, but are at a loss as to how to do it –or in the case of Guard and Reserve, how to find us!”

So the Branch SOYs created #30Ways of Thanks to help. Each day in November, the Branch SOYs will release a video with an action item that people around the country can participate in virtually or locally, individually or in groups. Participants can hash tag #30Ways so that their messages, photos, or videos are spread far and wide. Hash tags #GratefulNation and #MilFamsRock can also be added as a short-hand way to say “You are amazing, military families!” Best of all, the entire #30Ways video collection will be stored on the Branch SOYs' YouTube channel so that it can be repeated in Novembers to come, or whenever someone is looking for a way to say “thank you” to military families.

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2015 'Thank You' and Year In Review

malemilitaryspouse_2015_YIRIt's the holiday season and to me that means spending time with family and friends while reflecting on the year that was. How many had a good year? How many of you feel as if you've accomplished, overcome, loved and laughed as much as possible? There have been a few bad years in my life where I just wanted the damn thing to finish so I could start fresh with a clean slate, it's a mindset, but we all know that reality doesn't work that way. I usually judge my life in a similar way as to how we judge football coaches, “what have you done for me lately.” My year was a good one, a net-positive. So congratulations, you get “happy Chris,” or at least “less grumpy and sarcastic Chris.”

The tremendous amount of progress within the male military spouse community is one reason why 2015 was a good year. Guys, we're finally starting to get some recognition. People, businesses, and other organizations are starting to approach us and ask for our input, insight, and yes, our business. Marketers are finally recognizing that we are a demographic worth pursuing; just check out this holiday spot from Toys R Us. (I just bought 4 gift cards for my nieces from them because of this commercial.)

In 2015, Macho Spouse was approached by the Sonoran Desert Institute's School of Firearms Technology to hold the first ever “Male Military Spouse Appreciation Day” where SDI donated a full-tuition scholarship to their popular Gunsmithing certificate course. (Male military spouses are a large demographic for them.) USAA asked for our participation to help raise awareness on the importance of life insurance during “Life Insurance Awareness Month.” Yeah, I didn't know that month existed before this opportunity either, but USAA sure knows that we exist! And Marriott really knocked us off our feet when they offered several nights worth of hotel stays in return for a few reviews on their TownePlace Suites properties. TownePlace Suites made it very clear that they are interested in helping military families who are on the road, from PCSing to family vacations, TownePlace Suites wants our business!  And it's not like this is some shabby hotel chain guys, their rooms are usually very spacious, clean, come with fully equiped kitchens, and hot breakfasts.  I was surprised to learn how many were actuallyl located near military installations, which makes them a great temporary housing option, or vacation get-a-way. In full disclosure, I dispersed their generous offering quietly among those guys who have helped keep Macho Spouse up and running over the last few years. We don't make any money here, so when a top-notch organization such as Marriott offers us some swag, I like to spread it out amongst our volunteers first. If you want access to some of this cool stuff, contact me and be prepared to help build our community. But while I'm speaking of TownePlace Suites, you guys should check them out because they're really showing their appreciation and commitment to our military community! That goes for USAA and Sonoran Desert Institute as well, these organizations aren't just talking about supporting male military spouses, they're actually doing it. So let's not forget to return this generosity in 2016.

While I'm patting others on the back, I can't forget the amazing content NextGen Military Spouse, Military.com/SpouseBuzz, and Military Spouse delivered on behalf of male military spouses in 2015. When I started Macho Spouse in late 2011/early 2012, there was nearly nothing…nothing, written for or about us male military spouses. No blogs, no websites, no Facebook pages, no nothing. Now look at us, male spouses are popping up everywhere! (We've probably had absolutely nothing to do with this trend, but I will take full credit.) So despite terrorism, politics, war, and racial unrest, life hasn't been all bad this year. It's been good enough for me to crack a cold one, light a cigar, sit back and reflect on how far we've come and how many goals are still left to accomplish. Don't worry, I won't be consuming and driving while reflecting, Dana and I have already booked our New Year's Eve room at the San Antonio Riverwalk TownePlace Suites. Happy 2015 everyone, have a safe holiday season!



 

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