Honestly, the small town of Ennis is close enough to Dallas and Fort Worth that you really don’t have to book a night at the Holiday Inn Express and Suites. However, sleeping over does have benefits. Ennis hosts several fantastic festivals throughout the year, and it’s great to stay to the end of Friday night, and get an early start on Saturday without having to drive between towns.
Greetings from Ennis, Texas!
If you don’t know a lot about Texas, something you’ll learn quickly is that it is a big state. And while the big cities, like Dallas or Houston, are well known, there are far more of little towns dotting the countryside. Ennis is one such town, about 30 minutes southeast of Dallas, or an hour from Fort Worth, in the same direction.
This city of about 20,000 people has a cultural footprint far larger than its 33-square-mile area. It is officially Texas’ Bluebonnet City, hosting one of the country’s largest Bluebonnet Festivals every April. In May, it’s the National Polka Festival, followed by the Fourth of July Freedom Fest. And during the holidays, the city lights up with Ennis Lights, including an illuminated nighttime parade! The city stays busy, with events that draw visitors from near and far.
Why We Chose the Holiday Inn Express and Suites
Although it’s a small town, the Holiday Inn Express is not the only hotel in Ennis. A handful of name-brand hotels are present: Comfort Inn, Quality Inn, Motel 6, and La Quinta Inn and Suites by Windham, are all huddled near the intersection of Interstate 45 and Ennis Avenue, one of the town’s major thoroughfares. Being right off the Interstate makes them easy to find, and popular with road-trippers looking for affordable stays just outside of DFW proper.
The first time we decided to stay in Ennis was while attending one of the annual festivals with a weekend full of activities. We wanted to use the visit as a springboard for exploring the town and area, so turning it into a short getaway was ideal. While most of the hotels in Ennis are fairly comparable, being a part of the IHG family was the deciding factor for us. We got a great room rate, which made the additional IHG One Reward points all the better.
The fact that breakfast was included, and short drive (or walk) to the downtown festival area sealed the deal for that first stay. The experience was good enough for us to return, but will we still be coming back? More on that, later.
Staying at the Ennis Holiday Inn Express and Suites
On separate occasions, we have stayed in both King Standard and King Suite rooms, and found them both quite roomy. We will explore the whole hotel, starting with our rooms.
As you would expect, the suite is substantially larger, with a dedicated sitting area with a sofa and work desk, a coffee station/wet bar, a second sitting area with a chair by the window, opposite a dinette table. In the smaller Standard room, there was still a small sitting area and a large desk, but no sofa or dining table. Importantly (to us, at least) there was also no coffee station. There was, however, a Keurig machine on the desk.
Both rooms featured king size beds, but you can choose from several options, including a queen-sized standard, standard with two queens or doubles, or a suite with two queen beds. Additional roll-away beds are available for a fee. The hotel does have connecting rooms available, but should be requested when you make your reservation, if needed.
Beige to the Bone
Beige is a funny thing. Sometimes the word is used in a less-than-kind manner, indicating something is not bad, but not very exciting. Beige is plain. Ordinary. Beige and brown are also the predominant colors of the in-room décor, which definitely does not make things more lively.
In-room amenities were about what you’d expect from a mid-tier hotel, including the brand’s standard Terra Green bath soap and hair products. There are Keurig coffee makers in every room with basic coffee and tea pods. We received two complimentary bottles of water, and each room had an ice bucket and plastic glasses. Nothing bad, but nothing to get excited about.
Also standard in all rooms is a mini-fridge (not stocked), microwave, and iron/ironing board. Missing was an in-room safe.
Although the hotel had been recently renovated within a year of our first visit in 2017, our King Suite was already showing signs of wear. In particular, there was paint peeling in the bathroom, and caulking seemed to show signs of water damage.
The Hotel Beyond Our Rooms
In a word, more beige, though the color palate in the lobby is at least more colorful.
The Ennis Holiday Inn Express brand is considered a limited-service hotel, meaning that you should not expect things like room service, or even full-service dining. That said, Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express hotels are known for their included “On the Go” Breakfast for the whole family. The breakfast buffet is served daily in the lobby dining area; you can eat it there, or take it with you. In addition to a continental buffet, hot options include eggs, bacon, and sausage. It’s not what you would call a “dining experience,” but it will fuel you up for the day’s adventures.
When it’s time to work off that breakfast, the hotel does have a modest fitness facility near the front desk, and a pool. If needed, laundry facilities are also available.
And finally, the hotel has free parking in a well-let lot surrounding the hotel. With doors on two ends, plus the main lobby door, it’s easy getting your luggage in and out.
Staff and Service at the Ennis Holiday Inn Express and Suites
What a difference time makes. On our first visit to this hotel, the staff was fantastic. It was just after a renovation, and the small staff seemed as fresh as the newly painted lobby. The desk crew handled just about everything, from requests for towels and toiletries, to luggage storage and check-in/out, and they did it with a smile. Service was prompt, friendly, and accurate.
Flash forward, and subsequent visits have not been truly bad, but the staff has been very hit-and-miss. Some agents are upbeat and professional, others are indifferent. The worst experience was standing at the front desk for several minutes without even being acknowledged. This experience seems to be reflected in many reviews that we’ve seen since our last stay, which seem to have trended in the wrong direction. In the end, nothing has been bad enough to make us vow never to return, but also not good enough to ensure we will.
The Ennis Holiday Inn Express is very conveniently located, just off of Interstate 45 at Ennis Avenue, the main east-west thoroughfare in town. There are a variety of fast food options nearby. The downtown district of Ennis is less than 1.5 miles away.
Holiday Inn Express hotels are considered a mid-market economy brand. It is not quite budget, but solidly affordable with an average rate of about $125 per night.
This hotel is classified by GIATA as a 2-Star hotel, while Travel Weekly considers it a Level 3 (of 10) Superior Tourist Class facility.
The Ennis Holiday Inn Express is part of the IHG family of hotel brands. Your stay will earn IHG One Rewards. Redemptions start at 20,000 points per night, and average 23,000 points per night. Most weekend nights (Friday, Saturday) are blacked out. Rates are substantially higher during local events, ranging as high as 86,000 points per night.
Trip Advisor gives the Ennis Holiday Inn Express a rating of 4 (out of five), though we have noticed the number of extremely poor reviews has been consistently high since 2020. The hotel fares better on Expedia, where it has a 2.5-star rating, and a review average of 7.4 out of 10, with Good / Excellent reviews far outnumbering Poor / Terrible.
How Would We Rate the Ennis Holiday Inn Express and Suites?
Overall, we’d give this hotel three stars out of five. The rooms are comfortable and clean, though some touch-ups are overdue. The public areas seem to be in better condition, but nothing really stands out. The same could be said for the staff.
In the end, the question is whether we would stay there again, or recommend it to friends. After our first stay, it was an easy yes. After repeat visits, we are not so sure. We stayed initially for the IHG One Rewards points, but we are not sure that is enough incentive anymore. There are, after all, other options in town. The question is, are they any better? We are willing to find out before booking the Ennis Holiday Inn Express again.
Disclaimer: This review was neither solicited nor compensated by IHG or Holiday Inn Express and Suites. Our stays were booked anonymously, and all opinions are our own.
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