Element Arundel Mills
Hanover, Maryland
When one usually thinks of a hotel room, it's a very specific setup - bed, television, maybe a sofa or couch and a bathroom to complete the space. You have to admit it can be a little cramped especially when on longer vacations or business trips. Extended stay hotels are a more spacious option, and my travelling companion and I chose to stay at a property with a very stylish approach. The Element Arundel Mills, a ten kilometre or so drive from BWI Airport near the Baltimore Washington Parkway.
Any extended stay property can simply add space with cheap appliances and wind up making the experience even more dreary as a result, but this property has attempted to add hints of style into the equation.
Check in took place at a desk that was not bigger than a tuck shop or kitchen island adjacent to a closet. They seem to allocate the difference in space at guest registration to make an open concept lounge and hangout area that glistens in the sun with tall windows and modern minimalist furniture. The staff were joyful, maybe even playful conversing with each other while checking me in. I even quipped a joke or two to join the fray. I'm not too much into the new age way of thinking but it felt like they really loved being there, and they've proven that having an enjoyable environment to work in can actually transmit positivity and good vibes to the guest. Good customer service, after all doesn't have to be staid and quiet.
The first element of decor I noticed was the tall dark grey corridors that are linked to the suites, with fancy ornaments that reminded me of a condo building I once visited often in Downtown Toronto. The high ceiling alone made the place feel very spacious, and by the time I got to my door and entered my suite, I wanted to wind down thanks to those dark influencing colours. This feature extends into the living space, with greys contrasting with earthy colours.
It's just like a bachelor apartment rather than a hotel room, which could be beneficial for those weary of staying in standard dreary hotel rooms for longer periods of time. It's as if the pages of an IKEA catalogue exploded into the room with a functioning kitchen featuring a fridge and dishwasher (a rarity even with direct extended stay competitors). There's even an abnormally large couch that doubles as a sofa bed. The King bed, with dual night stands, had a leather headboard if you wanted a middle between lounging on the sofa and sleeping.
The piece de resistance is most definitely the bathroom with spa-like qualities designed in such a modern way that I feel like emulating the same atmosphere at home. Dark slate floors, rain showerhead, even a toilet that was of a chic design.
A number of hiccups took place during our stay - there were no pots and pans in the room so front desk literally had to bring in a pot and wok still in its new packaging. The free shuttle was a pleasure with the nicest driver this side of the Potomac, yet we had to ask for bedding for the sofa bed which still wasn't warm enough (I lent my comforter from the King bed). The kitchen sink was clogged, but the man from maintenance was efficient at fixing that.
It was quite nice staying at a hotel that really doesn't feel like a hotel for a change!
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