Travel Tuesday: Tru by Hilton Hotel Review (Wichita, Kansas)

Over the past several months now, I’ve reviewed a number of hotel properties for my Travel Tuesday series. And while these locations have technically spanned the country, they’ve definitely over-indexed for Las Vegas, Nevada. Well, today, I’m changing things up a bit by looking at a hotel located in middle America — like, near literally as center as you can get — yet focusing more on the hotel brand than this particular property itself. Join me as I share my experience and recent say at the Tru by Hilton location in Wichita, Kansas.

Tru by Hilton – Wichita, Kanas Hotel Room Review

What is Tru?

The reason I was curious about staying at a Tru is that, relatively speaking, the brand is fairly new. When a Tru location was announced for my hometown of Springfield, Missouri, I remember reading in the local paper that the brand was aimed at Millennials or those in the “Millennial mindset.” I still don’t quite know what that means, but it’s clear that Tru does have a “vibe” and aesthetic it’s going for. Basically, I’d describe it as a budget-friendly brand that utilizes clever techniques to save money, while also inserting playful touches that make it feel less “cheap.” Hopefully Hilton is okay with that description, but that’s the best I’ve got.

Booking

Since our trip to Kanas (which we made to go pick up our dog) was fairly last minute, I first started by looking at hotels in the area via Hilton’s site. After seeing Tru was an option, I gravitated toward it for the curiosity I described above. With a total rate of about $120 for a Friday night, it wasn’t the absolute cheapest property to be found in Wichita but it seemed reasonable.

Seeing as I had some extra Hilton points lying around, I actually decided to cash in a few for our stay. Thanks to the brand’s option to do nearly any mix of points and cash, I decided to bring my total down to a nice, round 100k by redeeming 10,000 points. This brought my chargeable total down to $63.07 for the night. Not bad!

Check-in/Arrival

Normally, although I definitely appreciate mobile key technology, I still prefer to check-in at the desk and get physical keys. However, since we were arriving late into the night, I decided to check in on the Hilton app and request a digital key. It turned out that this was a good move because, when we entered the lobby, no one was currently at the desk. This was no problem as we were able to head right to our room and employ the digital key without issue.

The room

From the moment we entered our room, it was clear that there was a lot to like about it. First, we were taken aback by how high the ceiling in this particular room was. I have to imagine this isn’t the standard, but it definitely made an impression. After that, we started to see a theme which I can summarize as “economy of space.” For example, instead of a closet or bureau, there was a small, open hanging area for clothes. Elsewhere, the bed offered a cut-out at the foot where luggage could be stored. There was also a roll-out desk that could easily be tucked out of the way. All of these touches impressed me and made the room feel larger than it probably actually was.

Moving into the bathroom, the bright colors and fun patterns definitely seemed to fit the overall (and aforementioned) vibe of the property. Additionally, the shower was sleek and modern — way above what I’d imagine you’d find at similarly-priced hotels. The unique twist here came in the form of the toiletries: the oddly named “Not Soap, Radio.” As a point of fact, these squeezable bottles are, indeed, soap and shampoo and do not dispense tunes. In any case, these bottles were another economical choice and reduce waste compared to the traditional hotel mini bottles. Also, they smelled great. Plus, the shower provided what may have been the best water pressure I’ve experienced in a hotel room. Seriously, this was borderline Kramer-with-the-elephant-showerhead-level stuff.

Back in the main room, I was also excited to see that a mini-fridge was available for guest use. Moving to the bed, perhaps it was the four-hour drive late at night and knowledge that we had to get up early in the morning, but we both slept great! Thus, I’m inclined to say that the bed was also just comfortable.

All in all, I really liked this room. I’d say it was minimalist but with flare. Honestly, that’s actually a pretty great descriptor of how I want to be — so, yeah, I dug this.

Breakfast and the lobby

The lobby at Tru starts to make that Millennial mention sensical. Then again, they may be a bit late for my generation as I’d compare it more to a dorm lobby, which would put the age firmly in Gen Z at this point. In any case, in addition to brightly-colored couches and chairs, you’d also find oversized Connect 4, a pool table, and oh so many outlets. Sure, most of this is pretty gimmicky, but that lattermost feature is pretty nice — and I might even consider trying to work out of the lobby if I were spending more time at a Tru property.

Also in the lobby is where you’ll find the complimentary breakfast. Per usual, this includes many of your continental favorites such as cereal, oatmeal, fruits, eggs, etc. One notable twist was that, instead of the customary waffle maker, this Tru had a pancake machine that guests could fire up for fresh flapjacks. Alas, on this particular day, all I was really aiming for was some coffee, which was also available. Somewhat disappointingly, though, it was just a press pot of regular or decaf. While the coffee was… fine… I couldn’t help but think this could have been elevated a bit to better fit the demo. Perhaps one of those grind-on-demand machines that many gas stations now employ would have worked better.

Final Thoughts on Tru by Hilton (Wichita, Kanas)

As I mentioned in my “room” section, I ended up being a big fan of the Tru by Hilton we stayed it. In fact, I’m not only curious to check out the Tru we have in town but will also keep an eye out for the brand on future trips we take. Regardless of whether or not Tru’s “Millennial-minded” vision really came to fruition, I think what they ended up with is a great mid-tier option for travelers.


Also published on Medium.

Author

Kyle Burbank

Kyle is a freelance writer and author whose first book, "The E-Ticket Life" is now available on Amazon. In addition to his weekly "Money at 30" column on Dyer News, he is also the editorial director and a writer for the Disney fan site LaughingPlace.com and the founder of Money@30.com.

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