Woot Woot Here Comes Summer


I bet you’re curious…  Yes, this summer at the Jersey Shore is shaping up to be fantastic!  Schools are letting out in the upcoming days and it is time to think Summer Thoughts, namely Firework Displays.

Kaboom is still on the kabash for this year in Red Bank due to organizational and financial issues, but there are still plenty of nearby towns planning on providing spectacular visual entertainment for you and your family.

The longest running event during the Independence Day holiday at the Jersey Shore is the Atlantic Highlands Fireman Fair.  This unique town offers tremendous water views, great restaurants, a marina and fishing boats available to charter throughout the year.  The fair will be going on from July 2-July 6 at Municipal Harbor on Simon Lake Drive.  Circle your calendar for Fireworks on Friday, July 5th with a rain date of Saturday July 7th.

Hazlet is always a winner with fireworks.  Start your holiday weekend early by watching the Wednesday July 3rd display.  Get to Veterans Park, grab a prime spot and wait patiently for the sun to set. (Rain date Friday, July 5th)

Spend the day in Keansburg at the amusement and water parks.  Spend your night ooooing and aaahhhing at the colors exploding across the black canvas of the night sky.   They offer a double feature – Wednesday and Thursday July 3rd and July 4th at dusk – Fishing Pier and Boardwalk

Long Branch proudly presents Oceanfest on Thursday July 4th – all day free family fun can be found.  This annual festival is a crowd pleaser “for shore” with activities happening all day long starting at 10am.  What can be better than good old fashioned family fun at the Promenade in Long Branch!?!  Don’t forget to stop at Strollo’s Lighthouse and cool off or celebrate with an authentic Italian ice or delicious homemade soft serve ice cream.

Union Beach, one of the most devastated Monmouth County communities from Sandy’s wrath, did not have any plans to conduct their annual fireworks display.  Those residents have spent the last 210 days rebuilding their town and their spirits.  One resident entered a contest for a free community fireworks display and Won!  They have not yet posted a date for this wonderful gift that has been bestowed upon them.   Be sure to come and celebrate their victory in determination.  You will never meet a more deserving bunch of people.

So pack up the car and the kiddos – shoot, we’re pet friendly at the Comfort Inn Middletown, so bring the family pet too – and head on down the shore to Exit 117.  There is something to do every day here and we look forward to creating Summer 2013 memories with you!

Cause down the shore everything’s alright


The Jersey Shore is alive and kicking.  Not to mention we are stronger than ever!

We have been working so very hard to make your trip down the shore as exciting as you remember in years past.  Our beaches are open and ready for you.  The landscape may have changed slightly, but not our determination.  We are still here and we want you here too!

Hotels are staffed and awaiting your arrival, restaurants are bringing out their best summer recipes, the boardwalks have been replaced, the amusement rides have been repaired and the game vendors have all the stuffed animals your kids can desire.  All we need to get our summer started is you!

Take the familiar ride down the parkway.  Feel the excitement as your destination exit comes into sight.  And when the kids ask from the backseat “Are we there yet?”  Without hesitation, you can say, “Yes!”

Welcome back to the Jersey Shore!!!!

Value is in the eye of the beholder


Much discussion is spent on value.  Value is equally important to the consumer and the merchant.  The merchant wants to provide a value so more people return and the consumer wants value because they want to feel good about the money about to be spent.

Value means different things to people.  To some it can represent a product that is well made and will hold up over the test of time despite the cost.  To others value is getting the most “product” for the least amount of money spent.

Hotels use the verbiage “Value Added” when referring to their properties.  In the beginning, hotels simply offered you a place to sleep.  The guest of yesterday was looking for a place to spend the night.   Now hotels offer so much more than a place to rest your head.

So let’s get into what is considered value (in the general scope) of hotel offerings.

Pre-booking rates/Advance Purchase rates:

This is a value for the committed guest.  You know when you want to stay and you know your travel dates are rigid.  Advance Purchase rates rewards the guest with a discount for being committed.  Choice Hotels offers Advance Purchase rates at their hotel properties.  Bookings can be made 7, 14, or 21 days in advance of your arrival date.

Travel Programs/Loyalty Programs:

Hotels and Loyalty Programs seem to go hand-in-hand nowadays.  Hotels offer points, miles, free nights and the like to get you to return to them time and again.  The best programs offer redemptions that are easy to redeem and no blackout dates.  Choice Privileges is one of those programs.   You earn points and can use them however and wherever you like.

Free Stuff:

Back in the day hotel rooms did not have refrigerators, microwaves, hairdryers, or irons/ironing boards in the actual room (and we are only going back 14 years).  Slowly these items made their way into the guest room because it created value to the guest.  Now you find all those things plus HSIA in most midscale hotels, and they are included in your rate.  Breakfast is an evolving value add product.  Free Breakfast whether a simple continental or a full hot breakfast (like we offer at the Comfort Inn Middletown) add value to the guest.  These guests no longer have to spend additional money on breakfast so it makes it easier to budget your travel expenses.

These conveniences all add value to your stay.  However, you may not find value in all those things each and every time you travel.  You might not eat breakfast in the morning so it might not matter to you if breakfast is included in your rate.  But if you want it – it is there for the taking.

Hugs….


Yesterday a favorite guest of mine pulled into the parking lot. Mr. M. has been coming here for as long as I can remember, always gracing us with a smile and a cheery hello.
It was no different yesterday, except for one thing… an embracing hug. In a world where no one has any idea of who is around them, I found this personal gesture to be refreshing.
Hugs make you feel good and they certainly make the recipient feel good too. I can’t recall the last time I was greeted with a hug that didn’t come from a family member. What truly made it different is that it was a hug offered through sincerity versus obligation. Hotels are different – you are welcoming someone technically into your “home”. You treat them like family. You have time to learn about them; what they like to eat, where they enjoy spending their free time, why they come into your area. They become more than a guest in a hotel room.
So I would really like to say Thank You so much Mr. M. It is a pleasure to know you, it is a pleasure to see you on a regular basis and it was a pleasure to be the recipient of a hug!  It was a great day at the Comfort Inn Middletown

Non recognized holiday soon approaching


Did you know that August 6th marks the halfway point of summer? I was sitting here thinking how quickly the months are passing. Just six months ago we were knee-deep, nay, chest-deep in snow and this week we are looming on a heat wave! How quickly time passes and there are still so many things on my to do list. As I gazed upon our inventory I want to remind everyone that Labor Day is right around the corner and if you haven’t already made your plans you should get the ball rolling and start your end of summer planning. I am not wishing for summer to end, but I would hate for all our wonderful guests to miss out on getting the room of their choice at the hotel. The beach will be open, light house tours on Sandy Hook will be available, a delicious frozen drink can be found at the Outback Steakhouse, you can catch up on some reading while sitting out by our pool, plan a visit to some or all of the beautiful parks nearby, set a date night and enjoy a show at the Count Basie Theatre, take a stroll through Red Bank and enjoy the nightlife or maybe some boutique and/or antique shopping is your thing. I would be remiss not to mention the numerous fairs hosted in nearby towns. (I will have to list those for you.) I am taking one day at a time, but it always seems like something has to be put off onto another day. Don’t let the summer slip away from you. Do all you can each day so when you retire for the evening you feel fulfilled at what you accomplished!

Jersey Shore Events May 6 and 7, 2011


Another week has gone by and we’re almost to coveted weekend freedom, hurray! This week we were able to celebrate Star Wars Day on Wednesday, May 4th (May the Fourth be with you and many more thanks to TJ at Shore Flicks for bringing that bit of funny to my day) and of course May 5th brought us “Uno, Dos, Tres, Quatro, Cincoooo de Mayooo” cheers. It’s 10pm on Thursday and over at Comfort Inn  Middletown we have nothing but happy weekend thoughts dancing in our heads. Here’s what’s going on at our neck of the shore this weekend.

Pink Bank events continue through Saturday, May 7th as Red Bank, Fair Haven and Monmouth Beach spend the week raising awareness for breast cancer.

The first of many Atlantic Highlands Farmers Markets  (a sure sign of warmer weather) starts on Friday, May 6th, 2011 at Veterans Park. Market offers fresh produce, plants, polish foods, fresh breads, pickled items, gourmet nuts and dried fruits, baked goods, gluten-free baked goods, chowders, fresh mozzarella and fresh cut Jersey flowers. It runs from 12:00pm to 6:00pm on Fridays through early October.

First Saturday in Asbury Park this month features “Winner’s Circle” where Asbury Park tries to become THE Most Visited Small City on the East Coast with VISIT & WIN! Register your visit at these locations for a chance to win a prize on the spot. Prize drawings on the hour at 6pm, 7pm, 8pm and 9pm.

Join the party at 6:00pm at Watermark Located on the Boardwalk at First Avenue. A beachfront bar with music and a comfortable, refined yet relaxed atmosphere. At 7:00pm it moves to Asbury Galleria  located in the Grand Arcade at the Asbury Park Boardwalk. If Asbury Park memorabilia and apparel are what you are looking for, this is the place. Magnets, Key Chains, Mugs, T-Shirts, Sweatshirts, Caps and more. Then onto Words! at 8:00pm – 612 Cookman Avenue. The finale is at 9:00pm at Johnny Mac’s at 208 Main St where the grand prize of  “A Day at the Races” will be awarded. Have a drink, catch up with old friends, enjoy the unique decorations and play a game of skeeball. (For prizes awarded at on-the-spot drawings; you must be present to win. Prizes graciously donated by retail sponsors)

New Jersey Vietnam Veterans Remembrance Day Ceremony on Saturday, May 7th at 11:00 AM.  The ceremony is rain or shine. The guest speaker is Representative Rush Holt who has represented Central New Jersey in Congress since 1999.

Taste of Sea Bright  Saturday, May. 7, 2011 from noon to 5:30 pm rain or shine. Tickets are $40 and are all-inclusive of all 17 stops and includes admission bracelet, map/passport, all food, drinks, cocktails, unlimited trolley/bus rides throughout the event – and you’ll even get a complimentary SBBA backpack to carry all the goodies you’ll receive from the stops on the map!

Whatever you do, have a fabulous and relaxing weekend. We hope to see you for a good night’s sleep at our Inn.  We’re working on some great summer specials so stay tuned. What’s on your calendar for the weekend?

Middletown NJ Outback Steakhouse Renovations Nearing Completion – Picture Post


One  of the selling points of  Comfort Inn Middletown is our proximity to the neighboring Outback Steakhouse. With the restaurant renovation nearly complete, I snuck over there (well, not really) with Spiro today to have a look-see.

In speaking with someone working the floor, this the first Outback in the region to be updated with this most recent package and the staff and management are very pleased with the changes.

I only had my iPhone with me so the quality of the pictures are of the iPhone 3Gs variety. It’s a sneak peek nonetheless. To be honest, you don’t have to sneak over there to see it, they are open for business and have been throughout the duration of the facelift.

Starting from the top and working left to right:

1. Outback themed sign outside the restaurant placed at the  entrance closest to the hotel.

2. The “17 Signature Spices” used to season the steaks on display near the front entrance hostess area.

3. Some booths were removed from the dining area to make room for more tables and a more open seating space.

4. The bar area has been updated with new decor, lighting and back bar.  Warm wood tones and festive pictures surround the section.  There is also a new waiting area with a flat screen TV and leather seating by the door.

5. “Great Barrier Rita” and “Bloomin’ Onion displays. (In case you didn’t know already, here’s a hotel secret: If you check-in for the first time at the Comfort Inn Middletown on Foursquare and show the Front Desk Agent, we’ll gladly give you a voucher for a FREE Bloomin’ Onion!)

6. New booths separated from the bar area.

Is a nearby restaurant important to you when making your overnight plans? Comfort Inn Middletown and Outback Steakhouse are a great combo. A comfortable hotel with friendly people and a highly popular restaurant are hard to beat when looking to meet lodging needs.  We look forward to welcoming you.