The Holiday Inn at Rushmore Plaza in Rapid City, South Dakota, was an unexpected shot of luxury on our family road trip earlier this month. I’m not talking ‘Four Seasons’ luxury; but luxury compared to the 12 hour packed car ride it took to get there, and luxury compared to the 3 nights of tent camping we had to look forward to.
We had planned to spend our first night in a hotel rather than to start the camping right away. We would be getting to the area in the evening and it would not be feasible to set up camp in the waning daylight, with a quartet of freshly un-couped kids. Using awardmapper.com I quickly found the only hotel that could accommodate us was the Holiday Inn due to its 6-person “2 bed executive room” option. There were other hotels in Rapid City I could book with points, but I would have had to book two rooms to fit the whole crew, so 35,000 IHG points ($215.55 including tax was the cash price) for one large room at the Holiday Inn would have to do.
We booked the 2 bed executive room, which was pretty much the only non-suite room in town that sleeps 6 people. This is an oversized room with 2 queen beds and a fold out couch.
The room was very clean and came fully equipped with microwave, fridge, 2 TVs, and a desk. Our only complaint was the tiny size of the bathroom. This would have been fine if the vanity area out in the main room had a sink. It looks like a sink belongs there but instead it’s just a mirror and counter top. Trying to bathe 4 kids after swimming and get 6 of us ready for bed in a closet sized bathroom was inconvenient.
Aside from the small bathroom, the room was comfortable and spacious. The mattress was one of the best I’ve ever slept on! It was perfectly supportive yet soft, and it isolated movement extremely well. A kid could jump up and down on one side of the bed and not even wake up someone sleeping on the other side.
The Holiday Inn Rushmore Plaza has a very decent pool and two hot tubs. The workout room has a few machines and a punching bag (which our 6 year old son was fascinated by). We were the only ones using the pool on the Friday morning when we left.
The hotel has a full height center atrium featuring a cascading waterfall between the two elevators. Attached to the atrium is the Gold Bison Grill and the hotel bar. According to pictures I can find online, the whole place seems to have been renovated in the last couple of years. We thought the decor and ambiance were excellent in the public areas. The Thursday night when we arrived there was a lively bar crowd, but they weren’t loud or obnoxious.
Right next door is Rushmore Plaza, the large convention center in Rapid City, so there are plenty of nearby restaurants available, although the main shopping area is halfway across town. The Holiday Inn has a convenience store right by the front desk for any snacks or personal items you may need.
The only experience we had at the Gold Bison Grill was the breakfast buffet. Kids eat free with a paid adult so it was a great deal for us. The cost of the buffet was about $12 per person. The food itself was pretty good for a hotel breakfast. There was a self-serve waffle station and a staffed omelet station in addition to all the standard American hot and cold breakfast choices.
The bar is located between the front desk and the restaurant and has a very open layout. It has lots of comfortable seating around small tables; nice for more intimate gatherings. I stopped by before checking out to cash in the free drink coupon I was given upon check-in as a Platinum Elite IHG Rewards Club member (a benefit of owning the IHG Rewards Club Select card).
- Due to its proximity to the convention center, the number and type of clientele probably varies drastically, depending on what the convention center is hosting.
- When we arrived on a Thursday around 9:30 PM, there was a line to check in. Preferred check-in is another benefit of being an IHG Platinum Elite, which allowed me to skip the line and check in at the preferred guest counter.
- The Holiday Inn Rushmore Plaza is recently renovated, with a nice restaurant, a decent pool, and (from what we experienced) very clean and spacious rooms with excellent beds. I would definitely stay here again. It was probably a bit of overkill for our purpose of simply resetting after the long day of road travel, but it was the only place in town I could use points to get a large enough room for our family of 6.