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Best Club Carlson Hotel Redemptions: Category 1

As of April 2013, the Club Carlson award chart has changed. Please see the updated list of Best Club Carlson Hotel Redemptions: Category 1.

There are 41 hotels in this category that can be booked for just 9,000 points per night. While picking a top contender among US properties wasn’t easy, a few properties received rave reviews and would be a good way to spend 9,000 Club Carlson points. Ultimately, though, the real gems are outside of North America, where you will find great value in this category.

NORTH AMERICA

Country Inn & Suites – Bentonville South (Rogers, AR)

Country Inn & Suites - Bentonville South (Rogers, AR)

 

Location wise, the Radisson Orlando (being 5 miles from Disney World) would take the top spot in this category. However, taking into consideration the service rating of the hotel along with an inexplicable “resort fee” for a property that isn’t a resort, the Country Inn & Suites Bentonville South wins.

Accommodations: Like all Country Inn & Suite properties, this one offers free breakfast, wifi, and parking for all guests. It also wins high marks for service and clean accommodations.

The hotel also provides free toiletries, including: shampoo, deodorant, combs, razors, shaving cream, toothpaste/brush and more. So feel free to leave those at home and breeze through airport security a bit faster.

Location: The hotel is close to a variety of historical sites and tourist attractions. The nearby Beaver Lake and Hobbs State Park boast stunning views. A country club and shopping mall are less than 3 miles away, and for those of you truly grateful for the Bluebird card and money orders – the Walmart Visitor Center.

SOUTH, CENTRAL AMERICA, THE CARIBBEAN & MEXICO

Radisson Hotel & Suites Guatemala City (Guatemala City, Guatemala)

Radisson Guatamala City

Distinctions: This hotel bills itself as “One of the Best Hotels in Guatamala City” and while grand proclamations are easy to make, this one actually has a leg to stand on. Two legs, actually, as it received both the 2011 President’s Award and Tripadvisor’s Traveler’s Choice 2013 #8 spot for hotels in Guatemala.

Accommodations: Billed as an “all-suite” hotel, basic rooms start at  a spacious 430 sqft. Surprisingly, the rooms in the shiny hotel-provided photographs matched up well with actual photos taken by guests.

Location: The property is just five minutes from the airport and located in Zona Viva (“The Lively Zone”). A long list of attractions are located within a five mile radius, including the Catedral Metropolitano, Centro Cultural Miguel Angel Asturias (cultural center), the botanical gardens, central market, the National Palace, and even the city’s Mayan ruins.

EUROPE, MIDDLE EAST & AFRICA

Radisson Blu El Quseir (El Quseir, Egypt)

Radisson Blu Resort El Quseir

Accommodations: Rooms start at 340 sqft and come equipped with free wifi. Every room on this property has its own balcony, which will make the stunning views of the Red Sea that much enjoyable. A standard award, however, gets you a garden view, while another 4,500 points gets you upgraded to a Sea View room. “Super” breakfast buffet is included in award bookings, along with complimentary airport transfer when requested via email.

The hotel also has its own Diving Centre. Golf, camel and horseback riding, and beach volleyball are also  available to guests.

For families, a kids club, playground, and separate children’s pool are offered along with babysitting service.

Location: The resort is located right on the Red Sea coast. Less than two miles from Old City and El Quseir Fort; 43 miles from the airport.

Park Inn Kaunas (Kaunas, Lithuania)

Park Inn Kaunas

Distinctions: Another Traveler’s Choice 2013 winner for Best Service and Top 20 hotels in Lithuania.

Accommodations: Rooms are modern, but smaller at this property, ranging between 155-367 sqft. All rooms feature heated floors in the bathroom and free wifi. Business Rooms can be booked for an additional 4,500 points per night and include free breakfast buffet. There is also a Casino located inside the building, which isn’t operated by the hotel.

Location: Centrally located near Laisves Aleja (Liberty Avenue), the hotel is close to many local attractions including: M.K. Ciurlionis National Art Museum, Military Museum of Vytautas the Great,  Kaunas State Drama Theatre, Kaunas Castle, Kaunas Botanical Garden, the colorful Devil’s Museum, and more. The hotel is just 10  miles from Kaunas International Airport.

ASIA AND THE PACIFIC

Country Inn & Suites Katra at Vaishno Devi (Katra, India)

Country Inn & Suites Katra at Vaishno Devi

Distinctions: Traveler’s Choice 2012 #3 for Families in India.

Accommodations: Standard awards feature a Shrine or Valley view and either 1 queen bed or 1 twin bed. All guests receive complimentary breakfast, wifi, and in-room movies. While premium awards are not available, you may be able to get a cash upgrade by contacting the hotel ahead of time. Up to two children age 5 and under may stay free in the same room as a parent.

Location:  The hotel itself is situated among beautiful lush gardens, within 10 miles of popular attractions, including Katra Town and the Mata Version Devi Shrine (a holy pilgrimage site). A bit further out, you can visit the caves of Shiv Khori and Patnitop, a host of various attractions of religious significance. The property is 27 miles from the airport.

Conclusion: These properties aren’t located in the most well-known cities, but they are among the nicest within their category. While I never thought about traveling to Guatamala City or Kaunas before, I’m quite impressed with both cities after learning about their local attractions and what 9,000 points per night can get you. Hopefully this post will inspire you to explore and consider traveling to regions outside of your comfort zone.

Have you stayed at any of these properties? Please share your feedback in the comment section.

Stay tuned for upcoming posts, covering categories 2,3,4,5, and 6!

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Ariana Arghandewal

21 Comments

  1. Thanks for this post! Definitely interested in what you turn up for the other categories as we just acquired the Club Carlson visa.

    • Glad you liked it! Club Carlson has some great properties in every category, so you’ll have lots of good options for spending those points.

  2. We are staying at that Radisson in Guatemala City enroute from Flores (Tikal) to SJO later this year. Thanks for letting me know its a nice hotel!

    • Sounds like a fun trip. Based on all the feedback about this property, you’ve made a good choice.

  3. Great post! We stayed at the Bentonville property last summer for the 50k point promo. If you stay there, be sure to visit the new Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville. It’s very, very nice (and free at the time! Not sure if its still free).

    • Thanks for your feedback Ryan! It’s good to hear from someone who’s actually stayed at the property.

  4. Don’t forget the Park Inn Weimar. It’s an excellent hotel, green, spacious rooms, great spa and food. Weimar is the hometown of Goethe and Schiller and was the capital of Germany for a time. It’s a small, but history packed city. We stayed last year with the 9k back for any redemption. It was all for free 🙂

    • Thanks for the tip! Category 2 will post tomorrow. I’d love your feedback about that category as well.

  5. Great Posts! Just spent a few nights in the 9,000 point Orlando Raddisson. They didn’t charge a resort fee since we paid with points.

    • Thanks for the feedback, Garrett. For 9k/night and no resort fee, that is a pretty good redemption.

  6. Radisson Orlando does not charge the resort fee for points bookings. But the service is still awful. Although the staff are nice, they are pretty much incompetent. I’ve had several stays there.

  7. Not sure which Radisson Orlando you are talking about, but the three are all 28 to 38K points when I look now.

    • Club Carlson recently changed some of their categories, so not everything is accurate anymore. The series will be updated soon.

      • Any ETA for the update to this series? The Hyatt posts are still incredibly helpful, but these Carlson ones really need a refresh.

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