What Are Homewood Suites “Evening Socials” Like?

Homewood Suites By Hilton properties offer a fairly uncommon benefit: on Monday through Thursday nights from 5 to 7 p.m., they offer guests a complimentary “Evening Social,” clearly aimed at the budget-minded business traveler crowd. There is wine and beer, as well as “small plate” offerings, which the chain’s website describes as “just the right size as an appetizer or a small, satisfying meal.”

Homewood Suites publishes a monthly calendar that generally describes each night’s “theme.” There are salad nights, pasta nights, slider nights, for example. The calendar is the same for all of Homewood’s 400-something locations throughout North America.

I didn’t have high expectations for these Evening Socials, but for what they are, they’re not terrible.

For “Your Claim to Flame,” which they described as “backyard favorites,” the main dish was a burger. The hamburgers weren’t great, to be honest. The buns were cold and way too big for the beef patties. But they were edible.

There was also corn on the cob, which was decent.

You could also make yourself a side salad.

For “Slide Right Up” night, they had pulled pork sliders. I didn’t have any, but people seemed to like them.

Then for “The Green Plate Club,” there was salad and some grilled chicken. Anyone who has met me knows that the only circumstance under which I will consume a salad is if it’s a choice between that or cannibalism. (To be clear, I wish I liked salad, but I don’t. Sometimes people say, “Maybe you just haven’t had the right salad yet,” which sounds a lot to me like “Maybe you just haven’t met the right girl yet.”)

So obviously I didn’t try it, but it looked fresh.

Oddly, on salad night they also had potato chips and… Chex Mix.

Each day they also had a different soup on offer.

The booze selection was the same every night: one red, one white, and beer. I tried the white wine, which to me was so bad that the $0 price per glass almost seemed a little too high. But I’m not a big drinker, so that’s fine for me.

There were no dessert-type foods any night, but considering that this is advertised as “small plates,” I wouldn’t expect any.

Honestly, considering the price-conscious market segment in which this brand competes, the Evening Social is a nice amenity. But there isn’t that much variety in the menu (there are only about five themes that rotate), so true road warriors who stay at Homewood Suites for several weeks in a given year might get tired of the same selections over and over again.

Other hotels with similar offerings

  • For something a little more upscale, Element by Westin properties (there are 86 of them worldwide) offer a free happy hour three times a week, with food and drinks.
  • Residence Inn by Marriott offers the Residence Inn Mix, also three nights a week. 
  • For food and drinks every night, a chain called Drury Inn (found in 21 states) offers the “5:30 Kickback.” Drury Inns have a loyal fan base that rave about this amenity.
  • Staybridge Suites (an IHG property) offers a free “Social Happy Hour” three days a week..

Has anyone tried dinner at one of these (or other) properties that offer it to all guests? What did you think?

Comments

  1. Embassy Suites (Also Hilton) do the same. Alright if you are around the hotel at the time but I wouldn’t make a special trip for one!!

  2. I’ve done Homewood Suites a few years back, the Residence Inn Mix several times, and I’ve been to the concierge lounge in the evening at numerous Marriott properties.

    I’d put Homewood slightly above Residence Inn, as The Mix sometimes only offers popcorn and snack mix and is less dependable for getting a fulfilling meal.

    The Marriott concierge lounge is typically my top choice. Widest variety of food throughout the week, I consistently can make a full meal out of it, and they often have less crowds than the others. Plus dessert. Only downside is typically there’s no free alcohol like at Homewood Suites or Residence Inn.

  3. The evening offering at Staybridge is very similar, although they offer it Mon-Wed. While I stayed at the Myrtle Beach location last November, they offered lasagna, hot dogs, bratwurst, hamburgers, sloppy Joe, turkey & gravy, etc. Pretty good stuff overall, though there were a few sketchier offerings: hot pockets, “casserole” (no other description), and “chef special”. Salad option was offered every night as well.

  4. ‘You haven the tried the right salad yet’ is my new line at family dinners!

    Haha very good article though

  5. TownePlace Suites (Marriott) also offers a similar amenity from 6pm – 7pm Monday thru Wednesday.

  6. I really like the suites at Homewood Suites. As someone who lives in a small urban space, they often feel more spacious than my apartment. Also, some (although not all, and not in city centers) of the properties are designed like suburban apartment complexes so you enter your suite not from the main lobby but from a “satellite” building. This gives them a private, quiet vibe. Example: just returned from three nights at HS Dallas Las Colinas. So I often choose HS for this reason.

    That said, I usually find the happy hour food offerings inedible. The concept is great, the execution really lacking. The food is more than I’d usually have for an “appetizer” but less than a full dinner, so what’s the exact point of it? And the menu descriptions, while technically accurate, make everything sound much tastier than it really is which is usually zero real flavor, maximum salt, and lukewarm at best. They’d be better off serving microwave pizza rolls and chicken nuggets (still salty, of course) — or how about crudites — than this semi-prepared, mediocre stuff.

  7. I stayed at a Homewood Suites in Midtown Atlanta for a week for a seminar. My company (school system) would only pay $40 a night for a hotel and the room was around $120 and $34 a night parking. I tried to make up some of the difference by eating a couple of nights at the Evening Social. It was ok. One night it was pouring rain (one of those nice Atlanta summer Tstorms) and I was not going to get soaked just to grab a bite, so it was really convenient. There are a lot of fun options in midtown Atlanta (including dinner and Bitch Drag Bingo) so I didn’t stay in much. But it was a nice option when you have a per diem or are trying to save a few bucks and are in an expensive dining area.

  8. The food looks better than an average Marriott concierge lounge offering.

  9. At least they look much better that what we had at the Embassy suite in Milpitas, CA. I believe that Staybridge in Mukilteo, WA offers evening social for 4 days a week coz we checked in on Wednesday night and we had this salad and soup for the next day. It was quite good though.

  10. @Marriott Key Bridge Hotel Guest: You need to stay at an Asian Marriott lounge, or really anywhere outside of North America, to have a real club lounge experience.

  11. I stayed at the midtown manhatten location in June and of course they were not participating in this evening social !! Not a surprise though
    It did have a disclosure on the web site just to be fair
    The Long Island city ( queens location) may have had it. I’m not really sure. Does anyone know if they participate ? I didn’t pick the Queens ( my old stomping ground) location because it actually had a higher rate then then the manhatten location WTF???
    It was a brand I was dying to try so I went for it
    The breakfast was a little disappointing. It’s much better in stsybridge midtown or even Hampton
    There was plenty of variety but all the hot options were really low quality
    The room how ever was perfect for me and my daughter so we couldn’t be happier with all the in room conviences especially for manhatten

  12. The evening social at the Homewood Suites st 6940 Westwood Blvd in Orlando was NOTHING like your description or pictures. It was truly atrocious. When it indicated sides there was only ever one, the burgers looked nothing like your pictures with nothing other than the burger, ketchup and mustard.

  13. I used to be a semi-regular Homewood Suites guest and have been to a few of these. They’re OK. Sometimes I just can’t/don’t want to go out somewhere – too much work, bad weather, driving all day and I’m tired, etc. – and it’s a nice backup option to have. Not something I’d want to depend on for dinner every day or go out of my way for, though.

  14. Drew, is “small, urban space” new-speak for hovel? (Sorry, just kidding. I lived for 3 yrs in a small space in Manhattan).

    In all seriousness, this is probably years of travel (hotel) burnout talking, but I can no longer do the “freshman mixers” on my own. They depress me and lead me to question my life choices. Plus, there’s the whole grossness thing. But hey, that’s just me. Enjoy!

  15. Sutter Home Moscato is a sweet desert wine that sells for about $5.99 per bottle. And you’re right – it’s pretty bad.

  16. @Earl – what in the world is “creepy” about it? They’re offering some light food and drink for FREE to guests. You can take it or leave it. A lot of hotels have at least a free hour of wine in the evenings.

  17. After poop on the toilet seat and religious prayer card on the pillow, I’ve come to expect more from Homewood Suites.

  18. It’s a shame that the options for both RI and HWS have changed so much from 10-15 years ago. Back then, it was often a full (and edible) dinner most days of the week, including Sunday evening, IIRC.

  19. I stayed a month in the Homewood Suites Sacramento and it had much better looking food than this. And better wine than that. Although the themes are the same across the chain, how they are executed on is definitely different from hotel to hotel (just like how in Hilton/Marriott/SPG lounges – YMMV)!

  20. I’ve stayed at Drury Inn a couple times, they were right off the interstate with the other low cost options. The first time it was kind of a novelty to get a small meal included. The second time I forgot how unimpressed I was the first time around. You know you’re getting a top quality bourbon when it comes out of a soda gun. The next opportunity to stay there I opted instead for the Holiday Inn which didn’t offer even a free breakfast, but it was cheaper and I preferred stoping at Krispy Kreme to the Drury breakfast offering. I guess I’m not one of the loyal fans.

  21. A few Hamptons used to have “Manager’s Reception” on weeknights with beer, wine, and assorted snacks, but I haven’t seen one lately. They were ok.

  22. For business I try to stay elsewhere. With family it’s a pretty inconvenient time that it’s offered. And the food it typically lackluster…but still, it’s nice that they offer something.

  23. Have been using Homewood Suites for a number of years M-Th for the free dinner when the price is competitive. Makes it easy when doing long road trips and hassle free. It seems that the food quality is hugely variable. My first and very best experience was the Medford Oregon HS. When it first opened the food was home made lasagna which was incredible, and a full meal size as well.
    The HS in Anchorage was good as well when we visited last fall.
    The HS at Calgary YYC North is to be avoided at all cost. The owner does not follow the menus and only has marginal food T-Th. Nothing on Monday which is against the rules.
    Shame that the Residence Inn has fallen by the wayside – stayed at one in San Francisco Bay area about 10 years ago and it was wonderful.
    Embassy Suites only offer popcorn (or chips and vegetables) but they do have a “free” full bar service which is unusual.

  24. Not sure why I just now noticed this, but what is the point of making the time of posting the comments a clickable link?

  25. Interesting. I stayed at Homewood Suites in Chapel Hill and their social was very nice. Real plates, hot food with greek meatballs and pasta, good soup and salad and a real desert. Waitstaff was very courteous and genuinely friendly, not the normal hustle for a tip group. Even served local craft beer on tap! With all that, the room was full of people enjoying the freebies.

    But at the Louisville Homewood Suites tonight the menu claimed Italian Medalians with classic Italian dishes reimagined on a slider roll. There were Italian sausage hot dogs in a warmer with Styrofoam plates, a salad bowl, lemonade or unsweet tea, no beer, no wines, no desert, with one poor gal tending the food warmers and no one sticking around. That’s some imagination.

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