Usually I do not write reviews of hotels because it is too hard to compete with TripAdvisor and only a handful of people end up reading the review. However, Tru by Hilton is a brand new hotel concept by Hilton Hotels and maybe being one of the first to review the OKC property will change that. Currently (Oct 2017), there are only six Tru by Hilton’s opened and all are located in the US. Another thirteen will open later this year or early next year. As of now, they are concentrating on mid-markets like; OKC, Cheyenne (WY), Murfreesboro (TN), Buffalo, Boise, Lousiville and Portland (ME) just to name a few. A person at the hotel told me Hilton plans on opening 500 Tru’s in the next five years. So my guess is there will be some properties outside the US and in larger markets (A Tru by Hilton is set to open at the Las Vegas Airport December 31, 2017).
This property has been opened for a few months (not sure if it was the first Tru). The last time I was in Oklahoma City (May 2017) I stopped by the hotel to have a look and it was just their 2nd or 3rd day opened. To be honest, I wasn’t overly enthused with what I saw at that time, but I decided to give it a try on this visit. Partly because I was curious what the hotel had to offer and how it was different from the Hampton and Hilton Garden Inn’s and partly because I get tired of staying at the same HGI across the street (have stayed at the OKC Airport location many times). Plus the rate was a little under $100 for the night.
When I arrived at the hotel the first thing I noticed, like the Hampton Inn, there are parking spaces designated for Hilton Honors Diamond members. This is a nice benefit, but I often wonder if people adhere to this. When I came back for the day I was unable to park in any of the four designated spots (in fact, I had trouble parking anywhere). The hotel and parking area are compact so all spaces are close to either entrance (entrance in the back as well). Though, when I initially arrived, I was happy one of these spots were free, as I was in a hurry. Check-in was quick and the person who checked me in was pleasant and greeted me with a smile. She went over the usual information regarding Wi-Fi and breakfast, and also went over some of the features of Tru. You do not need to be a HHonors members to receive free breakfast or free Wi-Fi. It is complimentary to all guests. Before I was off to my room, the front desk agent gave me a bag with bottled water and a small snack (for Gold & Diamond Honors members).
Tru by Hilton caters to the traveler who is cost conscious (rates are in line with Hampton Inn) and may not just want to stay in their room and eat room service, but rather spend time in a social setting. My guess is they are trying to reach the younger professional (Millennial). On Tru’s site they even say that it is “a new hotel experience from Hilton that is vibrant, affordable, and young-at-heart”. The lobby area reflects this. It is quite large and open with many couches and places to sit. Some are work stations while others are more for meeting and interacting with people. There is even a pool table that is in the center of the lobby area. There are a few flat-screen TV’s around as well as a breakfast area. There are a small amount of drinks (including beer & wine) and snacks that can be purchased at the front desk consisting of not only the usual chips and candy, but also locally themed items. Complimentary LaVazza coffee, tea & hot chocolate are available 24 hours a day. One thing that is not available in the lobby, but is at other Hilton properties, is a business center or computer station. There is one small tablet with pre-loaded information on the OKC area, that can also access the internet, but is hardly a substitute for a computer. Now, I am sure most of the people that are staying at Tru have their own device, I just like using a traditional computer. Free wireless printing is available from anywhere in the hotel (I assume you pick up the printed material at the front desk). Also, there are plenty of outlets throughout the lobby area.
I’m not sure if all Tru By Hilton will have the exact same layout and amenities, but the Oklahoma City location does not have a pool. There are two other properties being built adjacent (the three hotels will make a U) to this hotel. The front desk clerk told me that Tru By Hilton are franchised and that the person that franchises this Tru is also building a La Quinta and another budget hotel (I think Fairfield Inn) that will have a swimming pool that guests from Tru can use. Besides the pool table there is also a Fitness Room that consists of a few treadmills. Near the fitness room there is a board with suggestions of local activities, or places to eat, drink, or visit.
Catering to a younger market you would think the breakfast would focus on more healthy options and while whole fruit and oatmeal are available, Tru promotes their “Top It” breakfast. There are 30 toppings (most of which are indulgent) for cereal or yogurt (or to eat on their own). Now don’t get me wrong, I am all for unhealthy food choices. In fact, I enjoyed the donuts and bagels very much. Most hotels in this class serve cereal and a stale danish or if you’re lucky, some kind of fake waffle’s. But since this was my first stay, I liked the concept of breakfast. However, I think if I stayed at Tru’s regularly I may get tired of the breakfast choices like I have at the Hilton Garden Inn.
The rooms reminded me of staying at a hotel in Scandinavia. Minimalistic, yet functional. My double was slightly smaller than a typical US hotel, but certainly didn’t feel cramped. My one complaint with the space (or lack of) is there isn’t a desk to sit at to work or use your laptop. I had to pick up the one chair and bring it to a long narrow desk along the wall (I have seen photo’s of the King Room with a table). I was able to use my laptop, but just barely. On the subject of Wi-Fi. It wasn’t as bad as many Hilton properties I have stayed recently, but it certainly can’t be called high-speed and was frustrating at times. Reception may be better in the lobby area. There is a small refrigerator hidden under a table in what can be best described as an open closet that consists of a few hangers and a small ironing board as well. The bright spot for me was the 55″ flat screen TV with over 150 channels of DIRECTV. I actually watched TV! The bed-spread was a little drab, but the pillows were decent quality and the bed was comfortable (much more comfortable than HGI or Hampton beds). There is not a lot of room to store your luggage as there are no drawers. Besides the few hangers there is also three hooks on the wall you could hang your clothes or jackets. As I was traveling alone and just for one night I had more than enough space just leaving my suitcase on the second bed. But if traveling with a family or for an extended stay the lack of space for your clothes could be an issue. Now, there is a clever space under the bed for storing your suitcase and there may also be a spot on the heater/air-conditioner (strange place, but there are straps over the unit).
Unlike the room, the bathroom was decent size for this style of hotel. The soap, lotion, shampoo and conditioner are not in the usual travel size bottles, but in a permanent squeezable container next to the sink and in the shower. The lotion had a pleasant scent and I had no problem taking a shower and getting a nice lather. A hair-dryer is available on a hook on the wall. Maybe because they are new, but the towels were much nicer than I expected.They felt like what you would expect from a Doubletree Hotel.
With each property in their portfolio, Hilton seems to be going after a different consumer. I have stayed in all the different Hilton brands except for Homewood Suites and Home2 Suites and Tru is definitely a unique experience compared to any of the other Hilton properties I’ve stayed. Tru will not be my first choice to stay in a city if there are more Hilton hotels to choose from, but I would also have no problem staying at another Tru again (I will definitely stay at the OKC Airport location again). Actually, my biggest complaint with my stay came a week or two after I checked-out (which was quick and easy). I just happened to look at my HHonor’s account and saw that I earned very few points from this stay. I researched further and Tru by Hilton (like Home2 Suites) only award 5 points per dollar spent as opposed to the 10 points per dollar that the rest of the Hilton properties do.