Here’s a little ditty about a hotel that kept us longer than planned. Because that’s what a good hotel does. Before we get into that, though, let us do some disclaiming…
The fine folks at La Quinta Inns & Suites are a supporter of our “Fabric of America” tour. They covered our stay, and we’re writing about it in return. This journey would not be possible without them (and you).
In case you haven’t read about our tour: You can read about it here, read about sponsorships here, and support our project yourself right here.
Right then. It’s easy for us to say that we look for three things when we stay at a hotel: Cleanliness, friendliness, and sleepability (new word, +10 points). If you dwindle down everything that we want and everything that we do, those are the things that really matter. As this hotel has that in spades, let’s delve into the details.
The La Quinta Inn & Suites in Rapid City, South Dakota, sits in the Black Hills, smack dab between Badlands National Park and Mt. Rushmore. If you’re into motorcycles, then you know it as the major city southeast of Sturgis, home of the world-famous annual rally.
People who come here are very much on destination vacations. They want to see the Black Hills area, which includes those previous places as well as the Crazy Horse Memorial, Custer State Park, and an endless array of somewhat “family parks,” such as reptile gardens, bear parks, cosmic outer space whatever, and a bunch of other heavy kitsch that will make your head spin.
While we’re clearly not fans of these types of parks, they’re great for families, and they keep the kids busy and (mostly) out of trouble. There are also a host of towns around, including the famed Deadwood, Wall (home of Wall Drug), and Keystone.
In this area, it’s very important to have a family-friendly hotel that can be a full-service retreat for adults and kids alike. This is immediately evident by the indoor water park that splits La Quinta and the Fairfield Inn next door. Welcome to WaTiki!
That’s serious business. It’s not free, but the entry price isn’t too bad and you can guarantee that your kids will want to stay in there forever while you rest and revive yourself at Sliders, the on-site restaurant and bar.
Before we even made it to our room, we were greeted by an impressive lobby that immediately told us this would be a very comfortable place to stay. In case you can’t see it in the background there, that’s a work area and free coffee served all day long. Score one for our addiction.
We were then met by an insanely fun and welcoming group of people who work there. Here are a couple of them – meet Andrea and Jerry. (Forgive the blur, guys!)
After talking with them for a while, we made it up to our fourth-floor room, which was a nice quiet oasis away from the madness of high season.
If we had things our way, we’d just have a king bed room. As you can see above, we got two queens instead, one of which became our default suitcase area. The room was clean and classy, with plenty of space to move around and get things done.
While we are always sad to see only one desk chair, there was also a lounge chair.
Both of us work every day while on the road, so two chairs would be nice. Alas, you can’t have it all. Ang always gets the desk since she works with more gear, and a lap desk usually does the job for me in a lounge chair or on the bed.
Not to mention the wi-fi, which was on-point the entire time we were there, and we had to call downstairs about it exactly zero times. Love when that happens.
Rooms here also come with refrigerators and microwaves, which makes things handy if you order in or need to keep your drinks and other sundries icy-cold. We had plenty of the latter with it being nearly 100° F outside.
A very nice bathroom topped off our temporary stay, making it easy to move around and get whatever you need to get done in there. You know, 80s perms and make-up parties and such. There are few things worse than a bathroom so small you can’t even turn around, and there’s absolutely no concern about that here.
There’s also a coffee maker in there, which brings vein fuel to an extra bonus level to go with the previously mentioned free, all-day coffee in the lobby.
We also appreciated the eco-reminders in the room. While it might be less expensive for a hotel to do less wash, it’s also much easier on the environment to not wash your towels or change your sheets every single day.
We’re actually the type of people who don’t bother with housekeeping service or new towels – as if it’s necessary since you know darn well you wash your own linens like, once every three months – so this doesn’t affect us. But, it’s nice to know the hotel is reminding people not to be so wasteful, even if the goal is to save themselves some loot.
Breakfast, anyone? I was always too tired and too half-blind to take pictures of the spread, but La Quinta shorts no one when it comes to the free continental breakfast. The usual suspects of cereal, yogurt, bagels, muffins, and toast are available, along with coffee and an array of juices. But, they step it up a notch here by offering free make-your-own waffles as well. Bang! Gotta love that.
Here’s what the breakfast area looks like when breakfast is over and nothing is there and beer taps are back in action for lunch and dinner.
While it’s a bit pricy, there’s also a convenience store in the hotel in case you need to stock up on anything from soda to beer to snacks to supplies.
As the amenities keep rolling along, there are also two sets of coin-operated washers and dryers on every floor. Until we were on the road all the time, we never really paid attention to whether or not hotels have these. Now that we’re on this adventure, it’s key to us and a huge relief that we don’t need to spend an afternoon at a laundromat.
La Quinta is pet-friendly, which means it’s us-friendly. They have a decent-size pet area to the side of the hotel, although it and the adjacent smoking area could probably use some love and a bit more square footage.
Bonus points for providing free bags to dog owners. As if anyone besides us actually uses them. (We always bring our own.) Come on, people.
Considering how many adults and children run through this large hotel every day, it’s very clean and the entire site staff keep it immaculate for everyone who walks in the door. It’s very much appreciated in a world where people throw their garbage on the ground, leave food in the elevator, tear up hotel lobbies, and act like they run the joint. Everything was always spic and span.
Everyone on staff was also a dream to deal with. Like I said above, we really did stay longer than planned. There’s a lot to do in Rapid City, but the main reason is because of how much fun we had with the very hard-working staff. Major thanks to Andrea and Jerry above, as well as Amanda and Courtney. Great people.
They were always willing to have a chat, give us recommendations, and tell us about events that certainly don’t show up in the guides. Dirt-track stock car racing, anyone?
Seriously. They also had plenty of locally-owned restaurant recommendations, including the in-house Sliders restaurant, which is very good and offers room service until a decent hour. Obviously, the first place we went was the brewpub they told us about.
If we have anything that bothered us about the stay, it would be the prices. We are blessed to have had our stay covered by La Quinta, but we think it’s pretty crazy that hotel rooms in this area easily run $180-300 per night.
It’s not just this hotel. Every hotel in the area is extremely expensive simply because they can be, which makes us wonder the sacrifices that families have to make when they come here on vacation. It also makes me appreciate even more the family vacations we went on as a kid, knowing how much these types of stays probably put out my folks.
As you can probably tell above, this hotel is just off the interstate, as are most hotels here. Being as how virtually no one comes here without a car, the location is great and allowed us to go in any direction with no problem whatsoever. Downtown is just a few minutes away, as are tons of restaurants, coffee shops, and shopping.
All things considered, this hotel easily gets a nearly perfect score from us. The downsides are the pet/smoking area, and the fact that breakfast doesn’t run late enough (but does it ever, at any hotel?).
We’re grateful that La Quinta is supporting us on this journey, and are delighted that they had us at their hotel in Rapid City. If and when we’re back in the area, there’s absolutely no question at all where we’ll stay.
- Location: Outside of downtown, but with easy access to the city as well as surrounding attractions.
- Clientele: Fantastic for families and very good for just about anyone without little tykes.
- Technology: Great wi-fi, business center with computers, work space, and lounge.
- Beds: You don’t really ever want to get up.
- Rooms: Spacious and clean, well-lit and accessible. No views.
- Amenities: Cable TV, in-room movies, wi-fi, telephone, lounge chair, desk, end tables, fitness center, coin laundry on every floor.
- Bathroom: Plenty of soaps and lotions, good shower power with plenty of hot water, spacious area.
- Dining: Free continental breakfast, Sliders Bar & Grill, room service.
- Staff: The best you could ever ask for. Very knowledgeable of the local area in every conceivable notion.
- Cleanliness: Rooms are spotless. Property kept clean 24/7, inside and out.
- Distractions: Full-service bar, indoor water park, business center.
- Attractions: Near everything in the region including the Black Hills, Mt. Rushmore, Sturgis, Deadwood, and the Badlands.
- Snacks & Such: Fully stocked (but pricy) convenience store, free coffee all day long, vending machines on every floor.
- Value: Rooms here are on the high end in general, but standard for the area.
And that’s that! Also, the luggage carts. Hi, Mom!
The La Quinta Inn & Suites in Rapid City, South Dakota, is located here:
1416 North Elk Vale Rd.
Rapid City, SD 57701
Tel: +1 (605) 718-7000
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Have you ever been to Rapid City, or stayed at this La Quinta? Any thoughts about La Quinta overall? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!