Cleveland is the most underrated place we have ever been. In terms of travelling, it’s an American city people pass through and don’t think much of, let alone talk about.
It’s the USA`s quiet child, not in the league of the attention seeking, gaudy Manhattan, Las Vegas or Los Angeles.
But this north eastern town is full of hidden charm. It houses the friendliest people, staff and strangers alike, that we have ever encountered.
Let’s talk about the greenery for a second. The grass is so green, a shade of green we have not seen since living in the grey concrete jungle of Toronto. Houses are well manicured, lawns are maintained and there is so much lively nature at every turn.
After driving all night from Toronto, we spent our first night in Cleveland sleeping in our rented car. It wouldn`t have been a terrible experience if it hadn’t been so damn cold. However, we woke to the sights of deer prancing around, which was so endearing that we couldn’t even be grouchy anymore. Only in Cleveland!
With a measly two stars on Hotwire and iffy reviews online, we were expecting this place to be a dump.
Well, weren’t we pleasantly surprised.
Our accommodation was Extended Stay America North Olmstead. This spacious room is clean, comfy and has every amenity you could ever need as a frugal traveller. We felt right at home.
Ok, so it’s not the Ritz Carlton, but it was never claiming to be. This is definitely more in the vain of a three star hotel. In fact we have stayed at some four stars that are dumps compared to this hidden gem.
Firstly, it has been renovated. There is a sense of freshness with the new slap of paint and modernised lobby. There is a gym and a laundry room . Coffee is offered in the lobby as well as a grab and go breakfast (which we did not take advantage of)…because more importantly, there is a kitchenette in the room! This great for people who want to cook their own food and save a bit of money on eating out. You can order kitchen utensils as you need them.
The rooms are clean, large and comfortable. There is a desk, flat screen TV and two large double beds, as well as ample space to store your stuff and hang up your clothes.
The bathroom is also spacious and the shower water pressure is great. It was clean and new, and there was not a single sign of mold.
Staff are extremely personable, friendly and welcoming. We told Linda our sob story about sleeping in the car and she gladly let us check in early.
And the best part is that we were across from the Great Northern Mall and a 24 hour Walmart (a great place to go at 3am and get a discounted Boston cream pie for $2.25), as well as just about every other shop you could ever imagine (this is America after all).
The only downside (if you could call it that) is that being near the airport and away from downtown Cleveland, travellers would need a car to enjoy the full benefits of this place. Parking is free!
There is also no housekeeping until you stay more than 7 days, which was totally fine with us and amped up the homeliness feel of the place. There is a garbage room, so that solves that issue. However for people who want to be waited on hand and foot in their travelling endeavours, this could be a problem.
THINGS TO DO
The Cleveland Museum of Art is wonderful, vast and housed in a beautiful building. It has such an extensive, exhaustive collection of art that you need at least five hours to see everything. Not to mention to actually sit and appreciate it all. Art museums are something you must always go back to, so this would definitely warrant a return trip. We were really impressed by this museum and the lovely Botanical Gardens next door. And the best part is, it`s FREE!
The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is also another superb (albeit touristy) offering. It was so inspiring to see all the rock `n` roll memorabilia and read the history. Unfortunately this does cost money but it was well worth it. If you are staying downtown this would be the thing to see, if not a Cleveland Cavaliers game.
Crocker Park is a surprisingly modern and extensive outdoor mall that rivals LA`s The Grove. Staff were over the top friendly and helpful. A great place to do some shopping or dining.
It was bliss to get away to the Cleveland greenery, if only for a few days.
Extended Stay America receives our highest stamp of approval.
Do yourself a favour and check out this underrated city!