Up until recently, I’d never considered extended stay hotels when planning family travel—I just always assumed they were for briefcase-slinging road warriors. Then I had the opportunity to check out Homewood Suites, and guess what? The needs of business travelers and families with children are strikingly similar.
Separate bedrooms and full kitchens? Check.
Since separate bedrooms mean separate bed times, suite-style accommodations can make or break a family vacation. But in traditional hotels, the room rates can be prohibitive. Homewood’s got one, and two-bedrooms suites and I found rates to be pleasantly affordable.
The kitchens are real kitchens, not just a corner of the room with a coffeemaker and microwave. You get a full-sized fridge, a stove and dishwasher, cooking utensils, dishes, and a dining table. I left a sinkful of dirty dishes one day, and the housekeeper loaded them into the dishwasher and ran it. Nice.
Amenities like free parking, free wifi, and onsite laundry gave me a warm fuzzy feeling too, and made me feel right at home.
Complimentary continental breakfast is pretty standard fare these days in suite hotels, and thank goodness for that. Homewood has all the usual goodies, plus some cooked options (eggs, bacon, sausages, waffles). Also, I liked the fact the coffee bar offers three speeds: decaf, medium, and strong. Guess which one I chose?
No, that is not a typo. Monday through Thursday evenings, Homewood serves a hot entree, salad, and beverages (usually including beer and wine, subject to state laws).
My daughter and I were there on chicken cacciatore night. I thought it wasn’t bad, but Avery (who is a little picky) made a lot of mournful faces and ate a lot of dinner rolls. Our room phone had pizza, chicken, and Chinese restaurants on speed dial, so there’s your Plan B.
The monthly menu also includes crowd-pleasers like rotisserie chicken, ravioli, and meatloaf too, so you might get lucky.
Complimentary grocery shopping
You’ll also find a shopping list attached to your fridge with a magnet. Fill it out, drop it off at the front desk, and get on with your vacation. When you return, your shopping has been done and delivered. You’ll be charged for the groceries, but not the service. This is a huge money, time, and sanity-saver.
Space to play
During the week, you’ll probably have these spaces to yourself, but things can get a little more festive (and crowded) on the weekends. Try to arrive early to breakfast too, to beat the 9am rush.
So, what’s the catch?
Usually location. Since they’re business hotels first, Homewood Suites are often closer to local business parks than tourist attractions. At the Homewood Suites San Diego-Del Mar, for example, you’ll have to drive 25 minutes to get to Legoland or the San Diego Zoo. Maybe that works for you. Maybe not.
There are some notable exceptions. Homewood has centrally-located hotels in Seattle, Chicago, Washington DC, Orlando, and New Orleans. Visit www.homewoodsuites.com to find a hotel near your destination. When in doubt, click on the “Local Guide” tab to learn just how many blocks you’ll be from the subway, aquarium, or White House.