How Suite It Is

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.

Free breakfast

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?

Free dinner too

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

Finally, most locations have swimming pools and courtyards with barbecues, so you and your kids can unwind and make a little noise after a long day of sightseeing.

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.

July 5th, 2009 | by Jamie Pearson 10 comments

10 Responses to “How Suite It Is”

1. Amy @ The Q Family on July 5th, 2009

Free dinner? Now I have to check them out for my next trip. :)

2. Kara/MountainMama on July 5th, 2009

My MIL took her 6 grandkids to the Homewood Suites in San Diego (not Del Mar, near the airport) and liked the location. Thumbs up to included breakfast and dinners, too!

3. Rebecca on July 6th, 2009

We used a Homewood Suites as our home base whenever we came back to the US to visit family during the years we lived abroad. I think my kids were a tad disappointed to eventually discover that buffet breakfast and living in America were not, in fact, synonymous.

4. Dawn on July 6th, 2009

We have been doing this for years at various chains. When you add in the cost of breakfast (and if you’re really lucky, ice cream sundae night!), it is almost always worth it to stay in a suit rather than traditional hotel rooms. We have stayed in some that were so big (2 bedrooms–1 king, 2 queen) that they could easily hold 2 families or an extended family. Also we have found that many times they are close to public transportation. And the bottom line is, when traveling with small kids, having a full kitchen seems to make things easier! We even stayed in one chain (can’t remember which one) that had gas barbeques too! We had a cookout/pool party after a day of sightseeing around DC!

5. Lorraine on July 6th, 2009

Having just spent a few days in a Marriott, I would have preferred the Homewood Suites! Luckily we opted for ‘concierge service’, and had complimentary breakfast and dinner snacks which made a huge difference for the kids.

6. Linda on July 9th, 2009

We love Homewood Suites for all the reasons you mentioned, and for the fact that they allow six people to sleep in a room. It’s perfect for our large family.

In Philadelphia we stayed for six nights and our rate dropped considerably over the regular fare. $89 a night for family of six, meals included? It’s about the best deal we’ve found.

[...] Homewood Suites at Travel Savvy Mom. [...]

8. Jamie Pearson on July 9th, 2009

@Linda Holy heck. That IS a good deal!

9. Jenni Ingersoll on July 11th, 2009

You are so right, I would never have thought of staying at an extended stay during a family vacation. But having stayed at an extended stay hotel while moving, I can see that this would be a great alternative to the “typical” family vacation lodging.

10. Sharlene on July 24th, 2009

I always look for suites for family travel. The space and kitchens are always lifsavers for us.


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