KIDDOS: Holiday Inn Express

We've spent a fair amount of time traveling with our girls over the past six years and after staying at the Holiday Inn Express several times now, I can't recommend it enough for families. The prices are extremely reasonable (typically around $119 a night) and the place tasteful, clean and lovely. Luckily, you can now find one in almost every American city. The rooms have always been comfortable and they offer cribs for free, although these days we opt for two queen beds. The bathroom has both a shower and a tub which, for me, is a prerequisite with kiddos. All the exciting channels are offered on the TV, including indulgences like the Disney channel and Nickelodeon, neither of which we get at home. (For mamas and papas there's HBO! OMG! BIG LOVE & TRUE BLOOD FTW!) My favorite part of the rooms, though, is the free wifi and the microwave and mini fridge. It is such a life saver to have immediate internet access for directions to the local hot spots and a grocery store so you can stock up on snacks and a dinner or two. The microwave is wonderful for warming up restaurant leftovers for lunch the next day. I don't know about you, but dining out with kids is not my favorite thing to do, not to mention it's expensive and typically unhealthy.

The hotel also usually has a lovely yard space and a killer indoor pool, hot tub, and exercise room. On our recent three-day trip to Pullman, Washington, for a chemistry conference, the girls and I swam daily for hours at a time. We also spent a nice amount of time outside playing with toys and tossing around balls and frisbees when we weren't exploring local parks.
They also have really nice patios with seating and it's much easier to eat those store bought snacks and lunches outside rather than inside your hotel room with kids (although Parent Hacks recently posted this brilliant idea). And speaking of food, the Holiday Inn Express offers a fantastic complimentary breakfast buffet and it's not just donuts and coffee, friends, it's full on eggs and bacon and biscuits with gravy and fruit and yogurt and granola and three kinds of juice and more. And the all day coffee bar also offers hot chocolate and spiced cider packets, which was a real treat for my girls and free beats Starbucks ANY DAY in my book. The highlight of the food service, though, is the just before bedtime fresh-baked cookies and milk. In the lobby from 8-9pm pajama clad kids cuddle up on the couches for a special treat. And I'll admit, I love it, too. The staff was lovely and helpful, giving me a city map and directions at the front desk, helping me locate Alice's beloved 'silky' she lost at the pool and selling me $1 laundry soap from the gift shop for some laundry (yes, they have on-site washing machines and driers, too!) after my coffee hit my cleavage and puddled into my bra instead of my mouth one morning. This hotel rocks, ya'll. I can't recommend it more.