HHGNightShotA hotel can make or break your vacation. Whether you’re overnighting it or on an extended-stay, the place you choose to lay your head at night becomes your home away from home.

I take that very seriously, especially when I’m traveling with my kids. Recently, my son, Miles, 11, and I took our first solo mother-son trip to Orlando for a long weekend and stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn Orlando at SeaWorld. To say we liked it would be putting it mildly. I conferred with Miles and we came up with our top 6 Reasons to Stay at the Hilton Garden Inn Orlando at SeaWorld. They are:

HGIRoom
The Rooms

I was impressed with the size of the room. We stayed in a double-bed room that was spacious, with a desk area in case I wanted to sit and work; and a cozy sitting chair to lounge back and watch TV. The 32 inch Hi-Def flat screen was a hit with Miles. The complimentary wi-fi is always a hit with me. I also like to have a mini-fridge and microwave when I’m traveling – especially when I’m on the road for a running event. This room is perfect for family travel and for my girlfriend getaway running adventures. It’s big enough to keep everyone’s baggage and sanity in tact.

The Location
It’s located across the street from SeaWorld. We took one of the many complimentary shuttles to SeaWorld and walked back to the hotel at the end of the day. Yes, we walked after a full day at the park; that’s how close it is. Miles loved looking out of our room window at all of the rides and explaining to me why I must do all of them. We spent a day at Disney which was a 10-minute ride on another complimentary shuttle. I usually stay on property when playing in the Disney Parks and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to get back and forth from the Hilton Garden Inn. The hotel also has easy access to Universal Studios, and plenty of restaurants and great shopping as it’s located right near International Drive. Miles and I took the I Ride Trolley twice when we wanted to go out to eat since we didn’t have our own car. Kids under 12 ride free and my fare was only $1.25.

HGIQuickQueueThe SeaWorld Perks
The hotel is an Official Hotel Partner with SeaWorld so we had several exclusive benefits we could take advantage of including complimentary transportation to SeaWorld, Aquatica, Discovery Cove and Universal Orlando, 10% off all dining options at SeaWorld and Aquatica, early enty to SeaWorld and Aquatica on select dates, and Miles’ favorite – complimentary Quick Queue Unlimited at SeaWorld. We received arm bands that allowed us to skip the lines for the rides and get on them VIP style as many times as we wanted. I earned major Cool Mom points for hooking him up with this one.

The Pavilion Pantry
This is the small convenience shop at the hotel that is open 24/7. There were times when we need a little snack, extra water, and an adult beverages for me; and The Pavilion Pantry was always open and didn’t cost me my entire food budget. Often hotel shops have super high prices but I was pleasantly surprised that this one didn’t. It was perfect for us, especially since we didn’t have a car to zip off to the store.

HGIPantryThe Breakfast
We dined at their Great American Grill for breakfast and enjoyed a full breakfast buffet including made-to-order omelets and do-it-yourself walffle makers – Miles’ favorite. Hilton Garden Inn recently launched thier “Breakfast with Heart” program. When guests book the “Breakfast with Heart” weekend rate on a Friday and/or Saturday between June 1 – September 30, 2012, it includes a delicious cooked to order breakfast for each adult staying in the same room – and kids 12 and under enjoy a complimentary breakfast. In support of “Breakfast with Heart,” Hilton Garden Inn will make a donation to Feeding America to help provide meals to families in need. Awesomeness.

The Price
Affordablity is important – especially when your vacationing in Orlando with lots of theme parks and activities to pay for, too. The Hilton Garden Inn is a score for an affordable option loaded with comfort and perks. To check for current rates and deals, visit www.HiltonGardenInnSeaWorld.com.

Until next time, I’m off and running …

Lorraine Robertson is an author, nationally published freelance writer and creator of the site RunWifeyRun.com. After two marathons, nine half marathons and countless smaller races she’s still packing her running shoes and looking for her next great race. Lorraine was featured on the Travel Channel’s “Great Cruises: Why Not The Mediterranean?” television show and her life-changing wedding appeared on TLC’s “A Wedding Story.” She lives in the metro Atlanta area with her husband, Napoleon and their kids, Miles, 11, and Milan, 8.

Disclosure: I received hotel and activity accommodations for media review purposes. As always, my thoughts and opinions are all my own.