Free breakfast and a 24-hour snack pantry in a convenient West Valley location make the Thunderbird Executive Inn an awesome budget friendly option for families visiting Phoenix for spring break or spring training games.
Hotel Review: Thunderbird Executive Inn – Glendale, AZ
The Thunderbird Executive Inn is a hidden gem located on the campus of the Thunderbird School of Global Management. The graduate school was built on the site of Thunderbird Field, an airbase active during World War II. There are interesting remnants of historic significance around the campus, including the 1940s-era air tower which you can visit. Head inside to see historic pictures from the era and climb to the top to get a birds-eye view of campus.
What Works for Families
- A free continental breakfast is available each morning and lights snacks are available throughout the day.
- The rooms have free wireless internet and mini fridges.
- There are laundry facilities on site. I always pack at least one emergency laundry pod in case of a clothing catastrophe. You never know what may happen with kids!
- A pub style restaurant and a food court are available on site. They are dining options available on the campus of the Thunderbird School of Global Management. Just double check hours once you arrive as they can be dependent upon the school schedule.
- Lots of pathways, grass and even a playground on the grounds. Playgrounds make my kids happy and that makes this mama happy!
What Doesn’t Work for Families
- There is a pool on the campus but it is very basic and didn’t seem family friendly to me. That being said, if you need a quick dip and don’t mind sharing it with students from the Thunderbird School, hotel guests can use it.
- There are a limited number of rooms with two beds. As an alternative, you can request connecting rooms or a rollaway bed.
- No rooms contain bathtubs. This may be a problem for families with little kids.
A Convenient West Valley Location
Located between the Camelback Ranch in Glendale and the Peoria Sports Complex, the Inn is ideally suited for fans headed to Cactus League spring training games. The campus is located within a quiet residential area near shopping and restaurants with convenient freeway access. It’s a hidden gem for families looking for a budget friendly motel option near Phoenix and West Valley attractions.
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Open Spaces & Activities
The inn’s campus locations means there are lots of grassy spaces and walkways between buildings to explore. There’s plenty of room for kids to run around. While there is a basic pool on site, we found the jungle gym playground much more useful for our family. With basketball, sand volleyball, tennis, and handball courts also available on campus, there is no shortage of ways to exhaust your kids if need be. The inn also provides guests with passes to the YMCA next door if cardio and weights are more of your thing. This is definitely a huge bonus over most budget conscious hotels where typically you are stuck with a pool in the parking lot and no grounds to explore.
The free continental breakfast is pretty basic although it worked well for our trip. With the food court available on campus, a hot breakfast is available for those that prefer it. We never ate at the food court but did stop by to check it out and it seemed to offer plenty of quick-service options that would have worked for us. Beyond the food court, there is a pub-style restaurant located in the old air tower on campus. We appreciated the free snacks and drinks available all day at the Inn. They even offered fun baseball-themed snacks perfect for fans headed to spring training games. My kids really appreciated the extra fun snacks.
Our Hotel Room
We stayed in a double queen room with parking just outside our door. Parking did seem less convenient for other buildings. We also had a large walk-in closet area which was perfect for storing luggage. Be aware that the bulk of the rooms only offer one queen bed which wouldn’t work for most families. Rollaways are available and some connecting rooms, which are good solutions for some family situations. My biggest complaint with our room was the lack of a bathtub. Otherwise, it worked really well for our trip.
Overall we enjoyed our stay at the Thunderbird Executive Inn and would return, depending upon the room type available and our plans. The Inn is very inexpensive especially considering the extra amenities it offers like a free breakfast, snacks all day and plenty of space to roam around outside.
Be aware that there is a $5 parking fee Monday through Friday. It’s not a deal break considering the fact that most area resorts charge 6 times that amount as a resort fee, whether you park a car or not.