Hampton Inn used to be the No. 1 hotel choice during my family road trips. But Comfort Inn and Suites might be the choice on the next family vacation.
We’re big on driving until we drop and then hoping we can drop into a Hampton Inn. We chose our first Hampton Inn several years ago while driving through southern Indiana. My husband needed to stop driving, I needed Wifi and the whole family would need a decent breakfast in the morning. We found it all for $79 a night at a Hampton Inn. The check-in clerk, who introduced herself as Princess, sealed the deal when she asked me whether I was a member of AAA. When I said no, she responded, “Yes, ya are, honey. You just forgot” while she qualified me for the AAA discount. Then she offered me chocolate chip cookies, fresh from the oven.
My last hotel stay and my current one are both at Comfort Inns. I didn’t make either reservation, otherwise I likely would have chosen a Hampton Inn and missed discovering this equally good option for an affordable overnight stay. (Unless there’s a good reason–such as a desire to stay “on property” at a resort–I can’t bear to waste our limited vacation dollars on an expensive hotel room. All we need, particularly on a road trip, is a place to rest and recoup for the next day’s trek.
The first Comfort Inn I stayed at was on the eastern side of Madison, Wis., where I was attending a business conference at the University of Wisconsin. It was being renovated, but my room was clean, plenty big enough and there was a decent pool for working out the road trip kinks. Breakfast included do-it-yourself waffles, fresh fruit, two kinds of cereal and a wide assortment of bread products.
The one I’m in now is near downtown Milwaukee, the Comfort Inn and Suites Downtown Lakeshore (I’m visiting as a guest of VISIT Milwaukee to check out Summerfest, which I’m looking forward to despite temperatures that are more fit for October than July). Like the Madison hotel, this one is clean and comfortable. There’s no pool, which makes it a less great choice for traveling with kids, but it has the requisite free Wifi. The continental breakfast was a little heavy on carbs (lots of iced doughnuts and those yummy do-it-yourself waffles) but OK for me and great for kids.
The price here is a little higher, but it’s Summerfest and the hotel is in the middle of a city, not on the outskirts of town.
Now that I know there are at least two good choices for affordable family vacation hotel stays, I’m thinking there probably are others. What’s your favorite on-the-road family hotel stay. Does free wifi and free breakfast matter to you? (Now that my kids are teens and eat their weight in food every day, a full breakfast for the four of us can hit $40 or more, so it’s really important for us.) Please share.