receptionHere’s the thing about traveling with teens: You need more room once your kids get to be adult-sized. Your basic hotel room just doesn’t cut it anymore.

That’s why I like staying in a condo or a hotel that offers suites. The extra room has always been nice, but now that I am traveling with teens, it’s de rigueur.



My daughter, Tess, and I got our first look at an all-suites Embassy Suites hotel this weekend when we spent a lovely night at the Embassy Suites in Lombard, Illinois. Our 10th floor room faced east and offered a magical view of Chicago as the setting sun cast the entire city skyline in brilliant gold.

Here are the three things I liked most about the Embassy Suites:

1. All the extra room, including a separate bedroom with a door that locks (always a treat for parents traveling with kids).

2. Two big flat screen TVs—one in the bedroom for parents, another in the living area for the kids. That means we can watch what we want or, better yet, the kids can watch what they want while hubby and I can read in peace.

breakfast23. The cooked-to-order breakfast. When traveling with teens who are always hungry, our restaurant bills can really add up during a family vacation. So we always look for hotels that offer free breakfast. Generally that means a choice of 3 or 4 cereals, some pastries and breads you can toast yourself and, if we’re really lucky, a do-it-yourself waffle station. But the Embassy Suites deal includes a made-to-order breakfast made by someone else. We had made-to-order omelets and pancakes. And there was a buffet table with scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage and potatoes staffed by an Embassy Suites employee. That’s the kind of service most higher end hotels offer, but they charge and additional $15 or more per person.

The rooms are spacious, clean and nicely furnished. The living room has a rather hard and uncomfortable couch that folds out into another bed, as well as a chair, a desk, flat screen TV and enough easy-to-reach outlets to plug in everyone’s electronics.

The nightly manager’s reception was good for a free drink, but the snacks were a little skimpy—just a couple of bowls of pretzels and party mix.

poolFinally, and most important for a family traveling with kids, the Embassy Suites has that kid must-have: a pool. The one at the Lombard Embassy Suites is small, but it was plenty big enough to keep these kids happy. They were in pool when we arrived on Saturday night and there again when we headed down for breakfast the next morning. If not for the sign that said the pool closed at midnight, I would have been tempted to think the kids swam all night.