I know this blog is supposed to be about traveling with kids, but I have a confession to make. I almost never stay in hotels.
In fact, I think this might be the first actual hotel review I have written on this blog. I tend to look for vacation rentals, extended stays, apart-hotels, etc. instead.
Granted, the fact that we normally stay in holiday apartments has a lot to do with most of our travel taking place in Europe as these types of properties are not as common in America. So, it probably comes as no surprise that this hotel review is for a property located in the US.
Up front, I need to mention that our stay at this Embassy Suites did not cost us anything. Instead, it was paid for in Hilton Honors points by a family member. Had this not been the case, I probably would not have chosen this property for one simple reason – it’s too expensive for my normal lodging budget.
At $200/night for a one-bedroom suite, the Embassy Suites Nashville South is pricey. Is it worth it? Personally, I don’t think so, but let’s go over some of the reasons that someone (you?) might disagree.
Separate living room and bedroom with a bar. These sleeping rooms are not ordinary hotel rooms. The living area is separated from the bedroom by a door that can be closed to shut out toddler noise or keep in baby whining. All living rooms have sleeper sofa couches, and each suite comes with two televisions. If you are able to reserve a room with two double beds, the suite could sleep two adults and four children. The bar area is plus with a microwave and refrigerator. However, it’s not quite a kitchenette so no actual cooking can be done in the room.
Shower with a bathtub. For adults or older children, a shower stall is usually sufficient when traveling. However, when I have my kids with me (and especially Big Foot), I much prefer to have a bathtub. Even though the older boys can take a shower, a bathtub means less mess and more fun. If your children are old enough, it’s also great to have them play in the bathtub while you finish packing your suitcase and carry-on items for the trip home.
Breakfast buffet with hot cooked items. T-Rex and Screech are professional eating machines. T-Rex especially can eat as much or more than his parents if allowed. Having breakfast included at any property is a plus to me since it saves me money on one meal a day (and usually at least one snack). However, one money-saving feature does not automatically make a good deal. Weigh all the costs and factors when choosing a property.
At the Embassy Suites, the breakfast buffet is ginormous. The boys loved picking pancakes, french toast, eggs, bacon, sausage, muffins, oatmeal, cereal, and fruit every morning. Note that the breakfast really does cater to business travelers. All portions are for adults. If you have picky eaters, you won’t find any “children’s” items except individually boxed cereals like Fruit Loops, Frosted Flakes, Corn Flakes, etc. One other thing I noticed was the lack of 100% juice. Only the orange juice from concentrate was prepared without sugar.
Manager’s reception with snacks and drinks each evening. We only made it to the manager’s reception once. It’s marketed mainly to those travelers returning after a long day of work since the big draw is the free (alcoholic) drinks. Sodas from the fountain and light refreshments are also served. For kids, Goldfish are on tap as well as a few snack mixes and M&Ms.
Pool, sauna, and gym. We brought swimsuits for the boys but only managed to take them to the pool once during the four days of our stay. The chlorine was extremely strong, especially in the hot tub. The pool doesn’t have a kids area, but it does have wide steps into the shallow end. I very much wanted to try out the sauna (I love them!), but because of our schedule for the weekend I did not get the chance. The gym seemed average for a hotel, but keep in mind that the sign on the door forbids children under the age of 16 from the room.
Wireless internet. I always check for free wireless (or wired in a pinch) internet. I could not find any information in the promotional material for Embassy Suites Nashville that stated internet service was complimentary. And, that’s because it isn’t. For all guests except those on the concierge floor (9), wireless internet costs $9.99 + tax per 24 hours. Wow.
Would I stay at an Embassy Suites again either in Nashville or another location? Sure, if it was half the price. While the amenities offered are definitely perks, I prefer to spend my travel funds on experiences rather than only on nice-to-have-but-not-necessary services.