I was overjoyed when I found the Six Suitcase Travel site which is designed to help families my size (or larger...) find a hotel that won't lock their doors when we pull up. I used this site to help find a hotel that would work for our trip to Philadelphia and I soon settled on The Springhill Suites by Marriott. I called their very friendly 800 number and found out that not only would it accommodate all of us but they were running a special so I was able to score ONE hotel room for all six of us for $87/night over the 4th of July weekend. Amazing! Not only did they have a great rate, but they also promised a free, hot, buffet breakfast every morning.
To be perfectly honest, I was a little nervous. It seemed too good to be true. Would we pull up and find something more in line with the Bates Motel? I was also concerned because in our efforts to find affordable lodging, we were looking outside of Philadelphia so our commute time was questionable. I was pleasantly relieved however when Jack guided us to a beautiful 8 story hotel perched on the top of hill, which made it even more impressive to the kiddos in the back. I heard one of them say, "wow, this must be an expensive hotel!". Oh little did they know!
Check-in was a breeze and soon we were checking out our hotel suite. It had a small work/kitchen area with a fridge, microwave and small sink. There was a desk that Will promptly took over as his own and set about figuring out how to get the high speed internet that had been promised. It took some convincing but Marie finally agreed to share the sleeper sofa with Nicole and not sleep on the chair and ottoman. There were two double beds so much to Tony's disliking, he did have to share a bed with his little brother. He wanted to sleep on the floor. After explaining germs, hotel rooms and general hygiene, he agreed that he probably wouldn't catch as many cooties sleeping next to Drew as he would on the hotel room floor! Once all the sleep negotiations were settled, we promptly took over the indoor pool area and let the kids get all their wiggles out from being stuck in the van for 5 hours.
I was still thinking that this hotel was too good to be true and that we would be in for a rude awakening the next morning with the "hot buffet breakfast". But we trooped down there nice and early and the kids thought they were in heaven! Fruit loops, pastries, peanut butter w/sugar in it, all sorts of things that I wouldn't be caught dead letting them eat normally. But since we were on vacation, I let them have at it. There were eggs and sausage that some of my creative children used to make egg and sausage bagel sandwiches. In the mini-fridge, there were peeled hard boiled eggs, milk, yogurt and cottage cheese. Fresh hot coffee to wake me up and oatmeal so Will could eat a healthy breakfast. It was perfect for our family. The staff was very accommodating and one morning, when we walked in to the dining area and MTV was blasting, I asked a gentleman at the front desk if he could change the channel and he quickly came and found something more kid-friendly.
The location was so convenient and while we did have to travel about 20 minutes to and from downtown Philadelphia, the kids didn't seem to mind and it gave us some time in the car to discuss what our plans were for the day or to sit quietly and listen to music. We stayed in the Plymouth Meeting location which had a Giant grocery store as well as other shopping close by.
While the kids enjoyed all the sites in Philadelphia, I think it's a toss up as to what was actually the highlight of the trip. Beautiful fireworks over the Philadelphia Art Museum or mini cinnamon rolls on the breakfast buffet every morning?