Planning a reunion? Here are 4 tips on booking a family-friendly hotel in Cleveland
By Lexi Hotchkiss
The U.S. Travel Association released a 2013 study that showed families actually strengthen bonds when they travel together. In fact, of the youth surveyed, 64 percent strongly agreed that they get to see and do things on vacation that they'll remember for a long time and 53 percent noted that vacations bring their family closer together.
We went straight to the experts to talk about one of the most grueling parts of family vacation or family reunion planning--finding the perfect accommodations.
Cindy Richards is the editor-in-chief for TravelingMom.com and a mom who has traveled the world with her two kids. Here are some of her tips on what to look for when booking family accommodations.
"By this, I mean a pool. No matter what their age, my kids have always wanted to dive in to the pool the minute we get checked in. It gets them moving after long hours in a car or on a plane, and works off some of that excess energy," Richards says.
Thankfully, the options for Cleveland hotels with pools are quite vast and viewable here. Or, in Downtown Cleveland, be sure to check out:
• Ritz-Carlton, Cleveland
• Renaissance Cleveland Hotel
• Doubletree by Hilton Cleveland Downtown - Lakeside
• Marriott Downtown at Key Center
• Crowne Plaza Cleveland at Playhouse Square
"[Having a pool] works for me too. While they splash, I get to catch up on work or indulge in a little (sort of) quiet reading time," Richards says.
Take it one step further and stay overnight at an indoor waterpark resort in the Sandusky area. Places like Great Wolf Lodge and Cedar Point's Castaway Bay offer year-round waterpark fun that's basically a vacation within a vacation. Bonus: they're large enough for the extended family to have all sorts of fun under one roof.
2. FREE WIFI
"The older your kids are, the more important it is for them to stay connected to their friends when they're on the road. But even younger kids know how to entertain themselves with a phone or tablet," Richards says. "Wifi means they can do it without sucking up all your cell plan's data and free means you save the money you would have spent paying for 24 hours of hotel wifi."
• If staying Downtown is your jam, then pick up your free wifi at the Hilton Garden Inn Cleveland Downtown, which is located just across the street from Progressive Field and within walking distance to just about everything Downtown.
• In Streetsboro, which is located near the Aurora Premium Outlets and Wildwater Kingdom, get free wifi (complimentary hot breakfast, too!) at the Fairfield Inn and Suites.
• For those who want to stay centrally located (and within close proximity to the Cuyahoga Valley National Park), get your free wifi at Hyatt Place in Independence.
• If you find yourself on Lake Erie's shores and islands, head for the resort-like vibe on Kelleys Island, where you'll find free wifi at the Kelleys Island Venture Resort, as well as an outdoor pool and free bicycles.
3. A GOOD BREAKFAST BUFFET
"I travel with a family of four, so breakfast at a restaurant can cost $40 or more. I always look for a hotel that includes a fresh, hot breakfast. This was true when I traveled with a picky toddler and just as true when I traveled with ravenous teens," Richards says.
• Enjoy your free hot breakfast close to all the action Downtown at the renovated and historic Holiday Inn Express Downtown Cleveland, located along adjacent from the bustling E. 4th St. Entertainment District.
• Stay close to Cleveland Hopkins International Airport and near many of Cleveland's west-side attractions at the Comfort Inn - Cleveland Airport, home to a free hot breakfast buffet.
• On Cleveland's east side--near shopping complexes like Legacy Village and Beachwood Place--you can enjoy a serious breakfast buffet at the Staybridge Suites - Cleveland East.
4. MORE ROOM
"This calls for booking into a condo or an all-suites hotel. Having more room is particularly important when your kids get to be teens-- it can be quite crowded cramming four adult-sized people into one standard hotel room," Richards says. "But it's also nice when the kids are little because they can have their space for watching cartoons or sleeping and you can have yours for quiet conversation and relaxation."
Check out these suite-style hotels that come with extra rooms galore:
• Cambria Suites Cleveland/Akron (West of Downtown)
• Embassy Suites Hotel--Beachwood (East of Downtown)
• Embassy Suites Hotel--Rockside (South of Downtown)
• Homewood Suites by Hilton--Solon (Southeast of Downtown)
• InterContinental Suites, Cleveland (Midtown, near Downtown)
"Look for one with a kitchenette and you can save more money by bringing milk and cereal for breakfast and PB&J for lunch," Richards says.
Start meal-planning with an overnight stay at the Residence Inn by Marriott--Cleveland Downtown or the Residence Inn by Marriott Cleveland/Avon at the Emerald Event Center.
Wherever you stay during your family trip or reunion, you'll have plenty to do here in Northeast Ohio. So go ahead and tire the kids out, then rest your head comfortably knowing you picked a great family-friendly hotel.