Hey, everyone! I want to take the family (wife and two kids 3 & 5 year old) on a get away this summer, but due to the economy we are going to have to drive it. We would like to keep it close...within 6 to 8 hours of Cleveland, Ohio. Any suggestions? Using Marriott points...
We recently visited the Niagara Fall Courtyard and had a very pleasant stay and I highly recommend.
I have spent a great deal of time at the Pittsburgh Marriott City Center (> 100 nights a year) and actually prefer Pittsburgh to Niagara Falls, hands down. The Falls were nice, but we made the mistake of staying 3 full days and did not realize when planning the trip that we could have accomplished everything in a day and a half.
As you plan, consider several options:
For example, with Youngstown as a destination combined with 'Use Marriott Rewards points' early in June there are Pointsavers at the following brands of only 7,500 pts per night:
Using 'Search Along A Route' with Cleveland as a starting point and Williamsburg, VA as a destination 8.5 hours away combined with a Hotel Reward Category set to "2" there are 14 locations along the route that require 10,000 pts/night.
As you narrow down choices, consider a visit to TripAdvisor.com and read the Reviews others have posted about the hotel(s) you are considering. Do not underestimate the value of what others report about the location, staff, service, room conditions and amenities.
Best wishes for an enjoyable family vacation.
First I would forget the car and see where you could go and relax with the young children on AMTRAK. Depending on whenwhere you could get point deals it would be Chicago or Washington DC for me the family. You could enjoy downtown, all the sites on trams (Neve have to park or drive!), and be close to your hotel to make it back to the hotel to give the kids and you all a break.
Two great spots to try are the Residence Inn's downtown Chicago, and RI Downtown DC. With there space, refrigerators and the full breakfast Have fun!
I agree with Jerry Morgan, I can't believe I forgot about DC, we were there in October at the Residence Inn Old Town Alexandria. We were 2 blocks from the metro which our 4 year old loved to ride, and they have a free shuttle that goes down to the waterfront in Old Town. The breakfast was great, the pool enj6oyable, and there is a Whole Foods just a few blocks away to keep groceries stocked in your kitchen. NIce staff as well.
Springhill Suites on N. Dearborn in Chicago is nice, too, connected with the Residence Inn. Great Staff.
We did the same thing with our small child and stayed at the JW in DC. What a nice concierge, with such an impressive view. The view from the concierge was historic to the left was the Capital, then going right you had The Smithonian, Washington Monument, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Jefferson, and The Lincoln Memorail, with Arlington Nat. Cem. in the distance.
An impressive place for a family to relish our country's history.
You have some time to really watch for some great deals.
Just target a couple of places and look all the time for great family deals. They will change and appear almost daily.
Just remember, location is everything and Res. Inn's are tough to beat for a family. Do not rule out 2 BR suits in RI's, they can really be a bargain!
The Springhill Suites adjoining the RI is very nice and close to a great place to eat and relax, Harry Carey's!
For the DC trip Again, the train is a lot of fun, or I fly Southwest to Baltimore and train into Union Station. We enjoy the ease of getting around DC without a car.
You really cannot go wrong with a trip to DC, unless you try to do "Too much", from a distance that is hard on the family. Likewise, the Summer heat will really get to everyone.
Pay a little extra, stay at the RI's or JW in the District and pace yourself. You will be surprised how much more you can do and much easier than you think. Good Luck!