If you’re looking for a hotel brand that provides the comforts of home for traveling families, look no further than Country Inns and Suites, with locations worldwide.
Hotel design seems to be trending towards modern these days. However, traveling families don’t always need to stay somewhere where everything is sleek, white, and ultra-contemporary. Often, families want somewhere to stay that has many of the amenities of home— and where kids don’t have to be afraid on spilling juice on the carpet. Though they may not be at the forefront of design, Country Inns and Suites specializes in family leisure travel with their homey and spacious hotel rooms and suites.
Run by Carlson Companies, who also own hotel brands such as Radisson and Regent, Country Inns and Suites aims to make their guests feel at home with residential style furnishings, various accommodation options, and many amenities families can appreciate. The brand was founded in 1987 and has expanded in the following years with great success. With 500 locations, you can find a Country Inn and Suites in just about any state, with additional locations around the world in countries like Canada, Mexico, and India. At the recent opening of their 500th hotel in College Station, TX, Country Inns and Suites announced their plan to add 250 additional hotels by 2015.
The average size of a Country Inns and Suites is 80 rooms, so you can feel free to let your kids roam around without worrying they’ll get lost. Though Country Inns and Suites are great for families, their variety of room options and locations makes them convenient for business travelers and traveling teams as well.
Standard guest rooms, with either one king-sized bed or two queens, are a staple at all locations. However, there are also a variety of different suites available by locale. King Studio Suites are great for traveling parents who may need some separation in order to work. The suites have a separate living room, in addition to a microwave and refrigerator—and come with a sofa bed perfect for kids. Hospitality Suites are similar, with separate living rooms where the kids can go watch TV, a workstation, and a full kitchen area. The suites are generally better for larger families or families who may need more space: the separate living room area offers an opportunity for kids who may be earlier risers than their parents to play or watch TV.
To get a full list of the types of suites available where you plan to travel, you can look up each specific Country Inns and Suites on their website. Generally though, each suite has a TV, sofa bed, microwave, and refrigerator. Though it varies by locale, many Country Inns and Suites have swimming pools, free high-speed wireless internet, fitness centers, and laundry facilities.
Breakfast and Books
What better way to start your morning than with a make-it-yourself waffle? With the hot breakfast included in your stay, kids will love pouring the batter in the waffle skillets and then heaping them with the various condiments available at the waffle bar. Make sure to pick up your complimentary newspaper before heading over to the breakfast buffet, where in addition to waffles you’ll find other hot breakfast foods like bacon, eggs, plus cereals, fruit, and pastries. Hopefully the complimentary and easy breakfast will save you a bit of time looking for somewhere to eat in the morning, and you can head out for the day with well-fed and energized kids.
Another convenience kids will enjoy is the Read It and Return It Lending Library, offered at all Country Inns and Suites. Simply choose a book to read from the library and return it anytime to any Country Inns and Suites. Kids will enjoy the large collection of children’s titles, while parents can peruse the selection of classics and mysteries at their disposal. Through their lending library, the hotel hopes to promote literacy. The library also helps create a cozy atmosphere, bolstered as well by the fresh cookies available in the lobby.
Rates, Points & Savings
Rates for rooms vary widely according to location and the desired accommodations. Rates can start as low as around $89/N, and can range to around $200/N, but generally prices of the best value can be found by booking rooms ahead as early as possible.
Country Inns and Suites also offers a rewards program in conjunction with other Carlson hotel brands. With the Goldpoints Plus program, you can earn 15 points per dollar that you spend when staying with any hotel run by Carlson Companies at more than 1,000 hotels worldwide. You can redeem your points for free night stays, room upgrades, airline miles and more.
Talk of the Country
To celebrate the recent opening of their 500th hotel in College Station, TX, Country Inns and Suites choose three families to road trip across America, heading to College Station with stops at various Country Inns and Suites along the way. The families documented their adventures at the Country Inns and Suites travel blog, Talk of the Country. On the blog, in addition to road tripping vicariously through the Williams, Syeback, and Earnshaw families, you can also read about fun things to do throughout the country located near different Country Inns and Suites.
For more travel stories, you can also check out the Story Gallery at the Country Inns and Suites’ website, where guests and employees have posted their experiences at some of the different hotels. Stories range from topics like dog-sitting at the hotel to getting help with a flat tire. Once you’ve stayed at a Country Inns and Suites, you can post your own story!
In the United States, the highest concentration of Country Inns and Suites are from Minnesota down to Texas, and then east to the coast. However, the hotel brand is expanding and now there are many locations all over the continental United States. Generally, Country Inns and Suites are not directly located in urban centers, but rather just outside of them. For example, the two hotels near New York City are located in Long Island City, Queens, and Newark, NJ, rather than in downtown Manhattan. Many Country Inns and Suites are in suburban locations like the one in Bordell, WA—15 miles away from downtown Seattle. While this may add to travel time and be less convenient for those visiting cities, families and business travelers may prefer the calmer locations and larger room opportunities that come with suburban surroundings.
There are many Country Inns and Suites located near locales already covered by FTF as top family travel destinations. Here are descriptions of a few of these prime destinations:
Jacksonville, FL, 5945 Youngerman Circle East, 904/772-7771, 12 miles from downtown and located on the edge of the city, with an outdoor pool, fitness center, and one bedroom and king studio suites. Check out FTF’s guide to Jacksonville here.
Chicago, IL, 777 East Grand Avenue, Bensenville, 630/279-0100, 16 miles from downtown Chicago and four miles from the airport, with internet, indoor pool, fitness center, airport shuttle, and studio and one bedroom suites. Check out FTF’s guide to Chicago here.
New York, NY, 40-34 Crescent Street, Long Island City, 718/729-0111, six miles and an easy subway ride away from downtown Manhattan, with internet, fitness center, and many suite options including city view suites with a view of the Manhattan skyline. Check out FTF’s guide to kid-friendly activities in NYC here.
To learn about other Country Inns and Suites locations, call 800/830-5222 or visit http://www.countryinns.com/.
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