Disclosure: I received promotional consideration as part of the Holiday Inn Brand Influencer Program. All opinions expressed are solely my own.
My affiliation with the Holiday Inn brand goes way back. When I was a kid we had a Playskool Holiday Inn playset. I loved playing with the square headed little toy people and imagined they were on a family vacation. It was imaginative play mirroring real life, as growing up we often stayed at a Holiday Inn hotel during family road trips. We would look for the now vintage Holiday Inn sign which stood towering on the edge of the road.
My parents chose to stay at a Holiday Inn hotel because they knew it would be reliable regarding cleanliness, comfort and price. This followed the philosophy Holiday Inn founder Kemmons Wilson established back in 1952 – he believed family travel should be affordable and that there shouldn’t be an extra charge for kids. In fact, Holiday Inn was the first hotel chain to establish a First Kids Stay and Eat Free® program.
The “kids eat free” program remains in effect today, and the Holiday Inn brand has evolved to Bring Joy to the Journey by providing plentiful amenities, anticipatory staff, and a commitment to constantly innovate.
I experienced the joy of travel first hand when my husband and I took our two children on a fun family weekend trip to Sesame Place in Pennsylvania. For those in the New York tri-state region, a trip to Sesame Place is a “must-do” for families with young kids. The Sesame Street-themed park includes both wet and dry rides that are geared to little ones. While there we stayed at the Holiday Inn located in Bensalem, just outside of Philadelphia.
The drive took about 3 hours with traffic from New York. We went straight to the park and spent a full day enjoying the rides and shows. After a long day of activities, we were exhausted and looking forward to relaxing in our hotel room. I firmly believe that where you stay makes a big difference, especially with young children in tow.
We arrived at our hotel after a full day of fun at Sesame Place. We entered the open, contemporary-designed lobby and were greeted by the front desk attendants. The check in process was fast and easy, and we continued on to our room on the 6th floor.
Our room housed modern furniture with two comfortable queen sized beds. We had brought our playpen from home for the baby, but parents have the option to request a crib for free if needed.
It’s the little things make a difference when staying at a hotel. The room included a microwave which was perfect for warming up the baby’s milk. Many hotels have a small refrigerator stocked with liquor in hopes that visitors will run up their bill with these drinks. The spacious refrigerator in our room was empty, giving us the storage space we needed for baby’s milk and my older daughter’s drink boxes. If travelers want to drink they can always visit the bar in the lobby.
A Keurig coffee machine was available to give mom and dad warm, delicious coffee any time of the day. A large flat screen TV ensured everyone in the room could easily watch shows, and an air conditioning unit with a remote control made making changes to the temperature simple from anywhere in the room.
For those who want to work out, there’s a fitness room complete with modern exercise equipment, as well as an outdoor pool which my husband and older daughter enjoyed.
A highlight during our stay at the Holiday Inn hotel was the staff at its restaurant. On both days of our visit we ate breakfast in the lobby restaurant where my children could eat for free. Our waitress, Kristy, went above and beyond to make us feel welcomed and invited. She noted they had just received a fresh batch of strawberries and then she offered to dice some up for the baby.
When my older daughter requested chocolate milk, Kristy made it herself with syrup and milk. She mentioned she had children of her own, which explained why she was so attuned to our needs. The restaurant had cute plastic kids drink cups with lids and flexible straws. They were of nice enough quality that we took them home for reuse.
Another waiter stopped by to say hi to us. He, too, had young kids and related very well to my children. After my older daughter finished eating breakfast, she sat in one of the open lounges nearby which included many cozy couches. The waiter mentioned that the lobby and restaurant were recently renovated into its current contemporary style. Many large flat screen TVs were located in the lounges. The wait staff helped my daughter change one of the TV stations so she could watch Curious George, one of her favorite shows.
Overall we thoroughly enjoyed our trip to Sesame Place, and staying at the Holiday Inn hotel nearby made our journey so much more joyful. As a parent of two young children, I can really appreciate any place that is super family-friendly, and Holiday Inn did not disappoint.
Photo Credits: Holiday Inn playset from vintagefisherpricetoysbyauroramorningstar.com. All other images by Maria Adcock.