Thursday, March 24, 2011
Traveling as a family can sometimes present unique challenges. You want a location that's easy to get to while hauling your whole family with you. You want comfort and cleanliness and maybe even a bit of luxury, but you also want an atmosphere that's informal enough to feel comfortable having children around. You want a few entertainment options for the kids. You want cribs and highchairs and microwave ovens to warm up formula. And being family of five, we have an extra requirement: space. Or at least enough beds for all of us!
I was recently invited to stay over at the Hampton property of our choice so I could share my experiences with our readers. The timing could not have been better, because we were planning a ski trip anyway, so I chose the Hampton Inn at Truckee/Tahoe. I always prefer staying in suites when we travel, since we can't fit into a standard room, and booking 2 adjoining rooms can be really expensive. I also love places that offer free hot breakfast! I've heard good things about this place, so I was looking forward to our stay. Did the Hampton at Truckee/Tahoe live up to its reputation? Keep reading to find out how it went .....
With over 1,700 hotels in the United States, Canada, Ecuador, Mexico and the United Kingdom, you're sure to find a Hampton hotel convenient for you. Whether visiting for business or pleasure, in a single room or suite, you'll enjoy all of the extras our hotels have to offer. They're part of what makes staying at a Hampton a very special value.
About Hampton Inn & Suites at Truckee/Tahoe:
From the majestic mountain peaks at Squaw Valley to the sparkling blue waters of Lake Tahoe, you'll be near it all when you visit the Hampton Inn & Suites® Tahoe/Truckee hotel. Staring at the stars as you breathe in fresh mountain air is a sure-fire way to leave your cares behind. At our comfortable Tahoe area hotel, you'll have easy access to a host of activities from swimming to snow skiing, hiking to horseback riding, and so much more.
I can't say enough great things about this place! Here are some of the things I like best about the Hampton Truckee/Tahoe:
You can't beat the location! It's just off I80 so it's easy to get to, and it's near several great ski resorts, including Northstar, Squaw Valley, Boreal, Soda Springs and more. Downtown Truckee, with all its quaint little shops and restaurants, is just a five-minute drive away.
This place is beautiful inside and out. It's in such a lovely location, nestled among the trees and the snow. Inside, you feel like you're in a cozy lodge, with a roaring fireplace, beamed ceilings and stone floors. I was delighted to find that all furnishings and fixtures were in the Mission Arts and Crafts style, which happens to be my favorite; I was sorely tempted to steal the gorgeous mica-shade lamps scattered about the hallways and in our room.
They have board games and books, a fitness center and a year-round hot tub (which we didn't try because it was snowing heavily, but we're determined to take a dip the next time we visit!) to relax during those apres-ski moments. Coffee and hot tea (Alfie says their Earl Grey is the best he's tried) are always available, and a plate of cookies makes an appearance every evening. Kid-friendly features are everywhere, from high chairs in the breakfast area to books and games to cribs for the asking (and did I mention cookies?).
All in all, the atmosphere was upscale, yet relaxed, and not so splendid that we felt like we had to dress up in suits and insist our kids behave like Little Lord Fauntleroy.
We loved our one-bedroom suite! We had 2 queen beds and a sofabed, plenty of room for our family of five. Like the rest of the property, everything was beautifully furnished, nicely equipped (2 TVs, DVD player, lots of closet space, great shower) with tons of amenities (fridge, microwave, coffee maker, tea, coffee, popcorn, luxury toiletries).
They have the Goldilocks of beds -- not too hard, not too soft, just right. Honestly, I can't think of a more comfortable hotel bed I've slept in; it was just the perfect place to lay my tired, weary body on at the end of a long ski day. Even the sofabed was nice, not lumpy at all!
What else does a blogger do when her kids go to bed? Get online, of course! Internet access is a must, and free internet access is definitely a perk that would keep me loyal to particular hotel chain (or get me to switch). We had fast, free internet access in our room via ethernet cable, and wireless internet access in the lobby, so getting online was never a problem.
The staff I met at the front desk were super-helpful and friendly. They gave us lots of good advice on alternate routes when a snowstorm shut most of the highways down, and they kept us updated on weather reports and traffic conditions while we were hanging out in the lobby. They even lent us snow shovels and ice scrapers to dig our car out of the snow.
This was probably my kids' favorite part of the day: choosing from all the yummy breakfast options. They serve cold items like cereal, fruit, yogurt, pastries; they also have hot items like toast, make-your-own waffles (the kids loved this!), instant oatmeal, and a hot dish that changes from day to day.
The hot Bagel Toppers they served (bagel halves topped with melted cheese, eggs and ham) were delicious!
Having a hot breakfast included is such a huge convenience bonus. It's great not to have to deal with the whole restaurant/cafe ritual (ordering/waiting/paying) when you're in a hurry to go out and hit the slopes.
The room rate ($384 for a 1-bedroom suite with 2 queen beds and a sofabed) seemed a bit pricey to me, but that seems to be the upper limit. I actually found a rate of $279 for exactly the same room, on a different weekend. I even found a standard room for $184, which is downright reasonable. Also, that $384 rate was for a Saturday night stay; mid-week rates seem to be $40-$50 cheaper. Besides, you get what you pay for, and we really did have a wonderful experience.
No, the only real beef I have with this place is their 72-hour cancellation policy, which seems really restricting to me. We actually had a nightmare driving to and from Tahoe because it happened to be snowing heavily that weekend. Okay, actually it was near-blizzard conditions; several highways were closed due to poor visibility, accidents and avalanches. The drive normally takes us 3.5 hours, but it took us 7 hours to get there, and 14.5 hours to drive back!
I'm not blaming Hampton for the weather, of course. However, we all knew the storm was coming and had it not been for the cancellation policy, I would have postponed our trip for another weekend. As it was, I felt trapped (or booked), and the knowledge that we could have avoided that nightmare drive really soured my attitude towards the chain -- the one dark spot in an otherwise amazing experience. A 24 or 48 hour cancellation period would garner so much more customer good will!
The Bottom Line
Staying at the Hampton Inn Truckee/Tahoe was one of the highlights of our recent ski weekend, and I would highly recommend it to any other travelers (single, couples, families, big groups) looking for a place to stay in the area! For our family, it was the perfect home away from home.
Disclosure: I received a complimentary 2-night stay at the Hampton property of my choice to facilitate my review. Product information is provided by the featured company/product and is indicated in italics. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.