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There are times that I really do feel like The Little Old Woman Who Lived in the Shoe. I even call our little house "The Shoe". I am a stay at home mom. I do really think that was my calling. My kids are 13, 10, 10, (yes they are twins) and 5. Our life is an adventure, most times it really is a beautiful adventure.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Our Family Vacation - Holiday Inn and Suites Virginia Beach

The Entrance to The Holiday Inn and Suites, Virginia Beach
    A lot of thought and research goes into the planning of our family vacations.  Some may argue that this steals away all of the spontaneity, I would argue that it allows for spontaneity and enjoyment when all of the important big things are taken care of.  Too many times I have decided to play it by ear and been bitten in the butt.  Now I research everything.  Having said all of that there are some variables to this.  I am going by photos that are online.  I look at trip advisors, but sometimes they are just written by people who like to complain, and are therefore not always accurate.  In the end I trust.  I trust that business are being honest and accurate, and then I cross my fingers and toes.

    After a lot of online research I decided to go with "Holiday Inn and Suites North Beach" in Virginia Beach for our vacation.  It had a lot to offer.  For most vacations I really like to go, go, go.  I like to explore and learn new things.  The problem with that is that we come home from vacation exhausted.  This year we decided to combine my ideal vacation (go, go, go) and Christopher's (relax).  We decided that we would like to do some exploring, and some relaxing.  The Holiday Inn offered us everything that we were looking for and then some!  

The Greenery Restaurant

     Traveling with a family of 6 is an expensive proposition (as I have shared with you in the past).  We are not able to comfortably fit everyone into one room with two beds anymore.  We now require either two rooms (which we have not yet made the jump to) or a suite.  We go with the suites as a rule because they offer us the room that we need, and a price (although usually heftier than I would care for), it is still less than two separate rooms.   I am really picky about where I will stay (just ask Christopher).  For me to stay at a hotel it has to be immaculate.  That may sound a little funny because I am a self proclaimed horrid housekeeper.  If I am paying $100.00 and more to spend the night in a hotel, it had better be immaculate.  More than a few times I have walked into a hotel and we have turned around and walked back our with our money back.  It drives Christopher crazy when I do this, but that is one of my many quirks.

       We had planned our vacation for March Break.  This time when I booked our hotel I asked the person at the reservations desk when "their" March Break was.  When we went to Disney a few years ago, we made the unfortunate mistake of not asking the right questions.  Foolishly we had assumed that everyone had "March Break", but in the States they have "Spring Break".  "Spring Break"in the States varies from the last week of March to the end of April.  We unfortunately chose American Spring Break to visit Disney... I will never repeat that mistake again.  I was assured that we were visiting in the off season.  This got us a good deal for our room.  I added the breakfast package for something like $10.00 for all of us.

Splash Kamp
    On our second day of our vacation we decided to The Crayola Experience in Easton, Pennsylvania.  The kids had an amazing day (as did we) and we ate to die for food for our dinner... BUT... it also delayed us arriving in Virginia Beach.  We drove through the darkness, arriving in Virginia Beach at 1:30 in the morning.  We pulled up to the sliding glass doors with a car full of sleeping children.  Groggily they stumbled out of the van and into the lobby.

Splash Kamp
    I entered the lobby and was delighted.  It was bright, beautifully decorated and immaculate!  The lady at the front desk greeted us warmly as we staggered through the lobby.  I knew already that I had made a wise choice in our accommodations.

Either Tinka or Tonka
    Here is what made our stay at the Holiday Inn and Suites in Virginia Beach so amazing.  It was bright and spotlessly clean, not only did it look clean, it smelled great.  There is something to be said for the fabled Southern Hospitality.  Every single person who worked there always greeted us with a big smile and a "How you doing?"  In particular there was this adorable guy who worked days who greeted us every morning with "Good Morning Room 305!"  He had this big welcoming smile that started our day off fantastic.  If we asked stupid questions, they were not treated like they were.  I encourage my children to ask questions, approach everything in life as a learning opportunity.  Riley was at one point quizzing me about the palm trees.  I told her that I didn't think that they were native to Virginia, but we should ask someone who lives there.  Riley of course was shy, so I walked up to the friendly girl behind the counter and asked about the palm trees.  She didn't know, but the grounds keeper just happened to be standing there.  Without a minute of hesitation he told us all about the palm trees, they were not native to Virginia.  Their trees were brought in from Florida.  He told us how they grew, how they wintered them.  It was wonderful.  We walked away knowing more about both palm trees and the amazing Southern hospitality.

    In addition to the amazing staff and spotless accommodations the resort offered some great amenities that had originally attracted me to the hotel in the first place.  They offer a "Splash Kamp" during their busy times (for us that was the week-end).  Parents can drop off their kids to be entertained by the staff, for ready for it ...FREE.  The girls went down twice and loved it.  They got to meet and pet the resident pet African turtles Tinka and Tonka.  They made bracelets and over all just had a blast.

The Exercise Room
    For those health conscious individuals, there is a mini gym.  The treadmills all sport mini televisions.  I am pretty sure I would consider hitting the treadmill if it had a t.v..

The Front Lobby
    The reason that I chose this hotel above all others was the movie theatre that it boasted.  On the busy times they set family movies, but at other times you can go and select one of their over 400 titles (many Disney).  It was great.  The kids LOVED it!!!!  That's right, you did not misread this, the hotel we stayed in had a mini-movie theatre.

Our Bedroom
    Our suite had two balconies.  One off of the living area, and one off of the bedroom.  We were lulled to sleep by the crash of the ocean.  It was beautiful.  Every morning I stood out on the balcony and watched what I suspect were schools of dolphins dancing along the coastline.  They were only mere feet from the shoreline.
This picture was taken from our balcony

The view from our balcony

    In the mornings we went out the back of the hotel to play at the ocean.  The temperature was spring like and glorious.  Instead of our bulky winter jackets we were playing in spring jackets.

The view of the hotel from the ocean

    The kids loved the indoor lazy river and Christopher loved the hot tub.  In the warmer weather there is also an outdoor pool.

    Over the next few days as you read my vacation blogs and scroll through my almost endless pictures, you will notice that we appear to always be wearing the same outfits.  Your eyes do not deceive you, we are.  The other wonderful thing about this hotel is the laundry room.  It allowed me the freedom to pack lightly.  Did I mention that it was FREE?  I just had to supply my own detergent, sweet deal.

Elly photo bombed the shot of the computer room.
    So here it is the reasons why I would highly recommend staying at the Holiday Inn and Suites at the Virginia Beach, North Beach.  
#1.  The Staff.  The staff were amazing.  They were friendly and helpful and everything that you could want in a vacation staff.
#2.  The ocean.  The hotel sat on the shore of the ocean.  We went to sleep to the sound of crashing waves, we awoke to see schools of dolphins frolicking.
#3.  The movie theatre.  Fun entertainment for the kids, included in the accommodations.
#4.  Splash Kamp.  This is a great "free" program for the hotel guests.  We did not use it as a free baby sitting service (although I'm sure you could), we used it to enhance our children's vacation fun.
#5.  Free laundry room.  This allowed me to pack lightly and have the kids still always clean.
#6.  The hotel boasts three restaurants.  There is a fancy one, an extremely informal one and then the breakfast restaurant.  Our breakfast on the busy days was an all you can eat breakfast buffet.  On the slower days we were able to order from the menu.  Basically the three restaurants allowed you to never have to leave the hotel unless you wanted to.
#7.  The amazing indoor pool.  It was beautiful to look at and the kids had a blast playing.
#8.  Location!  It is at a great location.  It's minutes from everything, and yet at the far end of the beach which means that it is also quiet.  It's right on the boardwalk and the boardwalk allows you to walk the length of the beach.
#9.  Free Computer usage.  There was a room full of computers for the guests to use, with a printer.  That allowed me to check my email without having to pack my laptop.
#10.  Price.  Because we stayed in their off season we were able to secure an amazing price!  For the week days we paid $170.00 a night.  This included our breakfasts and our stay in a large suite.  It included the use of all of the amazing amenities.  

The view from our balcony
    It is by unanimous family vote that we will most definitely be returning to Virginia Beach for March Break.  It was quiet and beautiful, it was everything that we could desire in a vacation destination.  We also have agreed that we will most definitely be staying at the Holiday Inn and Suites!

1 comment:

  1. I'm coming with you next time. lol