Recently I drove to Austin with some fellow bloggers for the Disney Social Media Moms Conference “On the Road”. Since the conference officially started at 8:30am, I knew making the four-hour drive from Dallas EARLY that morning would be a deal breaker – nope, there was no way was I going to be up at 4am to make the drive, then do it all again after lunch. This girl needs her beauty sleep!
Enter the Residence Inn by Marriott – a family favorite.
In addition to the things like free wireless internet, flat-screen HD TVs to veg out in after a day of driving, what I like best is that there are separate living and sleeping areas – and in the bigger rooms with two doubles, you get a door in between. When you are traveling with kids, this is an awesome feature, so not everyone is forced to go to sleep at the same time. Those sleeping areas are fully dressed with comfy Marriott bedding, too, so I know I’m going to get a good night’s sleep.
The full kitchenette is a pretty great – not only can we keep our drinks cool, but I can re-freeze the ice packs for the next day’s drive AND I can pop popcorn in the microwave for a special in-room treat. I’m not one to cook much on the road, but if we’re ordering in, it’s nice to have access to real dinnerware, bottle openers, and serving utensils. If we were there for a longer stay, I’d be able to keep meal fixings and prepare them myself. (There’s a little oven, too.) And the hotel staff will even pick up staples for you if you leave them a list. It’s almost like being at home – with house elves!
We arrived just about dinner time. Austin traffic was crazy, as usual, and I was starving. (Driving with other adults meant that I wasn’t thinking “snack-time” as I do with the kids, and I didn’t pack snacks. Oops.) Thankfully, we arrived in time for what they call “The Residence Inn Mix” offered Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. “Mix it up Wednesdays” at the Austin/University location we were staying might offer a taste of the local area with food truck fare, restaurant pop-in tastings or dessert, and they include complimentary beer and wine. Other nights the offering might be drinks and snacks, or they might be grilling out.
Tonight’s “Mix” was a s’mores bar with other nibbly snacks, so we did things backwards, and chilled with a well-deserved glass of wine (or soda) after the long drive, and a plate loaded with s’mores, pretzels and popcorn before we headed aross the parking lot to Smashburger. I really appreciated that there were restaurants and a Starbucks within walking distance to the hotel – no going out to hunt down a restaurant for us.
After dinner, we walked back to the hotel. I must admit, it was really nice to kick back on the sofas and hang out, and there was plenty of room for the four of us to relax. When I headed back to my room, I spied a magnet on a nearby door that let housekeeping know that a dog was inside. Did you know that some Residence Inns allow your pet to stay with you for a small additional fee? It’s a great perk for those of us who travel with their pets!
After a good night’s sleep, we were up early. The split bath makes it easier for more than one person to get ready at the same time, and the roomy, bright vanity area of the sink meant no battling for space to apply makeup and brush teeth.
We packed up the cooler bag with the water bottles and ice packs we had left in the fridge and freezer, grabbed our bags and headed for the lobby.
We would be fed at the Disney conference, so I didn’t get a chance to partake of the free breakfast that they offered that morning but the breakfast buffet was stocked and waiting for us. Maybe on the next visit! Coffee to-go in hand, the checkout was fast and easy, and the great location meant we were downtown in under 10 minutes.
The Residence Inn made the perfect home away from home!
I’m pretty picky when I travel. What do you look for in a hotel room?
We stayed at the The Residence Inn Austin-University Area is located at 1200 Barbara Jordan Blvd, in Austin Texas. The Residence Inn by Marriott offered me a free stay in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are wholeheartedly my own.