We were asked by Embassy Suites if our family would like to experience a family staycation. I’ve never really been on a staycation, so we were eager to check it out and have a family fun time! We chose to visit Des Moines, Iowa since it’s relatively close for us to drive to. We loaded up the car and drove 2 hours and were beyond ready to have a family fun weekend!
Embassy Suites: Des Moines, Iowa
This all-suite downtown Des Moines hotel has the privilege of being the closest hotel to the Iowa State Capitol campus. Our hotel is ideally situated among the trendy eateries and shopping of the Historic East Village, and the nightlife of the Court Avenue Entertainment District. Enjoy the spacious, modern Des Moines lodging provided by 234 two-room suites with amenities such as two 37-inch LCD HDTVs, WiFi and internet access, and local photography and artwork adorning the suite walls. Step into true Des Moines hospitality with the beautiful open atrium lobby. Take advantage of great on-site services such as an indoor pool and a modern fitness center.
All guests at our downtown hotel in Des Moines, IA wake up to a complimentary cooked-to-order breakfast with a variety of options to choose from. Liberty’s – an Iowa Grill, offers great American food in a relaxed environment. When you return to this Des Moines hotel after your day, the complimentary Evening Reception* offers refreshing beverages and warm conversation. This all-suite hotel features 15,000 sq. ft. of flexible single-level meeting space. With multiple meeting rooms in the conference center, we host meetings both large and small, and the ballroom hosts banquets for up to 700 people. The ballroom is the perfect setting for wedding receptions, and our conference center offers great flexibility and accommodations for conferences.
- WiFi access throughout the all-suite hotel in historic downtown Des Moines
- Complimentary cooked-to-order breakfast and Evening Reception*
- Spacious two-room suites with refrigerators and microwaves
- Complimentary shuttle to Des Moines Airport and the local downtown area (call for details)
- Elegant downtown Des Moines wedding venue and event space (15,000 sq. ft.)
- Indoor swimming pool and whirlpool
Coming in to the downtown Des Moines area, you see the capital building right away. If you haven’t seen this building, it’s simply gorgeous!
I got us all registered while hubby parked the car. You can either pay for valet parking or you can save a few bucks and park across the street. The fee is charged to your room. Very easy to do and very close.
What’s great about this location is that this Embassy Suites is that it’s smack dab in the middle of everything in down town Des Moines.
We were walking distance to so many things including Zombie Burgers, tons of places to eat and have a drink, shopping, the Farmer’s Market, Science Center and so much more.
Once we get checked in, we ventured around the hotel to see what it looked like. I was beyond impressed with what we saw.
The architecture is gorgeous! There’s a gym on site and guests can use for free. The gym had every piece of equipment that you would ever want or need to work out with.
Our room was up on the 5th floor, so we were high enough not to hear anything from below, yet we were high enough for an amazing view out of our room.
We had a family suite. You can choose between a suite with two double beds or a room with a king bed. Based on the time frame, we had to get a king, however we had plenty of room for the entire family. We had a couch that made out in to a bed, as well as chairs that extended out for even more sleeping space. There’s a full bathroom with a shower (no bath tub in our room), a kitchenette area with a fridge, microwave and sink. This was perfect for making and storing snacks and beverages. Within the living area, there’s a TV and a full size table, perfectly sized for the family to sit at to eat or to work.
I was pleasantly surprised to see that our room overlooked the river.
This beautiful spot is on the Riverwalk and is called the Simon Estes Ampitherate. It overlooks the Des Moines River on the west side of the hotel. While we were there, there were bands playing, so we were able to listen to them while we were on site.
From our room, we could see below. There was a gorgeous and comfortable looking outdoor sitting area.
Once we got settled in to our room, we wondered around and it was just in time for happy hour. How many hotels do you know of that have a complimentary happy hour? I can think of one, and it’s this one.
We, as a family, were able to enjoy each other’s company while mommy & daddy were able to have a couple of drinks and we all enjoyed snacks from the snack buffet. They had chips, dips, sodas and more.
What I loved about Embassy Suite’s happy hour was that they had a full gaming set up with Wii’s, sofas and plenty of room to play.
As the night grew darker, we were starting to hear the bands outside play. We looked outside and it was packed! We sat outside and enjoyed listening to them play!
As the night grew even darker, it was time to start settling down for the night. We went back up to our room, and started to get ready for the kids to call it a night. While we were able to hear the bands play, it was not overly loud so that we couldn’t sleep. The kids were curious… hence the monkeys in the window.
Kambry wanted to sleep in the chair with ottoman. She’s 6 and was very comfortable and she loved it. Tucker is 9 and wanted to sleep on his own on the pull out sofa bed in the living space.
When we are traveling, one less thing that I want to worry about is breakfast. What’s for breakfast? Where are we going to go? How much will it cost? How busy will it be? Well, Embassy Suites has that taken care of with their FULL and HOT breakfast. Oh… and it’s FREE!
If you’re in the mood for pancakes, french toast, an omelet or something else, you can request it from the cook.
What’s a family vacation without some pool and hot tub time? The pool in this Embassy Suites was a lot of fun, however our only complaint was that it was overly hot, humid and uncomfortable in this space. We had to crack a door to be able to sit there with the kids so they could swim. Overall, the kids had a blast swimming for probably 3 hours.
Overall, our stay with Embassy Suites was very comfortable for the 2 nights, 3 days that we were there. The location was perfect.
While we were in the downtown Des Moines, Iowa area, we visited Blank Park Zoo.
$34 total for a family of 4
We walked to Zombie Burger and had dinner one night. This place was highly recommended for our family to visit, however this wasn’t what I would call ‘kid friendly’. I think this place would be a fun date night, but the kids (6 & 9) didn’t like it at all. The food was ‘eh ok’, but nothing to write home about. I’ve definitely had better.
We spent $40 for a family of 4. This was ok, but I would recommend looking around for a different location to eat, especially if you have kids.
On Saturday morning, we caught the shuttle from the Embassy Suites hotel (this is free within a wide area) down to the Farmer’s Market and ended up at the Science Center. We bought a family four pack on Groupon for $20. This was an amazing deal!
We had a lot of time and we wanted to make the best of every second of it. We also went to Jordan Creek Mall where we surprised the kids with Build-A-Bear. Workshop. We didn’t have any coupons for Build-A-Bear, so keep in mind that this can get pretty expensive. We dropped a good $110 easy, just on two bears, however the kids had a blast, so it was well worth it.
On Sunday, on our way home, we ended our family fun Staycation with 4 fun filled hours at Urbandale’s Incredible Buffet & Fun Center. ((Stay tuned, we have an ENTIRE post coming on our experience!)) Rates range for this location, so be sure to watch for our post on what we saw, experienced, and details on this fun place!
I cannot begin to express how much fun that our family had while on our family staycation. We had a blast and saved tons of money by staying local. Why spend thousands of dollars on a vacation when you can spend a whole lot less on a local family staycation? We had so much fun this weekend and didn’t break the bank.
Looking to plan a family fun staycation? Stay local and visit www.EmbassySuites.com for a location near you!
A huge thank you to Embassy Suites for setting us up with a family suite for two nights and a gift card to explore the area!