Midwest road trip: Perfect family-friendly suites in Bloomington illinois

This summer, our family was fortunate enough to discover the Holiday Inn and Suites-Bloomington Airport, for an overnight in Bloomington, Illinois, while on our way to points north for vacation. We thought it was going to be a quick in-and-out, but we found there was quite a bit to do in Bloomington-Normal: a zoo, a wind farm viewing platform, a children’s museum, the Ewing cultural center, and the Prairie Aviation Museum. In fact, we ended up hanging around the morning following our stay in order to visit a couple local attractions.
So if you have a chance to visit Bloomington-Normal for events at the local colleges (there are two) or are just stopping in on your way from point A to point B, we highly recommend devoting some time—and using the Holiday Inn and Suites as your home away from home.
Holiday Inn and Suites has chosen to be intentional about welcoming families: kids stay and eat free on-site with their parents. In Bloomington, the airport, which is literally across the street, will likely the first thing your kids will clue in on. If you’re lucky, your room will face that direction and the kids can watch planes take off and land. The air traffic isn’t constant–you don’t have to worry about noise all night long–but between dinner and bedtime, our younger boys got to see a couple of passenger planes skimming the highway on their way in for landing.
In addition to standard rooms, the Holiday Inn-Bloomington Airport offers three family suites. Our suite was compact but very family friendly, with refrigerator, an extra in-room sink (speeds up tooth brushing!), microwave, and plenty of electrical outlets as well as a second bedroom. The suite sleeps six: two queen beds plus twin bunk beds in the kids’ room. While the main room is a fairly standard, nice hotel room (plenty of pillows!), the second room is clearly decorated with kids in mind. The colors are bright, from the red bedspreads to the multicolored floor lamp. There’s a preschool-sized art table and a beanbag (what kid can resist?). And, in keeping with their neighbor across the street, the art is all airplanes, from the coat hangers on the wall to the 3D hanging sculpture of a propeller plane—with a propeller that actually turns.
But let me reiterate the best part, just in case you missed it: a family suite offers parents that magical element that’s so hard to come by on the road: separate rooms! This is not a set of adjoining hotel rooms with a door that opens between them. It is a true suite in which the kids’ room is accessed through the parents’ room. So you can rest securely knowing that you have your own space while the kids are perfectly safe next door.

Hotel features: 

For a photo tour of the hotel, click here. The beds are comfortable, and the room features plenty of outlets for charging electronics. You also get free wifi, and the hotel has a business center and meeting rooms on the ground floor. Laundry facilities are available.
I also love the intentional focus on sustainability at this particular location. Most hotels now give guests the option to reuse towels, but at the Holiday Inn Bloomington-Airport we found a note inviting us to earn reward points toward future stays by participating.
Of course, the first question out of any kid’s mouth is, “Is there a pool?” The Bloomington Holiday Inn’s indoor pool and hot tub are open 8 a.m-11p.m. The adjacent fitness center, open 24 hours, has two treadmills, one elliptical, weights and an exercise ball.

Dining on site: 

You have several options for breakfast. The morning buffet in the lobby cafe costs $9.99 for adults, or there’s an a la carte menu if you prefer. You can also order a granola bar-and-fruit feature to go for $5. Simpler still is to grab a yogurt from the commissary around the corner from the check-in desk.
For lunch and dinner, check out the in-house Baxter’s American Grille, an upscale restaurant with a varied and mouth-watering menu serving lunch and dinner.

Room Rates:

As always at Holiday Inn, kids stay and eat free. Standard two-queen rooms start at $109/night, while the family suite rates start at $139—very reasonable if, like us, you normally have to get two rooms to accommodate the whole group. The hotel also offers executive and conference suites.

Location:

The Holiday Inn and Suites Bloomington/Airport is at 3202 E. Empire Street in Bloomington, Illinois, directly across the road from Central Illinois Regional Airport.
Our family stayed at the Holiday Inn compliments of the hotel in exchange for an honest review. Our opinions, as always, remain our own.

About the author

Kathleen Basi Freelance writer Kathleen Basi has lived her entire life in "flyover country," but she's an old pro at road trips, having taken the first of many extended driving vacations at the tender age of five. She's a huge proponent of letting kids see and experience the space between "here" and "there." Find her at http://kathleenbasi.com/blog/.

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