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(aforementioned Aunt not pictured 😀 )

Thursday after leaving the Best Western Country Suites in northwestern Indianapolis, we drove south down Michigan Road into downtown Indy to meet my aunt Marilyn for lunch.  She works nearby and it was nice to have a quick lunch with her at the Circle Center mall downtown (props even for a non-“fancy” spelling of Center!)

After doing what we normally do at mall food courts (look for coins on the ground), we loaded back up into the car and made our way east back into Ohio and through Dayton over to the eastern suburbs, stopping near Wright-Patterson Air Force base at the Homewood Suites Dayton-Fairborn.  We got there about 3:45pm and went to check-in.  The front desk receptionist greeted me very warmly, and gave me a Valentine’s Day gift of a bag of candy.  And then a handwritten letter from the manager, welcoming me.  Oh and then some Pepperidge Farm cookies and bottles of water.  Sheesh, I’m only a Gold member – I wonder what DIAMONDS get 😀

The one downside of this hotel is that the main reception area (what they called the “Lodge”) is in a separate building, and all of the rooms are in their own buildings, with outside entrances.  It was funny because the day before, when Carolyn and I were talking about the different “star” levels of hotels, I mentioned outside entrances as something that was typical of a 1-star hotel.  This was definitely not a 1-star, but in my book, outside entrances are pretty much unacceptable in anything but the lowest class of hotel.

The room itself was spectacular.  My favorite redemption with Hilton HHonors points is to book a 1BR suite at a Homewood Suites, and then use my Gold status to call and request an upgrade to a 2BR suite, which is what we did this time.  This particular Homewood Suites is a Category 4 hotel, which means it takes 20,000 – 30,000 points for a 1BR suite (30,000 in this case).  I know I’ve said this before, but I really wish that Hilton would figure out what it’s doing with non-standard room point prices. I might be willing to pay a premium for a 2BR suite over a 1BR, but I’m certainly not going to pay nearly twice as much.

Walking into the room, there is a living room with a sofabed, TV and table.

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Off to the right is a full kitchen (stove, refrigerator, microwave plus basic utensils, though the can opener in this unit could stand an upgrade)

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There was a bedroom to the left as well as to the right, and each bedroom was more or less a suite, with a door and a bathroom. The bathrooms fit my pack-and-play size requirement, though they didn’t have any electrical outlets in the bathroom themselves (they were out in the sink area). One of the bedrooms had a king bed (pictured), while the other one had 2 double beds, which was perfect for our family – that allows the kids to share the double beds while we have a king to ourselves.

As we walked to the room (outside, in the cold), I was looking on the property map that they gave us, and noticed an outdoor pool. I’m sure it’s very nice, but given the single-digit temperatures, clearly it was not an option. The kids, having been thwarted the day before by no pool, were …. not amused. Then once we got to the room we noticed that there was an indication of an indoor pool “off property”. We walked back to the lodge (again, in the cold) and were told that they have an arrangement with the Holiday Inn next door to use their indoor pool.

We decided to do that. Since Carolyn didn’t really want to swim, we decided that she would take the baby out to the grocery store and pick up a few things to make quesadillas for dinner (taking advantage of that full kitchen!) while the rest of us swam. She dropped us off at the Holiday Inn and we ended up swimming for about an hour or so. But then, we had to run back across the parking lot and back to our room. In the cold. With wet swimsuits and hair. Good times!

Sleep was much better with only 2 people in my bed instead of 3, and everybody slept all the way through the night (not always a given with kids as part of the equation). We went down to breakfast which was also good.  (Did I mention that everything was in separate buildings?  And so we had to get fully dressed including coats just to go down to breakfast?)

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An 8 person table? It’s like they knew we were coming!!

 

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The regular cold stuff plus eggs, bacon (tastier than yesterday’s!) and french toast sticks. No apple juice though 🙂  Carolyn also pointed out that she would have liked hash browns or something else savory (since she’s a vegetarian she doesn’t eat eggs or bacon, all she had was sweet things).  After breakfast we went back and checked out and headed on to the next part of our adventure.

Points with a Crew trip rating:

(gotta take off 1 star for the outside room entry)

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