This question from my seven-year-old confirmed it: Kicking off the annual scholastic interlude with a sleepover at the Hilton Garden Inn Toronto Airport West Mississauga — that’s right, it’s in all four places at once! — was a strong, if unorthodox, move.
Over March Break, families frequently end up at airport hotels because their flights to beaches or ski hills have been delayed by the foul weather they’re desperate to escape. That’s not irony, even in an Alanis Morissette sense, but it’s definitely a kick in the seasonally inappropriate board shorts. Trust me, I’ve been there and done that.
Now don’t get me wrong: I would like nothing more than to be in Punta Cana or Park City right now. But I simply can’t abide (or afford) the ridiculous March Break price markups. So to any family in the same metaphorical boat, I say: Eschew expensive faraway getaways and try a quasi-staycation.
I say “quasi” because, technically, a staycation involves staying in your own home. But this fails to take advantage of the Top 5 Hotel Amenities Every Kid Loves:
- A pool and hot tub.
- Two queen beds side-by-each. My kids jumped from one to the other approximately 93,000 times. Plus, our room featured a nifty alcove that allowed my wife and I to watch, heckle and ignore them from the comfort of a couch.
- Key cards. You would think the “magic” of opening your room door with a card would wear off after awhile. But you would be mistaken.
- The ice machine. Pro tip: Check your pockets for cubes before you check out.
- The vending machine. The coin-op at school is full of Tofu Tubz and Kale Krunchies. The hotel machine? Not so much.
Likewise, a local overnight embraces the Top 5 Hotel Attributes Every Parent Loves:
- A pool, a hot tub, and a sleeve of red cups.
- A breakfast buffet. The Hilton Garden Inn’s was exceptional, what with the made-to-order omelettes and non-judgemental waffle policy.
- Room service. Those red cups weren’t going to fill themselves, and “we” forgot a corkscrew. Thankfully, it was just a front-desk phone call away.
How much will an outing of this sort set you back? Compared to a week in Punta Cana — which starts at around $300 a night per person over Ontario March Break — the Hilton Garden Inn is $129 a night for the entire crew. Break up the week with a couple nights at a nearby airport hotel — it’ll be empty, as it’s probably in the deserted ‘burbs — and you can put the substantial savings toward a family vacation when you’re not being gouged.
Now if you'll excuse me, the keyboard is sticky and my waffle tower is getting cold...