It happens every January. As the cold, icy weather sets up camp outside for a few months, and restless kid/cabin fever sets in at my house, my Facebook feed starts filling up with pictures of friends getting away to warmer places, with envy-worthy views of beaches, palm trees, tourist attractions, and of course, lots of smiling, relaxed faces.
Yearning to take my own family away from it all, too, I know there has to be a way to escape the winter blues without spending a fortune to transport all of us somewhere far, far away.
Thankfully there is, and I’m still in awe, because recently my kids and I were invited to enjoy the perfect solution – a weekend staycation at the Radisson Blu Mall of America!
I’m still amazed at what an incredible experience it was – from the valet parking to the accommodations, meals and activities. We felt like we were completely leaving winter behind, and you know why? Because thanks to the Radisson Blu’s direct access to the Mall of America (via an indoor skyway bridge/hall/whatever-you-call-it), we never had to be in the cold, even once!
From the moment we arrived, we felt so welcomed and special, and were so impressed with the hotel’s modern design and stylish decor. We were brought to our room which was all ready for us personally, with a kids’ tent all set up with my kids’ names spelled out inside! The tent, by the way, we could keep (!), thanks to the Family Fun with Marty the Moose package that we received.
In addition to the kids’ tent, the Family Fun Package includes tickets to the Sea Life Aquarium or wristbands to Nickelodeon Universe, plus an age-appropriate Blu Kids Club scavenger hunt to do in the hotel, complete with prizes! The concierge were so nice to my kids as they gave them their passports to get stamped as they found places/items around the hotel and picked out their prizes – SkyDeck game cards or stuffed animals (my kids loved the stuffed animals).
FireLake Grill House for Dinner
After my kids finished the fun scavenger hunt, we headed to the 2nd level for dinner at the Minnesota-inspired FireLake Grill House & Cocktail Bar.
Despite its elegant and upscale appearance, FireLake is actually quite family friendly, as the kids’ menus had fun options like a kiddie cocktail with pop rocks. Plus, for the desserts, they spelled out their names on the plates with chocolate drizzle, which my kids LOVED! (And mom – I – LOVED my triple dessert!)
Good morning, FireLake!
In the morning, we headed back down to the FireLake Grill House for breakfast. My kids had eggs and pancakes, and I had the BEST latte with almond, followed by the Minnesota Morning breakfast, which included wild rice pancakes with choke cherry syrup (yum!), Minnesota back bacon, and organic eggs.
Nickelodeon Universe – here we come!
The Mall of America was literally just a few steps away as we left FireLake and headed over the skyway to enjoy some rides!
If your kids are like mine, they can easily spend a whole day at Nickelodeon Universe!
A hearty lunch at Burger Burger
Lunch was at the new Burger Burger on the 3rd floor near the South food court. At Burger Burger, the beef is fresh ground daily, and you can get amazing shakes here! (I had the Latte Love classic specialty shake – can’t have too many lattes in one day, right?)
By the way, Burger Burger’s fries are amazing…
Behind-the-Scenes at Sea Life
Our afternoon was filled with underwater adventure at the Sea Life Aquarium, where we got to enjoy a behind-the-scenes tour, and learned all sorts of cool things about sea creatures. Our tour guide was engaging and informative, and it was cool to see the aquarium from above, where you can actually go scuba diving and snorkeling! Then we got to touch some stingrays and explore the rest of the aquarium.
From-scratch Italian cuisine at Zio
Dinner at Zio Italian was a satisfying end to our day, where we indulged in a variety of from-scratch appetizers, handmade pasta and pizza, and of course, dessert!
Relaxing until checkout…
My kids and enjoyed a relaxing dip in the pool that evening (along with several other families with kids). Then the next morning I ordered room service as my kids slept in (mmm…this is the life for moms…).
For the kids, we headed upstairs to the Business Class Lounge where a huge buffet was available to hotel guests. It included scrambled eggs, oatmeal, a variety of breads and muffins, cereals, fruit, juices and coffee.
The Business Class Lounge, by the way, is actually available for hotel guests throughout the day, where you can make an expresso (I had TWO), read the newspaper (copies available for free), use one of the Ipads, watch the news or just watch airplanes fly in and out of the airport.
It was SO hard to check out our final morning. The room had so many nice amenities (even a bathrobe and slippers!), and it was so fun just being able to lay in bed and see the Mall of America from our window.
Our stay-cation at the Radisson Blu Mall of America was a BLAST. I would definitely bring my family back again – nowhere else even comes close (or as close to the Mall of America)!
Wondering what else the Radisson Blu Mall of America offers? With 500 rooms, a spa, fitness center, pool, and many other amenities, I can think of many other excuses to stay here – a girls’ weekend, a romantic night, a shopping weekend…actually, they have special deals for all of those and more, too! Visit their Hotel Deals page for all the info.
Want tips for saving money on the fun activities described here?
- Read my post about Sea Life MN and how you can save money on admission.
For other blogger reviews of Radisson Blu, click on their links below:
(Disclosure: My kids and I received an all-expense paid weekend press trip in exchange for sharing our experience. All opinions are 100% mine.)