Summertime is a time when many families travel either on a plane across the country, or in their minivan for a road trip. The kids are off from school and it’s sunny and warm outside – so cabin fever sets in and everyone wants to get out and explore!
But what if you can’t take much time off from work, or don’t have the budget for a big family vacation?
I’m a HUGE fan of staycations. Staycations can be at home, or nearby at a hotel in your city or state (better titled a “nearcation” – but staycation is probably more familiar).
Last year, my family enjoyed the best staycation at the Radisson Blu Mall of America. We had such an amazing time with a group of other bloggers, and my kids have asked me so many times since, “When are we going back?”
So when the Radisson Blu Mall of America invited my family back for a 2-night staycation this summer, we could not have been more excited! What a perfect solution for our cabin fever!
So this month, we packed our stuff like we would for any other vacation, hopped in our van, and drove less than 30 minutes away to our destination. 🙂
Our Summer Staycation Experience at Radisson Blu Mall of America
The Radisson Blu experience begins with parking and check-in. Guests have option of self-parking in the ramp for $15 per day, or choosing valet service which is $25 per day. (You can also park in either the East or West side ramps of the mall which is free – they just have to get your information to security.)
Either way you can unload and load your vehicle at the entrance with help from the concierge.
The lobby’s design is so elegant, modern and sophisticated. My kids love sitting in the beehive-like chairs that seem suspended in the air.
Did you know that the white wall in the lobby was designed to look like tissue paper in a shopping bag, a reference to the Mall of America? And the beehive chairs symbolize a bee colony that is kept on the roof of the hotel?
We then checked into our room. The concierge helped bring our bags to our room and were so pleasant and helpful (don’t forget to tip them!).
We had two adjacent rooms. One was a Junior Suite, the other was a standard Guest Room. And we were STUNNED. The rooms were big and had everything we could need. The Junior Suite, for the grown-ups, had a king bed, big flat screen TV, desk, couch/living area, fridge, coffee maker, and the nicest bathroom – and with the prettiest, sparkly floors!
The Guest Room had two queen beds and many of the same amenities. Each of our kids got their own bed which they LOVED (what kid doesn’t like sleeping in their own queen-sized bed?).
Here’s a panoramic photo of my view from the king bed. (The TV was movable.)
Here my kids and I give a fun, silly tour of our rooms!
Our view from our room (south side of the mall). The south view is the “valley view” and the north view the “city view.”
For dinner, we headed down to the FireLake Grill House for dinner. They had an impressive menu with a farm-to-table concept and many locally inspired items. They even use honey from the bees on the roof in some of their dishes!
I ordered the pork chop dinner, which is glazed with this honey (yum). The kids had kids’ meals and even got stuffed bee friends to take home!
Also, since our first night was a Sunday evening, the mall closed early, so it was the perfect time to swim in the hotel’s 100% Saline pool. There’s also a fitness center and spa.
With a Business Class upgrade, you get access to the hotel’s hospitality lounge which includes complimentary breakfast. The breakfast offers eggs, oatmeal, breads, fruit, cheese and coffee. It was delicious! And I had two cups of the Nespresso…
You can also enjoy iPads, newspapers and TVs in the lounge while you eat.
After breakfast we headed to the lobby for the kids’ scavenger hunt, which the hotel offers for guests. All kids have to do is collect four stamps for doing activities around the hotel, like taking a picture in a particular location, and finding “Marty the Moose” in the lobby. When you get four stamps you get a prize – a stuffed animal! My kids loved this part – it was fun and easy, and were super happy with their prizes.
It was time for some fun in the mall! We walked around, did some shopping, and had pizza for dinner. We loved having the whole day to just walk around and explore. And we could just stop by our hotel room anytime to drop off our shopping bags, and then just head back to the mall again.
That evening we went back to the Business Class lounge for free snacks (chips, dip, veggies), and back to our room for a break.
One thing I really liked was the security of the hotel. You needed your room key to get into the elevators, the amenities and if you had an upgraded reservation, the Business Class lounge. I like what they do to keep the place secure.
That evening we also watched the Mall of America’s Universe of Light show which is nightly, Monday to Saturday, at 9:30pm. Right now they’re celebrating the Mall’s 25th anniversary with a special birthday light show.
The next morning it was time to check out. We did NOT want to leave. But it was definitely a memorable and enjoyable time away from home. We never felt like we were so close to home. It really felt like a getaway -and like we were tourists.
Staying at the Radisson Blu Mall of America, we felt so special, and with two nights here, we had plenty of time to explore the mall and discover places we usually skip past because we usually like to visit our favorites. The leisurely and contemporary feel of our stay made it a real vacation for us – not just a staycation.
Now that we’ve had our staycation here, here are my tips for how to make the most of your Radisson Blu visit!
10 Tips for a Fun Radisson Blu Mall of America Family Staycation
- Book for 2 nights. One night goes too fast – you need at least 2 nights here to get at least a full day for the mall.
- Book 2 adjoining rooms. Any way you stay here will be enjoyable – whether in one room or more. But with two rooms, you’re all together, but mom and dad can have their own space, and kids have their own as well. Everyone is happier! If you can do this, at least one time, it’s worth it.
- Get a package that includes breakfast. You can save money by bringing your own breakfast in the room, and storing milk and juice in the fridge. But waking up to a hotel breakfast is such a good, fun way to start your day. Upgrade to Business Class with your reservation to get access to the Business Lounge. Otherwise, order breakfast at FireLake, or just order room service. You’re on vacation!
- Do the Scavenger Hunt! Kids won’t want to miss this.
- Stay from a Sunday to a Tuesday. The rates will be lower than on a weekend, and with the mall closing earlier on Sunday night, it gives you the perfect excuse to really take in the amenities of the hotel, including the pool.
- Plan a dip in the pool or a workout in the fitness center. It’s a great way to unwind (or wake up) during your stay.
- Eat at FireLake at least once. A meal can be pricey (ours was around $75 for four), but even a light breakfast or just a dessert is worth it. Their service and the attention to detail complements the hotel experience.
- Consider a package deal. Their Family Fun with Marty the Moose package includes a kids tent in the room which you can keep!
- Plan your stay around deals for attractions at the Mall of America. Get a free Twin Cities Kids Club membership card in advance or just check out the TCKC website for deals throughout the Mall of America including the Crayola Experience and Nickelodeon Universe. Also, visit the Mall of America website for info about upcoming events you may want to schedule your visit around or just know about.
- Don’t overschedule. Plan time for naps and just for exploring.
For more information about the Radisson Blu Mall of America, visit their website at https://www.radissonblu.com/en/hotel-mall-of-america.
The Mall of America’s website is: http://www.mallofamerica.com/.
FireLake’s website is http://www.firelakerestaurant.com/moa.php.
(Disclosure: My family received a complimentary stay at the Radisson Blu Mall of America and dinner at FireLake to facilitate this review. All photos and opinions, including the 10 tips, are 100% mine.)