Do your kids LOVE having a sleepover? Do you find yourself stressed and anxious at the thought? Are you worried that the kids will destroy your home, or that you don’t have enough activity to entertain five children at home?
This weekend I thought outside the box and invited four boys over for a new twist on the sleepover. I booked a room at the *Embassy Suites in Huntsville on a Friday night. I chose this particular hotel because it offered an indoor pool and I knew the made to order breakfast would be a big hit with the boys! Another deciding factor is that the Embassy offers a two bedroom suite, which provided us with two double beds and a sleeper sofa. If you are able to use a AAA or Military Rate ($87-$111) it significantly helps with the room rate. However, the regular rate for this weekend was offered at $129.
Crunching the Number$
Considering that an evening movie ticket is over $7 per person and popcorn and drinks at least $7 per person, an evening at the movies for four kids and one adult is over $75! Taking the kids to a hockey game with snacks would be even more than that considering that general admission tickets are $10 each and that doesn’t include snacks or dinner. I was able to get a discount room rate and even with ordering two pizzas (picked up on the way for a $10 per pizza cost) I was able to keep my total cost for the adventure under $135. The Embassy offers a manager’s reception from 5:30 – 7:30 in the evening, and this offered us sodas and chips and pretzels to snack on (plus complimentary glass of wine for the grownups!)
There are a few points advice I would give after this experience:
- I didn’t tell the boys where we were going or what we were doing because I wanted them to be surprised.
- I made a point to have a frank discussion with them about behavior and respect. A surprise hotel stay is SO much fun, but we needed to be respectful of other guests in the hotel.
- I would set a certain lights-out time, if you plan on enjoying the pool in the morning you want well rested children. The kids swam all evening and then had about thirty minutes in the room to wind down before I turned out the lights at 10pm.
- Next time I will pack goggles for the kids, the chlorine in hotel pools is often at a higher concentration. I did pack a few diving toys and balls for them to play with at the pool.
- The following morning after our swim I had all of the boys shower, during that time the ones waiting to shower were entertained with UNO and Rack-O.
The sleepover was a huge success, and a great idea for a birthday party if you can keep your guest list to five. Out of respect for the hotel and other guests, discuss manners and behavior with your crew prior to the event. Take advantage of the manager’s reception for sodas and snacks. Have a reasonable bedtime so that the kids can enjoy the next day and you are able to return them to their parents in human form. Respect the hotel and make sure you and the kids clean up… don’t leave wet towels all over the pool area and make sure the room is in a reasonable condition upon your departure.
Most importantly relax and enjoy the kids! You will be parent of the year after a night like this!
* RCM was not compensated by Embassy Suites for this review.
Born in Germany, but raised in Huntsville, Melika Nixon brings a unique perspective to travel and culture. As a nurse practitioner and single mother to seven-year-old twin boys, including one with serious medical issues, she brings an even more keen perspective to traveling with children. She frequently writes about creative, cost-effective ways to introduce children to the world through the gift of travel.