I did not believe you could get a hotel room this big and not pay an arm an a leg. When you have a large family or you are travelling for a longer period of time, size does matter. Who would have known that I would have found one of my favourite properties in Rocket City, USA – Huntsville, Alabama that is. Welcome to the Home2 Suites by Hilton, Research Park – I promise you, you will love what you see and want to come back for more – for a weekend or a month. There is a reason why this is a popular accommodation for business or extended stays in the Research Park area of Huntsville. It’s where you will find a rocket scientist on every block – well at least you might if you work for U.S. Space and Rocket Centre, NASA/Marshal Air Force Base, Boeing, Redstone Arsenal, Seimans or any number of other high tech and aeronautical engineering company in the US.
What sheer luck.
It happened by chance when I posted in a TBEX Huntsville Group that I was looking for accommodations close to Space Camp. I was crazy excited about being an astronaut for the day but I knew I would be getting in late in the day. Little did I know that delays in Toronto and Chicago would get me into Huntsville, Alabama really late. As luck would have it, (and with the help of the Huntsville Tourism Board – Thanks Again), I got an email from the management of Home2 Suites by Hilton in Huntsville, asking if I would like to stay and write a review. I was happy to oblige (because that is what travel bloggers do, we travel and write about it). The Research Park area is close to the airport but not quite in downtown Huntsville. This did not matter to us as it is conveniently located off a major highway that gets you both to the airport and downtown Huntsville in a jiffy.
Tip # 1: Catch an Uber or Lyft from the airport. The Taxi to the hotel was a bit pricey at $25 (with a tip) but there is no airport shuttle to this hotel. It is, however, easy to access from the highway if you are renting a car (and parking is free).
It was my first time in a Home2 Suite property and I was taken by this new hotel because it was similar to the Hampton Inn (which is also in the Hilton chain) and other extended stay properties. This property, however, clearly out shines them all. Why? It’s the room. I was not kidding when I said that size matters. This has to be one of the largest suites I have stayed in. The master bedroom with an attached bathroom was very spacious but it was the attached living area that was exceptional. There was a large pull out sofa, a small dining table a pull out desk.
The room also had a 3/4 fridge (something akin to a small apartment fridge), a dishwasher, sink, fully stocked kitchen. By fully stocked I mean, serving dishes, plates, glassware, cutlery serving dishes.
Tip # 2: There are groceries stores nearby. Pick up what you need and store it in the huge fridge (well, huge by hotel standards). You can also ask for a hot plate from the front desk to use in your unit. They do not have these in the rooms. It is a first come first serve so be sure and ask when you check in.
With a compact dishwasher and a coffee bar. Who could ask for anything more?
There are different configuration within the hotel. You can request a King Suite with a pull out sofa like I had or you can have two queen beds with a privacy curtain like my friend Paula had. Depending on the size of your party, you may want to opt for either of these two rooms. Her suite also had a full kitchen set up, desk and TV. The bathroom was slightly smaller than mine but I would complain as it was still spacious.
The configuration in my room had a separate room with a king-size bed and an ample seating area. It also had a desk that you could pull out for more room or you could even use it as a larger table. There were TVs in both the living room and the bedroom. There were air conditioners in each room and trust me in the summer in Alabama, you will need them.
The bathrooms had one feature that I really loved for environmental reasons. They had body wash and shampoo dispensers. So you are not providing small plastics bottles to every guest. It is built into the shower and is easy to use. I’m pretty sure the housekeeping staff likes that too.
The hotel also provided a very large fitness area as well as an outdoor pool. The pool faced a man-made pond that was very large and faced away from the highway. I found it very peaceful, clean and had plenty of chairs. There are washrooms located close by so you don’t need to run to your room if nature calls. The fitness center also had the laundry facilities so you can do your laundry and have a workout without any problems. It also had an extensive weight area and a machine that looked pretty mysterious to me but apparently it was the latest in resistance training (whatever that means).
If you were in need of detergent, that is a small tack store in the lobby with basic amenities and snacks. If you don’t find what you need, you can walk down the hall to the Hampton Inn tack shop and pick other items up. These two properties are attached by a hall and you can also make your way down the hall for breakfast in the morning (shhhhh… don’t tell anyone because that is a super secret… anywhooo…. it is a hot breakfast).
Tip # 3: There is a shopping area about 5 minutes away. They have plenty of shops, restaurants and bars. Make sure to walk over on a warm summer night. It’s close by and the shopping was wonderful. We went to the Kona Grill and we had a bottle of wine (that we got to take home – sweet!)
For the best tips and an in depth tour of the property, have a look at my video. I have many tips from taking a taxi, shopping areas and what side of the hotel you should ask for!