I’ve been thinking about our next family vacation more and more lately. We had some fun adventures last year and can’t wait to do it again! Last summer, my family ventured to Grand Rapids, MI for a weekend stay. The whole brood came along for the ride – my husband and myself, my teenage daughter, my toddler son, and my mom. Naturally, with the varying age groups in my family, we look for vacations that offer something fun to do for all of us (which is much harder than it sounds!). On our trip to Grand Rapids we stayed at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel located close to many major attractions in the downtown area.
Hotel: My first impression upon entering this hotel was “Whoa!” I was immediately impressed by the décor and grand chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. The Amway Grand Plaza Hotel first opened as the Pantlind Hotel in 1913. Since then, a 29-story glass tower was added to the building and the hotel still maintains its old-world charm, combined with all the modern amenities. The inside is definitely classy and elegant – I almost thought that my toddler would somehow destroy it! LOL But we did see other toddlers (and even some babies) at the hotel too.
When I learned that access to the pool wouldn’t be available during my stay at the Amway Plaza, I was a little bummed. The photos looked great on the website, but unfortunately, due to maintenance being performed on the pool area we had to walk the Skyway to the JW Marriott to use the pool. My kids look forward to a little pool time whenever we’re on vacation so we took the 5 minute walk to the neighboring hotel. I was disappointed with the Marriott’s pool area as the floor tiles were VERY slippery, making it easy to slip and fall. Also, towels weren’t immediately available (it took more than 20 minutes after another guest called to get towels sent to the pool area), and there wasn’t a locker room area we could use so we changed in a bathroom. Not exactly the pool experience we had in mind. But again, this was at the JW Marriott pool that was available for us to use.
Room: We were fortunate to secure two adjoining rooms – one with a king bed and the other with 2 queens. This worked out great for my family since my husband and I, along with my teenage daughter, could watch movies late at night without disturbing the toddler that was trying to sleep. Unfortunately, the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel does not have a movie pay-per-view service (or the ability to check out over the television) so we had to stop by a nearby Walmart to purchase some DVDs (and a cable to connect to the TV) to watch movies on our portable DVD player. No biggie, but a staff member did tell me that they were looking into this option for the future. The room was very clean and I did not notice any stains or rips in the upholstery.
One of my favorite aspects of our room stay was the information (and chocolates) provided with turn-down service. A small sheet of paper with the weather forecast for the next day was a really nice touch. I also liked the fact that the hotel offers free WiFi to guests, as we needed it for my son to view content on our tablet. My family’s favorite aspect of our room stay was definitely the soft and plush mattresses and pillows. They were heaven!
Room Service: Like all room service options, the items on the menu are a bit pricey. We opted for room service on our last morning at the hotel out of sheer convenience – we didn’t want to have to get out of the room early and come back to pack up before check-out. I’m so glad we ordered in! The food was delivered within 30 minutes and we had a FEAST! Pancakes, eggs, bacon, fruit, yogurt – I felt like we tried it all! And it was all delivered at the perfect temperature and was simply delicious! My only gripe with our room service was that we were shorted a set of silverware so my husband and I had to share until another set was delivered. But the food was so good that I overlooked that a bit.
Location: My entire family loved the location of our hotel. We were within walking distance to some major attractions like the Grand Rapids Public Museum, the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library & Museum, the Grand Rapids Art Museum, and the Grand Rapids Public Museum. Seriously, all within a 5-10 minute walk from the hotel. And that’s not even mentioning all of the great restaurants within walking distance too! The location of the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel was just perfect for exploring the city of Grand Rapids.
Restaurants: There are a total of 8 restaurants on the hotel property – from breakfast and coffee, to a deli for lunch and steak for dinner – the Amway Grand Plaza hotel can cater to a wide variety of cravings. Personally, having a Starbucks in the building was a huge perk for me. One of my biggest peeves when visiting a hotel or resort is cruddy coffee in the morning. Thankfully, the Starbucks was just a short walk from our hotel room.
We also dined at Cornucopia for breakfast (oatmeal, bagels, and breakfast sandwiches) and lunch (salads, paninis and pizza). There was plenty of seating available, but we opted just to take it back to our room. The food was good, but we mostly enjoyed the convenience.
We had one “fancy” dinner at the Ruth’s Chris Steak House on the property. Going in with a toddler, we were a little apprehensive because we thought he would be too loud and disturb other guests. The service at the restaurant was so awesome that they sat us in a louder section of the restaurant and checked in every so often to see if we were doing alright. The food at Ruth’s Chris was so delicious and we enjoyed getting to spend some family time together at a nice restaurant.
Overall: Our stay at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel was pretty great. I do wish that they had more amenities available to children, but I would definitely recommend this hotel to any family wishing to visit the Grand Rapids area – the location alone can’t be beat! We enjoyed our Grand Rapids trip so much since there are so many amenities in the area that appeal to varying age groups.
Disclosure: My family received complimentary accommodations in order to facilitate this review and I was not required to state a particular point of view. All opinions are 100% my own.
This review originally appeared on Trekaroo!