Our most recent road trip back to the Midwest saw us make the almost 1600 mile trip in 2 days instead of our typical 3 days. I take a look at our 3 day road trips and see the 3rd day as being a light travel day in terms of miles and time, usually 6 hours or less. While it’s comfortable, I’ve cringe at the extra hotel money we have to pay and have always thought “why don’t we just push for 2 longer days so we only have to stay at a hotel for a single night.” So, a 2 day trip was planned.
The halfway point from our home in Orlando to my parents place in Northeast Nebraska is a bit north of Nashville, TN along Interstate 24 and somewhere near the Tennessee and Kentucky state line. While that was our goal for our hotel stay, it also depended on how the kids were doing on the long trip. If they were starting to get cranky then we’d consider pulling over earlier, but they both did great in the car as we brought along iPads and had plenty of Disney DVD’s for them to watch in the van.
Our typical game plan for reserving a hotel room is seeing how the trip is progressing, then mid to late afternoon starting using iPhone apps to see room prices. Our favorite apps to use are the Hotels Tonight and Hotels.com apps. Aunesty will first use the Hotels tonight app in the city we’re looking to stay for the night to gauge availability and pricing. Since we usually don’t start our search until later in the day (and depending on the day of the week), sometimes those hotels are close to being booked in full and offer last minute deals. However, when we see a hotel we like with a good price, Aunesty ALWAYS calls the hotel to see if they will match the price shown on the app (sometimes they can’t). If they can’t match the online price, we’ll ask for the manager’s special if available or a AAA price offer as well. Sometimes, the hotel can’t match the online price and will actually advise us to book the room through the app, which we always find odd!
On this trip, Aunesty used the apps to find availability in the Clarksville, TN area. We made it past Nashville which made me happy since we wouldn’t have to fight rush hour the next morning. Aunesty made a couple of calls to a few hotels in the area and all assured us of availability in the next 15 minutes since that’s when we’d be rolling into town. Upon exiting the interstate, we saw the Hilton Garden Inn just off I-24. It looked like a new building and we confirmed online it offered an indoor pool, which was a huge plus for us as we wanted to let the babies swim and get some exercise after being in the car for 14 hours.
The Hilton Garden Inn was a welcomed sight. The outside of the hotel was neatly landscaped with a water brook area between the parking lot and the front door. We saw a nice restaurant/bar area as we entered the hotel, which I would have liked to get a beer after settling in, but didn’t get the chance. Aunesty reserved our room with a single king sized bed, so we grabbed a luggage cart and brought our personal items up to the room. We found the room pretty spacious with the king sized bed. A nice desk was also available so Aunesty could get online thanks to the free WiFi to check her emails and process a few pictures.
The bathroom, though, only offered a standup shower, which Aunesty didn’t use anyway but we found the lack of a bath odd.
Once we got our personal items inside the room, we changed clothes and headed down to the enclosed pool. Not only was a heated pool offered but a nice hot tub/jacuzzi as well. The kids got a big kick out of relaxing the hot tub then walking over to the big pool, going from hot water to cool water. The pool offered a few lounge chairs and tables, even though it was indoors, as well as pool towels, restrooms, and a shower faucet to use before going back to the room.
After a good night’s sleep, we got going again around 7:30 AM. The Hilton Garden Inn offered a full all you can eat breakfast meal for around $9, which was tempting. But, we favor hotels which offer free breakfasts as it’s tough to pay that amount for each of our two children when they aren’t big breakfast eaters in the first place. The hotel did offer free coffee though, which was very needed to start the day!
The Hilton Garden Inn at Clarksville, TN was a wonderful hotel and we’d stay here again during a future trip!
*PS: we got all the way to Grandma’s house in Nebraska before we realized we forgot Courtney’s stuffed puppy. After searching the van, I gave the hotel a call the next day asking if her puppy was still there. The front desk person called me back after speaking with housekeeping and they did discover her puppy was still there. 9 days later on our way back to Florida, we picked up puppy and had one very happy little girl!