"Great value & lots to do!"
This past weekend we stayed for two nights at the Little America Hotel with my kids (ages 2.5 and 5.5) and husband. I was impressed from the time we exited the freeway- the first thing you see to the right, off the exit is some of the astounding one million+ colored lights strung up on the property!
Our check-in by Steve at the front desk was fast & friendly, which was appreciated since it was getting close to bedtime and the kids were yanking at me to get to the room. I was a bit disappointed that he didn’t mention that Santa was going to be at the hotel on Sunday- I had read about it on their website (flagstaff.littleamerica.com), but wasn’t sure of the times or location. We ohhed and ahhed at the enormous roaring fire and holiday décor before getting back in the car and heading to our room.
In the morning we discovered that all the ‘lodges’ (there are 5 buildings on the property) are connected by corridors, so in order to go to the front desk or head to the restaurant, guests don’t have to go outside (VERY nice when it’s 8F outside and you think about having to bundle a toddler up in 19 layers just to go to breakfast).
My first impression of the room was that it was very spacious-feeling, and a little bit formal. It was a standard room with 2 queen beds, but apparently about 100 square feet bigger than the average hotel room in the US. That extra area gave the kids room to play a bit more, and allowed for a big bathroom & a separate vanity area outside the bathroom. There was an interesting mix of antique-looking European furniture and some modern amenities (like a large flat-screen plasma TV and free WiFi). I wasn’t crazy about the large glass table (though it was beveled and extremely sturdy) and the drawers in the dresser were hard to open. The vanity seat near the coat closet was very useful for getting boots on to go out and play in the snow. I was given a choice of crib or pack-n-play at check-in, and the pack-n-play was all set up with sheets by the time that we got to the room (bonus points, since I didn’t want to make another trip to the car in the snow and ice to drag in my own pack-n-play).
The mini-fridge in the bathroom was both handy & a bit awkward…and it would’ve been nice to have a microwave in the room, to heat up leftovers. We appreciated the non-slip mat provided for the bathtub/shower (at times I‘ve had to resort to putting a towel in the bottom of the tub for my kids…not the most effective). The plush carpeting, down pillows, and heater made the room cozy as we looked at the Christmas lights outside our floor-to-ceiling windows. (The cookies and pitcher of milk were also nice, but I’m pretty sure that’s not standard for everyone who stays here.)
The majority of Little America’s 247 rooms are standard rooms with one king or two queen beds, but they also have a few suites available for families or larger groups, and some of the suites can be connected together for large groups or families. Some of the suites even have a decorated Christmas tree in them during the holiday season (a caught a glimpse of through window at night)! All rooms are non-smoking, and pets are not allowed on the property.
On both Saturday & Sunday we had a chance to get outside and explore some of the 500 acres of Ponderosa pine forest that the hotel sits on. I loved how much the hotel property seemed like a big back yard, especially covered in snow. Lots of hotels are all concrete, and seem like nothing more than a place to sleep at night, but this one has so much character! Once you enter the property it’s easy to forget that you’re right next to the freeway, and in a big city. The trees seem to muffle all traffic noise, and we saw a number of little critters- a few bunnies & a few pretty grey squirrels. We made a snowman, snowballs & snow angels, played on the playground (twice), and looked at all the decorated trees…my daughter even brought an icicle into our room to take home, and promptly put it in our fridge.
Some of the amenities that we didn’t get a chance to use were: fitness center, large heated pool amidst the pines (closed in the winter), hot tub, coin-operated laundry and the adjacent travel center with 24-hour casual restaurant (serving hamburgers, chicken, ice cream, & breakfast all day) and convenience store. On site there is also a 2-mile hiking/jogging trail, and courts to play croquet, volleyball, horseshoes, or badminton on (available upon request). Something that would’ve been nice to have is a kid’s club, though we were so busy with activities in and around the hotel that we didn’t miss it on this trip, plus our 2-year-old is still too young for most of them.
This hotel could make a good setting for over a week’s worth of activities- it’s about 90 minutes (or less) away from the Grand Canyon Nat’l Park, Sunset Crater Volcano Nat’l Monument (plus other national monuments), and Sedona. In town you can find Riordan Mansion State Historic Park, where we enjoyed their annual Christmas party, with some quality kids’ crafts, stories from Mrs. Claus, a visit from Santa, cookies & hot cider. Just 15 minutes north of Flagstaff is the Arizona Snowbowl which is supposed to be great for beginner skiers. I’m definitely planning on coming back to Flagstaff to take the kids skiing here! Flagstaff is also home to the Lowell Observatory, which is also on our to-do list to visit.
For breakfast on Sunday, we enjoyed the buffet at the Western Gold Restaurant at the hotel. There were lots of tasty options, but the highlight for me was the omelet bar, and my 5-year-old was entranced by the chocolate fountain. Prices at the restaurant are very reasonable, about $8-10 for breakfast & lunch, and $15-25 for dinner entrees. Kids’ meals were $6, but kids (under 6) ate free at the breakfast buffet. We weren’t able to sample their signature dish, a Roast Turkey Dinner which is available for seven days a week. Next to the restaurant is the Tiffany Tree Lounge, which features a life-sized tree with stained-glass leaves! We didn’t spend any time in the bar, but the tree was so impressive that we did go in to take a look at it! In-room dining is also available, until about 10pm, for about $2 more than the restaurant prices.
When looking for a hotel, I do typically choose places that serve a complimentary breakfast, but the prices at the on-site restaurant were reasonable enough, and the ambiance casual enough, to make it a good choice for a families with children of all ages. And since the hotel is literally next to the freeway, and less than a mile from the old Route 66, there are dozens of other restaurants within a few miles. You can choose from a variety of fast food places, steakhouses & diners.
The bottom line is that I would definitely recommend the Little America Hotel for families interested in visiting the Flagstaff, AZ area. The rooms are very reasonable, comfortable and there is so much to do in and around the property. We had a great time, and plan on going back to play in the snow some more, or to enjoy the pool in the summer!
*This review is based on a complimentary stay at the Little America Hotel in Flagstaff, AZ. I received no other compensation besides the hotel stay, and the hotel did not express any requirements that I express a particular point of view.