pitstopsforkids's Passport


Member since:
26 September 2009

Icon_superoo_orangeSuperoo '12, '13, '14

Icon_pictureBeen to 352 Attractions
Icon_star350 Reviews
Icon_star1232 First to Review
Icon_camera2421 Photos
Icon_thumbsup121 Helpful Votes
About Me & My Family

I'm a travel and eco blogger, freelance writer, and editor living in beautiful Oregon. I love to travel with kids (most of the time) and run a review site for parents called www.pitstopsforkids.com.
Our Family's Travel Personality
adventurous, curious, energetic, scheduled
We Just Got Back From
A whirlwind tour of the national parks of the Southwest!
Our Favorite Vacation Spot
Oregon state parks or Laguna Beach, CA. It's a toss up!
A Place We'd Love To Visit
St. John's in the US Virgin Islands
Favorite Vacation Memory
Watching my children explore Disney World for the first time!
Worst Travel Moment With My Kids:
Stranded in the San Francisco airport at 2 am with a toddler and an infant. Not. Fun.
Websites I Like:

Reviews & Photos

350 Reviews

February 16 2015
0 families found this helpful
Marriott Grand Chateau | kids travel, kids activities
Marriott Grand Chateau
75 E Harmon Ave,
Las Vegas, Nevada
"An oasis for the family!"
I'm not entirely convinced Las Vegas should be any family's #1 pick for a kid-centric vacation. However, there are many reasons to be in Vegas, from a quick getaway in winter to the many shows, conventions, and sporting events held there. When families do find themselves there, we now know where they should stay.

The Grand Chateau is a Marriott Vacation Club property (for the record, we've experienced three Marriott Vacation Clubs now, and haven't been disappointed in ANY of them). Parents don't have to be members to stay here, however. Rooms are rented by the night in the same manner as any hotel, and the value is absolutely astounding. Here's what you get for a room rate comparable to any nice family hotel (approximately $175-$250):

Full suites (with separate bedrooms)
Full kitchen (which includes oven, fridge, dishwasher, and all kitchenware)
washer/dryer in your unit
free wifi
free valet parking
two kid-friendly pool and hot tub areas
on-site activities

Best of us for our family, Grand Chateau is NON-GAMING. That's right...no casino in the building. And of course it's non-smoking too. For us, it felt like an oasis in the heart of Vegas. Sure, it's fun to walk the half a block to the Strip and see the sights and take in the madness, but it's even better to return 'home' to peace, quiet, and relaxation.

Upon check-in, families receive a full page of activities scheduled during their stay. Buckle up...there's a lot on there, from arts and crafts to tequila tasting. In addition, there are two pool complexes at Grand Chateau. The first is on level 5, with a larger outdoor pool, lounge areas, hot tubs, and a bar and grill open during daytime hours. The second pool is on the rooftop, adjacent to Sky Bar 38. This pool is also kid-friendly, and there's an additional hot tub here. Both have towels and changing rooms on-hand. Even if you don't grab a cocktail at the bar, take a peek at the amazing views of the Strip!

The exercise facility is located on level 1, and is the largest I've seen in a long while. You have the full range of cardio equipment here, as well as extensive weight training and stretching areas. I worked out during the ever-popular 7 am-8 am time period, and had no trouble getting the machines I needed.

The valet parking is located right out front, of course, and there are ample valets on-hand to take your car immediately. Getting your car out is easy too: just hang onto your slip and have the valet desk scan it. We never waited more than five minutes for our car (and we visited during the busy Valentine's Day weekend). We tipped our valets daily, but parking is complimentary.

Grand Chateau does not offer a full restaurant. Rather, you'll find a lobby bar, Sky Bar 38, and the Pool Bar and Grill. There's a marketplace with convenience foods, which also serves as a coffee bar in the morning and has treats and ice cream available any time. We utilized this amenity quite a bit. If you plan to prepare most your meals in your kitchen (by far the most economical way to visit Vegas with kids), stop en route at a grocery store and stock up. However, we easily grabbed a carton of milk and a box of cereal, plus snacks and drinks, at the Marketplace.

From the hotel, the Miracle Mile shops are directly across the street, where you'll find plenty of healthy fast food options, like Chipotle and Earl of Sandwich.

Vegas is a place of extremes, and yes, you do see it all. I've found that in 'party-heavy' vacation locations like Vegas, you see two types of vacation-goers...those who party hard (usual younger singles) and the older crowd who is there for more sophisticated dining, golfing, etc. We saw both of course, but in the Chateau, it was primarily a crowd of older guests, plus lots of families. The party-hard crowd was in short supply, which we appreciated.

We experienced Grand Chateau as guests of the hotel, for the purpose of review.
kids travel, kids activities
kids travel, kids activities
View 2 photos
December 12 2014
0 families found this helpful
Stevens Pass
Summit Stevens Pass, US Hwy 2,
Washington 98288
"Great place to learn!"
Stevens Pass is where all my Seattle and Central WA friends learned to ski, it seems! When we visited, we appreciated the perfect mix of small town ski resort atmosphere (and reasonable prices) with enough terrain to satisfy advanced skiers and snowboarders. Give it a try!
December 04 2014
1 family found this helpful
Hoodoo Ski Area | kids travel, kids activities
Hoodoo Ski Area
Hwy 20 Box 20,
Oregon 97759
"Friendly mountain!"
Walk into the Hoodoo lodge, and you may be surprised to see a pool table, ready for a friendly game before hitting the slopes. There are also kid-friendly video games and even a mechanical pony to ride! Outdoors, the fun continues with some of the best snow in Central Oregon. While we love Mt. Bachelor for big mountain fun, Hoodoo is easy to navigate, super friendly, and very affordable. It's easy to get to (just past Sisters) and you can even rent snow bikes to cruise on the slopes. Get a lesson for an hour first...it's worth it!
October 14 2014
1 family found this helpful
Hoodoo Mountain Resort | kids travel, kids activities
Hoodoo Mountain Resort
NFD 2690 Rd,
Oregon 97759
"We loved our day at Hoodoo!"
Hoodoo is a community-focused ski resort, with a large day lodge filled with pool tables, foosball, and couches! The terrain is challenging for advanced skiers and riders, but there's a large learning area too. While there, try the 'snow bikes'...a Hoodoo speciality! Can't beat the prices, too!
October 14 2014
0 families found this helpful
Mt Ashland | kids travel, kids activities
Mt Ashland
2 Mt. Ashland Ski Rd,
"Great hometown ski resort!"
We taught our kids to ski on Mt. Ashland, and love continuing to ski here, where it's 'steep and deep'! Mt. Ashland is only 25 minutes from Ashland Oregon, and has a large, old-fashioned day lodge and a ski school and rental service. The prices are still 'small town' here, and pass holders really get a great deal. It's affordable to ski at Mt. Ashland!