A recent trip to the Brandywine Valley in Delaware introduced us to a hotel brand designed specifically to make travel easier for families. Homewood Suites by Hilton combines large rooms and multiroom suites with family-friendly amenities to make guests feel at home.
Among the welcoming amenities at all Homewood Suites are the social hours Monday through Thursday evenings, when all guests are invited to complimentary soft drinks, beer, wine and a buffet of hot and cold light dishes. The choices change each night, with selections such as flatbread pizzas, hearty salads, hot pasta dishes or sliders, with breads, cheeses and snacks. It’s perfect for appetizers and generous enough for a light dinner.
On the night we arrived at the Homewood Suites by Hilton Wilmington-Brandywine Valley, this light buffet was a welcome alternative to finding a restaurant for dinner, and we all found it a relaxing way to wind down from a day in the car.
The atmosphere is convivial, with comfortable sitting areas and plenty of small tables for family seating in a guest large lounge where coffee, tea, hot cocoa and water are available around the clock. Here also are several TVs and daily major newspapers. This large guest lounge is separate from the spacious reception area, also a welcoming space with wood paneled walls, comfortable seating and fresh flowers.
Equally welcome is the daily breakfast included for all guests, with multiple hot choices that change frequently and range from eggs and meats — ham, sausage, bacon — to pancakes, French toast, hash browns and other hot options. There’s always a waffle maker, cereals, granola, yogurt, fresh-cut fruit and berries, whole fruits, hot oatmeal, bagels, muffins, pastries and toast, plus a variety of juices and milk.
Suites are in various sizes; ours had a large living room with a full-sized sofa and upholstered armchairs, a desk with a swivel chair, connections for electronics and good lighting. The bedroom was large with a king-sized bed with Serta Suite Dreams bedding, an easy chair and good bedside lighting.
We were impressed by the full kitchen with a full-sized refrigerator and by the quality of the dishes, pans, utensils and appliances. As an added amenity for guests who wish to prepare their own meals, the staff will stock the kitchen with groceries in advance or during a stay. This grocery shopping service is complimentary, and groceries are charged to the room bill.
Off the lobby is a small convenience store with ready-to-heat packaged dishes as well as snacks and drinks. Kids will like the Lewis the Duck books available there, about a family of traveling rubber ducks. The weather was a little too cold when we were there, but a large swimming pool is in the hotel’s courtyard, surrounded by a pleasant terrace. We also didn’t take advantage of either the fitness room or the laundry facilities — an especially welcome option for parents of young children or those on longer stays. Everything is designed to make a stay, long or short, convenient.
Homewood Suites Wilmington Brandywine Valley is within a few minutes’ drive of the places we came to see in the valley: the Nemours estate with its palatial home and gardens, Hagley’ historic gunpowder works and mansion, Winterthur, Longwood Gardens and the Brandywine River Art Museum are all a few miles away.
Not only have we found a hotel that’s near the places we like to visit, but we learned Homewood Suites anywhere follow the same model of catering to families with spacious rooms, full kitchens, free hot breakfast, complimentary social hours and a warm welcome for kids.
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