SHORT LIST OF RECOMMENDED LODGING
   
  This is a list of hotels and motels that I would recommend to families and tourists who are visiting an area for more than one day. The criteria for inclusion here are rather loose, but for the most part, they have adequate service, a particularly convenient location and are a great value. Most (not all) are low to mid-priced facilities... although a couple of higher-end facilities are listed here.
 

 

  DRURY INN AND SUITES - RIVERWALK - San Antonio Texas (WEBSITE)
  Drury Inn & Suites Riverwalk is conveniently located on San Antonio's Riverwalk... the epicenter of the city's tourism trade. Just press "R" on the elevator and you're there. Drury Inn & Suites Riverwalk is a restored turn-of-the-century office building containing 50 one-bedroom suites and 100 standard rooms on its seven floors. The beds and fluffy pillows are quite comfy. The staff is quite friendly and helpful. The rates are very reasonable and they offer many free perks for which other places charge extra (or don't offer). They offer free high-speed internet access, free hot breakfast, free coffee and soda all day long and up to three free adult beverages each evening. The rooftop pool and hot tub is another unique feature to enhance your visit. (MORE INFO AND PHOTOS)
 
 

 

  METROPOLIS HOTEL - Eau Claire, Wisconsin (WEBSITE)
 

  Delightfully different, the Metropolis is decidedly unlike its rustic Northwoods surroundings. Metropolis provides an urban hotel experience in this small midwestern city with particular attention to interior design. The art deco rooms come in a variety of sizes, all adorned with modern wallpaper, contemporary art, coordinated bedding and pillows... all brought together with decorative lighting. They have reasonable rates and many little extra perks. The Metropolis Hotel is adjacent to Action City, a family fun center with go karts, bumper cars, video games, and other family activities. The newly opened Chaos Indoor Waterpark adds to the family fun. Conveniently located just off I-94, the Metropolis is a unique comfortable experience for families and business travelers alike. (MORE INFO AND PHOTOS)
   
      HILTON SEDONA RESORT - Sedona, Arizona (WEBSITE) (MORE INFO)
 

  This is a very nice resort in Red Rocks country complete with a golf course, restaurants, massage, two outdoor pools and whirlpools. But I also remember an especially comfortable bed with five fluffy pillows. The staff is terrific and the rates are very reasonable for this type of lodging.
     
    BEST WESTERN FRANKLIN SQUARE INN - Houghton, Michigan (WEBSITE)

  Easily accessible and within easy walking distance of downtown Houghton shops and restaurants, the 7-story Best Western Franklin Square Inn represents the Keweenaw Peninsula’s best lodging facilities. Amenities include indoor pool, steam room, hot tub, free wireless internet, free parking and a hot deeply-discounted hot full-service breakfast. The 7th floor conference center, full-service restaurant and large lively cocktail lounge all provide scenic views of the Keweenaw Waterway and Copper Island. Franklin Square Inn is staff is genuinely friendly. The rooms are comfortably spacious... and true to the consistent Best Western brand, the hotel is clean, safe, well-maintained and has plenty of extras... all for double-digit rates.
     
    THE WELLINGTON - Mid-Manhattan - New York City (WEBSITE)
  Manhattan is crammed full of unique things to see and do... but it is not an inexpensive place to visit. Whatever you do though, DON'T penny-pinch on lodging. Most of the places under $200/night are of dubious quality and cleanliness. Most of the more comfortable hotels are at least in the upper-200's, usually more.The Wellington is a great blend of quality and value. It is an historic (i.e. older) hotel, but it is well-maintained. The rooms are comfortable, the bustling lobby is attractive and the staff is professional. It's located in a safe area right beside Carnegie Hall, near the lower end of Central Park, and a 10-minute walk from Times Square. Their rates are considerably lower than neighboring establishments.
       
    BEST WESTERN 7 SEAS - San Diego, California (WEBSITE)   (PHOTOS)

  The rooms are clean and well-maintained, but of the typical budget motel variety. However, the rest of this facility is wonderful. Conveniently located in San Diego's "Hotel Circle", Best Western 7 Seas is within minutes of the San Diego Zoo, SeaWorld, the downtown waterfront, the airport and most of the area's main attractions. The clean, spacious, well-maintained grounds are lavishly decorated with beautiful, colorful flora. The large outdoor pool area is equipped with plenty of chairs, lounges and tables and is located adjacent to the restaurant / lounge... so you can sit poolside beneath the palms with your favorite beverage. Parking is free... and best of all... rooms are very affordable for the budget-minded traveler.
     
      PILGRIM SANDS MOTEL - Plymouth, Massachusetts (WEBSITE)
 

  The Pilgrim Sands is a two-story facility with interior room entrances. It's located right on Plymouth Bay and is just across the road from Pilmouth Plantation. Pilgrim Sands has two nice pools... one indoor and one outdoor. They have reasonable rates and a complimentary continental breakfast.
       
      RADISSON PLAZA-WARWICK - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (WEBSITE)
 

  The Radisson Plaza-Warwick is a multi-story hotel located in downtown Philadelphia. It's a bit of a hike (about 30 minutes through safe areas) from Independence Hall and the Historic district, but it's also within walking distance from many of Philly's other museums and attractions. The one thing that stands out about this hotel is the staff's impeccable attentiveness, friendliness and professionalism... from housekeeping to the front desk to the concierge... they will make you feel comfortable and welcome. This is a moderately high-end hotel, but I got a room from priceline.com for under $100 a night for three nights. Quite a bargain for such a nice hotel.
       
   
      WYNDHAM AT CANAL PLACE - New Orleans, Louisiana (WEBSITE) (MORE INFO)
 

  Make sure to ask for a room with a river view, it is truly stunning. And even if your room doesn't have a river view, you can snap some photos from the 11th floor lobby. The Wyndham at Canal Place is a luxury hotel near the river at the edge of the French Quarter. It's perfectly located for those who wish to visit the French Quarter, Bourbon Street as well as The Big Easy's other attractions. The Canal Street Ferry, riverboat docks, Gray Line tour terminal and St. Charles trolley are all within a 10-minute walk. Our room at the Wyndham was very spacious and comfortable. We visited pre-Katrina, and the rate was quite good for this type of hotel.
   
     
BRADFORD INN & SUITES - Plymouth, Massachusetts (WEBSITE)
 

  It isn't fancy, but it's certainly affordable. The Governor Bradford is situated smack dab in the middle of Plymouth's compact main tourist area. From the balcony, you can see the wharf, the Mayflower II, the Plymouth Rock pavilion and much other activity. The Governor Bradford has plenty of parking and an outdoor pool.
   
      BEST WESTERN RESORT - Pensacola Beach, Florida (WEBSITE) (MORE INFO)
 

  This place really has no business calling itself a "resort". There's no golf course, restaurants, health spa, horseback riding, etc. The Best Western Resort at Pensacola Beach is simply an economy hotel on the beach... but it's a good one. They have two outdoor pools, one for adults and a shallow pool for the little ones. The beach was very wide when we visited, but they've suffered some hurricane erosion since then. Nevertheless, there's plenty of squeaky white sand in which to lay your blanket. The staff was friendly and helpful and they have the all-important free continental breakfast. I got a very reasonable budget rate from the Best Western website.
 
      PARK VISTA HOTEL - Gatlinburg, Tennessee (WEBSITE) (MORE INFO)
 

  The Park Vista is located about a mile up the mountain from Gatlinburg proper, so it's not as convenient as the hotels down the hill. But the Gatlinburg trolley stops at the Park Vista, so you can easily ride into the touristy town. What the Park Vista lacks in convenience though, it more than makes up for in comfort, amenities and uniqueness. The cylindrical hotel has spacious, comfortable rooms, a nice restaurant, glass elevators and a fabulous pool. All things considered, the Park Vista was a bargain.
   
 

 

  BEST WESTERN HOLLYWOOD PLAZA - Los Angeles (Hollywood), California (WEBSITE) (PHOTOS)

  Hotel rates vary greatly in the Hollywood area... even for hotels with similar amenities... so some shopping is in order. Best Western Hollywood Plaza is not snazzy. The bottom floor is nothing but a parking garage. The rooms are on the second and third floors and the room doors face the large atrium that connects the rooms with the parking garage. Parking is free and the rates are low for the location. (The Holiday Inn next door charges $16 a day for parking.) It is within walking distance of downtown Hollywood, the Walk of Fame, Chinese Theater, the Hollywood Bowl and shopping.

 
 

 

  HILTON COLUMBUS AT EASTON - Columbus, Ohio (WEBSITE)
  This luxury hotel is adjacent to Easton Town Center, one of Ohio's most popular shopping, dining and entertainment destinations. The staff is exceptionally professional and accommodating. The rooms are spacious and comfortable with nice furniture and a high-def TV. The indoor pool and spa area are attractively decorated and hits the spot on a cold November morning... and the elevators are among the fastest I've ever encountered!