We headed out on Saturday morning, and with a bit of a bathroom-break detour, arrived just before 1 p.m. Parking is right onsite, and the lobby was warm and inviting, with lots of cozy seating areas and a fireplace (I'm a sucker for a fireplace.)
I had emailed in advance and requested an early check-in, and our room was ready to go. We were in a "Junior Presidential Suite" on the 6th floor, and while that sounds very elite, the rates are surprisingly reasonable (it can't boast a view of the Falls, but how much time do you really spend staring out a hotel window? If it's a lot, I think you may be doing travel wrong.)
We had a king-sized bed in addition to a pullout couch in the sitting area, bathroom with shower, two-person in-room jacuzzi, and yes...a fireplace! There was lots of space for the four of us, and room at the desk for anyone who may actually need to do work while staying in Niagara Falls. While we were only there for a short stay, the complimentary WiFi, mini-fridge, coffee maker and safe are handy features of the room as well for those staying longer.
Once back at the hotel, the girls were very eager to enjoy the indoor pool (which was comfortably warm), hot tub and sauna. They also have an outdoor pool with a small side, which will be open when the nicer weather arrives.
I think my only complaint about the entire stay was that the chlorine was super high in the pool that day, which stung Frannie's eyes, and totally changed the colour of her bathing suit! For a minute, I actually tried to remember if it was some sort of trick-swimsuit which was supposed to change colour in water, as the difference was that major.
Waiting for the elevator after our "swim" (I use the term loosely, as my time was spent in the hot tub, reading magazines. "In Touch" and "Family Circle" balance each other out, right?) we noticed a TV screen welcoming special visitors...and we were on there! Nice touch. Plus, one of our local hockey teams, obviously staying in the hotel as well, was mentioned right after us.
Next we relaxed in the room for a bit, where the girls enjoyed their pretend play: "Let's be two moms who have babysitters and we came to a hotel!" They loved playing in the empty two-person whirlpool, which, let's be honest, might have seen more use had the kids not been there.
We enjoyed a fantastic dinner at The Keg, located right in the lobby of the hotel (there's also a T.G.I.Friday's). Cody was an attentive server, and was kind enough to compliment our well-behaved kids. (They were warned that this was a very nice restaurant and switching places by crawling under the table wouldn't be acceptable, but they're generally good when we eat out. You'd think they had practice.) The Keg's prime rib with garlic mashed potatoes is probably my favourite restaurant meal ever, and they even let me have hot fudge instead of fruit topping on my cheesecake. Perfection.
Back in the room, it was time for PJs and teeth-brushing, and we all climbed into the king bed to watch "Frozen" together on the flat-screen TV. Hubby (not at all a fan of children's movies, even the ones that are supposed to have another level for adults) hadn't seen it yet, and the girls were excited to share it with him.
After the last rendition of "Let It Go", the girls were sent to their pull-out couch, where Maggie was very quickly asleep, with Frannie not too long behind. She *may* have seen a bit of the Saturday Night Live that they show before the new Saturday Night Live, but oh well. Maybe she'll be the next Tina Fey.
We took advantage of the buffet breakfast served in The Keg on Sunday morning, then it was time for a speedy checkout before programming the GPS for "home".
Niagara Falls Top 3 by Maggie, age 5:
1. The breakfast buffet
3. Seeing The Falls
Niagara Falls Top 3 by Frannie, age 8:
1. The warm swimming pool
2. The cool room
3. The amazing Falls
I would definitely recommend the Courtyard by Marriott Niagara Falls for families travelling to this tourist destination. I'm not sure what it looked like pre-renovation, but the whole place felt warm and clean, and we didn't come across a single staff member who wasn't friendly and helpful (and most had no idea I was there to review the place).
Disclosure: We were provided with a free stay the the Courtyard by Marriott to facilitate this post. Opinions are, as always, my own.