We recently stayed at a Residence Inn (by Marriott) for the first time.  We were evacuating South Carolina due to an incoming hurricane and were trying to decide on a city (far away from water) to go to.  I checked all the hotel brands I have status/credit cards with (because, come on, I’m not going to miss out on an opportunity for points! lol) and came across Marriott’s Residence Inn in Charlotte, North Carolina.  It was only about a 4 hour drive from us and plenty away from the water (and had good reviews, free breakfasts, accepted dogs, and other perks that I’ll tell you about in a minute) that made me think it was the perfect spot for a little hurrication!  (Make sure you read through all the way to the end to see how we ended up getting the stay practically for free…and how you can too!)

 

One thing that sold me on the Residence Inn is that they have FULL kitchens in the rooms!!!  This was going to be huge since we’d be gone for at least a few days (and didn’t know if it would need to be more) and were pretty much just planning to relax and not spend money since it was note really a planned getaway.  So full kitchens, free breakfasts, annnnnd they have an event Mon-Wed each evening where there is an hour of small bites and beer/wine for free as well!  Huge perk of the hotel.

 

The other major part that made us choose this brand over the rest was that there was no pet weight limit.  There is a pet fee, but you can have 2 dogs with no weight restrictions, which is a big deal with our 60+ pound guy.  Turns out, they also had a decent amount of green area to walk the dogs along with pet waste pick up stations (that were actually filled (not empty) with ready to use bags while we were there!)

 

 

Here you can see the bedroom area of the hotel room.  We got a room with a king size bed and a sofa bed.  

If you have a Netflix account, the TV here can access it as well so you can watch all your favorite shows, just like at home, which I thought was pretty cool even though we didn’t use it.  (The TV was mostly turned to hurricane coverage while we were there)

This is the living room area.  You can see they have a desk, couch that turns into a bed (we just used it how it was though) and a comfy chair.  I loved the pop of blue.

The KITCHEN!!!  I loved this aspect!  Look at that full size fridge!  They had a dishwasher you guys!  You can see there was also a microwave, a stove top (no oven–so maybe not full?), toaster, coffeemaker (but we boujie so we brought our french press and coffee with us, haha) the cabinets were stocked with all the plates, silverware, pots and pans that we needed.  They even provided a packet of microwave popcorn for you which I thought was a cute touch.

There’s my doggy, Cody.  The Residence Inn passed his test (which is saying a lot, because he usually doesn’t care for hotels and will sit by the door looking at us to leave most of the time).  I already told you about the no weight restrictions and the fact that there is a pet fee, but…notice the (fake) fireplace here!  There was a controller that turned it on that made it look like a real fire, which was cool even if no heat or real flames happened.

Nice little bathroom amenities.  They have a separate area with the sink/mirror where this was located, then the shower and toilet were in the actual bathroom.  It was nice to be able to have other people getting ready (doing hair/brushing teeth) while someone else was taking a shower.

 

 

Click below for a quick little video of my son taking advantage of the hotel pool!

They have an outdoor pool (3-5 feet deep) that J enjoyed using.  There’s also a volleyball court and basketball hoops near by.  (By the way, my son has just started his own Instagram account because he wants to give travel tips on destinations, hotels, activities, etc from a kid’s perspective.  He would absolutley looovvvee if you wanted to follow him.  No for real, he’ll run around yelling “I’m famous!” when he gets a new follower, hahaha)  He’s @JaxTravelz on IG (travelz with a Z because he’s cool, lol)

Some other highlights of the Residence Inn University Park in Charlotte, NC:

 

– The staff!!  Seriously, I’ve bever been so impressed with the staff at a hotel before.  Each person we came across had a smile on their face and seemed to bend over backward to help you even when we didn’t ask for it.  Anticipating needs before asking seems the be the name of the game.

A few examples:

-My son was kicking his soccer ball around in the basketball area and would sometimes shoot his soccer ball in the hoops.  A lady from the front desk brought him out a basketball so it would work a bit better for him.

– At one of the evening meal events, they had a piece of chicken and a piece of shrimp option.  I grabbed my food while my son was busy playing, when we was hungry we went in to grab him some.  He loves shrimp, so I had told him about it.  When we got inside, there wasn’t any put out.  So I was telling him, it’s okay, you like chicken too- it’s good, have some of that.  The lady working it was off to the side and asked what he was looking for.  When I told her he was just wondering if any shrimp was left, she went in the back and brought some special for him.  Totally unexpected and so very sweet of her!

– One morning at breakfast, it was particularly busy.  I walked in with my husband and the manager came over and said they had just opened up some more seating in other areas.  We went to one of those which was currently empty and as we sat down, he turned on the TV to the hurricane coverage (he knew we were there for that reason).  Again, none of this was asked for and so very sweet.    The staff was excellent all the way around.

We will definitely be searching out Residence Inn properties again!  Okay, on to how we got our stay practically for free!

How We Got Our Stay For practically Free and how you can too!

If you don’t know by now, my husband and I are big into “travel hacking”- using miles and points from credit cards to get cheaper travel.  Well, I have the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant credit card.  This card comes with a pretty hefty annual fee ($450) BUT, comes with soooo many perks that make it truly worth it for us.  Not only do you get complimentary gold status with Marriott just for having the card, but you also get– a free night each year, unlimited access to airport lounges for you and your guests, reimbursement on Global Entry/TSA precheck, bonus miles for signing up- it was 75,000 bonus miles when I signed up- and hitting the minimum spend (which we just pay our bills on it and pay that right off as we would normally pay our usual bills), a bunch of other perks, but the biggest one that matters here is that each year you also get $300 back on any Marriott stay (for hotel rooms, food at the hotels, incidentals, etc).  Our stay cost $370 (including the pet fee) and as soon as it went through on the card, Marriott took $300 of it right off!!  I love the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card.  If you want to check it out and get the perks for yourself, you can see their current sign up bonus here.  (If you sign up and get approved through this link, it costs you nothing, but we both get some Marriott points!  So, thank you in advance for using our link and continuing my points obsession, happy dance!!! lol)

 

 

 

 

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