Back in October 2012, my family took a weekend jaunt to Central Virginia. Since my husband had some free nights at Omni Hotels burning a hole in our pockets earned from some business travel more than a year ago, we decided to stay one night in the Omni Hotel in Charlottesville, Virginia.
If you aren’t familiar with Omni Hotels, they are a choice worth considering for family travel. Omni Hotels are mid-level upscale hotels with about 50 locations (almost all within the United States). I have a cousin who often says he loves Omni hotels for their “sensible luxury,” and I think that says it well! An Omni hotel isn’t the Ritz-Carlton, but they are on-par with most full service Marriotts or Hyatts, in my experience. Outside of the big cities, Omni also seems to have a lot of locations in college towns, so we sometimes find ourselves in an Omni when we go back to reunions at our alma maters. In the past few years, my husband and I have stayed in the following Omni locations: Charlotte, NC; Charlottesville, VA; New Haven, CT; San Diego, CA; and Los Angeles, CA. And I can honestly say we’ve had good service, a reliably clean and well-appointed room, and a good location every time. We’ve also always been able to secure a rollaway or pullout couch with no fuss so that our daughter can have a bed of her own when we’ve been in king rooms. The nice folks at the Omni San Diego even upgraded us to a suite so our daughter could have her own room.
What made our Charlottesville Omni stay extra-special were two things:
1) Kid-friendly “extras:” We were most excited when the bellman presented our three year old with her very own Omni Sensational Kids Backpack as we were entering the hotel. This was a small “backpack” filled with inexpensive toys — a coloring book with crayons, magnifying glass, mini frisbee, and a few snacks. This pack just absolutely made her day! She talked all weekend about how “the man at the door gave this to me.” Omni’s standard turndown service with cookies and milk our first night also was a big hit with the three year old traveler accompanying us!
2) Personal service: We really pleased with how the front desk handled what could have been a bad situation: an ant infestation in our room. The front desk moved us to a new room in two seconds flat and sent a bellman to help with luggage, since I was juggling my daughter by myself while my husband was off exploring. After our stay, my husband received a personal email — completely unprompted — from the manager a day after we checked out, apologizing for the situation. We had not written to complain or ask for any compensation, so this was service above and beyond. The fact that the manager took the time to look us up and send an email meant a lot.
All-in-all, we’ll definitely be seeking out Omni Hotels when our family’s travels take us to one of their cities.