The ‘type’ of traveling you’re doing often dictates where you want to lay your head at night. For instance, a backpacker roaming around Europe with a Eurail pass is more likely to spend her nights in a tent or hostel in attempts to save money. A honeymooner, however, probably desires more privacy than that found in a ten-person dorm (at least, we hope so!)
Northern Alabama has a variety of places to lay your head while checking out the plentiful attractions it has to offer. Here’s a selection:
For the Business Traveler:
Name: Four Points Sheraton: Huntsville International Airport
Location: Huntsville International Airport, Huntsville, Alabama
Price: Rooms from $65, plus tax
Distance from downtown Huntsville: 5 miles
Why it’s worth it: Located inside the Huntsville International Airport, you can’t stay any closer to your flight! Hotel check-in is right above the flight counters on the second floor – directly outside the security screening. This is an ideal spot for anyone with a late night arrival or early morning flight. Amenities include free high-speed internet, meeting rooms, fitness center, bar and restaurant.
Why you should think twice: Staying at the airport is a double edged sword – it means you’re also closer to the runways and the roaring sounds of the engines. People with early morning flights might have to forgo room service – it doesn’t open until 6 or 7 a.m., depending on the day.
Other notes: On a recent visit, the whirlpool and pool were closed for maintenance. A cool, albeit random, extra? There’s a ‘razor holder’ spot in the shower.
Contact information: www.hsvairport.org/hia/fourpoints.html
For the Family Reunion:
|View from Gorham’s Bluff|
Location: On a bluff! (Three miles north of Pisgah, Alabama)
Distance from downtown Huntsville: Slightly more then an hour in the car
Why it’s worth it: Get more bang for your buck! Many of the large homes on Gorham’s Bluff are available for rent – the largest can sleep up to eight people. The stunning, sweeping views of the valley are simply breathtaking. The Lodge serves a four-course dinner for $39 and also offers an excellent breakfast buffet – try the frittata and fresh-out-of-the-oven biscuits. Amenities include a small, stand alone fitness center, free bike use, whirlpool tubs on a per-house basis.
Why you should think twice: This planned community feels a little like staying on a Hollywood set. Large reunions would require multiple homes and the distance between them may defeat the ‘bonding’ purpose. On-premise activity options are limited for children.
Other notes: The Lodge also offers by-the-room reservations for the couple wanting a romantic weekend. A pool is currently in the process of being built.
Contact information: www.gorhamsbluff.com
For the Romantic Getaway
|Bed at a Cupid Mentone Cabin|
Location: Near the Georgia border in Mentone, Alabama
Distance from downtown Huntsville: About an hour and a half drive
Why it’s worth it: With a series of cabins all named after ‘Cupid’ – think Cupid’s Rest, Cupid’s Hideaway and Cupid’s XX – how can romance not be involved at the Mentone Cabins? Located on Lookout Mountain, the Cupid Cabins overlook the west brow, with views of three states. Jacuzzis are available in-room – not bathroom, we’re talking the actual room – in some cases. Also check out the cabins with hot tubs on the deck, perfect for taking in the amazing scenery. Optional amenities include satellite TV and DVD players – all have a full kitchen, stereos, TVs, books and movies.
Why you should think twice: When they mean getaway, they mean getaway. The Cupids are sans both phone and alarm clock. There is no on-site manager to fix potential issues – like when one guest discovered her bed was without sheets.
Other notes: The Mentone Cabins aren’t just for romance – some sleep up to 10 guests.
Contact information: www.mentonecabins.com
For the Vacationer:
Name: Holiday Inn Decatur
Location: Near the river in Decatur, Alabama
Distance from downtown Huntsville: Approximately 20 miles
Why it’s worth it: As a Holidome, the 11,000 square foot building offers a variety of family activities indoors including a foosball table, sports-based video games, and two pools – one indoors, one outdoors. Located near the SSS, outdoors enthusiasts will appreciate the ample fishing and boating opportunities. The Holiday Inn offers two-minute access to multiple facilities in Decatur and a short drive to those in Huntsville, including the Space and Rocket Center.
Why you should think twice: The hotel – and holidome – have seen better days. Although it continues to be renovated, a sad-looking foosball table and multiple 1990s video games don’t hold the appeal they once did.
Other notes: The music in the elevator is played at an obnoxiously loud level – making the tunes run through your head all day.
Contact information: www.holidayinn-decatur.com