Black Friday at Mall of America and Country Inn and Suites

CIS LobbyBlack Friday has come and gone for this year, but if you are thinking about testing your shopping luck next year, or even plan to visit the Twin Cities area anytime soon, have I got a major tip for you: stay at Country Inn and Suites.

Last week I told our readers I was going to spend Black Friday at Minnesota’s Mall of America then afterward I was invited to experience the closest hotel by the mall. My host was Country Inn and Suites and this was my first experience with the chain. I was pleasantly surprised to find it a complete and total delight. If I had to describe it in one word  it would be cozy. But before I talk about the hotel let me tell you about my day.

First off, Black Friday at the Mall of America is absolutely insane. By the time I arrived in the early afternoon herds of people were Fall 2009 006making their way from (normally empty) parking lots that surround the mall. Police were directing traffic and I heard there were some pretty bad traffic jams in the mall parking garages. I managed to avoid it all because Country Inn and Suites has a free shuttle to the Mall of America. Sure I had my car with me, but why bother with the chaos?

Looking back, had I not had the option of taking a shuttle I probably would have avoided the mall all together. And the good  news is that this Country Inn and Suites property has more going for it than just a free shuttle service:

1. Location, location, location. On a nice day you could walk across the street and through the main doors of the Mall of America (the entrance by the Lego store and just past that is the Nickelodeon theme park).

King Suite2. Spacious. I stayed in a King Suite which was absolutely lovely, but besides the spacious room the hotel has so much going for it…

3. Great beds. I didn’t expect the beds to be so comfy. But they were. I could have stayed in bed all day.

4. Fresh cookies. It seemed like everywhere I looked there were fresh cookies ready for the talking.

5. Close to MSP Airport. The Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport is literally right down the road from the Mall of America and Country Inn and Suites. In fact, the planes appear so close while landing you might be able to see the passengers waving. So, what does this mean for your quality of sleep? Believe it or not, you can’t hear them. This is one hotel that has done an outstanding job at soundproofing their rooms.

6. Free shuttle. Did I mention this? The hotel offers shuttles not only to the mall but also to the airport. The service is free, so don’t forget to tip your driver.

7. Friendly staff. You’ve probably heard the phrase “Minnesota nice” and the staff certainly lives up to that reputation.

8. On site food and drinks. There is a TGIF’s and an IHop on the premises.

9. Free breakfast. If you’ve read my posts in the past you will know I’m a big fan of free breakfasts – and you better believe Country Inn and Suites has one, complete with waffles, fresh fruit, pastries and oatmeal, with fresh berries (my favorite)!

I honestly tried to find something to improve about the hotel, something, anything that would have made my experience more pleasant and I couldn’t. The shower had a curved curtain rod, the entire hotel was spotless, and every staff member I encountered, even walking the halls, was courteous.

If you’re wondering if I got some good deals at Mall of America, my answer is yes. Many stores had 25% or 50% off the entire store and there were a ton of in-store promotions, such as Steve Madden’s scratch cards (I scored 40% off and used that on a pair of cute shoes that were already 30% off – good deal indeed). But I really think the best deal of all was being able to visit the mall and avoid the parking madness, then getting a great night sleep in a cozy bed. Now that is priceless.

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