It was not picturesque. It did not offer great views. It was not grand, but it was home base and it worked. Pre-planning for our Spring Break 2015 Minneapolis / St. Paul involved extensive research into lodging, what would be our most expensive budget item. Talking with friends who knew the Cities, one said -- go with the best price, all you need is a home base to operate out of, use Expedia.
So we did. One night we entered our parameters: pool, fridge/microwave, etc. Numerous locations popped up. We analyzed, finding several with a shuttle to the Mall of America, a place we planned to check out because of the aquarium, Star Trek exhibit and Lego store. We played with the dates a bit, finding the best prices. We had the week off, so we could play with dates of travel. Once we settled on the best location, price, features, we then checked the same location, etc. on USAA. And there we secured the exact same lodging for $40 less. Done deal!
We ended up staying at Spring Hill Suites, sprouting from a brown field near the airport and MOA, in Bloomington, Minnesota. It was perfect. Free parking. A small pool perfect for families. Free breakfast that included: eggs, sausages, waffles, numerous cereals (hot and cold), fresh fruit, yogurts, juices, teas, coffees, etc. The room came with a decent sized dorm fridge and a microwave. One small room offered a sleeper sofa for the kids, the other room was tucked away and had a comfortable bed. Two huge TVs were included, where our son discovered the NFL network! We also had access to a free shuttle to MOA, dropping us off at the aquarium. All of this for $101 a night (taxes included).
It may not have been a pretty location, but it worked and worked well. If you are aiming for a frugal vacation in an urban/suburban setting, we highly recommend these suite style hotels. Plenty of space, ability to keep and prepare food in your room, plentiful breakfast, and shuttles to popular destinations.