Hotels Helping Heroes

Hey friends! How are you? I took a little break from blogging in order to spend some much needed time with my family. Sometimes I think my phone is permanently affixed to my hand – I seem to use it for everything. The past couple of days I have made a true effort to put down my phone and just enjoy my husband and children. I didn’t even take that many pictures! (Who am I?!)

I blogged before about how the past few weeks have just been insane for us. Jason was participating in Chief season, and he was gone every single night and weekend until mid-September. He barely got to see the kids because he usually would arrive home after their bedtime. Since he gets up and leaves before we wake up in the morning, it had started to feel as if we were ships passing in the night. One day after he was pinned as Chief, he started working the outage at his plant, and he was on a schedule that had him working 6pm-6am six days a week. Again, we just kind of saw each other in passing. It was tough, I’ll admit, but it was necessary.

All that to say – we were way overdue for family time. This past weekend was the first weekend since July that he has not had either Navy commitments, Chief commitments, or work. We had talked about going out of town but finally decided to put it on hold for a few weeks. Last week, a great opportunity was dropped in my lap to review a hotel in exchange for a free stay, and we jumped on it!

Hotels Helping Heroes is an organization that aims to greatly reduce the cost of staying at clean, safe, and friendly brand properties for veterans and military members who might not otherwise be able to afford the cost of travel. Hotels Helping Heroes reaches out to hotels and offers social media marketing in exchange for free or reduced hotel stays.

In a nutshell – if you are a veteran, current military member, retired military, Reservist or National Guard, or a military spouse, you can complete a registration form that lists your pertinent information and possible dates of travel. You indicate which city you wish you travel, and Hotels Helping Heroes will reach out to hotels in the area on your behalf. Hotels will then barter unused rooms in exchange for social media promotion. You are asked to provide at least 3 reviews on websites such as Yelp, Google, Trip Advisor, the hotel’s Facebook page, etc. It is expected you will write an honest review.

Hotels Helping Heroes then charges a small percentage of the room’s rate per night. Just to give you an idea – our hotel room, had I booked myself, would have been $140 a night. I paid $75 to Hotels Helping Heroes for two nights.

Another military spouse posted about this opportunity, so I reached out, figuring that I didn’t really have anything to lose. I’m so glad I did!

Note: Hotels Helping Heroes did not require me to write about this on my blog. I completed my “requirements” by posting on my social media and placing reviews on several travel websites. I am writing about this because I understand that as a military family, sometimes it is hard to make money stretch to include vacations. However, vacations are much needed, especially after deployments or other separations! I really appreciate the idea behind Hotels Helping Heroes. I would not mention this had I not tried it and had a positive experience myself.

We stayed at the Crowne Plaza in Charleston, South Carolina. We are frequent travelers to Charleston but this is the first time we have ever stayed at the Crowne Plaza. It was clean, safe, comfortable, and affordable which is really all we are looking for as a family when we travel. I should note that we are not a family who typically stays in “fancy” or boutique type hotels. Generally, when I search for hotels I am looking for something that is budget friendly yet is clean, family friendly, and is located in a safe area of town.

Crowne Plaza really met all our needs! It is located right across the street from the Tanger outlets, and there is also a Walmart within walking distance. There are tons of restaurants – Steak and Shake, IHOP, Denny’s, Chili’s, Mellow Mushroom just to name a few. Downtown is a 20 minute drive, and we made it to Mount Pleasant and Sullivan’s Island in less than 30 minutes.

The hotel itself is really modern in decor. You walk into a lobby, and just past the lobby is a restaurant, a bar, and a sitting area. There is also a small shop – we didn’t visit but it looked as if it housed travel necessities, toiletries, snacks, and drinks.

I was especially pleased with the room – we were given a standard room with two queen beds, and I was worried about the five of us fitting comfortably. However, the room was really spacious and the bathroom was huge! We had plenty of room, even with a pack and play for Poppy Grace. The beds were crazy comfortable. The room had a settee, two double beds, a nightstand with a lamp and alarm clock, a chest of drawers, a mini fridge, and a desk. The TV is mounted opposite the bed. There was a safe, a coffee maker, coffee fixings, cups, and there were toiletries in the bathroom.

The bathroom was huge… you know how sometimes you can only fit one person into a hotel bathroom? It was plenty big enough for one person to shower and the other use the sink or get ready. Jason’s favorite feature was that they had this really amazing magnifying mirror… I found it frightening (who needs to see your wrinkles that close?) but to each his own. The shower was really modern, with subway tile and a seamless glass door. I always love and appreciate the lighting in a hotel bathroom and wish I could bring that back home for getting ready purposes!

The hotel has an outdoor pool with tons of lounge chairs and tables. There is even an outdoor fireplace! The kids really wanted to swim, and we could have (the pool is heated) but I forgot their puddle jumpers and Jason said no.

The hotel also had an exercise room and a guest laundry, but I didn’t personally try either out.

I did mention the hotel has a restaurant, which served a buffet breakfast. We ate elsewhere, but the restaurant was packed each morning. I also looked at the room service menu, and the prices seemed very reasonable to me (like $8 for a breakfast meal).

We were very pleased with our stay at the Crowne Plaza, and would definitely stay there on future trips!

Note: I know this post sounds like a sponsored review, but I was not required to post about either the hotel or Hotels Helping Heroes. I always appreciate reading hotel reviews because you just never know what you will get sometimes. I would definitely stay at the Crowne Plaza again.

Comments

  1. As a Veteran/Reservist family I really appreciated this information and will be checking out Hotels Helping Hero’s for our family. Thank you for the review!

  2. That’s so neat! Glad you could use that for a getaway!

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