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Hotels in Downtown Indy?

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Lebanon, Ohio
posts: 66
reviews: 5
Hotels in Downtown Indy?

We are taking our daughter for her 4th birthday to Indy (we live in Cincinnati). This will be her first time staying overnight in a hotel. We are planning to go to Children's Museum one day and Zoo the next day. Any recos for a nice hotel downtown Indy? Budget is $160. Hotel must have a pool. :)

Bloomington, Indiana
Destination Expert
for Bloomington
posts: 6,102
reviews: 21
1. Re: Hotels in Downtown Indy?

I've stayed at most, but not all, of the downtown hotels and can make a few comments.

1. In general, I don't think your budget will be a problem, but as you might expect rates can vary pretty widely. Thus, the specific dates you're talking about can be semi-important. If there is some major event going on, you might have a problem meeting your budget.

2. Just to be certain you're aware, you'll have to pay for parking at pretty much any of the hotels. It's not as step as some major cities, but as my memory serves me you're talking ~$25-30/day and a probably a little more for valet, but that will also give you in/out privileges. Really not anyway to avoid it (unless you go with the La Quinta, but I don't recommend it, particularly because I don't think they have a pool). If your budget is supposed to include parking (and tax, see next item), you need to factor that into your planning.

3. Don't remember what the total tax on hotel rooms in Indy is off the top of my head, but in some cities in can be in the 15% range. No real way to avoid it, but you'll probably want to undershoot your budgeted figure when looking at rates if you're trying to get the after tax total ~$160 (and if you factor in parking . . .).

4. Regarding the pool, just be to certain (again, we don't have your dates), you're probably looking at an indoor pool. I don't believe any of the downtown hotels have outdoor pools. Also, I'd be sure and check photos on the pools as they can vary widely. For example the Omni has a pool, but as my memory serves me it is pretty much a postage stamp sized affair and might even be in the basement.

5. I know the Crowne Plaza has a pool that is more reasonable, both in size & location (essentially in the lobby, but not at the front). The other kind of neat thing about this hotel is that it is in the old Union Station and has actual restored Pullman cars as some of its suites. The downside is that the "windows" of the rooms are simply to the lobby area and some people complain about the train noise (as it's next to still working rail lines).

6. I'm sure the Marriott has a pool, but don't have a specific memory of its layout, size, etc. I'm thinking it's in some kind of atrium, but aren't 100% sure.

7. I've also stayed a few others (Westin, La Quinta and Sheraton(? but I think it was a Ramada at the time or maybe vice-versa), don't think I ever checked out the pools at these and/or they might not have one.

7. About the only other factor I can think of for you to consider is whether you'd want to walk to the zoo or not. If you think you might, then you might want to focus on the "Marriott row" located just north of the Convention Center. These are the closest to the zoo and are a reasonable walk (obviously those on the west end are close than those on the east end).

8. Not sure if they have pools or not, but there are a few hotels that are next to Lucas Oil Stadium. I'd probably avoid them, not that there is anything wrong with them, but they're *slightly* farther from most of the downtown stuff and even farther from a psychological standpoint as you have to go under a set of *very* wide railroad tracks to get to the main downtown area.

Beyond that, I'd say get on your travel site of choice and filter what they come up with based on needing a pool (indoors if necessary?) and see what the rates are looking like on your dates. As commented I would check photos (either on TA or the hotel's website) to see the actual pools to make sure it will be acceptable. I'd look over the TA ratings & reviews for your short list of hotel and check around to find the best rate you can. Also, you might want to call the hotel directly to be 100% certain the pool isn't under repair or something. (I'll close this part by pointing out that in my opinion, unlike many other cites, there aren't any really bad hotels in the immediate downtown area.)

Lastly, Hotwire is a possibility and I regularly get a reasonable deal on downtown Indy hotels, but I'm not sure I'd use it in your situation given that the pool is such a priority. While you should be able to pick a hotel with a pool, you might get one that has a pool "in name only" and/or that is under repair.

Hope this helps,

hlo

Lebanon, Ohio
posts: 66
reviews: 5
2. Re: Hotels in Downtown Indy?

Thanks for the long note!

We are staying on Sunday, March 24 and checking out on Monday, March 25. We plan on visiting the Children's Museum on March 24 and the Zoo on March 25. Yes, I am aware of the parking fees. The $160 does not include the parking fees. So technically, I have $190 buget.

I am specifically looking at either the Crowne Plaza or Hilton Downtown. Any comments on which one is better? This is my daughter's first time staying in a hotel (She will be 4 years old) so I'd like to make this a nice experience. (E.g. Indoor pool and nice breakfast).

Thanks!

Bloomington, Indiana
Destination Expert
for Bloomington
posts: 6,102
reviews: 21
3. Re: Hotels in Downtown Indy?

You know . . . the Hilton is one that I *haven't* stayed in, so I can't give a comparison from personal experience. I can, however, make a few additional comments about things you might consider.

1. Hilton seems to do better on TA rankings (40th) than the Crowne Plaza (81st). This is out of 183 hotels. Thus, the Hilton is in the top 25% and the Crowne pretty much smack in the middle. I don't pay too much attention to minor differences in rankings, but here I consider it significant.

2. Now having stayed at the Crowne and read many of the reviews, I'm guessing it is getting "dings" a little for the train noise. This has never bothered me, but clearly has bothered some people. As pointed out in my other response the Crowne does have the RR Car Suites. You know better than I what your daughter would think if this (not suggestion you stay in one, but you'll see the exteriors regardless).

3. Here's the approach I'd take if I were you:

a) Scan/read some of the recent reviews for both hotels, paying particular attention to the Excellent & Terrible ones. See if the things people raved or ranted about matter to you (and how credible you find the reviews, things like how many postings/reviews do they have, the tone of the review, etc.). I'd pay particular attention to ones that discuss the pool.

Also as doing this scanning look for reviews that discuss other things that are more/less important to you. If they hated the fitness center and you won't be using it . . . well, who cares?

b) Check out the photos (both on TA and the hotel website), again paying particular attention to the pool areas. Caveat, however, there are tricks of the trade to make the pool look more appealing that it appears in real life. Also, look beyond the pool too (ditto about looking better than in real life).

c) Consider the rate differences (if any) and how important that is to you.

d) What about proximity to anything else you'll want to be doing. The Hilton is more centrally located and closer to the zoo.

That all,

hlo

Indy
posts: 193
reviews: 8
4. Re: Hotels in Downtown Indy?

Great hotel advice from hlo. I have only been inside a room at the Hilton. It was nicely appointed, and was quiet. You won't be in the room much anyway. When struggling between places to stay, I weigh how much time I would be in the room. Then decide based on value. If in the room a lot, then pick nicest. If there to sleep, then cheapest.

One word of advice, you are hitting spring break at the Childrens Museum. Go early...at opening. And, buy your tickets on line to avoid lines. Otherwise you will spend your time waiting in lines. No fun with a 4 yr old!

Lebanon, Ohio
posts: 66
reviews: 5
5. Re: Hotels in Downtown Indy?

Thank you both for the great advice! I think we will stay at the Hilton. Great reviews and my daughter isn't into trains.

Thanks for the tip about the museum!

6. Re: Hotels in Downtown Indy?

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