Our family of 4 (Mom, Dad, daughter -14, son -16) traveled to Williamsburg, VA over the Christmas holiday for a few days. We arrived on Saturday (12/26/08) and stayed through Monday (12/28/08). This was our first visit. As our time away as a family is very valuable, convenience and comfort are more important to us than saving money. Also, I travel quite a bit and am most comfortable with Marriotts and Hiltons. We are also walkers and don't like to have to drive upon arrival.
LODGING - After reviewing lodging choices (mostly on tripadvisor) we ended up with two front-runners - Hilton's Hampton Inn & Suites on Richmond and Kingsmill Resort & Spa. Making sure that plenty of rooms (and hotels) were available, we did not make reservations ahead of time.
Upon arrival we drove to Kingsmill as we thought that would be our preferred location. We live in a rural community and value space. Kingsmill is gated, expansive, and looked lovely. In the summer, this site would be ideal as it is very close to Busch Gardens and has a marina. However, it is a considerable distance from Colonial Williamsburg (CW) where we would be spending most of our (short) time. Anyway, the distance was our primary reason for not selecting Kingsmill.
We drove into town and by mistake booked at Hilton's Homewood Suites (instead of the Hampton). The Homewood Suites is rated #19 on tripadvisor. It was close to the Visitor Center and within walking distance to CW in the daytime. We drove down into CW for evening activities (which is a pain as parking is a premium). We didn't really look into shuttle options but didn't see one at the hotel. If your looking at hotels most of the hotels on Richmond would be closer to the 'hub' of CW but the Homewood Suites and Holiday Inn (rated #1) next door are still 'close enough' if you like walking (and don't have small kids).
The hotel was ok. Kevon at the front desk seemed to live there day/night and was very friendly. However, we tried to check in at 2:00 and were advised the room was not ready and returned back at 4:30 to still have to wait. By then we were really ready to freshen up and having to wait AFTER 4 is a bit much. Overall the construction and infrastructure of the room (#512) is a little sub-par to today's hotel standards, ie. the counters are formica, the couch is HARD as a rock, the sink fixtures are low end, the only wireless connection I could get was from the Comfort Inn (across the street), and we couldn't get the room temperature below 73 even with the AC running non-stop (AND it sounds like a jet taking off in the one bedroom). The breakfast was pretty standard stuff and was clean. I went down early (7:00) to get trays of food to bring to the room. The breakfast area was packed and crazy at 9:00 so go early.
On a positive note the kids we very happy with the warm cookies, the bedding was very fresh and comfortable, and the room (other than the AC) were quiet.