This hotel near Zion National Park may be the best SpringHill Suites on Earth
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While SpringHill Suites properties are usually solid places to lay your head, unlike a high-end posh hotel, over-water villa, or even a tree-top hotel, they aren't usually anything to write home about. But, there are exceptions to almost every unwritten rule.
The SpringHill Suites by Marriott Springdale Zion National Park is one that is absolutely worth writing about -- at least here, if not all the way home.
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First opened in 2017, not only is this property new and nice in its own right, but its claim to fame is unquestionably its location in the literal shadow of Zion National Park.
Check out the view from the hotel:
@thepointsguyThis is the view from the Marriott outside Zion Park. According to Google, you can stay here for $165/night. Wanna visit? #nationalpark #beautifulview♬ ROXANNE - Arizona Zervas
More than 4 million people visit Zion each year, and all of them need somewhere to sleep, making lodging in the surrounding areas a hot commodity.
With the natural beauty and outdoor and naturally distanced nature of the national parks calling to travelers louder than ever before, here are five things to know about the SpringHill Suites Springdale Zion.
The hotel is 1 mile from the entrance to Zion
The town of Springdale, Utah, is a great spot to be if you want to visit Zion. The entire town is located within a mile or two of the entrance to the park and there's a shuttle stop very close to the hotel that will take you to Zion if needed as parking can be a challenge.
Keep in mind that unless you are renting an electric bike or are really planning to walk miles and miles (and miles), you need to plan how to get into Zion using the park's shuttle service or a third-party private service. In either case, you need to plan in advance. Just know that the park service's shuttle is much more affordable (just $1) and are actually more distanced than the third-party shuttles we experienced, but availability can be scarce.
In other words, when staying at the Springhill Suites Zion, you're very close to the park entrance, but you still need a strategy to get in Zion and explore.
Related: Guide to visiting Zion National Park
Breakfast is free and good -- even during COVID
While visiting a national park is often a very affordable vacation (and can even be free if you have a 4th or 5th grader in the family), eating in and around national parks isn't always affordable. Food in Springdale, just outside Zion, can be pretty expensive, so we looked to cut food costs where we could.
The SpringHill Suites Zion has free breakfast for everyone, and while it is obviously modified right now due to the pandemic, we were still big fans.
Everything is grab-and-go and pre-packaged, but there were options we loved such as microwavable biscuits, single-serve brand-name cereal or oatmeal, granola bars, along with Uncrustables you could throw in your backpack for a "free" lunch later on in the day.
Related: Highlights of a bucket-list trip through southern Utah
The rooms are suites
As the name implies, the SpringHill Suites Zion offers ... suites.
For the four of us, we booked a two-queen larger suite. This room type is a true suite and worth the relatively modest additional charge over the basic suites with just the half wall.
The living room had a West Elm sofa bed and desk, perfect for the road schooling and working from anywhere lifestyle. There was also a patio, which meant we could easily open the door to allow for some extra in-room ventilation.
The hallway to the bedroom was where you would find the mini-fridge, microwave and sink.
In the bedroom were two comfortable queen beds, a large walk-in closet and the bathroom, which was home to an actual bathtub (great news for parents of kiddos).
Our family of four has started to feel very cramped in a traditional hotel room, but we never felt cramped in this suite as there was plenty of truly separated space to spread out, along with dedicated spots to store our stuff.
Related: Use points to stay near national parks
You can cash in your Marriott points -- or not
This is a Category 6 Marriott Bonvoy property, so a free night costs 40,000 to 60,000 points to book a standard room at the SpringHill Suites Zion. Of course, on nights that cost 50,000 points per night or less you could also opt to use an up to 50,000 point Marriott certificate at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program (certain hotels have resort fees) that is awarded annually with the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card.
During the peak summer season, when rates can skyrocket to $350 per night, points or 50k certificates can be a good option. However, I'd argue that the fall shoulder season is the best time to go to Zion and rates drop as low as $125 per night here during the non-peak months. At those off-peak prices, you probably want to earn Marriott points and save them for another trip.
We visited over Thanksgiving week, and found it to be the perfect time to experience the park. As an added bonus, rates were low enough at the hotel that we just paid cash and earned points.
Related: Best National Parks to visit in the fall
No parking or resort fees
While I very much enjoy the Marriott Bonvoy program, a bummer can be when parking and resort fees come to bite you -- even on award stays. Unlike with Hyatt and Hilton, resort and parking fees aren't waived with Marriott regardless of your elite status or whether you are cashing in points.
Thankfully, there are no resort fees or additional parking fees, though you will receive a permit to display in your windshield to park your car. If you pay cash or redeem Marriott points you won't be surprised with any additional mandatory fees.
Oh, and if you happen to drive an electric car, there are three charging stations available in the parking lot.
Our Marriott Platinum status didn't do very much for us here, though thanks to it we were able to pick a complimentary non-alcoholic item from the market upon check-in. Naturally, we went for the otherwise $10 Ben & Jerry's ice cream pint.
But, this isn't the hotel you pick to indulge and max-out elite status perks. This is the hotel you pick to enjoy a truly majestic backdrop while staying very close to the entrance of one of the top national parks in the country.
You're going to get a stay in a suite that still looks and feels new. Breakfast is free for everyone, the onsite pool (when open) and hot tub are both inviting and relaxing. Spending some time each evening on the back patio by the fire pit turned out to be the perfect way to cap a day.
I know SpringHill Suites aren't usually thought of as aspirational hotels, but I'd argue that this hotel is not only exciting but also the perfect spot from which to headquarters a trip to Zion and the surrounding area.