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Leana’s post a few weeks ago about how she is using up her remaining hotel certificates reminded me that I still have one to use before the end of the year. I got an additional free night certificate last year from Hyatt for staying in five different Hyatt brands.
I decided to book a night at the Hyatt Regency Dallas, where I stayed in 2019 for a conference. Based on my experience there, I knew my kids would love the hotel. Plus, it had been a few years since my kids experienced Downtown Dallas. My husband and oldest son could not join us, so it was just me and my two younger kids.
Our adventure began by taking the DART rail from Plano to Union Station. When my kids were much younger, we had a zoo membership and we used to ride the DART train all the time. But now they barely remember that, so just riding the train was a small thrill.
We checked into the Hyatt Regency, which is accessible from the train station. I was surprised the hotel was so crowded with two large conventions happening. I requested a high floor room that faces downtown, and the hotel gave me just that. Our room was on the 25th floor with a great view.
After dropping off our bag, we took the DART rail to the West End station to check out the Dallas Museum of Illusions. We had never been there before, and it was a fun, instagrammable experience.
After a brief stop at the famous Grassy Knoll where JFK was shot, we headed back to the hotel to ascend Reunion Tower. Fun fact–this is where my husband and I went on our first date right after I moved to Texas. Unfortunately, the restaurants at the top are closed due to Covid. But, the views of the city are still great.
For dinner, we took an Uber to Simply Fondue in the Lower Greenville neighborhood. My husband and I go to a different fondue restaurant every year for my birthday, but this was my kids’ first fondue restaurant experience. We had cheddar cheese fondue and cooked our meats on a table-side grill. For dessert, we roasted marshmallows over a flaming chocolate fondue. The food was delicious, and the experience was a lot of fun.
We spent the evening after dinner hanging out in our hotel room. After dark, my kids were mesmerized by the downtown building lights. The tallest building had a beautiful light show every few minutes. We watched the trains come and go right below us.
The next day, we dropped our bag off at the front desk to hold for us. Then, we headed back to the train station and took the train a few stops to the Dallas Zoo. We hadn’t been there in many years and hadn’t seen the zoo’s new addition, Giants of the Savanna.
The highlight of the zoo is definitely feeding the giraffes.
We spent almost the entire day at the zoo, seeing every exhibit. It was hot and we were exhausted, but in a good way.
By mid-afternoon, we were back on the train. We stopped by the Hyatt briefly to pick up our bag, and then we traveled back north to the suburbs. My kids slept in until noon the next morning!
It’s easy for us to stay in our suburban bubble. We’ve got everything we need up here. But, I think it’s important to explore different local areas in addition to far-away places. My kids asked thoughtful questions about things we saw on our trip, and I could tell they noticed different things than they did when they were younger.
Of course, we could visit Downtown Dallas without staying the night. But having a free hotel night added to the convenience and made our experience more special.
I hope to do this again to visit different places we didn’t have time to see on this trip, including the Sixth Floor Museum, the Holocaust Museum and the Dallas World Aquarium. We’ve been to the Sixth Floor Museum and the aquarium before, but it’s been way too long.
Have you used a hotel free night certificate to stay at a local hotel?
Nancy lives near Dallas, Texas, with her husband and three kids. Her favorite vacations include the beach, cruising and everything Disney.