To my kids, the word holiday means one thing: hotel. We’ll work on expanding their view of travel in the years to come, but for now, few adventures are more exciting than checking in for an overnight away from home.

If your kids sound like mine, the Holiday Inn Winnipeg Airport West on Portage Avenue needs to be a fixture on your family travel itinerary, whether you’re a local planning a stay-cation or a visitor planning a long weekend escape to the city.

H is for happy

Holiday Inn Airport West continues to stand tall among hotels in Winnipeg that tout being family friendly. From a massive indoor play structure to a multi-level pool area, this is the kind of hotel where kids can run wild for hours. Smiles don’t disappear and whines hardly escape their lips (note: I said hardly).

O is for ooh la la

Holiday Inn Airport West just completed massive renovations to all rooms, and the results are stunning enough to make a 5-year-old pause upon entering and announce: “Now this is lovely!” Not only is the new aesthetic kid approved, it also appeals to the business traveller and the modern explorer. Furnishing are sleek, colour palette is neutral, lines are crisp, and the vibe is bright and airy. Premium options range from executive corner suites to family-style rooms with bunk beds, but we found the spacious standard room more than enough for a family of four.

L is for laughter

Squeals and shrieks erupted when my kids first saw the Pirate Cove Playland. They took off into the massive, three-storey pirate ship-themed structure, which thankfully is maneuverable for both tot and parent! Nooks and crannies abound: my five year old kept occupied collecting foam balls and firing them off in air cannons, while my two year old stuck to the slides. The play structure overlooks a tiered pool area, where my munchkins (finally bored of the play structure) circuited from wading pool, to frog slide, to big-kid salt water pool, to hot tub for the rest of the evening.

I is for ideal

Holiday Inn is ideal for families because little details – that don’t go unnoticed by moms – make holiday-ing easier. The pool opens at 5:30 am (because little ones are early risers). Life jackets are provided for free on the pool deck (because there is enough to pack). Games like ping pong and foosball are free (because no kid can resist). And kids under 12 eat free anytime of day (because budgeting is reality for a family).

D is for design

Comfy, homey decor is out; high design is in. Entering the boutique-style lobby, guests will immediately realize that this not is the same Holiday Inn of yesteryear. As a millennial mom, I appreciate that I don’t have to totally sacrifice my (self-proclaimed) hip sensibilities in order to have fun with my kids.

A is for attractions

Proximity to some of the city’s top attractions and airport (note: free shuttle) is what makes the Holiday Inn Airport West such an appealing home base. It’s a quick drive to Assiniboine Park & Zoo where kids will be enthralled with diving polar bears at the Journey to Churchill exhibit or the free Royal Winnipeg Ballet in the Park event. The Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada is down the road, or if shopping is more your jive, so is the city’s largest mall CF Polo Park. The hotel also caters well to headlining summer events like the Red River Exhibition.

Y is for yum and yes!

With the recent renovations at the hotel comes a refreshed restaurant and lounge that give families even more reason to stay onsite all day. Pizza is touted, which you can order to-go and bring to the play/pool area. Adults will be thrilled to find Canadian craft beers, including at least four local labels, lining the bar.

Will we go back? Yes! We already have a stay-cation booked in January so the kids can burn off some cabin fever.