Is it going to be the guest room or the Marriott? This holiday season, you have a choice.
My older sister slept in my mom's small childhood bedroom, my grandparents shared a queen bed down the hall, and my parents stayed in the other bedroom. I slept in the den.
I woke up early to my brother, his wife and their two small children at the door. There was a pot of coffee brewing in the kitchen, people were up in the bedrooms getting ready and wrapping the last of the presents. There was so much activity, so many people.
That was Christmas of '03. It was one of my favorite Christmases.
It was one morning. Had it gone on again the next morning, and possibly the one after that it would have most likely gotten ugly. I would have been woken up too early, there would not be enough coffee for everyone, both bathrooms would be occupied and people just would not be ready. There would have been too much activity, too many people.
Family is what makes the holidays so special. It is also was makes the holidays so stressful.
How can we kindly, tactfully say, "I love you, now leave?"
Give them the room as a gift. Who doesn't like an early Christmas present? You don't have to let them know this gift is really for you. Most hotels in the area are offering specials and packages through the holidays, so the recipient will receive more than a rectangular plastic keycard.
The "Whoopie Weekends at Loews" package is valid only Thursday through Sunday, but offers a full room service breakfast for two, a late checkout and two whoopie t-shirts. Beginning at $200, this package is a little pricey, but it seems well worth the money just to see grandma and pop pop in matching whoopie tees.
The beautiful Annapolis Marriott also has a number of packages. The "Romance Package" runs slightly over $300 and includes the price of the room, champagne and rose petals upon arrival and breakfast for two. Rose petals on the bedspread may be an inappropriate gift for the in-laws, but perfect for those siblings or friends dropping in for a weekend visit.
Sending my parents to The O'Callaghan Hotel on West Street for their "Gaelic Getaway" is as close as I am going to come to actually sending my parents to Ireland. This package provides them with accommodations for two, a continental Breakfast in the John Barry and a $50 gift card to Fado's Irish Pub. If I throw in six-pack of Guinness and a CD of Irish drinking songs, it could be a fun gift basket.
There are always specials available at the Historic Inns of Annapolis. With their "Annapolis Shopping" special you can reserve anything from two double beds at Robert Johnson to a large, beautiful, wooden four-poster historic queen at Governor Calvert. The package also includes valet parking, a $40 Visa gift card, and a continental breakfast for two at the Starbucks on Main Street. There is also an Annapolis New Year's Eve package.
The rooms at the inns are lovely. They have large windows and old charm. You can check online for availability.
This may be good news to some of you. If it is, I am glad I could help. For me, though, I am a little torn about what to do with houseguests.
Waking up on that Christmas morning in my grandparent's den certainly made a lasting impression. I remember running out of tape halfway through wrapping presents, the smell of cinnamon in my grandfather's coffee, my brother making old fashions extra strong that afternoon and my hair dryer burning out before we had a chance to take any family pictures.
There was arguing and worrying, but there was also a lot of laughter and that special, dysfunctional kind of togetherness that only families can provide. Had I woken up in a hotel a few miles away, it would have been a very different kind of morning. So, in my opinion, bring on the in-laws and the entire extended family. I will bring my sleeping bag.
If things get too crowded, I know who to call:
Marriott Annapolis (410)268-7555
Loews Hotel Annapolis (410) 263-7777
Historic Inns of Annapolis (410) 263-2641
O'Callaghan Hotel (410) 263-7700
The Westin Annapolis (410) 972-4300
These and other special offers can be found online. Please call the hotels to ensure these specials are available for the dates you are looking for, to learn about vacancy and to find out about other holiday deals being offered.