Visitors to Birmingham, Alabama, have several well-appointed hotels to choose from that lie within two miles of the city zoo. Most are owned and operated by nationally known chains, offering comfortable accommodations, family-style dining and numerous amenities for vacationers of all stripes to enjoy. Nightly rates average in the middle price ranges, although savvy travelers can often cash in on seasonal discounts or package deals that bring costs down even further.
Hampton Inn Birmingham/Mountain Brook
The AAA-rated three-diamond Hampton Inn Birmingham/Mountain Brook is not only the closest hotel in the city to the local zoo, it is also less than 12 minutes from the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport. A state-of-the-art fitness gym and swimming pool are available for all guests to use, while additional amenities include a coin laundry, newsstand and safety deposit box at the front desk. Executives also have access to a business center with computer and printer, meeting rooms and audio-visual equipment rental. A free breakfast area is laid out every morning, and nearby restaurants like Moe's Southwest Grill and Tavern at the Summit serve southwestern cuisines for lunch and dinner. Guests can choose between rooms with one king or two double beds, each furnished with a work desk, adjustable thermostat and entertainment options like HBO and video games. In addition, families should inquire about a special "geocaching adventures" package.
Embassy Suites Birmingham
The upscale, all-suite Embassy Suites Birmingham hotel is only a mile from the zoo as well as area attractions like the Birmingham Botanical Gardens and Vulcan Park. Services and amenities include a pool, exercise area, valet laundry, luggage hold, free shuttle to and from the airport, and multi-lingual staff at the front desk. Snacks and sundries can be purchased at the hotel's own convenient store, while a complimentary continental breakfast is standard for all guests. In addition, an unstaffed business center, on-site notary public and video conferencing capabilities are convenient for corporate guests. A Ruth's Chris Steakhouse provides a mouthwatering dining experience, and a nightly manager's reception with various cold beverages caps off each evening in the atrium. Fully equipped suites feature iPod docking stations, Wi-Fi access, microwaves, mini-fridges and flat-screen TVs. Also, the hotel's "Family Fun Package" includes a free movie, popcorn and sodas.
Aloft Birmingham Soho Square
The Starwood-owned Aloft Birmingham Soho Square hotel is only a couple miles from several local points of interest, from the McWane Science Center to the Highland Park Golf Course to the Five Points South Historic District. The hotel features an indoor splash pool, property-wide high-speed Internet access, a first-class fitness center with cardio and strength machines, and a contemporary cocktail lounge with a pool table and other games. Dining options include a 24-hour "grab-n-go" eatery with mix-and-match meals and make-your-own cappuccinos as well as a steak and seafood restaurant featuring an a la carte menu and smooth live jazz. Modern guest rooms offer signature king or queen beds, 42-inch LCD TVs, walk-in showers and custom bath amenities by Bliss® Spa. Families with pets can also sign up for a program that offers a doggie bed, bowl, treats and toys. Additionally, guests with 7,000 "Starpoints" can redeem them for a free night's stay.
Courtyard Birmingham Homewood
The 126-room Courtyard Birmingham Homewood lies in close proximity to the Birmingham Museum of Art and Southern Museum of Flight as well as the zoo. The 100 percent smoke-free property features express check-in and check-out, valet dry cleaning, daily housekeeping, free morning newspapers and unlimited coffee in the lobby as well as recreational opportunities like a work-out room, outdoor pool and hot tub. Business travelers can also utilize the hotel's copy/fax service and two meeting rooms totaling 1,250 square feet. A casual, on-site American bistro serves breakfast and dinner, while a Starbucks coffeehouse and a cocktail bar offer places to unwind. Rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows and amenities like irons with boards, pay-per-view movies and bottled water for a fee. Guests with young children should inquire about the "Nickelodeon Your Stay" package. And no pets are allowed on the premises except service animals for persons with disabilities.
- zoo image by Mat Hayward from Fotolia.com