Plan a Staycation in Des Moines


Sometimes a staycation is just what you need to reset after a crazy season. Our last hotel stay was in the Wisconsin Dells right as the coronavirus entered our lives. Recently, we were talking about that trip, and how we hadn’t stayed in a hotel since then. Our eight-year-old chimed in with, “Let’s go to a hotel!” It wasn’t a bad idea.

But, it seemed weird to stay in a hotel close to home. We talked it through and decided, “Why not?” We planned a little Des Moines staycation to break the monotony of our everyday lives. Here are a few tips if you’re thinking about a staycation.

Tips for a Staycation

The Element of Surprise

At the time, we were in the hybrid model for school so we chose to do a staycation during the week. The kids got up, rolled through schoolwork and then we loaded them in to the car. They were a little annoyed because they thought our “errand” in Des Moines would be shopping, which they hate. But, once we told them it was a surprise, they got on board.

An Activity

I landed on Build-A-Bear for an activity. Our kids have never done it and there’s no way I’d let them do it on a random mall visit. It’s one of those places I hurry them past in normal live. But, in corona-life, bring on the bears! 

At eight and five, they were at great ages to build their animals. We came home with a Pokemon character and our Vikings’-cheering family also ended up with “Aaron Adam Rogers,” a Packer bear. We found out the uncles had been influencing our oldest!

Then, we moved on to Lolli and Pops, the absolute cutest candy store! They had a great time trying to decide on what to buy.


Hotel Snacks

Hotel snacks are the best part of staying in a hotel. I made everyone stop at Trader Joe’s and the reasoning was twofold. First, I could get all the snacks and drinks for the hotel. Second, I could load up on my Trader Joe’s favorites, saving me a trip to West Des Moines.


The crown jewel in the trip was a hotel stay because it added to the feeling of really getting away. We chose Hotel Renovo because I thought it looked cool and have always wanted to stay there. We’ve just never had a reason!

It was a beautiful late fall day and we took advantage of the outdoor space – having our own little happy hour with our Trader Joe’s cocktails and charcuterie while the kids ran around the yard.

Our poolside room had easy access for snacks and drinks. I was really surprised with how big the pool area was. You know how hotel pools can sometimes be tiny? Not this one! Plenty of space to swim and hang out. And, they even had a few pool-side games like bags.

We spent the evening swimming and did carryout dinner from the Machine Shed (right next door). Once the kids were tired, we hung out in the room and watched tv for a while.

The room we booked was larger so we had a semi-private bedroom, seating area, and a table we thought we’d use for virtual school the next morning. But, we didn’t. The kids swam and then we went home.

Was it worth it?

For us, yes. We knew we couldn’t get away on weekends or for an entire week because of work. A day of spoiling the kids, swimming, staying somewhere I wasn’t responsible for cleaning, having someone else cook, and using a bathroom that’s nicer than anything I’ll ever have was the welcome break we needed!

What about COVID-19?

We took that into consideration and rolled the dice that we wouldn’t experience crowds. Build-A-Bear limits guest capacity – all good there and no different than when they’re in school. The candy store and Trader Joe’s were like any other store trip.

The hotel was a wild card and we knew there could be other people there. With the pool’s size, we weren’t worried about being too close to others. Our Thursday-night stay was perfect because we ended up being the only ones there! 

Now, it’s time to plan a hotel stay for just the two of us!

Have you done a staycation in Des Moines?



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here