by Diana Lambdin Meyer
This expansive property in the heart of Springfield, Missouri, right off Route 66, is on its way to being recognized as an historic property in this region. When it was first built in the 1960s, it was the world’s largest Howard Johnson Hotel.
Over the years, it’s been reconfigured and updated while maintaining some of the mid-century modern architecture of the period. The hotel now has 173 guestrooms and five suites, but is so comprehensive in its offerings for this part of the world that in 2015, Ramada named it the top property of more than 550 Ramada hotels in the U.S.
Turn in off of the five lanes of traffic and neon signs of Glenstone Avenue to a short, tree-lined driveway and small waterfall that removes you from the noise and commotion of the metro area. It’s kind of like an “oasis” in the midst of the city.
Much of the interior reflects that fresh oasis feel, with bright blue tiles behind the front desk and a number of bubbly fountains throughout. Yes, hang on to all of those extra pennies and nickels for your kids to toss into the water.
The abundant tropical trees in the pool atrium area continue the oasis theme. The salt water in both the indoor and outdoor pools eliminates that chemical chlorine smell and makes the live plants thrive indoors.
This beautiful atrium is where a full American breakfast is served complimentary each morning. Not your typical hotel breakfast, this includes made-to-order omelets, pancakes, hot sausage and bacon, all in a buffet-style.
Our Editor Loves
- Indoor and outdoor pools
- Complimentary full breakfast
- Coin-operated guest laundry
- Horse Back Riding
- Theme Park
- Water Parks
- Water Sports
- Family Room 5+
- Free Breakfast
- Onsite Dining
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This Ramada has a variety of levels and stairways, public spaces and balconies overlooking lower levels, indicative of the renovations and modernization that has taken place over the years. It's not a maze, but neither is it your typical hotel footprint.
Of the 173 rooms, there are 22 sets of connecting rooms. While the hotel legally can't promise you a connecting room, we're told that on very few occasions has the front desk not been able to answer a request for one.
DVD players are not standard in these rooms, but a comprehensive movie channel for children is available on the hotel's cable offerings. Cribs are available at no charge; rollaways are $25 per night.
Poolside/Pool View Rooms
If you plan a lot of pool time, you'll want to ask for the poolside rooms. These have sliding glass doors that open just steps from the pool deck. Pool view rooms are on the second level with a sliding glass door and balcony, but the exact same floor plan. These rooms all offer either one king bed or two queen beds. Bathrooms are all shower/tub combinations. All rooms include a microwave and small refrigerator.
Courtyard rooms are the exact same floor plan, only they are further along in the atrium and come with a small bistro set on your patio. These rooms all offer either one king bed or two queen beds. Bathrooms are all shower/tub combinations. All rooms include a microwave and small refrigerator.
Note that most of the public gatherings at this hotel take place in the courtyard atrium, including the complimentary breakfast each morning. If you want to sleep late or would prefer fewer distractions out the door, you may wish to consider a room in another part of the hotel.
Deluxe Guest Rooms
These rooms all offer either one king bed or two queen beds and are the same floor plans as pool side and courtyard rooms. However, the view from your window may be the outdoor pool, the grounds or the parking lot. Bathrooms all have shower/tub combinations. All rooms include a microwave and small refrigerator.
This Ramada includes five suites and one of them is bi-level with a beautiful wooden winding staircase. Although each of the suites includes a private bedroom with a king bed, other sleeping arrangements in the suites will be on sleeper sofas or rollaway beds.
We had stayed here twice in the past two years, the experience two years ago, wasn't very pleasant. There is only one elevator and if you were assigned a room on the second level and can't use stairs, but the room is across the very end, you would have to walk a great distance. Not so good with an older lady, who has bad knees. But we just stayed again this last weekend, but we made a special request to have a room on the first floor, so that eliminated that problem. We liked the room, I liked the shower and the table that gets tucked under-counter, The bathroom though doesn't have enough room to put your stuff so we wished there was ample room there. The staff was wonderful. Beautiful place in the lobby area and the breakfast was wonderful. I might add, that the parking lot was full and I had to park way past the motel, where the employees park. But the motel was maxed out.
by Kim B
Awesome! The room was amazing. I love the shower, faucet, bed uplighting, furnishings, etc. Breakfast was delicious. Starbucks coffee was bonus. We love your hotel. Even though we were in town on sad note your hotel made the stay worthwhile and comfortable. Thank u very much.
The two pools here are the focal point of family activities and many community activities as well. Many churches and school groups come here after hours to enjoy the pleasures of this amenity. The atrium is massive with lots of tables and spaces for meals, playing games or just reading a book.
Enter the pool on the shallow end via steps and note that anyone under 16 needs to have a parent or adult nearby. There is no lifeguard. The pool zig-zags about in a geometric pattern, ranging in depth from 3 to 5 feet. Hours are from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.
You'll not find a physical location for Bella's in the hotel, but it may likely be your most popular meal while staying at the Ramada. The staff at Fire and Ice creates the pizza, which is enjoyed primarily for room service or at events around the pool. All of the classic pizza toppings are available, along with toasted hoagies, cheesy bread and salads.
Fire and Ice
This energetic restaurant is part sports bar, but its menu offerings suggest a higher level of sophistication than most bar food. The dining room opens to the courtyard pool area for special events. Adults will appreciate the 30-foot long curved ice bar, designed to keep your drinks a little cooler a little longer. While adults can enjoy steaks, pasta and seafood, children usually prefer the petite chicken rice bowl or quesadillas, along with burgers and chicken nuggets on the children's menu. Open for lunch and dinner only.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
Wi-Fi is complimentary throughout the hotel.
While this is a lovely hotel with numerous amenities, it seems that fitness center was an afterthought. Tucked away down a desolate hallway, the fitness center features Cybex equipment, including two treadmills and one elliptical machine, along with a few free weights. No one under 16 is allowed in the fitness center.
Free shuttle service is available to a nearby spa, which works closely with the Ramada for reservations and other services for mutual guests.
Watch for seasonal packages where the Ramada partners with the Springfield Cardinals, a farm team for the St. Louis Cardinals, making a great getaway to Springfield for some great baseball.
A coin operated guest laundry room, along with valet laundry services, make an extended stay here with children slightly less messy and smelly for when you get home and unpack those suitcases.
There is a small sundry shop just off the lobby that includes plenty of snacks and other necessities you might need during your stay.
Although the crime rate is low in Springfield, the hotel offers a security patrol for the parking lot and grounds.
Pets are not allowed at this Ramada.
The Art of Smart Timing
Springfield, Missouri enjoys all four seasons, some more than others. Summer can be hot and humid and winter can be ice-covered- or not. It's entirely possible to enjoy off-season mild days due to extreme swings in weather. That's one reason why the outdoor saltwater pool is open year round.
This particular hotel, connected to the convention center, is very popular with children's sports teams in Springfield for tournaments. So if you prefer not to be surrounded by such energy, you might check with the hotel to see if large groups are booked while you are there.
The Springfield-Branson National Airport (SFG) is located on the northwest side of the metro area and about 15 minutes from the hotel. The Ramada offers free shuttle service.
For those driving from I-44, the Glenstone Blvd is located at exit 80. The hotel is just a few blocks south on the right hand side of the road.
Springfield is easy to get around with streets laid out primarily on a grid. However, it is spread out and public transportation is limited. The hotel shuttle will deliver you downtown, but otherwise, to see any of the sites and explore further, you'll need a rental car.
For Mom and Dad
The cocktail bar at Fire and Ice can be an intimate destination to enjoy a cocktail or glass of wine. A fireplace and other gas-generated flames set the mood for a romantic moment or two.