Your accommodations can make or break your vacation. We once stayed in a hotel in NYC that offered earplugs on the nightstand because it was in such a loud neighborhood. One of your first travel decisions should be whether you stay in a hotel, all-inclusive, or rental. Let’s break down the reasons why you should or should not stay in a hotel so you’ll be able to weigh your decision of whether it is the best accommodation for your family.
NO COOKING: YES!!! Cheers break out from moms everywhere!! Even on vacation moms do not go off-duty. The advantage of having a hotel room is you can’t cook…not even if you wanted to! If your plan is to avoid cooking, don’t get a room with a kitchenette or you may as well put your apron on.
HOUSEKEEPING: A week of not making beds or vacuuming sounds like heaven to me. Leave your housekeepers a large tip because they deserve it.
CONCIERGE: I love to plan my trips in advance but there are always problems that can pop up that the concierge can solve. If you have a sick child he can find you a doctor, if a rainy day means you can’t go to the zoo he can find you an indoor activity, and if you need a restaurant recommendation he can point you towards the best one. In London, at the Waldorf, the concierge walked to the restaurant to make sure we had the best table and his favorite waiter. When we got there, they knew our names without asking and gave us an appetizer on the house.
SAFETY: Some rentals can be in residential areas and may not have good security. Some hotels have doormen and got to great lengths to ensure your safety.
AMENITIES: Some hotels have gyms, spas, restaurants, bars, golf courses, libraries, or indoor pools. Don’t just use a hotel for a place to sleep, make sure you make it an experience.
PACKAGES: Some hotels can get you a good deal on rental cars, airfare, and discounts to local attractions.
REWARDS PROGRAM: The more nights you stay at certain hotels, the more points you can accumulate. You can turn those points in for free hotel rooms. Also, depending on the status of your membership you can get free perks such as room upgrades, gift cards, and travel packages.
ROOM SERVICE: Don’t feel like getting out of your PJ’s to get breakfast? No need…you’re on vacation…let the food come to you!
TINY SPACE = LOTS OF BICKERING: My family likes to have our space…actually we NEED. When we are confined to a small area we become caged animals. Make sure you check the square footage of your room.
CLEANLINESS: You expect your room will be perfectly clean but that’s not always the case. You sometimes find a little more than a mint on your pillow…ugh. I hate thinking about the amount of people that have slept in the no amount of bleach is enough.
NUMBER OF KIDS: My friends that have three or four kids sometimes have a hard time finding a reasonably priced room because they need a suite. In Europe, they would not allow any cots in standard rooms and were extremely strict about the number of people in rooms. I read many reviews where people were turned away for trying to sneak in a toddler.
LACK OF OUTDOOR SPACE: If you want to let your kids run around to get some fresh air, you’ll need to search for a hotel that has a courtyard or some sort of grassed area. This can often be hard to find.
After weighing the pros and cons, you should be able to make the first decision in your trip planning. Happy travels!