Family Travel: Hotel Suite or Two Rooms?

Family Travel: Hotel Suite or Two Rooms?


For Families, is a Hotel Suite or Two Connecting Rooms a Better Choice When Staying in a Hotel? TravelSort reader Megan writes “We would normally look for a hotel suite for our family vacation, but now that we have two kids, we're discovering that some hotels that previously worked well for us as a family of three won't accommodate two adults and two kids in a suite so we're starting to look at options with two connecting rooms. What do you see as the pros and cons?”

We have quite a few family clients, some of whom are running into the situation Megan mentions. Here's what we've seen figure into the calculus when families decide between a suite vs. two connecting rooms:

Why Families Should Choose a Suite

1. Typically Only One Door, Good If Traveling with Young Children

On a practical level, parents of young children often prefer a suite, since there's usually only one entrance to the suite, rather than the two doors that two separate connecting rooms would have. With just one entrance, parents can more easily ensure their active kid or kids don't exit the room on their own.


2. A Suite Guarantees You'll All Be Together

While some hotels, such as Four Seasons, will block connecting rooms and you'll be guaranteed the connection at time of booking, some hotels don't guarantee and will only note your request. That's problematic and stressful for parents with young kids, who need assurance that they'll all be together, not in two rooms that are neither connecting nor adjoining.


3. Suite Benefits

Suites often enjoy greater benefits than rooms. Some hotels provide complimentary one-way or roundtrip transfers for suite reservations, and the Four Seasons Maui at Wailea, with its Complete Suite Experience, provides not only roundtrip airport transfers, but also one private in-suite dinner and two complimentary 50-minute massages for stays of 4 or more nights, a dedicated Guest Experience Manager, and unlimited laundry.

Four Seasons also provides more hotel credit for guests staying in a suite: $200 hotel credit per bedroom per stay, instead of $100 per stay for a room reservation. So if you reserve a 4 Bedroom Suite at a Four Seasons, you'll enjoy $800 hotel credit during your stay. Additionally, all Four Seasons hotels and resorts provide complimentary premium high speed WiFi for Suite guests.


4. Suites Often Have Kitchenette or Full Kitchen Facilities

While regular guest rooms typically at most have a mini bar or small fridge, quite a number of suites come with a kitchenette or sometimes a fully equipped kitchen. This is especially helpful when traveling with a baby or toddlers, who may need frequent bottles or snacks, as they eat far more often than the 3 meals a day adults are used to.


Why Families Should Choose Two Rooms

1. Two Full Bathrooms

Since many 1-Bedroom Suites only have one bathroom, or possibly a full master bathroom plus a guest powder room, the advantage of booking two connecting or adjacent rooms is that you'll have two full bathrooms, especially helpful when you have 3 or more people and are getting ready to go out, or are getting ready for bed. And, particularly with kids who are old enough to independently use the bathroom during the night, it's much nicer for parents to not have the kid or kids traipsing through their room in the middle of the night to get to the bathroom.


2. Two Rooms Often Less Expensive Than 1 Suite

Economically, it often is less expensive to reserve two entry level rooms than one entry level suite, so that can be the controlling factor for some families.


3. Proper Beds Instead Rollaway or Sofa Bed

Another factor, especially for families with older kids or kids who don't sleep well on sofa beds or rollaways, is that with connecting rooms you have proper beds in both rooms. With a 1 Bedroom Suite, you'll typically need one or more rollaways or a sofa bed, which can have less comfortable mattresses, especially in the case of sofa beds. We've also encountered kid-size rollaways that aren't long enough for our current teenager, who's over 6 feet tall, such that I had to sleep on the rollaway while the guys shared the king size bed.


4. Virtuoso or Preferred Partner Credit for Both Rooms

Taking the example of a 1-Bedroom Suite, the Virtuoso or preferred partner benefit would typically be the same as a single room, so the kids' breakfasts are often not included. But if you reserve two rooms, the Virtuoso and preferred partner benefits apply to both rooms, so you'd enjoy up to two complimentary breakfasts per room, as well as a hotel credit, typically ~$100 per room, once per stay.

On the other hand, there's usually less of a difference when reserving a 2-Bedroom Suite, as most Virtuoso hotels do provide complimentary breakfast for two guests per room, so all four guests in a 2-Bedroom Suite would enjoy daily breakfast, so the only benefit you'd forego is the additional $100 per stay hotel credit (although with Four Seasons, suite guests enjoy more hotel credit, as mentioned above).


5. Not All Suites Have Full Separation Between the Bedroom and Living Room

With two separate rooms, even if connecting, you know that you'll be able to put your kids to sleep early, yet still have privacy afterwards if you and your partner want to watch a movie or talk. Yet I've stayed in a suite over 1100 square feet that doesn't have a closing door to the bedroom, resulting in us either going to sleep at the same time as our son, or having to put him to bed then go down to the hotel lobby to work or talk. Or sometimes there are doors that close the bedroom off from the living room but due to poor interior design, there aren't solid wood doors and instead there are frosted glass panels, resulting in light seeping into the living area from the bedroom.


Special Offers for Families

Mandarin Oriental's Families by MO includes a discount of up to 50% when families book connecting rooms or select two bedroom suites, kids' welcome amenities, and complimentary meals for children under 12 from the kids' menu (excluding fine dining restaurants).

Some Peninsula Hotels such as The Peninsula Paris offer a Family Moments package that features 50% off a connecting or adjoining room for children under 12 (two children maximum per room)

If you're a parent, do you prefer staying with your family in a suite or in two rooms, and why?

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