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Outside of lodging and transportation one pricey but unavoidable cost that can really hit families hard on vacation are meal costs. Most families have long since learned how to keep food costs lower at home by cooking, packing snacks, hunting down “kids eat free” nights, or otherwise knowing where they can turn to feed their crew without taking out a small loan in the process. However, on vacation many of those tricks and tips can be hard to implement, especially if you are staying in a traditional hotel room with no kitchen.
In addition to being costly, when you eat out constantly on the road you are running the risk of everyone not necessarily eating well balanced meals as you might like. Over a period of time this can start to take a toll on everyone! If someone in your traveling party happens to have a food allergy or dietary restrictions then the prospect of eating out for days on end gets even more challenging.
For all these reasons, and more, many families like to keep things simple and cheaper by having access to a kitchen while on vacation. There are lots of ways to ensure you have access to a kitchen on vacation, but many who read this site like to have access to a full kitchen while still traveling using hotel points. That requirement does narrow down the number hotel chains you can consider, but there are still options that I will lay out below.
As you will quickly see, most of the time the lodging options that have kitchens also are designed to provide more space in general in the form of a junior or one-bedroom suites. Many also have access to free laundry facilities, complimentary breakfast or evening happy hours, free internet, and some are even pet friendly. In other words, they are often designed as more extended stay locations, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still make good use of them for short weekend getaways.
I have omitted hotels that have kitchenettes as they aren’t really functional for full meals, though they can still be useful for snacks and select meals. I have also omitted one-off properties or room types that may occasionally have a kitchen (for example in large suites only), but where it isn’t the standard offering for that type of property.
Candlewood Suites: These suites have “fully equipped kitchens well-stocked with everything a hungry home-chef needs to settle in and start cooking: fridge, stovetop, microwave, plenty of counter space and of course, a dishwasher.” They also typically have an outdoor grill you can use along with grilling utensils available.
Staybridge Suites: Another IHG points option is Staybridge Suites that offer a cooktop stove, microwave, full refrigerator and dishwasher. They also offer complimentary hot breakfast buffet daily and complimentary evening receptions on select weekday nights.
Holiday Inn Club Vacations – check each property individually for kitchen details
Hyatt Gold Passport
Hyatt House: Hyatt House offers studio, one, and two-bedroom suites with “fully-fitted kitchens, comfy living rooms, spacious bedrooms and stylish bathrooms, so you’ll no longer have to use your bed as the sofa and dinner table combo.” The kitchens are reported to be fully stocked with full size fridges, pots, pans, cooktop, dishwasher, and more. Some even advertise they will go grocery shopping for you!
A cool feature about Hyatt House brands is that in addition to the kitchens, they also offer the complimentary Morning Spread with a build-your-own Omelet Bar, fresh fruit and other breakfast goodness served daily. Read more for participating locations. Many also have an Evening Social Monday -Thursday 5:30-7:00PM with free eats, beer and wine (some Hyatt House locations offer a full bar and menu in lieu of the Evening Social).
Hyatt Residence Club – check each property individually for kitchen details
Residence Inn: Residence Inn offers fully equipped in-suite kitchens with full-sized refrigerator, stove, microwave and coffeemaker. They also advertize free grocery delivery, complimentary evening socials, and free daily hot breakfast “with a variety of healthy and indulgent options”.
TownePlace Suites: Marriott TownePlace Suites offer kitchens with full sized appliances, cookware, dishes, and appliances. They also offer free daily breakfast with cereals, muffins, oatmeal, and juices.
Marriott Vacation Club – check each property individually for kitchen details
Homewood Suites by Hilton: These suites offer a kitchen with full sized appliances, silverware, and dishes, as well as a free grocery delivery service. They also offer free hot breakfast, and evening socials with complimentary beer, wine, and snacks Monday – Thursday.
Home2 Suites by Hilton: These suites have a kitchen with a full sized refrigerator and dishwasher as well as a cooktop burner and accessories that you can check out at the front desk (this does not sound quiet as convenient as some other chains). They also offer free breakfast cereals, six rotating warm, artisan breakfast sandwiches, waffles, oatmeal, grits, and yogurt. Also of note they advertise saline pools, walking trails, and outdoor grills.
Hilton Grand Vacations – check each property individually for kitchen details
Starwood Preferred Guest
Element by Westin: This may be the extended stay kitchen-friendly option that is most intriguing to me personally. It is a newer brand on the scene that is currently expanding (available in/coming to Aspen Valley, Orlando, Boston, Austin, New York City, and more). They offer full-sized, energy-efficient appliances including a refrigerator, cooktop, microwave and dishwasher. They also stock the kitchens with pots, pans, knives, utensils, dishes, cutlery and glasses. Their free breakfast consists of things like smoothie shooters to savory signature hot breakfast wraps as well as fresh fruit, yogurt and cereal. They also have complimentary evening socials at least three times a week with food, beverages, and a smoothie!
Starwood Vacation Ownership Villas– check each property for kitchen details
This list is obviously not an exhaustive list of all chains and all properties that offer kitchens, but it should give you a good start on researching where you can stay on points and still have a full kitchen for your crew. That full kitchen will give you an opportunity to save even more money while traveling and offer more nutritious options to your family than just fast food on the go.
What is your go-to chain to stay at on points while enjoying amenities such as a full service kitchen?
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