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The Big Apple is on many families’ lists of dream destinations, and while there are plenty of fancier hotels sitting at the higher end of the hotel award charts in Manhattan, there are also family-friendly deals hidden here and there. For example, you can find several solid Marriott/SPG hotel options in New York City if you have a Marriott 35k award night at your disposal. (Here’s how to obtain and use that award.)

However, if you still hold the original non-converted Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card or are holding Marriott Air + Hotel packages that provide a more limited Marriott Category 1–4 award, that certificate can actually help your family out in NYC, too. Your options will be more limited than with a Marriott Category 1–5/35k certificate, but fortunately, there are still appealing Marriott Category 4 hotels for families in New York City.

Photo by Cris Tagupa on Unsplash
Photo by Cris Tagupa on Unsplash

Things to Consider Before Booking a NYC Stay

Planning a trip to New York City with a family can be a complicated endeavor that depends on what part of town is your focus and what attractions are most important for your family to experience. Here are some things to ponder before booking your trip.

Are You Staying Five Nights?

If you have both certificates and points to burn, you may want to save your certificate and book five nights using points as then the fifth night would be free. If you need more points to get you to the necessary amount, you can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to your Marriott Rewards account.

Beware of Taxes and Fees

The daily hotel tax rate is comprised of several different taxes and totals a whopping 14.75% plus $1.50 each day. Award rates aren’t taxed, which could make a big difference between paying cash and using an award. However, there is an increasing (and nasty) trend for some properties to charge “destination fees,” which are essentially resort fees by another name. These fees will be charged even on award stays.

Small Rooms Are the Norm

New York City hotel rooms are small, even at many of the luxury hotels. At a Category 4 property, you’ll be lucky to find rooms larger than 250 square feet. I give bonus points for two queens over two doubles, but in New York City, they’re the exception rather than the rule.

My Family’s Criteria for Booking a NYC Hotel

Here are the things that are important to me when booking a stay for my family in the Big Apple.

Rooms That Sleep Four

My No. 1 criteria for any family trip to NYC is finding rooms that sleep four. Many rooms with two double beds, and even two queen beds, are still only listed for two or three people. I know families that regularly “sneak” their kids into rooms that are not technically rated for four people, but it’s not a practice I recommend. The one time you get caught could cost you thousands in last-minute hotel fees or worse: no place to stay. If you’ve got more than two kids, check out these tips for booking hotel rooms for large families.

Location, Location, Location

While staying in an outer borough could make for a fun trip, I’m sticking to Manhattan for shorter NYC trips as most of the attractions on my family’s wish list are there. Currently, all but one of Marriott’s Manhattan Category 4 hotels are in Lower Manhattan, which is a reasonable distance to the World Trade Center, 9/11 Memorial (the museum may not be appropriate for small children), South Street Seaport and more. I weigh subway proximity very heavily into my calculations, so if nothing in Lower Manhattan appeals to you, you might want to consider another booking strategy. If you don’t yet know which NYC attractions to put on your to-do list, read about these affordable and family-friendly activities.

Exploring the High Line in the warmer months. Photo by Boogich via Getty Images.
Exploring the High Line in the warmer months. Photo by Boogich via Getty Images.

Real-Time Availability

I see a lot of this when I search Marriott.com for New York properties rated for four people:

Screenshot via Marriott.com
Screenshot via Marriott.com

With that in mind, I’m only recommending properties that show a reasonable amount of bookable dates open in the next six months. You’ll notice when you see the list that no Starwood properties are included in my rankings. There are a couple listed, but I couldn’t find available dates where an award could be redeemed.

I also give a few bonus points for free breakfast, but not too many, as bagels and coffee are cheap and plentiful in NYC.

The 5 Best NYC Category 4 Marriott Hotels for Families

Here are my top five Category 4 Marriott properties for families in NYC:

Residence Inn New York Downtown: Manhattan/World Trade Center Area

This is my overall winner for a number of reasons. First, rooms at the Residence Inn are a whopping 399 square feet — close to twice the size of other rooms in the city. Residence Inns also feature full kitchens and free breakfast, which could save you a bundle on meals. (Just be sure not to miss at least one real dining experience in Manhattan, like some of the world’s best pizza.) The location is at the south end of Broadway near the Cortlandt Street subway stop.

This little nook could save you hundreds. Photo via Marriott.com
This little nook could save you hundreds. Photo via Marriott.com

Moxy NYC Downtown

This brand-new hotel is at the Fulton Street Subway Station and is within walking distance from the 9/11 Memorial, the South Street Seaport and many downtown attractions. Rooms feature two queen beds, which is a rarity in New York period, much less at a Category 4 property. The Moxy “industrial chic” style is … quirky, as evidenced by the hanging chairs in the rooms. But, two queen beds is two queen beds.

Moxy NYC Downtown guest room via Marriott.com
Moxy NYC Downtown guest room via Marriott.com

Courtyard New York Downtown/World Trade Center Area

Rooms at the Courtyard are basic with two double beds, but I like this location near the Cortlandt Street subway. It could be a good option if the hotels mentioned above aren’t available.

Fairfield Inn and Suites New York Manhattan/Downtown East

This hotel is less stylish than some of the other options listed, but it does offer a free breakfast and rooms with two queen beds. The location is close to Chinatown near the East Broadway subway stop. This hotel consistently had lower cash rates than the others due to location, so it could be a contender if you’re mixing a cash and award stay.

AC Hotel New York Downtown

AC is a Spanish limited-service chain recently acquired by Marriott that’s slowly expanding into the US. They’re like a more stylish Courtyard by Marriott. This AC Hotel location, in the Seaport District, is close to the Fulton Street subway stop. While the hotel is brand-new, it would be my last choice of the Manhattan Category 4 properties because rooms only feature double beds.

Photo courtesy of Marriott
Photo courtesy of Marriott.com

Bottom Line

I’d love to hear if your family has a favorite Category 4 Marriott or Starwood hotel in New York City. If so, please share your experiences.

And, if you don’t have a Marriott free night certificate at your disposal, here are some options for other family-friendly points hotels in NYC. Finally, if you aren’t already a Marriott Rewards member, you can earn a free night at almost any Marriott (including SPG and Ritz-Carlton) property after two paid stays by January 28, 2019.

Featured image by Getty Images.

 

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Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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