More room please: Best budget hotels for families who need space

Jan 30, 2022

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Before becoming a parent, I was always on the hunt for a unique boutique hotel. The size of the room didn’t matter all that much if the location was convenient, the décor on point, the vibe fashionably casual and the service superb. Sometimes I wouldn’t mind paying a pretty penny for the experience. Now, as a mom to an 11-month old, my list of hotel necessities has changed. Dramatically.

Instead of cool art in a room, I’m hoping it’s child-proof; I don’t go anywhere without my list of tips to babyproof a hotel room. I’ll take a full kitchen for preparing baby food and storing milk over a well-stocked minibar any day and the only service I need is a crib and someone to take the trash out. But the biggest concern of all for me and most families on the road is privacy and separation in the room. Read why families need more rooms and which hotel brands can help.

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In This Post

Why Is Privacy a Big Deal for Families?

(Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)

With a little one in tow, I’ve spent many nights eating dinner in the bathroom with my husband because the baby is already sleeping in the bedroom. And I have resorted to using the hotel lobby’s bathroom because the one in our room was turned into a temporary nursery. I could splurge on a suite at the nearby luxury property, but that’s not always in the budget.

While Airbnb-type options certainly provide for extra space, sometimes a hotel is still the best choice for the trip. Limited-service chain hotels provide family-friendly amenities like full kitchens and separate living spaces. I recently opted for a stay at the Residence Inn by Marriott in Knoxville, Tennessee, instead of the much cooler The Oliver. For a trip to Mont Tremblant outside Montreal this summer, we booked a room at Homewood Suites by Hilton in lieu of the nearby Fairmont.

Best hotel brands for Families needing space

All of the major hotel chains offer limited-service brands featuring perks such as roomy accommodations, suites with actual doors to the bedroom, free breakfast, evening drinks and snacks, Wi-Fi and more. Here’s a list of the best hotel chains for families, many of which are represented below as good bets for also providing some privacy when you’re on the road with your brood.

Hilton Honors

Embassy Suites

  • Loyalty program: Hilton Honors
  • Perks: Two-room suites are standard at most locations plus complimentary made-to-order breakfast, drinks and snacks every night (Hilton Honors members also get free Wi-Fi)
  • Transfer partner: Amex Membership Rewards transfer at a 1:2 ratio
  • Cobranded credit card: Find out which Hilton credit card is best for families.
Denver Embassy Suites
Denver Embassy Suites (Photo by J Scott Clark / The Points Guy)

With this (mostly) all-suites brand, you are all but guaranteed space when traveling with your family. On top of that, you get free made-to-order breakfast and a nightly two-hour reception with complimentary drinks and snacks. Outside of a few exceptions (such as in Manhattan), most of the options at Embassy Suites are two-room layouts, which come with a wet bar, small refrigerator and microwave. The kids can stay in the living area while you have the bedroom to yourself.

Home2 Suites

Another all-suite brand by Hilton, Home2 Suites is meant for extended stays with flexible guest-room configurations. The studio is large with a small kitchen (fully equipped with a full-sized refrigerator, dishwasher and microwave), but only has a privacy curtain to separate you from the kids in the main living space. That means you can still hear your kids rustling around and they can hear you. There are larger (and consequently more expensive) rooms available with an actual door if you want to watch some late-night TV in peace. Complimentary breakfast and Wi-Fi come standard and there are laundry and fitness areas available. You can even typically bring your pets.

Home2 Suites by Hilton Long Island City
(Photo by Darren Murph / The Points Guy)

Homewood Suites

At Homewood Suites, you’ll get a generously sized suite featuring separate living and sleeping areas and fully equipped kitchens with microwaves, full-size refrigerators and dishwashers. The studio layouts don’t have a wall or curtain acting as a privacy buffer between the bed and pull-out couch area. To get that, you’d have to bump up to a one-bedroom suite. The two-bedroom option is the most luxurious as there are two completely separate in-suite sleeping areas — that means kids and parents get their own bathrooms too — with a living room and kitchen in between.

Photo courtesy of Hilton Homewood Suites
(Photo courtesy of Hilton Homewood Suites)

Included hot breakfast and evening snacks don’t hurt either.

Homewood Suites Kitchen (Photo by Summer Hull / The Points Guy)
Homewood Suites Kitchen. (Photo by Summer Hull / The Points Guy)

IHG Rewards Club

Staybridge Suites

  • Loyalty program: IHG Rewards
  • Perks: Free hot breakfast, happy hour with food and drinks three times a week and Wi-Fi
  • Transfer partner: Chase Ultimate Rewards 1:1 ratio
  • Cobranded credit card: IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card — 140,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.

Every room at Staybridge Suites comes with a fully equipped kitchen including a full-size fridge with ice maker, microwave, stovetop, toaster, coffee maker and dishwasher. Even if you are in the studio layout, you’ll get those cooking benefits, but you won’t get the privacy in the smallest room category. To get that, you’ll have to bump up to the one-bedroom suite where a wall separates the bedroom from the living space. Obviously, the two-bedroom option will give you more privacy as the living room is between the two bedrooms and each room has a bathroom. Those with the IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card get the fourth award night free.

Photo courtesy of Staybridge Suites.
(Photo courtesy of Staybridge Suites)

Marriott Bonvoy

Residence Inn

In every layout option in this chain there are clear living and sleeping areas, but privacy is pretty much nonexistent in the studio. It’s more like an alcove studio, so you can very clearly see and hear what’s happening in the pull-out couch space. To get that true separation, you’d need to bump up to the one-bedroom or two-bedroom layout (here’s a look at larger suites you can book with points). With those, there is an actual wall between the bedrooms and common space. The good news is that all categories come with fully equipped in-suite kitchens — a stove, full-sized fridge and dining bar are included — and there’s complimentary grocery delivery service.

Photo courtesy of the Residence Inn
Photo courtesy of the Residence Inn

Springhill Suites

Although there is no wall with a door separating the beds from the pull-out couch area, this brand did manage to get the sleeping spaces as far from each other as possible in the limited space. Plus, they put a desk with a curtain on one side to act as at least a soft barrier between the two areas. When lying in bed, you won’t see necessarily see exactly where your children are sleeping and vice versa. Again, there is no wall to prevent hearing each other but it’s better than nothing.

TownePlace Suites

With TownePlace Suites, you have to book the one-bedroom option to have any semblance of real privacy. The king and queen studio options put the small living space right at the foot of the bed. You get a fully equipped kitchen with full-size refrigerator, microwave, dishwasher and stovetop, but the sleeping arrangements aren’t much better than a traditional hotel room. The one-bedroom will give you that actual separation, with a wall between the living and sleeping space.

It looks like an apartment, but it's actually a TownePlace Suites in Orlando (Photo courtesy of the hotel)
TownePlace Suites in Orlando (Photo courtesy of the hotel)

World of Hyatt

Hyatt Place

  • Loyalty program: World of Hyatt
  • Perks: Free hot breakfast (for World of Hyatt members booking eligible rate through Hyatt) and Wi-Fi
  • Transfer partner: Chase Ultimate Rewards 1:1 ratio
  • Cobranded credit card: World of Hyatt Credit Card — Earn 30,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months from account opening. Plus, earn up to another 30,000 more points by earning 2 bonus pPoints total per $1 spent on purchases that normally earn 1 bonus point, on up to $15,000 in the first six months of account opening.

In the landscape of select-service hotels for families, Hyatt Place is more traditional in its layout options. There are no kitchens and it’s one, big open room. However, they do sometimes offer a partition between the beds and pull-out couches to provide a hint of privacy for traveling families. You might not be able to see your kids’ heads while they sleep, but you can probably peek at their toes and hear their tiny snores. Good news though: There’s a 24/7 Gallery Market featuring grab-n-go foods and beverages for those late-night kiddie cravings. And a free breakfast is served — as long as you booked the room through Hyatt — each morning.

Hyatt Place Keystone (Summer Hull / The Points Guy)

As with other chains, if you can score a one-bedroom at a Hyatt Place, then there is more privacy to be had.

Hyatt Place Keystone (Summer Hull / The Points Guy)

Bottom Line

All of these hotels have amenities that make traveling with children easier. But if privacy is important, book at least a one-bedroom suite to have a wall between you and the kiddos. With a few exceptions, Embassy Suites most frequently shines in this arena.

However, the studios at Home2 Suites or Springhill Suites with a curtain are probably your best bets outside of true two-room suites since they give you more privacy than the other studios on the list. Just remember, having any separation can make a big difference when it comes to enjoying a getaway with little ones. It might be one of those instances where you cash in those points to upgrade. Quality shut-eye and the ability to stay up a little later than the kids? That’s worth the points or money.

Looking for some more traveling with baby resources? Here they are:

Featured image by Summer Hull / The Points Guy

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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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