Booking Hotels for a Large Family in California, Hawaii and Florida

May 17, 2019

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It can sometimes seem like the travel world is made for families of four (chairlifts, rental cars and way too many hotel rooms). Whenever I travel with my four nieces, I get a taste of what it’s like to be at the helm of a bigger family looking to spend an affordable night on the road without being forced to book two hotel rooms or an entire vacation home. It’s not easy.

We’ve squished three across two beds for the inevitable sleepless night. There have even been times, I am not proud to admit, when some unlucky soul spent the night atop an improvised bed of pillows on a hotel room floor. Such is often life for large families trying to fit into rooms sized for four people.

The fact is, most hotel rooms bookable on points (or cash) are for a maximum of four people. However, if you dig a bit (including a look at extended-stay options), there are decent choices in vacation hotspots for families of six or more looking to stay on points. (Here are some two-bedroom hotel suites that are actually bookable on points.)

Today, though, we focus on three states popular with family travelers — California, Florida and Hawaii — and discuss hotels where you can house a big family in one room or suite and pay using your hard-earned points.

(Photo by FatCamera / Getty Images)
(Photo by FatCamera / Getty Images)

Note that in some cases we were able to confirm the points rates through the hotel’s website, for others we had to call and talk to someone to get confirmation.

California Bound

These points hotels in California excel when it comes to welcoming families — even large ones.

Courtyard by Marriott Anaheim Theme Park Entrance

A favorite with TPG Family readers bound for Disneyland, the Courtyard by Marriott Anaheim Theme Park Entrance is just off Interstate 5 and is a stone’s throw from the park gates. This makes it easy for families of six to stay comfortably. For 50,000 points per night, you can book a one-bedroom suite with two queen beds and two twins in a bunk-bed configuration. At the 50k per night rate, you could use the annual award night (up to 50,000 points) that comes with the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card. (Here’s more information on that card.)Photo courtesy of Courtyard by Marriott Anaheim Main Gate

Photo courtesy of Courtyard by Marriott Anaheim Main Gate

And if the kids still have energy after a day chasing characters and thrill rides, the hotel’s on-site waterpark has tube slides to ride use up all that adrenaline. If you need to top up your Marriott balance, you can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Marriott at a 1:1 ratio. And, Marriott Bonvoy members get the fifth night free on award stays.

(Photo courtesy of Courtyard Anaheim Theme Park)
(Photo courtesy of Courtyard Anaheim Theme Park)

Family fun near Anaheim:

Marriott Newport Coast Villas

Families of up to eight people can settle in at the spacious two-bedroom/two-bathroom villas at the Marriott Newport Coast Villas. Every villa is configured the same: The master bedroom has a king bed, the second bedroom has a queen bed and a pull-out, full-size sofa bed. In the living room there’s a queen pull-out sofa. Add in balconies and full-size kitchens and you’ve got a very comfortable pied-a-terre for the gang. Marriott points rates start from 60,000 points per night.

There are a variety of cobranded Marriott credit cards you can select from in order to earn additional Marriott points, including the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card, which is offering a limited-time, 100,000-point welcome bonus after you meet the minimum spend ($5,000 on purchases in the first three months).

More Southern California trip advice: 

(Photo courtesy of Marriott)

Embassy Suites by Hilton San Diego Bay Downtown

Popular with both leisure and business travelers, the Embassy Suites by Hilton San Diego Bay Downtown is a good bet for larger families vacationing in the San Diego area. From about 57,000 Hilton Honors points per night, you can book a one-bedroom suite that accommodates two adults and four children with two double beds in one bedroom and a queen sofa pull-out in the living area.

There’s a door separating the two spaces and the suites have mini-fridges, microwaves and coffee makers.

(Photo courtesy of Embassy Suites)
(Photo courtesy of Embassy Suites)

You can transfer Amex Membership Rewards points to Hilton (sometimes with a bonus). But the best way to rack up Hilton points is typically with a Hilton cobranded credit card, such as:

Family trip-planning resources for San Diego:

seals at La Jolla Cove San Diego
Seals and sea lions love to bask in the sun on the rocks at La Jolla Cove near San Diego. (Photo courtesy of 2DadsWithBaggage.com)

Florida Best-Bets for Large Families

Heading to Florida? Here are some of the points hotels we’ve come to rely on.

Sheraton Vistana Resort Villas Lake Buena Vista/Orlando

Right off Interstate 4 and roughly a mile from the entrance to Walt Disney World (dangerously close to outlet shopping, too), the Sheraton Vistana Resort Villas Lake Buena Vista/Orlando has two-bedroom villas with a king bed and two doubles that can easily accommodate families of six. You’ll use 77,000 Marriott points per night to stay in the two-bedroom version (45k for a one-bedroom), and it comes with some great amenities such as free parking and a lagoon-style pool.

(Photo courtesy of Sheraton Vistana Villas)
(Photo courtesy of Sheraton Vistana Villas)

Find out more about visiting Orlando:

(Photo courtesy of Sheraton)

Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island Beach Resort & Spa

As far as Florida beach hotels go, this oceanfront property just north of West Palm Beach on Singer Island is one of my personal favorites. The Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island Beach Resort & Spa has a killer on-site waterpark that the kids love and the suites feel more like a luxury condo than than a hotel. The points requirements are high but this one’s worth it. Families of six should specify they need a two-bedroom suite with a king bed and two double beds. For a two-bedroom suite with a coastline view, rates start at 60,000 Marriott points plus $200 per night. And if you want a full ocean view, it’s 151,000 points per night or 60,000 points + $300. Sometimes paid rates can be the better deal here, so price those too.

Learn more about the Palm Beach area:

(Photo courtesy of Marriott)

Holiday Inn Resort Orlando Suites – Waterpark

IHG Rewards Club point redemptions start at just 35,000 points per night to house a family of six in a suite at this popular hotel with an on-site waterpark that’s located about 15 minutes from the Orlando theme parks. The Holiday Inn Resort Orlando Suites – Waterpark has great two-bedroom suites with a king or queen bed in the master bedroom, a second bedroom with a bunk bed (there’s a full-size bed on the bottom and a twin on top) and a queen sleeper sofa in the living area.

All suites have mini-fridges, coffee makers and microwaves for simple meal prep. The hotel runs a regular shuttle service to the Disney World parks, SeaWorld Orlando and Universal Orlando Resort that’s included in the resort fee (and included in your points stay).

(Photo courtesy of IHG)
Here’s how to maximize IHG Rewards Club for family travel. You can also sign up for the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card and earn 80,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. Card holders get the fourth night free on award stays.

Looking for more attractions in Orlando?

Aloha Hawaii!

Hawaii is just about the holy grail when it comes to family travel on miles and points. Here are some points-friendly hotels that welcome large families on the islands.

The Westin Nanea Ocean Villas, Ka’anapali

This property, located along the popular Maui beach resort area of Ka’anapali, has one-, two- and three-bedroom villas. Families of six can fit easily in the two-bedroom villas (104,000 Marriott points per night) at The Westin Nanea Ocean Villas, Ka’anapali. Each bedroom has a king bed and there’s a queen pull-out sleeper sofa in the living room. Three-bedroom villas — for the admittedly very expensive rate of 296,000 Marriott points per night — can accommodate families of eight. 

(Photo courtesy of Marriott)
(Photo courtesy of Marriott)

Embassy Suites by Hilton Oahu Kapolei

For a suite for six people at a lower points redemption on Oahu, set your sights on the Embassy Suites by Hilton Oahu Kapolei. For 70,000 Hilton Honors points, your family can bed down in the heart of Kapolei (about 30 minutes west of Waikiki) in a studio with two queen beds and a sofa bed. From around 100k points per night, a one-bedroom suite with two queen beds and a queen pull-out sofa in the living room can be secured. The hotel isn’t right on the beach but runs a complimentary shuttle to nearby White Plains Beach and is close to several golf courses and shopping.

If you want to be right on Waikiki, the Embassy Suites Waikiki Beach Walk has rooms with two beds and a pull-out sofa starting at 80,000 to 90,000 Hilton points per night.

Here are some Oahu hotel reviews:

Hilton Grand Vacations Suites at Hilton Hawaiian Village

This 22-acre property right on Waikiki Beach is a central Oahu base for visiting popular family attractions, including the Waikiki Aquarium, Honolulu Zoo and Diamond Head. It’s a super-splurge, to be sure: a whopping 345,000 Hilton Honors points is your ticket to luxe lodging for a family of six in the two-bedroom oceanfront penthouse at Hilton Grand Vacations Suites at Hilton Hawaiian Village. The 1,265-square-foot digs are spread across two levels in the Lagoon Tower and the highlight is a sprawling balcony with direct ocean views. The master bedroom has a king bed and there are two twin beds in a second bedroom, with a full-sized sleeper sofa in the living room. I leave it to your discretion if you want to show the kids where to find the suite’s PlayStation 3.

Waikiki Beach Honolulu Oahu
Waikiki (photo courtesy 2DadsWithBaggage)

Here’s what you can do on Oahu:

(Photo courtesy of Hilton)

Bottom Line

It takes some searching, but points stays for families of six in a single unit do exist. They aren’t always a good value, but they can be at times. Picking up the phone and calling your preferred loyalty program is often the quickest way to find out what’s possible and for how many points. Have you booked a points redemption for a large family in a room?

Featured photo courtesy of Courtyard by Marriott Anaheim Main Gate

For rates and fees of the Hilton Amex, click here.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Aspire card, click here.

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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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