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INSIDE: When you’re looking for the perfect hotel for your vacation, it’s important to understand the answer to, “what is a family room in a hotel?” We’ll answer that and more in this article.

There are many different types of hotel rooms. When you’re traveling with a family, you may be interested in booking a family room in a hotel. A family room in a hotel can mean different things at different hotels. Often it can be just an extra bunk bed or sofa bed, or maybe it’s called a suite with an extra room, or it can be two interconnecting rooms. No matter what you call it, getting an extra bed can make for a great vacation stay.

What does a family room or family suite mean at a hotel?

When you’re traveling with kids and staying in a hotel, suddenly the type of hotel room that you get makes a big difference. When you’re traveling by yourself or with only one other guest, you might be content with just a single bed. But when you travel with a family, your sleeping accommodations can make or break a trip. Nothing ruins a family vacation like nobody being able to get any sleep.

Different hotels market a family room or a family suite in different ways. At some hotels, when you book a family room, you might just get a sofa bed or a bunk bed in a hallway. To me, a suite must contain a separate room with a closable door, but there are certainly some hotels that try to get away with calling a slightly larger room a suite. 

Another option that hotels sometimes do for families or larger groups is an adjoining room, which is often just two interconnected rooms with a lockable door between them. When I stayed at the Sheraton Suites Times Square, they had a family room as 2 separate hotel rooms with interconnecting rooms. At the Hyatt Zilara Rose Hill in Jamaica, we were upgraded to a humongous junior suite, which was a bit wasted since on that particular trip it was just my wife and I.

Benefits of getting a family room versus a regular room with rollaway beds

We often travel with a family of eight, and so we have to take more care in figuring out how we’re going to sleep. There are pros and cons to having an Airbnb vs a hotel, but when we stay in a hotel, we are always looking for extra space. It’s much more comfortable to have a true family room than to try and put in rollaway beds into a regular room.

Our first choice is to try for a 2-bedroom suite with an occupancy of eight. These can often be found at chains like Residence Inn (Marriott), Homewood Suites (Hilton) or Staybridge Suites (IHG).

(SEE ALSO: Staybridge Suites Orlando Airport South hotel review)

(SEE ALSO: Marriott Residence Inn Peoria Illinois review)

If we’re not able to get a 2-bedroom suite, I will try to get interconnected rooms or an adjoining room. Being able to make our own family room suite lets us put the kids in one room and us in the other. This was especially key when our kids were younger and went to bed earlier. If you’re all together in one room, when the little kids go to bed, it pretty much means that everyone goes to bed. I have often wondered why connecting rooms seem so hard to get — many hotels do not even offer them.

Our final option is to just book two separate rooms. This is less ideal because since we don’t feel great about having our kids stay in their own room without a parent, we have to have a girls’ room and a boys’ room. That means instead of getting to share a bed with my wife, I have to share it with a wiggly 7 year old. We don’t normally ask for an extra bed, though sometimes we ask for extra blankets to make a bed on the floor for some of our younger kids.

How to request a family room at a hotel

Often I will book a normal room on points and then email the hotel asking for them to upgrade us to a 2-bedroom suite. I have pretty good success with this, and generally for no extra cost over booking the room rate of the normal room itself.

For occupancy, I have generally found at least in the United States that hotels generally don’t notice or care how many guests you have in your room. Now this doesn’t mean that you should try to pack in 12 people in a standard room, but if the occupancy for a given room type says 4 and you bring your spouse and three kids, it’s not really going to be a problem. Overseas, it’s a different story. They usually ask for your passports and if you have more guests than you have listed on your hotel reservation, they will charge you (a lot) more or make you get a deluxe room or a superior room.

Hotels that offer family rooms or family suites

Hotel chains that I like to look at for family rooms or family suites:

  • Residence Inn (Marriott)
  • Homewood Suites (Hilton)
  • Staybridge Suites (IHG)
  • Embassy Suites (Hilton)
  • Travelodge Family Rooms (mostly in Europe)

–By Dan Miller

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