I remember when I was growing up, I would visit our local AAA office with my mom when we started planning our next vacation. We would pick up the thick book for the state we were visiting along with our personalized TripTik (does anyone remember these?)
I would help her read through all the hotel descriptions, which included an AAA diamond rating and price. From an early age, I loved vacation planning!
But things were much simpler back then. When we decided on a hotel, my mom would simply call up and reserve a room. There was one price, that’s it. When we checked in, we were of the mindset “You get what you get and you don’t get upset.”
Maybe it was due to the type of hotels we booked, or the location. We never worried about paying extra for an upgraded room with a view.
The Way It Is Now
Nowadays, there are hardly any hotels that just have one standard room price. Disney charges more for “preferred” rooms that are close to the restaurants and pools. Even hotels like Hyatt Place and Hampton Inn and Suites charge more for corner rooms and room on higher floors with a better view.
Many times, when we reserve a hotel with points, we don’t have the option to choose an upgraded room. There is one points price for a standard room and another points price for a suite.
Sometimes, if you have elite status with a hotel brand, you will get a complimentary upgraded room. I’ve been fortunate to experience this several times, even at the new Hyatt Explorist level.
My Philosophy on Reserving Upgraded Rooms
My position on this has been that my family never pays extra for upgraded rooms with a view. Most times, we are just happy to be at the hotel. We are all capable of walking further distances, so proximity to elevators and pools isn’t an issue for us.
My family doesn’t spend a lot of time in our room, and my kids won’t be impressed with a view for more than a minute. If we happen to get a room with a view, great! But I don’t want to pay extra for it.
Back in 2015 when we stayed at Disney’s Aulani Resort on Oahu, I reserved the lowest level standard one-bedroom condo. The view should have been greenery or the parking lot. If I paid extra, we could get a garden view, pool view or ocean view room. I priced the ocean view room, and it would have cost us $1000 more for five nights. No, thanks! We could just walk to the ocean instead.
As luck would have it, Aulani upgraded us to an ocean view room when we checked in. It was a handicap accessible room that happened to be available, and I don’t know how we lucked into the room. Boy, was that view nice!
But still, I wouldn’t have paid $1000 more for it.
We also enjoyed the upgraded ocean view room at Hyatt Place Daytona Beach.
The reason I’m even thinking about this is that we are soon going to be booking a place to stay in Kauai for our trip early next year. We are hoping to use Chase Ultimate Rewards points through my husband’s CSR card at 1.5 cents per point. The rewards portal has many condos available that will fit my family.
After pouring over TripAdvisor reviews, I’ve narrowed it down to one condo resort. The problem is, we can’t decide on what type of condo to book.
Our choices are partial mountain view (which I think means parking lot), garden view, park view, partial ocean view, ocean view, oceanfront and royal oceanfront. Too many choices! The difference between the worst view and the best view is $308 per night. Quite a spread!
We are struggling with this decision because we know that we’re not going to pay for an upgraded room at Aulani on the second part of our trip. It’s just too expensive.
However, for about an extra $420 total for six nights, we could upgrade from a partial mountain view condo to a partial ocean view condo. The cost to upgrade to an oceanfront condo is $888 for six nights.
On one hand, we could just save the money for an excursion on Kauai and just walk to the ocean to view it. On the other hand, when will we ever be in Kauai again? Would having a glimpse of the ocean from our balcony make our experience much more relaxing and special?
If this was any other location, we wouldn’t be paying for an upgraded view. But, it’s Hawaii, where views can make a huge difference. Of course, the last time we went to Hawaii we thought we wouldn’t go back until our kids were much older, but lo and behold we are going back just three years later. So, I can’t say with certainty that we won’t be back to Hawaii for many years. We may love Kauai so much that we’ll want to go back in just a few years.
What Is Your Philosophy on Rooms with a View?
I’m curious to hear from readers on this. Would you pay more for a room with a better view? Is Hawaii an exception to the rule? What locations warrant a better view?
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Nancy lives near Dallas, Texas, with her husband and three kids. Her favorite vacations include the beach, cruising and everything Disney.