After our Bermuda cruise this summer, I’m planning a short stay in New York City with my 3 kids for 2 nights. They are so excited! We visited NYC in October 2015. It was very enjoyable, and the kids have consistently asked when we can go back.
The last time we visited, we stayed at a Hyatt Place in Queens and took the subway into Manhattan every day. The 45-minute commute into Manhattan was doable, but I want this trip to be even easier since I won’t have another adult to help me.
Last month on our Facebook page, I asked our blog readers what they look for in a NYC hotel when traveling with kids. I loved reading your responses and it helped me formulate my own wish list.
Wish List for NYC Hotel
Based on my prior NYC experiences and the points/cash I have to work with, I came up with a wish list for the ideal NYC hotel.
Cost/Brand: We have 35k Marriott points earned from my husband’s work travel and a $300 Marriott gift card I received for Christmas at my disposal. My goal is to use those points and the gift card to cover the majority of hotel costs with as little out-of-pocket costs as possible. (By the way, if I had Wyndham points, I would for sure book this TRYP hotel with a family room that’s only 15,000 points until the Wyndham changes go into effect on April 3).
Location: I want to stay right in the heart of Manhattan, as close to Times Square as possible. We had plenty of subway experience on our last trip, and this time I’d rather be within walking distance of Times Square.
Beds: My kids hate sharing beds on vacation, but sometimes it’s unavoidable. But if they have to share beds, we need queen-sized beds (not double beds). That extra space makes a lot of difference! I will be sharing a bed with my daughter, and I’ll be kicked less in a queen-size bed.
Free Breakfast: Having free breakfast is more of a “nice to have” rather than a requirement. With kids, it’s convenient to just take the elevator downstairs and fill up before heading out for the day. But not having free breakfast isn’t a deal breaker, since NYC has McDonald’s and Dunkin Donuts a’plenty on every corner.
As I started to search for hotels that met my wish list, I quickly discovered that finding our ideal hotel would not be as easy as I had assumed. Queen beds are very rare in NYC. Most hotels have double beds. And, the price per night for our dates was creeping into the $400-$500 range.
Was I looking for something that was impossible to find in NYC? Was I really just searching for a unicorn?
AAA Rates to the Rescue
In the past few years, most of our hotel stays have been on points. Admittedly, I’m a little rusty when it comes to the best way to search for hotels on cash. But since half of our stay will be on a gift card, cash price matters.
Just as I was feeling discouraged about the cash prices, I remembered our AAA membership and added that into the special rate on the Marriott search engine. Viola! It made a huge difference. Suddenly, more hotels came down to my budget.
Check out this price difference with the AAA membership. Same hotel, same room.
My $59 annual AAA membership saves $129 a night at this hotel.
Now that I found some Marriott properties in my price range, I just had to make sure they cost 35,000 or less on points and they met the other items on my wish list.
Contender #1: Moxy Times Square
Moxy NYC Times Square caught my eye. I’ve never stayed at a Moxy hotel. Points rate and cash rate are within my budget, and the location is great. The hotel doesn’t have a free breakfast, but buying breakfast nearby wouldn’t be too expensive.
What attracted me most to the Moxy hotel is the room with two bunk beds. None of us would have to share a bed.
The rooms are very small, but I think we could deal with it. My main concern with booking this hotel is the noise level from a nightclub within the hotel.
Contender #2: Springhill Suites New York Manhattan Midtown/Fifth Avenue
This hotel seems to have everything on my wish list. It’s walkable to Times Square, it has queen beds and a free breakfast. It’s even close to a McDonald’s and a Chick-Fil-A, which means I’m assured to have a quick place for meals with my kids. Sold!
I reserved one night with queen beds for an AAA rate of $269. Unfortunately, when I went to book the other night with points, the only option was a room with double beds, not queen beds. What?!? That means I would have one night in double beds and one night in queen beds. I don’t want to switch rooms after a night, so we would likely end up in a room with two doubles for both nights. Ugh.
Contender #3: Sheraton Times Square
Sheraton Times Square is the closest hotel to all the action. It’s convenient to Times Square, Rockefeller Center and Central Park. It only has rooms with double beds (not queens), but I figure if I’m going to have to settle for double beds, I may as well be in the best location, right?
This hotel currently costs 35,000 points per night and has cash rates under $300. It is one of the hotels that will change categories with Marriott’s upcoming changes on March 5, 2019. So, I’d have to book this now if I want the current rate.
Aside from only having double beds, the hotel also has a pesky $25 per day destination fee, which is annoying.
The Winner Is….For Now
I really didn’t find a hotel that fit my entire wish list. I feel like I’m on an episode of HGTV’s House Hunters, where none of the choices are perfect.
When I tried to circle back and book the Moxy, I got a message that the hotel is no longer accepting award stays for my time period. You snooze, you lose. Dang it!
For now, I have a reservation at Springhill Suites, one night with double beds on points and one night with queen beds on a gift card. I called the hotel to see if I could request queen beds for the first night. I’m willing to pay some cash in addition to the points. The front desk clerk noted my request on my reservation, but said I’d have to request it again at check-in. I’m not confident we will get the bigger beds. I’m hoping we will all be too tired to care that someone is kicking us in our sleep.
Since we still have a few months before our trip, I plan to keep checking a few other Marriott locations with queen beds to see if the cash price comes down.
Have you traveled to NYC with kids? What are you requirement when picking a hotel? Are double beds a deal breaker for you? Does location trump bed size?
Nancy lives near Dallas, Texas, with her husband and three kids. Her favorite vacations include the beach, cruising and everything Disney.