Over the last few years, it became sort of a tradition to use hotel points to treat my family to getaways in neighboring European countries. They live in Belarus (where I’m from), so many historic places are a train ride away.
I rarely see my nephews and sister, so I guess this is one way for me to connect. Plus, I absolutely love living vicariously through their adventures! In the past, I’ve used Radisson points in Lithuania, and Hilton points for getaways in Krakow and Gdansk.
So when 2019 came, we started planning yet another points trip. My sister’s request: no Poland, Lithuania or Russia. She wanted to see a new country (or two). Points bargains in Europe have been steadily disappearing over the last few years, but there are some deals to be had. Upon a quick search, I came across to what I thought was an excellent option: DoubleTree by Hilton Bratislava.
The cost was only 10,000 points per night. Since we needed two rooms (my mom was also coming on the trip), it would allow me to stretch my Hilton points. Plus, we would get 5th night free via Gold status. Why Bratislava? I’ve never been, but after doing some research, it seemed like a fun option. There is a beautiful historic center, a castle nearby, and the city of Vienna only an hour train ride away.
This is where I goofed. I told my mom about it and asked her to talk it over with my sister. And she forgot. After few weeks went by, I’ve mentioned it again to my sister and she thought it was a great option. Unfortunately, in that period of time, Hilton has raised the rate to 20,000 points per night. What?!
This is why I always say that when in doubt, just reserve that room on points, assuming there is no cancellation penalty. Programs, Hilton in particular, are terrible about raising rates without notice.
After some back and forth, we decided to still redeem points at this hotel. You see, there was an option to get a deluxe room that would fit two adults and two children for 20,000 points per night. Since they were going during high season, and since I could get a fifth night free, I felt it was decent enough value for 80,000 points all-in.
What are you doing in Prague?
Few days before they were supposed to be in Bratislava, I get a Skype call from my mom. Apparently, at the last minute, my sister has decided to add a two-night AirBnB stay in Prague. She told me she wanted to swing by Prague since it was on the way to Bratislava. You know, as one does.
Of course, I’m not the one to judge. After all, I’m “swinging” by Hawaii on the way to Japan next year. Just when I thought that my sister and me couldn’t be more different, she pulls something like this. I love it.
Doubletree Hotel in Bratislava
After few days in Prague, my family finally made it to Bratislava. I asked them to take some photos, and they obliged. Not much to tell, it’s a typical chain hotel. Bland and ininspiring, but relatively cheap via points. Actually, the building itself looks kind of cool. The paid rate during their dates was $150 per night.
Since my husband was recently upgraded to Diamond status via Aspire card, there was a nice amenity waiting for them in the room. Also, they were notified that due to top-tier status, full breakfast would be complimentary for everyone.
Technically, the hotel didn’t have to give any perks since my husband wasn’t staying in the hotel, so I thought that was nice. According to my mom, breakfast was amazing. So amazing, she forgot to take pictures.
For my nephews, the favorite feature was indoor pool and sauna:
So, all in all, the hotel was a decent option. I just wish I paid 10,000 points per night instead of 20,000. But you win some, you lose some. My family was extremely pleased with this hotel. And if they are happy, I’m happy.
Jumping for joy
I didn’t ask them to jump in the photos, so what you see below is 100% pure, authentic joy of travel.
As children, my sister and I didn’t travel, period. My family had no money, and we definitely didn’t have any hotel points. Using my Hilton stash on this adventure isn’t some grand gesture, that’s for sure. Still, I hope my nephews will remember this trip (and all the other trips) fondly. It’s one way for me to show that I care about them.
Leana is the founder of Miles For Family. She enjoys beach vacations and visiting her family in Europe. Originally from Belarus, Leana resides in central Florida with her husband and two children.