One thing I have really struggled with over the years when booking family holidays is the confusion
that arises when considering room types and configurations. When travelling with children you
would automatically presume a ‘Family Room’ would be just that, a room that would fit all your
family in, however that is not always the case. A Family Room can often mean a Standard Room with space for a sofa bed or camp bed. It does not always allow space for a sofa bed and a travel cot at the same time so make sure to check with the hotel directly if travelling with a baby and a toddler or child.
It is also important to review the square footage of a room and compare the floor space between
room types. In some hotels you may find their Standard and Deluxe/Superior room types differ in
size. Sometimes it is not always the more expensive room type that has the most floor space so do
not just presume the more you spend the bigger your room. Room types often refer to the quality of
the fixtures and fittings as opposed to the size. Most hotel websites will show a floor plan and square footage for each room type. If they do not however make sure to enquire directly with the hotel before booking.
Often room types can differ from country to country. A Family Room in Europe normally refers to a
Double/Twin with an additional sofa bed or camp bed. Hotels in North America and the Caribbean often consider a Family Room to be a room with two double beds. This is what they classify as their Standard Twin configuration. Hotels in the Middle East offer the same room type (I.e. two double beds as a Twin) however they tend to charge for additional camp beds. When staying in Abu Dhabi last year we were expected to pay locally £25 a day for a camp bed!
When travelling with one or more children it is often useful to consider the amount of rooms you
may need. If you are all staying in one hotel room then you need to make sure there is at least a
balcony or terrace to sit on once your children have gone to bed, unless you don’t mind reading in
the bathroom (we’ve all done it!). If you prefer the extra space then look for a room that features a
separate sleeping area, whether that be a suite or apartment.
Finally, if you are travelling with more than two children (or older teenagers) then your options are
often limited to inter-connecting rooms when staying in a hotel. At this point you must also decide
who sleeps in each room! It may be more cost-effective to consider an apartment or villa for your
holiday instead. Another positive to staying in an apartment is the additional facilities you will have
versus a hotel room. Having access to a kitchen with a fridge and kettle is often hard to find in hotels and considered vital when travelling with formula-fed or weaning babies.
In summary, check that the room type and configuration of the room suits your family needs.
Consider square footage and compare the size of the room types within and between hotels. Confirm with the hotel prior to arrival that the room type is appropriate for your party and double check any additional costs for extra beds (which may be payable locally). If in doubt, look to an aparthotel, apartment or villa as an alternative in order to give you the space and facilities you require.
Written by Jenny Schippers
Jenny is mum to two girls (3 and 6 years) she lives in Cheshire and LOVES travelling. Jenny gives travel tips and advice at @travellingwithmygirls