Extended Stay Hotels Are Made for Business Travel But Perfect for Families

Finding an incredible hotel that ticks all the right boxes is challenging enough for a solo explorer but it’s an even taller task for families with infants. I recently traveled with my wife and newly adopted son to New York City and wound up really appreciating a hotel that was designed for someone else: the long-term business traveler. The Home2 Suites by Hilton Long Island City not only saved us a bundle compared to hotels in Manhattan but also provided essential amenities that would have been hard to come by on the other side of the East River.

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Extended Stay Hotels are Cheap(er)
Chains like Home2 Suites by Hilton, Extended Stay America, Residence Inn by Marriott, Candlewood Suites and Staybridge Suites aren’t exactly aspirational. These are neither hotels that you save points for years to splurge on nor the type of hotel where you’d necessarily want to burn a free night certificate from a credit card. But that’s OK — they are great solutions for those willing to turn their nose down a bit and appreciate them for what they are.
Home2 Suites by Hilton Long Island City
During my three-night stay in New York, I paid $238 per night (plus local taxes/fees) for a suite with a king bed, a pull-out sofa and 657 square feet of space for stretching out. For comparison, diminutive rooms with one-third of that space were going for $500+ in Manhattan for the same nights. Yes, we gave up being in the middle of it all, but the hotel was just three quick subway stops away from Central Park. In less urban destinations, where you need a car to explore regardless of where you stay, there’s even more reason to consider a property like Home2 Suites.
Ah, The Amenities of Home
Our 3-month-old infant is (thankfully) a pro traveler. He’s visited seven states and conquered eight flights in his short amount of time on Earth. Still, he requires things like formula, clean bottles, a suitable bathing station and frequent access to a washing machine. As it turns out, the amenities required to serve those needs are essentially the requirements of long-term business travelers as well. And, the hotel had a crib we could borrow for the duration of our stay so we didn’t have to bring one from home. (Just realize that some hotels don’t promise the availability of cribs or other baby amenities.)
Not an apartment. I repeat, not an apartment.
Our suite was equipped with a full-size refrigerator and freezer, a dishwasher, a stove and a microwave. That made it simple to clean his bottles and keep open containers of formula refrigerated. There was also a huge sink that doubled as a great bathing station after we asked for extra towels to create a soft basin. The stove enabled us to heat and boil water, while the microwave proved useful for heating up a neck pillow.
I also found myself surprisingly giddy at the notion of having legitimate silverware. I’ve tried on many occasions to use a plastic knife to slice an apple in a ritzy hotel room. While you could always ask room service at other hotels to bring you real utensils, extended-stay hotels typically offer dishes and silverware right in the room. My suite had enough for an entire family, which made slicing the free apples offered 24/7 in the lobby delightfully simple.
It’s easy to lose track of all the little things a family leans on at home when it comes to infant care, but staying in a typical hotel room brings them to light quickly. Extended-stay hotels attempt to re-create the setting of home for those who will be away for long periods of time, which winds up being a boon to families visiting for just a few nights.
Base Rooms Are Still Suites
At most hotels, reserving a suite means shelling out big bucks or lots-o-points. Many chains won’t even let you use a reasonable number of points to book a room with niceties like dishwashers and pull-out sofas. But when a hotel is designed to feel more like an apartment than a shoebox, even the standard rooms are great.
Traveling with a baby can mean lots of stuff, so the space of a suite is very much appreciated.
The base room at Home2 Suites by Hilton Long Island City is marketed as a “studio suite,” which meant that I didn’t have to pay extra for a massive space. I have Diamond status within the Hilton portfolio, an included benefit of the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card. While there was no available upgrade beyond that available, I was assigned a room on the highest floor of the hotel with an excellent view of Manhattan. A hot breakfast was included for my family for free.
Exploration Is Encouraged
While our massive-for-NYC room was ideal for families who just want more space, it wasn’t located in the hottest of spots. Extended-stay properties are generally built in safe but generally unremarkable areas. I view this as a positive, as it creates a roomy, comfortable home base that is not so attractive that you forget to leave the premises.
New York City is a big place, might as well explore!
In our case, the Home2 Suites by Hilton Long Island City was just three short blocks from a brand-new subway station (39th Avenue–Dutch Kills) with multiple lines running to Manhattan. We could reach Central Park within 15 minutes of leaving the room. For those who prefer private transit, there was no shortage of Lyft drivers available to whisk us across the Queensboro Bridge. (I use Lyft because of its partnership with Delta, enabling me to earn SkyMiles with each ride.)
For perspective, our Long Island City hotel was closer to Central Park than the citizenM New York Bowery Hotel that I reviewed late last year, even though the citizenM is in Manhattan.
Bottom Line
My family enjoyed our stay at Home2 Suites by Hilton Long Island City. My wife wasn’t exactly impressed by the residential surroundings, but it was cheap (for NYC) and easy to get from there to the main tourist spots. While we paid cash, it is often bookable for 50,000 Hilton Honors points per night. As a plus, the location ensured that we weren’t awakened during the night by the pulsing sounds of the city.
Home2 Suites leave plenty of room for a Doona stroller — a favorite amongst TPGers with kids.
The layout also made things effortless when it came to caring for our infant. We didn’t lack for space or amenities, two things that are mighty hard to come by for a reasonable sum in the Big Apple. Paying less than half of the going rates for hotels in Manhattan enabled a family like ours to spend more on activities and meals while still enjoying Diamond perks thanks to the property’s affiliation with the Hilton portfolio.
You’ve no doubt heard that priorities tend to shift once you become a parent (or grandparent!). As a new parent, I’m currently more interested in things like refrigerators, dishwashers, quiet neighborhoods and ample space in our hotel selections than I am rooftop bars and marble bathtubs. Don’t get me wrong — children and adults alike can appreciate glass-bottom floors in French Polynesia, overwater bungalows in the Maldives and all the finer luxuries of travel. I’ll just make sure our son has graduated to solid foods before planning those reservations.
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All images by Darren Murph / TPG.

5 Family-Friendly Destinations to Take Your Kids This Winter

When temperatures plummet and school lets out for various breaks, families everywhere can get a little stir-crazy. Break free of that cabin fever by hopping a flight and wowing your kids with an epic winter vacation at one these family friendly destinations.
1. San Antonio
Not as big as Houston or as “weird” as Austin, San Antonio is one Texas metropolis that is too often overlooked. While many know the city for its ne’er-forgotten Alamo and its scenic riverwalk, the area is home to a wide variety of attractions that the whole family will love. Whole vacations could be spent at SeaWorld San Antonio or Six Flags Fiesta Texas alone, but there’s also a ton to do near downtown — from the zoo and DoSeum (children’s museum) to the Majestic Theatre and Briscoe Western Art Museum. Foodie families will also love indulging in some Tex-Mex delicacies along the riverwalk or making the hour’s drive to either Austin or Lockhart, Texas, for some of the country’s best dry-rub barbecue.
Where to Stay
Just steps away from the iconic San Antonio Riverwalk, the Hyatt Regency San Antonio offers comfortable accommodations in a near-perfect location downtown. The Alamo can be seen from some of the upper floor windows, and the hotel itself sits just around the corner from the Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Odditorium and the Guinness World Records Museum. Rooms cost about $270 or 12,000 World of Hyatt points per night. This makes it within range for a Category 1–4 award from the World of Hyatt Credit Card.
(Photo by f11photo / Getty Images)
If your trip isn’t until things warm up a little bit (which is mid-March in Texas), the Hyatt Hill Country Resort in San Antonio is a family-friendly resort with a massive pool complex, water slides and lots of daily activities. It is a Category 4 Hyatt that costs 15,000 points per night.

2. San Diego
With paradise-like temperatures year-round, San Diego provides a great reprieve from the bone-chilling temperatures up north. It’s also packed with kid-friendly activities, making it a perfect getaway for active families. Besides being home to the world-renowned San Diego Zoo, the city also has a variety of fun and unique playgrounds, like LEGOLAND California, The New Children’s Museum and Balboa Park. But, of course, the best thing about San Diego is the beaches and there’s no shortage of spots to camp, surf, sunbathe or build sandcastles.
Where to Stay
The West Inn & Suites in Carlsbad offers luxury accommodations that are also child-friendly. Parents will love the Egyptian cotton bedding and complimentary shuttle service, while kids will dig the interactive library, daily cookie hour and free Wi-Fi. The hotel also sits less than 2 miles from LEGOLAND California and just a few blocks from the ocean. Rooms start at about $160 per night during the winter months, which may be a better deal than spending 50,000 Marriott Rewards points per night. Bonus: This hotel is also pet-friendly — in case you want to bring Fido along, too.
(Photo by Wolfgang Kaehler / Getty Images)
3. The Outer Banks, North Carolina
The water is a little on the colder side during the winter, but the beach is just the perk — the real draw here is the whale watching. December and January are prime months to spot acrobatic humpback whales flipping and splashing their way down to the Caribbean. If you miss them in early winter, though, don’t fret — you can spot them again in March and April on their journey back north. And whale watching isn’t the only edutainment to be had. Continue your marine education at the North Carolina Aquarium or take in some history by stepping back in time at one of Roanoke Island’s living history sites or visiting the Wright Brothers National Memorial. You’ll find plenty of fun — and educational! — things to do here.
Where to Stay
Larger families might consider renting a house via HomeAway or Airbnb, but for smaller families, or those preferring the amenities of a hotel, the Hampton Inn & Suites Outer Banks/Corolla is a great option. In addition to being right on the beach, this spot also has both indoor and outdoor pool areas (if it’s warm enough), as well as one that’s shallow enough for kids. There’s also complimentary hot breakfast and free Wi-Fi. And with winter room rates around $98 or 28,000 Hilton Honors points per night, it’s also budget-friendly. (Award rates can skyrocket to 80,000 points per night in the summertime.)
(Photo by mdulieu / Getty Images)
4. Ko Olina, Hawaii 
Just a short drive from Honolulu, the Ko Olina area is nestled between the Waianae mountains and Oahu’s gorgeous western coastline. Since it’s Hawaii, there are a ton of great water activities to choose from — snorkeling, sailing, fishing and sunset cruises — while back on land, opportunities abound to soak in both the island’s natural beauty and its luxurious amenities, including golf courses, hiking trails and spas.
Where to Stay 
Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, is a kid-friendly paradise, complete with pool parties, high-tech scavenger hunts and movie nights — but parents will love it, too. While the children ages 3–12 hang out at (free!) supervised activity centers or those 6 weeks and up enjoy a (not free) in-room babysitter, adults can enjoy hydrotherapy, spas, golf or other amenities. With rates starting at $500 a night, Aulani is a bit of splurge, but deals on winter packages are available. Or, save some money by buying discounted Disney gift cards, or better yet save a ton by booking with rented Disney Vacation Club points.
(Photo by IslandLeigh / Getty Images)
5. Sun Valley, Idaho
Not everyone wants to escape snow in the winter. For families who love the thrill of the slopes and the warmth of hot cocoa, Sun Valley has both in spades. Ski lessons are available for kids as young as 3 years old, while short lift lines, well-maintained slopes and a variety of terrains make this a favorite spot for families. When you’re tired of skiing, you can partake in a myriad other winter wonderland activities like ice skating and sleigh rides. Sun Valley is also part of the Mountain Collective pass program, so it could be a good add-on to a year where you also want to visit resorts such as Aspen Snowmass, Taos and Mammoth that are also a part of the Collective.
The closest airport is ​Hailey’s Friedman Memorial Airport (SUN). It’s just 14 miles from the resort and there are nonstop flights operated from San Francisco (SFO), Seattle (SEA), Los Angeles (LAX), Salt Lake City (SLC), Denver (DEN) and Chicago (ORD) operated by Alaska Airlines, Delta Connection and United Express.
GMVozd / Getty Images
Where to Stay
Sun Valley Resort offers a number of lodging options for a range of experiences — from traditional hotel rooms starting at around $350 per night to spacious lake-side cottages starting at about $2,500 per night. For more economical accommodations, check out the Best Western Plus Kentwood Lodge a short drive away. With rooms from about $200 per night or 32,000 Best Western Rewards points, it’s great for families on a budget.
Did your favorite winter family getaway make the list? Tell us about it in the comments below.
Featured image by MRS / Getty Images.