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 Hotels in New York City Where You Can Use Points

Usually, a night in New York City’s famously tight quarters can cost an average of $320. Fortunately, there are a handful of unsung hotels with enough space for traveling families to stay comfortably when visiting the Big Apple.
Best of all, many of these rooms can be booked with points — saving room in your budget for more New York City attractions.
To help you find the best place to bed down during your family’s New York City vacation, we highlighted five of our favorite family-friendly points hotels, including one option from every major hotel brand.
Kimpton Ink48 Hotel
Brand: InterContinental Hotels Group
I’m a huge fan of Kimpton hotels, and the brand’s playful sensibility. I was thrilled when IHG acquired the Kimpton portfolio, making it possible to use IHG points and free night certificates from the IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card for Kimpton stays. There are currently three Kimpton properties in Manhattan, all which are pet-friendly (furry friends are family, too). My favorite, however, is Kimpton Ink48, located on 11th Avenue in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood of Manhattan. It’s a great place to use uncapped IHG free night certificates, or burn IHG Rewards points at a rate of 65,000 points per night.
Guests will enjoy Kimpton’s signature amenities touches (animal print bathrobes, custom PUBLIC bikes) and have access to plenty of infant and toddler gear, including cribs, scooters and strollers. If there’s a Kimpton Secret Password available during your stay, your kids (or you) could be in for an extra special treat such as a free in-room movie or credit to “raid the minibar.” And parents will appreciate the free coffee in the morning and complimentary social hour (read: free drinks) in the evening from 5:00pm to 6:00pm.

If you book a room at Kimpton Ink48, opt for one with two queen beds and about 330 square feet of space. Mommy Points reported having plenty of room when her family of four stayed at the Ink48 over the summer — just know the bathrooms have showers, not baths. Admittedly, not everyone at TPG loved their stay at Kimpton Ink48. But for families looking for a larger-than-average-room you can book with points, this is one of the best in New York City.
Residence Inn New York Manhattan/Midtown East 
Brand: Marriott
This property is centrally located on 48th street, close to Grand Central Station, and the rooms are spacious enough to comfortably sleep larger families, with two beds and a pull-out sofa bed. There are also kitchenettes (including a full-sized refrigerator) and free hot breakfast each morning, which can translate to serious savings during a New York City stay.
Photo courtesy of the Residence Inn New York
Family-friendly services include free pack-and-plays and 24-hour grocery delivery, and there’s even a common area where families can enjoy board games. This is a Category 5 property, requiring 35,000 Marriott points per night (30,000 points during off-peak stays and 40,000 points during peak travel times). You can also use an annual award certificate, available each anniversary with these Marriott/SPG Cards:

Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express
Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express
Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Credit Card
Marriott Rewards Business Premier Plus Credit Card

Grand Hyatt Grand Central 
Brand: Hyatt
I love staying at Hyatt hotels when I travel with my family, especially when I can really leverage my top-tier Globalist status with upgrades, free breakfast and lounge access. The Park Hyatt New York and Andaz 5th Avenue are two of Hyatt’s better known New York City properties, but the Grand Hyatt Grand Central is excellent for families, especially those with Hyatt Globalist or Explorist status, or who are willing to use extra points to secure Club Lounge access.
Photo courtesy of Hyatt Grand Central
Food expenses can add up quickly when traveling in New York City with a family, so having Club Lounge access is seriously helpful for keeping trip costs down. Lounges can vary greatly from hotel to hotel, but the Club Lounge at Grand Hyatt Grand Central exceeds the typical Club Lounge in North America.
Photo courtesy of the Hyatt Grand Central
Aside from the convenience of being able to pop in throughout the day for complimentary drinks, coffee and light snacks, there are plenty of great dinner options in the evening such as salads, sushi, sandwiches and an array of rotating hot dishes. In the morning, your family can grab breakfast at the Club Lounge, too.
Room rates tend to skyrocket, especially during busy times, making the 25,000 World of Hyatt points per night for a room with two double beds a great redemption. To boost your World of Hyatt account balance you can turn to the World of Hyatt Credit Card or transfer points to Hyatt from your Chase Sapphire Reserve or Chase Sapphire Preferred card.
TRYP New York City Times Square South
Brand: Wyndham
With Wyndham’s revamped Wyndham Rewards program, all free nights are just 15,000 points per night. Using Wyndham points in an expensive city like New York is a great use of points — and earning Wyndham points is super easy with the brand’s generous promotions, like the annual Daily Getaways offers and the credit card that allows you to earn up to three free nights from the sign-up bonus.
Despite its name, Wyndham’s Times Square South TRYP hotel is on 35th Street, near New York Penn Station (rather than the madhouse that is Times Square) — making it a very convenient option for families arriving by train.
Photo courtesy of TRYP Wyndham
Surprisingly chic guest rooms feature reclaimed wood floors, 10-foot ceilings and contemporary urban decor. But the coolest thing about this property (other than the 15,000 points per night rate) is that it offers rooms designed exclusively for families, which include a combination of bunk beds, a separate king or queen-size bed and a sleeper sofa. Some rooms even have two bathrooms! These rooms may not always be available as standard rooms, but an upgrade may be possible if you have Wyndham Diamond status: attainable through the Total Rewards reciprocal benefits.
Homewood Suites by Hilton New York/Midtown Manhattan Times Square-South
Brand: Hilton
Traveling families often love feeling at home, and that’s what Hilton’s Homewood Suites in Midtown delivers. This hotel is steps from Broadway, Fifth Avenue and Madison Square Garden, and the studio-suites are more spacious than what you’d normally expect to find in the city. (Each studio-suite even has a fully-equipped kitchen.)
In addition to the free hot breakfast for all guests every morning, parents can partake in a complimentary evening social (consider it dinner if you aren’t too picky) with included drinks Monday through Thursday.
Photo courtesy of Homewood Suites
Instead of a fixed award chart, the Hilton Honors program uses a variable award chart. This means the price in points for free nights will vary when the price is lower, but the absolute maximum award price for a standard room won’t increase (for this property, that’s 70,000 points per night). If you have a Hilton credit card that offers free weekend night certificates such as the Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card or Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express, it may make sense to use them here if you’re visiting New York City with your family during peak times.
Angelina Aucello covers family travel for TPG and blogs at Angelina Travels. Follow her adventures on Twitter and Instagram.
Featured image by Bady Qb/Unsplash