Family Vacation Tips

Family Vacations - Adjoining Rooms, Connecting Rooms or Family Suites

[fa icon="calendar"] Jul 23, 2012 2:43:00 PM / by Sally Black

Sally Black

Adjoining hotel rooms for familiesParents often request more than one hotel room from us when making their family hotel reservations.  It may be that they have 3 or 4 children and need a family of five or six hotel room.  It could be that they have young children with early bedtimes and they want a separate space so that the kids can sleep undisturbed.  They may have teenager and need an extra bathroom for sanity sake.  Mom and Dad may be looking for some "adult" time and "need to ensure extra privacy for themselves so that their family vacation can also become a romantic escape."

I used this gentle explanation once during a consultation with a hotelier. He wanted my opinions while desinging blue prints for construction of his family friendly resort. I could tell he just wasn't grasping what I was trying to say. Finally I was forced to spell it out for him and I said..."Listen, you need to build more connecting rooms because parents want to have sex while on vacation and do not want to worry about having their kids watch." Brutally honest and perhaps a bit too graphic, but at least my honesty got more family connecting rooms from that hotel chain that are now available to parents in need of a great vacation!

This does bring up a VERY important distinction in travel industry jargon that most travelers simple do not understand.  When speaking "hotel -ese", there is a HUGE difference when asking for "connecting rooms" and "ajoining rooms". 9 out of 10 times, our parents will ask us for adjoing rooms.  By industry definition, an ADJOING room means two rooms next door to one another...adjoined by a wall. Many hoteliers take the liberty with adjoining rooms to stretch this definition to include rooms NEARBY to one another, say across the hall from each other.  Our vacationkids agents understand that what our parents REALLY want are "CONNECTING rooms".  A connecting room is defined by two adjoing rooms CONNECTED by a door.  Can you see why getting the hotel lingo straight is half the battle in getting what you really want?

Check out the floor plan photo above. These two rooms can actually be sold three different ways....

1. With the door locked between the two rooms, you would have a double room that sleeps two people ADJOINED BY A WALL to a Quad room that sleeps four people. 

2. Unlock the door connecting the two rooms and've turned two adjoining rooms into a CONNECTING ROOM which can be assigned on a reqest basis This means you paid for two rooms and you are asking "pretty please" Mr. hotelier, PLEASE keep us all together.

3. The resort can also sell both rooms connected together with the door open as a separate category room called a FAMILY SUITE.  Generally, there is a higher price tag for the suite category but parents paying this price would be 100% GUARANTEED to get two rooms connected by a door.

Learning and understanding hotel lingo will improve your chances of getting what you've asked for. This can be especially tricky when you toss in language differences in foreign destinations.

If you're traveling with  grandparents or other family members or friends, and simply want your rooms to be fairly near  to each other, then ask for adjoining rooms.  If you want two rooms connected with a door to keep your children safe and close, then ask for connecting rooms. It is important to use the correct terminology when making your hotel room REQUESTS. 

To complicate matters even more, the word "request" also needs to be defined for most travelers. The definition of a "request" means you are ASKING for something. No where is it GUARANTEED that your request will be honored. Things like One large or two smaller beds to sleep in, smoking or non, additional cots or cribs, adjoining or connecting rooms and room locations are all things you can request but it is up to the discrepancy of the hotel at the time of check in as to whether you will get it.  Hoteliers try their very best to make guests happy. Happy guests means repeat business and great word of mouth endorsements. Whether your wish can granted may simply depend on current occupancy and availability when you arrive. Some hotels are built to attract certain clientele...for example there are many huge resorts that were built to draw convention business.  They may have thousands of rooms but have been built architecturally to have less than 50 rooms connected with a door. In such cases, your odds of actually getting connecting rooms are slim, particularly during high occupancy weeks like spring break and the December holidays.  Other resorts may only offer connecting rooms in specific areas of their complex.  Parents may be able to get connecting rooms for their family of five but they will have to forfeit an ocean view because connecting rooms are only available in garden view buildings Having the help of an experienced travel agent with contacts in resort can most certainly help when it comes to fulfilling certain requests.

The good news for parents is that hoteliers are FINALLY beginning to get the message when it comes to the need for connecting rooms for families.  Many are now remodeling or building new resorts offering family suites similar to the floor plan example shown in the photo above from the Barcelo Bavaro Family Suite in Punta Cana. Family suites cost a bit more but parents are GUARANTEED CONNECTING rooms. Not all family suites are set up like the floor plan illustrated here. Hotels that do offer larger family suites have several different floor plan designs. This is yet another reason why you need an experienced travel agent to help you sort thru all the different choices. Just because the room is called a family suite does not mean there is a privacy door separating two rooms. Some family suites are simply larger rooms with bunk  beds for more occupancy but many not offer the privacy that mom and dad may require.

One last option to consider when it comes to family vacations for large families or parents who crave privacy would be a cruise.  Besides a land verses sea vacation there are a few of other factors to consider...

1. Cruise lines WILL allow you to deposit and GUARANTEE specific adjoining cabins. Ship deck plans illustrate which cabins connect with a door. Once your book your cruise, your initial confirmation will have your exact cabin numbers on it. Hotels and resorts do not do this.

2. There are more family of five and family of six cabin options available to us now on the newer cruise ships. Although these are not offer as much privacy as adjoining cabins, they are the more economical that family suites on board. Because of high demand, these cabins normally are the first to sell out. We highly suggest if you have a larger family that you plan your cruise 1 to 2 years in advance. 

3. Most hotels with family suites normally have age limits for kids. There are a few exceptions but most will allow 3 or 4 kids under the age of 12 to share the suite. Parents with teens are often forced to resort back to requested adjoining rooms when in fact, it's the teens that may need to be kept under a more watchful eye. Remember cruise ships charge by the number of passengers sharing a cabin and not the AGES of the occupants. Larger families with teens will find more affordable options with cruises. 

4. Depending on your family's specific sleeping arrangement needs and budget, a vacation home, apartment  rental or private villa may offer you the best solution to keep everyone happy.  The companies we work with are all professionally managed.  This gives parents far more peace of mind knowing they can expect a certain standard of care and customer support during their vacation.  Independent rentals via airbnb and other sources do not come with this professional back up.

When you are planning a multi-generation trip, have a large family or just need a little adult time away from your kids making the right choices can be overwhelming.  Reach out to one of our Vacationkids travel agents. Think of us as your tour guide to lead you to the perfect home away from home.

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Topics: family vacations, family resorts, Family of 5 Vacations

Sally Black

Written by Sally Black

Sally is the Founder of Travel Agency and author of the book "Fearless Family Vacations". She is also the Director of Travel Agent Initiatives and Training at The Family Travel Association.

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