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What I Look For in a NYC Family Hotel
In my opinion, getting a good night's sleep is essential to successful family travel. No one wants to spend the day exploring if they aren't well rested, so making sure that everyone in my family has a comfortable, quiet place to sleep is key.
A hotel with a convenient location is also important to me -- easily being able to return to my hotel if we forget something or if someone needs a nap or a break makes vacationing as a family less stressful and therefore, more fun.
When choosing a New York City hotel you should keep in mind that many rooms cannot accommodate a rollaway bed (if the hotel even has that as an option), so I recommend that you contact the hotel directly if you need an additional bed in your room. In most cases, children under the age of two (who would likely be sleeping in a crib) don't count toward the occupancy limits of the room, but this is another area where I strongly encourage you to confirm with the hotel.
Of course, some hotels on our list have awesome extras, like welcome packages for children, swimming pools and even suites designed with families in mind, so check them out to find a great choice for your family (& your budget!)
Double Tree Suites By Hilton Times Square
Why is the Double Tree in Times Square a great hotel for families? Two words: warm cookies. At check-in, each member of your party receives one of Doubletree's signature warm chocolate chip cookies. It's a small thing, but it does add a welcome touch (& buys you at least a little time to get to your room and drop your bags before the cries of "I'm hungry!" start.)
What really makes me love this hotel for families is that all of the 468 rooms in this Times Square hotel are two-room suites! If you have young kids who go to bed early, this means you're not stuck hiding out in the bathroom reading your book (been there, done that) so you don't wake other members of your family. The living room area has a pullout sofa, so it's easy for young kids to sleep there while the parents crash in the actual bedroom. Each room also has two TVs, a wet bar, microwave, and refrigerator. The hotel has cribs, high chairs and even a children's menu available.
On the other hand, some people might not like the "right in the heart of Times Square" location (aka, it's pretty hectic in the neighborhood immediately around the hotel), but that does have the advantage of giving you easy subway access to just about anywhere in town you could want to go, as well as easy walking distance to Broadway theaters, Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum and Rockefeller Center.
The Plaza Hotel
The iconic Plaza Hotel might not be the first place you'd think to stay with your family, but if you (or your kids) are fans of Eloise, look no further! The Eloise Suite is truly a magical place to stay, and although it only has one king-sized bed, there is the option to have an adjoining "grown-up" Edwardian Suite if your family wants space to spread out.
Even if the Eloise Suite isn't right for you, the hotel is very accommodating to families and has both special offers and services geared towards families visiting New York City, including everything from tear-free shampoo and child-sized bathrobes to an Eloise-inspired children's menu and babysitting services.
The location of The Plaza can't be beat -- just steps from Central Park, FAO Schwarz and the American Girl Store, it's a great home-base for families exploring the city. There is convenient subway access, and of course, the bellman will happily hail a cab for you if you prefer.
The biggest challenge with staying at The Plaza with your family might be stomaching the price-tag -- there's a two-night minimum to stay in the Eloise Suite on a weekend and prices start at $1625/night. Standard rooms are less expensive and start as low as $550/night.
TRYP By Wyndham Times Square South
One challenge with finding a family-friendly hotel room in New York City is that hotel rooms in NYC can be downright tiny -- so much so that there is no space to bring in a roll-away bed. For large families traveling together, the TRYP By Wyndham's family room might be the answer to your hotel-seeking prayers. These rooms feature two queen sized beds and two bunk beds, accommodating six guests in roughly 400 square feet. They also offer an option that has a sleeper sofa and can accommodate up to eight. The bunk beds fold up into the wall to give you a little more space when you're not sleeping, but there's just a single bathroom for everyone to share.
The rooms come with a sink, coffee maker, and refrigerator, so if you're trying to self-cater some breakfasts to stretch your budget, this makes it a bit easier. Free Wi-Fi is also included in the hotel rate. Rooms cost $450-650/night (depending on dates of travel) but the rate isn't impacted by the room's occupancy, so it's an especially good deal if you're traveling with a large group.
Families who want a taste of "real" NYC life will love staying at Hotel Beacon on Manhattan's Upper West Side. The rooms and suites in this hotel are equipped with fully stocked kitchenettes, making it easy to prepare your own meals and you can shop at some of the neighborhood's truly fantastic grocery stores, including Zabar's and Fairway, for ingredients, whether you want to cook from scratch or take it easy with their great prepared foods.
Hotel Beacon is very well-located for visitors who want to explore Central Park and the great museums on the Upper West Side, including the American Museum of Natural History and the New-York Historical Society. It's also just a short walk from the subway and there are buses that can take you cross-town to the the Upper East Side.
The hotel has 132 one-bedroom suites which range in price from $279-459/night and have either a king-sized bed or two double beds in the bedroom, a separate living room with a sofa bed, a bathroom and a fully-equipped kitchen. The 10 two-bedroom suites range in price from $499-749/night and have one bedroom with a king-sized bed, a second bedroom with two double beds, two full-baths, and a fully-equipped kitchen.