Do Hotels Provide Airport Shuttle Service?

Are you planning a trip and wondering about the most convenient way to get from the airport to your hotel?

Many hotels offer airport shuttle services that can save you cash money but they do come with some drawbacks.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the world of hotel airport shuttle service and provide you with all the information you need to make the most of this convenient transportation option.

What are hotel airport shuttles?

Hotel airport shuttles are convenient transportation services (typically in the form of vans or minibusses) that roam the airport grounds, eagerly hunting for passengers in need of transportation to specific hotels.

These shuttles operate on specific routes, picking up passengers from designated locations at the airport and dropping them off at their respective hotels.

They (sometimes) offer a seamless and hassle-free transfer experience, ensuring that guests can easily access their accommodations upon arrival or reach the airport in a timely manner for their departure.

But the key here is “sometimes.”

Group of travelers outside shuttle van

Do hotels provide airport shuttle service?

Many hotels do provide airport shuttle service. However, it’s important to note that not all hotels offer this amenity, so it’s always a good idea to check with your hotel before your trip.

Interior of shuttle bus

What hotels provide airport shuttle service?

When it comes to hotels that provide airport shuttle service, airport hotels, which are conveniently located near the airport, are the most likely to offer shuttle service.

These hotels can come from all different types of hotel brands and chains such as Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt, IHG, etc.

Keep in mind that there are various types of airport hotels.

Some are directly located within the airport complex or terminal buildings, just steps away from the arrival and departure gates, so there’s really no need to hop on board a bus when staying at these.

However, other airport hotels are situated a short distance from the airport or a few miles away, yet they still provide airport shuttles.

Occasionally, your hotel may be located a considerable distance from the airport, yet still provide an airport shuttle bus service.

In such instances, there is a chance that you might be required to pay a fee due to the distance covered. Nevertheless, these fees are typically reasonable when compared to the cost of private transportation.

In addition to airport hotels, other properties like resorts and even boutique hotels are also known to provide shuttles from airports. Always look out for these in vacation hotspots.

It’s worth noting that shuttle service may vary in terms of frequency and operating hours, so it’s advisable to check with your hotel for specific details.

Airport shuttles provided by hotels can also vary in terms of their operating hours.

While some shuttles operate 24 hours a day, ensuring round-the-clock availability, others may have limited hours of operation. Those that limit hours may offer shuttle service aligned with common flight arrival and departure times.

On occasion, you may have to request a shuttle yourself during off hours.

Related: Are Airport Hotels Good Options? (Pros & Cons)

Rental car centers also have shuttle busses.

How to Book Airport Shuttle Service

Booking airport shuttle service at your hotel is typically a straightforward process.

Here are a few steps to follow:

Check the hotel’s website

Start by visiting the hotel’s official website and look for information about airport shuttle service. Many hotels provide details about their shuttle service, including schedules, pickup locations, and any associated fees.

Other times, this information could be somewhere in your booking confirmation emails.

Contact the hotel

If you’re feeling lost on the hotel website, don’t be shy to contact them directly.

The front desk or concierge staff will be able to assist you with any questions you may have and help you book the shuttle service, although many times they may just tell you where you need to wait in order to board the shuttle bus.

Make sure that you ask them what the shuttle bus looks like because sometimes the shuttle bus does not contain obvious branding on it. You don’t want to accidentally board a disguised ice cream truck (or maybe you do) ;).

Provide your flight details

When booking a shuttle service reservation, you’ll probably need to provide flight information like arrival and departure times.

This will help the hotel coordinate the shuttle schedule and ensure a smooth transfer to and from the airport.

If you’re coming in on one of the last flights of the night then a good hotel should postpone the shuttle service so that it is properly timed with your flight.

Confirm your reservation

It’s always a good idea to double-check your shuttle reservation a day or two before your arrival. This will help avoid any misunderstandings and give you peace of mind.

Be aware that some hotels have a special phone number you can dial to inquire about the shuttle service. They may provide you with automated messages regarding the latest status of the hotel shuttle and give you details on things the routes, stops, and operating hours.

How does the cost of airport shuttle service compare to other forms of transportation?

When considering transportation options from the airport to your hotel, cost is often a significant factor.

Hotel airport shuttle service can be a cost-effective option, especially if the shuttle service is provided at no extra charge for hotel guests.

However, it’s important to note that some hotels may charge a nominal fee for the shuttle service, so it’s essential to inquire about any associated costs when making your reservation. (Sometimes, it might be factored into the resort fee.)

Comparing the cost of hotel airport shuttle service to other forms of transportation, such as taxis or ride-sharing services, can help you make an informed decision.

Typically, a shuttle service is going to be the most economical because it’s often free or at least much cheaper than a taxi or rideshare.

However, the lower cost of a shuttle does come with some drawbacks.

It could take longer than using a taxi or rideshare

The first drawback is that it’s often going to take longer to get to your hotel or to the airport than it would if you were using something like a taxi or Uber.

Some shuttle busses like to make a grand tour, stopping at every possible hotel along the way. If you were one of the last properties to get dropped off at, it might feel like you were on something of a sightseeing tour!

Then there’s the classic case of the bus running fashionably late, and you never know when that can happen.

And let’s not forget the situations where a bus picks up passengers from multiple points. In these instances, the bus can quickly transform into a can of sardines before it even reaches your stop.

To maximize your chances of a smooth getaway, position yourself strategically at the stop nearest the shuttle bus lane entrance. Trust me, there’s nothing worse than getting skipped by a shuttle bus that won’t be returning until another 20 minutes!

Luggage issues can become a problem

If you have a lot of luggage with you, shuttle buses can sometimes be problematic. One issue is that if there are many other passengers on the bus vying for precious storage space, you may not have enough room for all your luggage.

Typically, you will find some racks inside the bus where you can place your luggage and sometimes there is a spacious storage area in the back.

However, if you are traveling with excessive luggage, there is no guarantee you will have enough space, and you might be subjected to a quick and stressful game of Tetris, where the consequences of failing include a bus full of scowling faces.

In some cases, if you have heavy luggage, the driver may assist you in storing it (in which case you should tip), but this is not always the case.

Consider using the shuttle for one-way and private transportation for the other

If you’re torn between the luxury of private transportation and the allure of shuttle bus savings, why not find a middle ground?

On your arrival day, splurge on a private ride from the airport to your hotel, because that is when you will be the most tired and then the other passengers will be the stinkiest.

On the way back to the airport, people tend to be more refreshed, and you’ll be less exhausted, ready to tackle any delays.

Remember to have good etiquette

When you arrive on an airport shuttle bus, try to do the following:

  • Avoid sitting next to other passengers if there are other open seats
  • Avoid placing your luggage on top of other bags unless absolutely necessary
  • Hold on to poles or cables if standing so that you don’t fall into the lap of a stranger
  • Offer a helping hand if someone frail is struggling with luggage
  • Avoid sitting in the seats for those with disabilities unless you need them or are sure you’re not taking a seat from someone who needs it
  • Put your personal item in your lap so that the aisle stays clear

Final word

Hotel airport shuttle service offers a convenient and often cost-effective transportation option for travelers. Many hotels provide this service, making it easier for guests to reach their accommodations. But it’s always good to think through the savings and conveniences offered so that your travels are not made more miserable than they need to be.

Hampton Inn Breakfast: What’s in Store for You? (Hours & Menu Options)

Are you planning on staying at the Hampton Inn anytime soon and wondering about the breakfast situation? You might be wondering exactly what you can expect.

Will it be a breakfast bonanza that leaves you skipping down the hallway with a happy belly? Or should you prepare for an early morning let down?

In this breakfast exposé, I’ll spill the beans (and maybe some syrup) on everything you need to know about the breakfast scene at a Hampton Inn.

Is the Hampton Inn breakfast free?

Yes, the Hampton Inn breakfast is included in the cost of your room, so you don’t have to pay extra for it. It’s like a sneaky little cost hidden in your room rate, which is why I hesitate to really consider it “free.”

But this isn’t some exclusive breakfast club where only Hilton Honors elite members with Gold or Diamond status get to indulge. Nope! Everyone typically gets a piece of the free breakfast pie at Hampton Inn. So go ahead and enjoy those golden waffles without any membership prerequisites. It’s a breakfast free-for-all!

Related: What Hotels Have Free Breakfast?

What to expect with a Hampton Inn breakfast

You’ll be pleased to know that some Hampton Inn properties serve up a “continental plus” breakfast — that’s fancy talk for an upgrade from your run-of-the-mill continental breakfast. What does that mean?

Well, in addition to the basic breakfast items, they’ll hook you up with some hot and hearty items to fuel your day. Think fluffy scrambled eggs, crispy bacon, and fresh-off-the-griddle pancakes. These can be much more filling which is why a Hampton Inn can be a great place to start your day.

A typical Hampton Inn breakfast is going to be a buffet style breakfast so you can eat until your heart’s content.

On occasion, you might see a sign that says you are limited to a number of items but I don’t think those signs are typically enforced especially because there often are little to no attendants in the area. Still, try not to go overboard for the sake of other guests.

Hampton Inn breakfast

The breakfast area

Some Hampton Inn properties, particularly those recently renovated or newly built, offer a nice breakfast area to savor your meal. For instance, I was pleasantly surprised by the Hampton Inn in Salem, Massachusetts, which provided a roomy restaurant-like area with cozy booths, including some with TV screens.

Hampton Inn breakfast area

At times, you might encounter a smaller eating area, which means you won’t have anywhere to sit. The hotel should allow you to retreat to your room and indulge in the comfort of your own private dining haven, so that’s always a good backup plan.

As far as what your options will include, most likely, you’ll have a variety of both cold and hot choices.

For the cold options, you may find a bin filled with bread slices, loaves, bagels, croissants, and some muffins/pastries. I’ve had some truly divine blueberry muffins at Hampton Inn properties, but the type of pastry you receive will always depend on the property.

Hampton Inn breakfast

Expect to find an assortment of condiments for your bread, including grape jelly, strawberry jelly, peanut butter, and various butter options. You might also come across honey, as well as ketchup, salsa, and salt and pepper. If you feel the need to toast your bagel or bread, rest assured that a toaster should be available for your toasty desires.

Hampton Inn breakfast

In addition, you may have a collection of cereal items including cereals like Cheerios, Froot Loops, Rice Krispies, and other popular types like Frosted Flakes. The cereal could come in individual boxes or in one of the dispensers that require a touch of caution to prevent any accidental spillage. So, exercise your breakfast ninja skills and enjoy the crunchy goodness of your chosen cereal.

There may be a dispenser for milk next to the cereal or you may find individual cartons inside of a refrigerator (along with other cold beverages).

Hampton Inn breakfast
Hampton Inn breakfast
A touch of caution, indeed.

You could also enjoy a variety of different flavors of yogurt, granola bars, and possibly some fresh fruit, such as oranges and bananas. However, I must admit, there are times when the fruit may appear a tad past its prime.

Hampton Inn breakfast

For those who love to indulge in a steaming bowl of creamy goodness, you’l be happy to know oatmeal is another staple that you can expect to find.

Hampton Inn breakfast

Sometimes you will have your own little instant oatmeal packs that you can make yourself which can come in different flavors like apple cinnamon, cinnamon and spice, original, and maple and brown sugar.

Hampton Inn breakfast oatmeal

Now getting into the hot items. You may find traditional hot breakfast items like eggs, potatoes, and proteins such as sausage or bacon.

The eggs may come in scrambled form but you may also find them in other varieties like omelettes.

For the potatoes, those could come in the form of a hash brown, tater tots, home fries, etc. Expect the quality of the breakfast sausage and bacon to vary from not so delicious to quite enjoyable.

Hampton Inn breakfast eggs sausage

If you’re really lucky, you might even stumble upon some biscuits and gravy or even fresh breakfast burritos. If so, report back and let me know what you thought!

One of the perks at staying at the Hampton Inn is that sometimes you can have a waffle or pancake maker to enjoy your own fluffy creation.

Hampton Inn breakfast waffle maker

You might have different options for the batter which could consist of a traditional vanilla flavor or something a little more interesting like a blueberry waffle batter.

Always make sure you spray down the waffle maker before you use it so that you’re better doesn’t stick (assuming they offer you that option of course)!

Hampton Inn breakfast batter

You can expect a delightful assortment of beverages to quench your morning thirst at the Hampton Inn. Your options will include coffee, tea, juices, milk, and water, ensuring there’s something for everyone’s taste buds.

Citrus-lovers will likely find orange juice available, usually without pulp. In addition to orange juice, there may also be a tantalizing variety of other juices available, such as apple juice.

Coffee enthusiasts can find both regular and decaffeinated options and might even find a selection of different roasts, ranging from light to dark. All your cream and sugar needs will be conveniently located right next to the coffee canisters, providing the perfect fixings for your preferred cup of joe.

For the tea aficionados, the breakfast area may offer more tea options than your own room, with a hot water dispenser readily available to assist you in crafting the perfect cup of tea in the morning. Some hotels may even provide hot chocolate packets, particularly if you find yourself in a chilly area or visiting during the winter season.

Hampton Inn breakfast coffee

What are the breakfast hours?

Typically, they serve breakfast from around 6:00 or 6:30 a.m. until 9:00 or 10:00 a.m. on weekdays, although some might stop serving even earlier. On weekends and holidays, the breakfast hours may be extended to accommodate late-risers, usually until 10:00 a.m. or possibly even 11:00 a.m.

Sometimes a Hampton Inn may have grab and go options for people heading to breakfast extra early or late but those are not always available.

But every property is different so you always need to verify hours with the front desk!

The different forms of breakfast at Hampton Inn

Sometimes the breakfast will not live up to the standards you would hope for. In fact, there have even been reports of Hampton Inn properties offering discount cards when you show your room key to nearby breakfast restaurants such as Denny’s.

That’s probably not a super common occurrence but it is something you can look out for, as it might be a sign that the breakfast isn’t all that.

Also, be aware that some properties might be offering a grab and go breakfast experience which will be very different from the options described above.

Other properties might even give you a voucher to be used at the pantry/market so just remember that breakfast can come in a lot of different forms within the same Hampton Inn brand.

It’s also possible that some properties may offer a different breakfast on weekends versus weekdays so be prepared for that. And finally, it’s also possible that for whatever reason breakfast may not be available at all. If breakfast is really a top concern, you should think about calling ahead to verify what you can expect.

Final word

A Hampton Inn breakfast can be quite satisfying if they have a decent amount of both hot and cold options to help fill you up along with a good selection of beverages. The key to remember is that every property may be a little bit different so just because one Hampton Inn delivers at a high-level, the next one may not.

What Is Marriott’s Pet Policy & Why Is It So Confusing?

Welcome to the world of Marriott’s pet policies, where furry friends are welcomed with open arms (and sometimes big open wallets).

From playful pups to cuddly cats, this article aims to shed light on the confusion of Marriott’s pet policies.

I can’t promise to give you answers, but I can give you a heads up of what to expect when bringing your beloved companion along on your next Marriott hotel adventure.

What is Marriott’s pet policy?

Marriott, the international hotel chain, gives each of its properties the freedom to set their own rules and fees when it comes to our furry companions. As a result, the cost of your pet’s stay might be as unpredictable as their mischievous antics.

Now, Marriott does make an attempt to shed some light on their pet policies on their corporate website. But their well-intentioned efforts only seem to add to the befuddlement.

So allow me to demystify the situation for you as best I can.

Why is it so confusing?

The Marriott pet policy is confusing because when you view the pet policy of a given property on the main Marriott website it displays the screenshot below:

Notice how it displays different rates based on nights versus stays.

Marriott pet policy

Now, this display isn’t exactly crystal clear, and as a result, different properties across the land have interpreted it to mean different things.

Deposit plus a nightly rate

The first interpretation suggests that you’ll be required to fork over an initial deposit for your stay, followed by a nightly fee.

So according to the image above, you’d shell out a $75 “deposit” and then an additional $25 for each night. I’m not a fan of this interpretation for a few reasons.

If you were planning an extended stay, your wallet might feel the sting of pet fees. For a month-long stay you could be shelling out $800! For a non-punitive pet fee that seems flat out ridiculous.

Plus, it just doesn’t add up. Why split the pet fee into a nonrefundable deposit and a nightly rate? That’s just creating unnecessary confusion.

Are we now charging dogs in the same way we charge humans? Should my corgi now get a part-time job?

Nightly rate + cap

The second interpretation is more logical, indicating that you’d pay a flat rate of $25 per night, capped at a total of $75 for your entire stay.

This makes sense since the pet fees shouldn’t skyrocket just because you’re staying longer. I mean, after a certain point, even the rowdiest of furballs can only wreak so much havoc for the cleaning crew. (Remember, the hotel could recover property damage separately.)

The flat stay fee

Then, there’s the third interpretation, which just ignores the stated nightly fee and only slaps you with the stay fee.

This would be the ideal situation (a flat stay fee) but it still is confusing because they still display a nightly rate that seemingly means nothing (which is a problem because you never know if that could actually end up being enforced).

What should you do?

With these conflicting interpretations, it’s hard to figure out how you’ll be charged when bringing a pet to a Marriott hotel.

The best solution to escape this uncertainty is to pick up the phone and call the property directly.

Typically, you can get a clear answer.

But there’s always the chance you’ll be speaking to an agent who’s as clueless about the fees as a penguin in the Sahara. So, brace yourself for potentially unsatisfying answer that leaves you with your questions unanswered.

What to make of the confusion

I’ve stayed in a lot of hotel chains and I have seen a lot of different variations of pet fees. Typically, it’s a flat fee of somewhere between $50 and $100 or it’s a nightly fee that caps out after a few nights.

There are some properties out there that charge you per night regardless of how many nights that you stay and I consider those to be some of the least pet friendly hotels.

For the record, I don’t have an issue with hotels setting their own pet fee policies even if I think they are out of line with reality.

But at the very least, hotel chains should strive to provide guests with clarity and consistency with how terms of their website are interpreted by their own properties.

That’s because people on longer stays could easily get hit with a bill that is hundreds of dollars more than what they expected, or at the very least show up at a hotel expecting the fee to be a lot lower.

Even in the latter scenario, that’s still potentially a major problem because pet friendly hotels can be limited and you can find yourself in a situation where you don’t have any real lodging alternative even if you were okay with changing your travel plans last minute.

Related: Pet Friendly Hotels vs “Accepts Pets” – What Are the Differences?

Final word

Marriott should improve the clarity when it comes to pet fees.

I would never expect a huge international chain to have the same type of pet fees and policies across all brands and locations.

But if they are presenting information in a consistent way then it should be interpreted in a consistent way. Until then, guests like me will continue to be left scratching our heads.

The Untold Benefits of Staying at Dated Hotel Properties

Staying at a dated property may immediately make you feel a certain type of way. In fact, most people probably avoid dated hotels as much as they can.

But are you potentially missing out by avoiding these type of hotels?

There are actually some distinct benefits of staying at a dated property and I’ll go through some of those below.

What is a dated property?

A “dated” property is simply a hotel that offers an experience not aligned with the expectations and standards of a modern hotel.

There are different types of dated properties out there and you probably have stayed at some in the past. Let’s look at three different types of “dated” properties before jumping into the benefits of staying at one.

Intentionally dated

An intentionally dated property is a delightful haven that skillfully preserves its vintage vibe, offering guests a tasteful, charming, and inviting experience.

Think of a property that exudes nostalgia, where an old-school jukebox in the lobby sets the tone and analog alarm clock bells wake you in the morning. It’s a place that transports you through time but does so with intention and authenticity.

These time-traveling treasures can sometimes come at a premium nightly rate, so your ticket to the past isn’t always so cheap.

Historic elevator doors
Well done intentionally dated Hilton elevator doors at the Plaza Hotel.

Unintentionally dated

An inadvertently dated property is one that sometimes unwittingly finds itself left behind the times in its decor and design, without actively seeking to preserve any retro charm.

When people refer to a hotel as “dated,” they often have this type of establishment in mind.

One common characteristic is the presence of technology from a bygone era. Prepare for encounters with vintage TVs, antiquated phones, a scarcity of outlets, doors devoid of RFID technology, the absence of EV parking, and water fountains reminiscent of yesteryears.

The furnishings in these properties often belong to a past decade, bearing noticeable wear and tear like scuffed surfaces and chipped paint. And brace yourself for a rendezvous with bathroom fixtures that haven’t quite caught up with the time.

Additional telltale signs may include a lackluster pool area, noisy elevators, and gym equipment that harkens back to a less physically enlightened era.

The Omni Corpus Christi, a dated property right on the coast with great views.

Unkept hotels

Another facet of the “dated” label lies in the realm of being “unkept,” but it’s good to distinguish between the two.

Being unkept is mostly a question of how well the management has tended to the property’s maintenance needs.

Unkept properties often grapple with infrastructure issues like plumbing mishaps, Wi-Fi woes, malfunctioning doors, AC troubles, and the like. Stains on ceilings and walls, along with dirty windows are common.

An unkept property might also rely on an outdated website, failing sometimes to provide accurate information about its own existence.

It’s worth noting that a hotel can be dated yet impeccably maintained with well functioning infrastructure and features.

Conversely, a hotel can be modern but woefully unkept. Even spanking new establishments can earn the unkept title if the management fails to promptly address major shortcomings.

However, the ultimate get-me-out-of-here scenario would be staying at a dated and unkept hotel—the epitome of a lodging nightmare.

Thankfully, discerning whether a hotel falls into this category can be done by searching through guest reviews. Keep an eye out for keywords like Wi-Fi, stains, water, plumbing, etc. A substantial number of recent negative comments regarding these is a telling indicator of an unkept property.

Unfortunately, a lot of extended stay properties from the major chains can sometimes fall into this unkept category. Be extra suspect about those.

Now that we’ve explored the various guises a dated hotel can assume, let’s delve into the benefits of staying at one. Primarily, we’ll focus on unintentionally dated hotels—those that didn’t actively aim to channel a vintage vibe.

Tip: Stray away from properties with excessively outdated websites, as this can signify a lack of attention to upkeep.

The benefits of a dated hotel

Low prices

Dated hotels, bless their outdated hearts, often grace us with lower room rates in comparison to their trendier counterparts. It’s no surprise, really. They may lack the sexiness and buzz that entices the masses.

Furthermore, these establishments in need of a makeover might extend a warm welcome with attractive off-peak pricing, special deals, and big savings promotions. With a little sleuthing, you might stumble upon hidden gems, offering serious value steals where you can save $$$.

Lots of available space

If you can brave the vintage vibes of old furniture and creaky floorboards at a dated property, you’ll be rewarded with hotel rooms boasting more real estate than you ever thought possible.

At some properties, you’ll be astounded by the ludicrously spacious accommodations you can snag at very reasonable prices. We’re talking expansive balconies offering sweeping ocean views and enough room to host your own impromptu dance party.

Who really cares if your awe-inspiring vista happens to be from the balcony of a dated property? Beauty knows no era.

It’s often the case that the same jaw-dropping setups in a modern, recently renovated hotel would cost you somewhere close to double the price tag.

So, if you’re a traveler who revels in extra legroom and the freedom to stretch your arms without grazing the walls, a dated hotel can be a great fit.

Prime locations

When it comes to hotels, not every city can be the fresh-faced belle of the ball. In fact, many cities are sporting a broad selection of older properties that could be classified as dated.

This means that it’s often easy to find a dated property in a major city with good central location which also means better odds of you finding a good deal. I’ve seen dated hotels in downtown areas offering eye-popping savings that you could better use on your travel experiences.

Dining can still be solid

Some dated properties are home to established restaurants that are true hidden culinary gems. We stayed at the Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach which in my eyes was a pretty dated property.

But yet we enjoyed a fantastic meal at their Bali Oceanfront restaurant, which felt significantly more modern than the room.

To make things even sweeter, prices at hotel restaurants sometimes track the prices of the hotel. This means that you can stumble upon restaurants nestled within dated hotels with reasonable pricing that won’t make your wallet weep.

Hotel restaurant with tables


Some properties have stood the test of time and have seen a lot.

These hotels have storied histories that can make them interesting enough to stay at despite their dated condition. Maybe they have survived catastrophic hurricanes, been around for 100 years, or catered to an active US president.

They may not necessarily be attempting to preserve a “time capsule” of their era, but they nevertheless have a strong historical past you can appreciate.

I recall my stay at the Hilton Fort Worth, the very place where JFK rested his head before his tragic assassination. The property wore its dated attire well, but its historical significance allowed me to look past any immediate needs to modernize.

More recently, we stayed at the Outrigger Kona Resort that’s undergoing renovations to shed its dated appearance. But despite the need for a face lift, it offered an intriguing history involving special appearances by majestic manta rays. That fascinating past added an irresistible allure to my stay allowing me to largely ignore its outdated appearance.

hotel sofa by windows
Dated but historic, the Hilton Fort Worth.

Lower fees

Another area where dated hotels shine is when it comes to fees.

They may offer lower resort fees or minimal pet fees which makes sense because they would not be as protective about their rooms as a new property would.

Great service

This one is hit or miss like you would expect but lots of dated properties understand that their outdated charm may not be their strongest suit. Instead, they compensate by delivering exceptional service that can make your stay truly memorable.

This is particularly true if you’re staying at a dated iconic property like at the Omni in Corpus Christi, Texas. I’ve found that while the decor may be lacking, the spirit of service at these establishments can still be sky-high.

Final word

Dated hotel properties can turn some people off and understandably so. But if you spend some extra time researching, you may find some amazing deals at some of these properties especially if your priorities are savings, extra space, and a bit of history.

Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Benefits Guide (Breakfast, Upgrades) [2023]

With all of the different levels of the Marriott rewards program it’s easy to get confused about what benefits each status tier offers.

In this article, I’m going to focus on the benefits offered by Marriott Platinum status and walk you through each of these.

I’ll cover things like breakfast, upgrades, and all of the other key perks you might be able to take it advantage of.

What is Marriott Bonvoy Platinum status?

Marriott Platinum status is an upper mid-tier status within the Marriott Bonvoy rewards program. It is one step above Bonvoy Gold and one step below Bonvoy Titanium.

Because Marriott has five different elite levels and many other programs only have three, this puts Platinum status in a bit of a unique tier allowing loyalists to receive upper tier perks without having to obtain the highest level of elite status.

Tip: Use the free app WalletFlo to help you travel the world for free by finding the best travel credit cards and promotions!

Hotel bed
Hotel Paso Del Norte, Autograph Collection Review

How to earn Marriott Platinum status

To earn Marriott Platinum status, you’ll need to earn 50 nights between January 1 and December 31 of any given year.

You will then have Marriott Platinum status for the duration of the year that you earned it in, the entire next year, and through the month of February following that year.

For example, if you earn Platinum status in August 2024, it will be valid until February 28, 2026.

Here’s a look at the different elite levels for Marriott and their requirements:

  • Silver: 10 to 24 nights
  • Gold: 25 to 49 nights 
  • Platinum: 50 to 74 nights 
  • Titanium: 75 to 99 nights
  • Ambassador: 100 nights +  $23,000 U.S. dollars in qualified annual spend

As shown below, you can use two Marriott credit cards to start you off with 30 Elite Night Credits.

That means that you could earn Platinum status with only 20 nights! More on that below.

Elite status comparisons

Here’s how Marriott Platinum status compares to other statuses with Hyatt and Hilton.

You’ll notice how Platinum falls right in between the middle and top level of these programs based on the number of nights.

World of Hyatt

  • Discoverist
    • 10 qualifying nights
    • 25,000 Base Points
    • or holding 3 qualifying meetings/events per year.
  • Explorist
    • 30 qualifying nights
    • 50,000 Base Points
    • or holding 10 qualifying meetings/events per year.
  • Globalist
    • 60 qualifying nights
    • 100,000 Base Points
    • or holding 20 qualifying meetings/events per year.

Hilton Honors

  • Silver
    • 4 stays in a calendar year or
    • 10 nights in a calendar year
  • Gold
    • 20 stays in a calendar year, or
    • 40 nights in a calendar year, or
    • 75,000 Hilton Honors Base Points in a calendar year
  • Diamond
    • 30 stays in a calendar year, or
    • 60 nights in a calendar year, or
    • 120,000 Hilton Honors Base Points in a calendar year

Marriott Platinum status via credit cards

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant is one of my favorite hotel credit cards and offers automatic Marriott Platinum status.

Here’s a look at the other features:

  • $300 in dining statement credits ($25 a month)
  • $100 luxury credit
  • Bonus earning:
    • 6x at Marriott properties
    • 3x at restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines
    • 2x on all other purchases
  • Each calendar year you can receive credit for 25 nights towards the next level of Elite status.
  • 1 Free Night Award every year after renewal month (redemption level at or under 85,000 points)
  • Priority Pass Select membership
  • Receive a statement credit every four years after you apply for Global Entry ($100) or TSA Pre-Check ($85) with your Card.
  • Select an Earned Choice Award benefit after spending $60,000
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Annual fee: $650

This makes the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant similar to the Hilton Aspire because you can automatically earn a high level of status. That’s exciting for people who want to earn Marriott Platinum status but it also means diluting Platinum status, which is a drawback for people who earn the status the old-fashioned way through stays.

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless

The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card offers automatic Silver status but you can earn Marriott Gold status by spending $35,000 in a year. 

That’s a lot in spend per year for a status that doesn’t even offer breakfast so I would rather put $35K to use in another way.

You’ll also be given 15 Elite Night Credits each calendar year, which can help you reach status much quicker.

Currently, you can combine elite credits from a Marriott personal card with the 15 Elite Night Credits from a business Marriott card allowing you to start off with 30 Elite Night Credits.

It’s a super fast track to Platinum status since you’re only 20 nights away.

Another great benefit of this card is that you get an annual free night for properties that cost up to 35,000 points per night.

Status challenge

You can always inquire with Marriott customer service either via email or by phone to see if you’re eligible for a status challenge to Platinum.

If you’re eligible, you’ll probably have to hit something like 16 nights in a designated time period (e.g., 3 months) to achieve Platinum status but the challenge terms could vary.

Keep in mind that you usually can only enroll in these challenges once every three years.

resort pool view
The Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas Review

What are the Marriott Platinum status benefits?

  • 50% Bonus on points
  • Complimentary room upgrade
  • Welcome gift
  • Guaranteed Lounge Access
  • 4pm late check-out
  • Annual Choice Benefit
  • Guaranteed Room Type

50% Bonus on Marriott Rewards Points

  • Platinum members are credited with a 50% bonus on base points earned during stays.

At most Marriott properties you’ll earn 10 Marriott points per dollar spent, so with this bonus you’ll be able to earn 15 points per dollar spent. 

At a value of .8 cents per point, Platinum status earns 12% back. 

Properties where earnings are only 5 points per dollar include: Protea Hotels, Element, Residence Inn, TownePlace Suites, and Homes & Villas by Marriott International. Those reduced rates are a bummer for those who take advantage of extended-stay properties.

Complimentary room upgrade

Platinum Elite Members and above receive a complimentary upgrade to the best available room subject to availability which could include the following:

Complimentary upgrade includes suites, rooms with desirable views, rooms on high floors, corner rooms, rooms with special amenities or rooms on Executive Floors.

  • At The Ritz-Carlton, suites are only included for Titanium Elite and Ambassador Elite Members and rooms with direct Club access are excluded.
  • The Complimentary Enhanced Room Upgrade for Platinum Elite Members and above is available at all Participating Brands except at Marriott Vacation Club, Marriott Grand Residence Club, Aloft, Element and participating Vistana properties.

As a Titanium Elite member over the past few years, I’ve been pretty disappointed with my upgrades. I’ve been given mostly corner rooms and deluxe rooms for pretty much every upgrade, as suites appear to be difficult to obtain.

So I don’t think I would expect a lot of suite upgrades as a Platinum Elite member.

Tip: It’s good to remember when you visit places like Hawaii that you won’t get your elite benefits at brands like the Marriott Vacation Clubs.

Hotel suite
Westin Riverwalk San Antonio Review

Welcome gift

As a Platinum member you will be able to choose a welcome gift upon arrival.

The type of gift that you can get will vary depending on the type of property you are staying at.

At a lot of properties you will be able to choose between 500 to 1,000 points or a food and beverage credit/free breakfast.

I generally always go with the free breakfast because that offers the best value. This is especially true if you have a long stay where you can get a good amount of value in breakfast every day.

Below, you can see a chart that breaks down the welcome gifts. It’s always a little bit confusing because they vary based on location and there are always some types of exceptions.

But it’s good to be familiar with these because some properties will not give you everything you are due. If you were not given your gift, you may be able to receive the compensation listed in the chart.

 Participating Brands Elite Welcome GiftGuest Compensation*
JW Marriott, Marriott Hotels, Delta Hotels, Autograph Collection, Renaissance HotelsUnited States, Canada, Europe: 1,000 Points per Stay or U.S. $10 food and beverage (“F&B”) credit per Stay

Asia, Australia, Pacific Islands, Caribbean, Mexico, Central America, South America, Middle East, and Africa: 1,000 Points per Stay or F&B amenity per Stay

United States, Canada, Europe: 1,000 Points per Stay or breakfast in restaurant per night of Stay for Member +1

Asia, Australia, Pacific Islands, Caribbean, Mexico, Central America, South America, Middle East, and Africa: 1,000 Points per Stay or F&B amenity per Stay or breakfast in restaurant per night of Stay for Member +1
U.S. $100
Gaylord Hotels1,000 Points per Stay or U.S. $10 F&B credit per StayU.S. $100
St. Regis, The Luxury Collection, W Hotels, Sheraton, Le Méridien, Westin, Tribute Portfolio1,000 Points per Stay or amenity per Stay or breakfast in restaurant per night of Stay for Member +1 (including Resorts)U.S. $100
The Ritz-Carlton, Ritz-Carlton Reserve, EDITION, Marriott Vacation Club, Marriott Grand Residence Club, Sheraton Vacation Club, Westin Vacation Club, Design Hotels™, Homes & Villas by Marriott International.1,000 Points (per Stay)N/A
CourtyardUnited States, Canada, Europe: 500 Points per Stay or U.S. $10 F&B credit per night of Stay for Member +1** 

Asia, Australia, Pacific Islands, Caribbean, Mexico, Central America, South America, the Middle East, and Africa: Properties without lounge – 500 Points per Stay or F&B amenity per Stay or U.S. $10 F&B credit per night of Stay for Member +1** 

Properties with lounge – 500 Points per Stay and breakfast in lounge – if lounge is closed, breakfast in restaurant per night of Stay for Member +1
U.S. $50
AC Hotels, Moxy HotelsUnited States, Canada, Europe: 500 Points per Stay or U.S. $10 F&B credit per night of Stay for Member +1** 

Asia, Australia, Pacific Islands, Caribbean, Mexico, Central America, South America, the Middle East, and Africa: 500 Points per Stay or F&B amenity per Stay or U.S. $10 F&B credit per night of Stay
AC Hotels:      U.S. $50; Moxy Hotels:  U.S. $25
SpringHill Suites, Fairfield, Residence Inn, TownePlace SuitesUnited States, Canada, Europe: 500 Points per Stay or F&B item 

Asia, Australia, Pacific Islands, Caribbean, Mexico, Central America, South America, the Middle East, and Africa: 500 Points per Stay or F&B amenity
SpringHill Suites, Residence Inn:U.S. $50; Fairfield, TownePlace Suites:
U.S. $25
Four Points, Aloft500 Points per Stay or amenity or breakfast in restaurant per night of Stay for Member +1Four Points:U.S. $50; Aloft: U.S. $25
Protea Hotels500 Points per Stay or breakfast in restaurant per night of Stay for Member +1U.S. $50
Element500 Points per Stay or amenityU.S. $25
Chart via Marriott’s terms and conditions (April 2023).

*Outside of the U.S. compensation will be paid in the local currency

** The U.S. $10 F&B credit per night of Stay is for the Member. An additional U.S. $10 F&B credit per night of Stay is given for one (1) guest staying in the same guestroom as the Member.

Tip: Use the free app WalletFlo to help you travel the world for free by finding the best travel credit cards and promotions!

Guaranteed Lounge Access

In addition to the free breakfast, lounge access is the other major reason to get Platinum status. (Sometimes the free breakfast will be in the lounge but other times you can get it in the restaurant.)

As a Platinum member you will get guaranteed lounge access for you and one guest staying in the same room at non-resort:

  • JW Marriott
  • Marriott Hotels
  • Sheraton
  • Delta Hotels
  • Le Méridien
  • Westin
  • Autograph Collection and
  • Renaissance Hotels.

Lounge Access is not offered at the following brands:

  • The Ritz-Carlton
  • St. Regis
  • The Luxury Collection
  • W Hotels
  • Design Hotels
  • Tribute Portfolio
  • Gaylord Hotels
  • Four Points
  • SpringHill Suites
  • Protea Hotels
  • Fairfield
  • AC Hotels
  • Aloft
  • Moxy Hotels
  • Residence Inn
  • TownePlace Suites
  • Element
  • Marriott Vacation Club
  • Marriott Grand Residence Club
  • and participating Vistana properties.

Generally, whenever a lounge is closed or the property does not have a lounge or an approved alternative the property will offer you daily breakfast in the restaurant or an allowance of points ranging from 750 to 1,000.

If lounge access or alternatives are not available at eligible properties, Platinum Elite Members will be compensated $100 U.S. dollars for the inconvenience.

There are a few special rules for different properties and locations and you can read more about those here.

Marriott Marquis Houston
Marriott Marquis Houston M Club Lounge.

Late checkout

With Platinum status, you can get late check out as late as 4 p.m. local time of the participating property.

I have to give it to Marriott because late check out has been one of the most dependable benefits I’ve received as a Marriott elite member.

I rarely ever request 4 PM late check out and usually go with 2 PM but the couple of times I have requested 4 PM they have honored it no problem.

This benefit is guaranteed at all participating properties, except at resort and convention hotels and Design Hotels, where it is based upon availability. 

Marriott Vacation Club, Marriott Grand Residence Club, and participating Vistana properties are excluded from this benefit.

Hotel room with stairs
Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables Review: Grand & Historic, Yet Charming

Annual Choice Benefit

A Platinum Elite Member who has achieved 50 eligible Elite Night Credits annually is eligible to receive one annual choice benefit from the list of available benefits listed below:

  • Five (5) Suite Night Awards
  • 40% off bed
  • $100 charity donation
  • The gift of Silver Elite status to a friend or family member
  • Five (5) Elite Night Credits

If you’re going to chase Bonvoy Titanium then you may consider selecting the 5 elite night credits, which will help you get to 75 quicker.

Otherwise, I would recommend choosing the Suite Night Awards, especially because suite upgrades seem hard to come by.

Beach resort view
Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino Review

Additional perks

Complimentary enhanced Internet service

  • This benefit is provided where available, regardless of booking source, at all Participating Brands worldwide except at the EDITION brand.

Keep in mind that you can get this benefit with the Marriott Boundless credit card.

5th redemption night free

  • Book 5 consecutive nights and the 5th night is free (this perk is available to all Marriott status levels but is worth mentioning). 


  •  Gift Shop Discount of 10% on retail merchandise.

Phone lines

  • Elite Reservations Line: (800) 228-2100
  • Customer Engagement Center Line: (800) 321-7396

Marriott Bonvoy Platinum FAQ

How many nights do I need for Marriott Bonvoy Platinum status?

You will need to stay 50 nights to earn Marriott Bonvoy Platinum status.

Can I earn Marriott Bonvoy Platinum status with a credit card?

You can get Marriott Bonvoy Platinum status with the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant which offers you automatic Platinum status.

What are the main Marriott Platinum status benefits?

– 50% Bonus on points
– Complimentary room upgrade
– Welcome gift
– Guaranteed Lounge Access
– 4pm late check-out
– Annual Choice Benefit
– Guaranteed Room Type

How many bonus points do I earn with Marriott Platinum status?

With Platinum status, you will earn 15 points per dollar spent at most properties. At a value of .8 cents per point, Platinum status earns 12% back. 

What kind of upgrades do I get with Marriott Platinum status?

You can get upgrades to suites and rooms with special amenities, including rooms on executive floors. Upgrades are subject to availability.

What kind of welcome gift do I get?

The type of gift you will receive would depend on the property that you visit.

Sometimes you might be offered something like 500 to 1,000 points and in other cases you can choose a free breakfast.

Do you get lounge access with Marriott Platinum status?

Yes, you will get guaranteed lounge access for yourself and one guest when staying at the following hotels:

JW Marriott
Marriott Hotels
Delta Hotels
Le Méridien
Autograph Collection and
Renaissance Hotels

Do Marriott Platinum members get late check out?

Yes, you can get late check out as late as 4pm.

Final word

Marriott Platinum has some valuable benefits like guaranteed lounge access, breakfast, late checkout, and annual choice benefits like suite night awards that can be very valuable. With how easy it is to obtain now some of the perks like upgrades may be even more watered down than they were before, however.

Why Do Hotels Ask How Many Guests are Staying in Your Room? [2023]

Anytime you go through the hotel booking process you’ll see a field asking you to input how many guests will be traveling on the reservation.

Some people misrepresent the number of guests staying in their room in order to save money. And others ignore this field since it does not always affect the price of the hotel stay.

But not accurately representing how many guests will be with you could be a crucial mistake that ends up costing you money or even putting you or people you care about at risk.

Keep reading below to find out why!

Why do hotels ask how many guests are staying in your room?

Hotels ask how many guests will be staying in your room for multiple reasons.

In some cases, a hotel may be charging based on how many guests are occupying a room.

But in other cases, a hotel may request that information so that they can ensure they are complying with the fire code, or so that in the event of an emergency they will know how many guests should be accounted for.

Tip: Use the free app WalletFlo to help you travel the world for free by finding the best travel credit cards and promotions!

Hotels charging per person

When it comes to hotels that charge per person, it’s obviously understandable why they want to know how many people are in your room: because they are losing out on revenue if they don’t account for everyone.

Most major hotel chains do not charge you per person when only two guests are on the reservation in my experience, especially if you are staying at a standard hotel brand.

These are hotels like Holiday Inn, Marriott Courtyard, Hilton Doubletree, etc. For these hotels the price of a room for one person is usually the same as it is for two people.

But when you start talking about three or four guests, things may be different.

You’ll still find plenty of hotels who keep the price of a night’s stay the same even when three or four guests are occupying a room. But some properties will start to add a small charge for the third and fourth guest.

Take a look at the chart below and you can see a sample of prices for different brands to get a sense of how the prices might increase. The additional cost of the third and fourth guest is usually pretty minimal but in some locations like Las Vegas it could be a lot more expensive.

Hotel Name1 Guest2 Guests3 Guests4 Guests
Courtyard Chicago Downtown/River North$234Same SameSame
Holiday Inn & Suites Atlanta Airport-North$157.32SameSameSame
Hilton Garden Inn Los Angeles Montebello$172Same+$10+$20
Hyatt Place New York City / Times Square$229SameSameSame
Harrah’s Las Vegas$168.75Same+$37.50+$75
Comfort Suites Near Texas Medical Center – NRG Stadium$154Same+$10+$20
The Ritz-Carlton Dallas$829SameSameSame
Hampton Inn & Suites Miami/Brickell-Downtown$169Same+$9+$18
Four Seasons Hotel Denver$948Same+$30+$60

It’s worth noting that there are some hotels that will charge you per person even when the booking is for only two people. For example, take a look at the prices below for the Hyatt Ziva Cabo.

The first price pictured below is $284 and is for one adult.

But the second price is for two adults and you can see that the price per night jumped from $284 to $344. So they are charging $60 for the additional adult guest. (Interestingly, I also tested it for one adult and one child and the price went up even higher to $352 per night.)

In all of my years of traveling the most common type of hotel where I’ve seen a charge per person for only two guests on a reservation is at all-inclusive resorts.

In that case, the hotel is offering unlimited alcoholic beverages, snacks, and dining options so it is completely understandable that they want to know how many people will be staying in each room and charge accordingly.

Some small motels and smaller lodges may also come down hard on people who bring in guests without paying

The other situation where you may have to deal with the charge based on who is occupying your room is whenever you need a rollaway bed or possibly a crib.

Rollaway beds can be free at many properties but it is not uncommon for them to charge you a fee. The fee is usually relatively low ranging from around $10 to $25 but some properties might crank up that price.

Hotel resort pool
All-inclusive resorts will often charge you for every person on your reservation.

Hotels and the building codes

Hotel rooms can often accommodate multiple adults comfortably. For example, a room with two queen beds and a fold out bed could accommodate six adults without too much trouble.

Unfortunately, hotel rooms may limit the occupancy to four or five people which can be pretty inconvenient for large families.

You can usually see the limit listed online or you simply won’t be able to add more than four or five guests to a single room when trying to make a reservation. For example, the Hilton website pictured below grays out the “+” after you add four guests (whether they are adults or kids).

This is obviously just an attempt by the hotel to collect more revenue by forcing guests to book multiple rooms, right?

Not necessarily.

In fact, the limitations on guests often are not decided by the hotel. Instead, it’s the fire marshal who sets the policy.

Often the number of occupants in a room will be limited to something like the square feet of the room with special attention to permanent fixtures like cabinets, counters, etc. Even the ceiling height can be a factor.

There’s also something called the “egress capacity,” which has a lot to do with fire escape routes.

Basically a hotel has to ensure that in the event of an emergency evacuation, there are not too many guests so as to clog up the emergency exit routes and staircases.

A fire marshal may analyze the number of staircases, the size of the hallways and stairwells, the number of rooms on the floor, the number of floors in the hotel, and then base occupancy limitations on those factors.

But that doesn’t mean a hotel will set the limit at the same limit as the fire marshal.

It’s possible that a fire marshal could determine that a room could safely hold six guests and a hotel decides to place a limit at five.

It is probably much more rare for a hotel to go the other way and violate a fire code because they could face penalties not to mention putting guests’ lives in danger.

Emergency exit stairs

Search and rescue

One reason you will see hotels ask about the number of occupants is because they want to make sure that in the event of an emergency they can account for all guests.

You could imagine a scenario where a rescue worker is told there are only two people in a suite but really there are four.

They could then save only two of the four then move on to helping guests in another room.

That’s probably an extremely rare scenario but it could happen.

Lying about the number of guests in your hotel room

So now let’s talk about the thing that so many people do: outright lie or withhold the truth about the number of guests in your room.

First, something to consider is that you may not have to lie in the first place.

When hotels have a limit on how many people can fit in a room, sometimes these rules can be slightly bent. For example, a room limit of five guests could be expanded to six in certain circumstances (presumably when this is within the limitations of the fire code).

So before you go trying to sneak in some people into your hotel room consider that it may not even be necessary.

If you lie about the number of guests that will be in your hotel room there are a few different outcomes you may face.

It’s possible that nothing could happen. This could be the case if you were on good terms with the hotel staff and your additional guests were not causing any issues for the staff or for other guests.

If the hotel was not happy about your extra guests for some reason (loud parties, smoking or vaping in the room, etc.) they could ask all of the guests to leave (including the ones who properly booked the room) or they could demand payment for all guests.

Remember, unless you paid cash and did not leave a deposit, the hotel should have access to your credit card and could add this charge on to your final bill.

You can check the terms and conditions of the hotel to see what type of conditions could apply. For example, here are some terms from Hilton:

We reserve the right to cancel or modify reservations where it appears that a customer has engaged in fraudulent or inappropriate activity or under other circumstances where it appears that the reservations contain or resulted from a mistake or error.

You could imagine that falsifying the number of guests on your booking could qualify as “fraudulent or inappropriate activity” allowing them to “cancel or modify” your booking aka give you the boot.

How much would a hotel possibly charge you for extra guests? That all depends on the hotel.

For guests beyond two adults, hotel charges often range from $10 to $30 plus as shown above. If a hotel caught you in a lie, there’s a chance they’re going to try to squeeze every dollar they can out of you.

How hotels know you have more guests than allowed

At a standard hotel that doesn’t issue wristbands, bringing more guests with you is not always obvious to the hotel staff.

A lot of hotels probably will not give you trouble for having more guests than allowed on your reservation until they start getting affected by it or until obvious suspicions begin to arise.

Hotels will start to become aware or suspicious that you are housing more guests than allowed if the following things happen:

  • Large group arriving at check-in or moving to your room
  • Loud noises coming from your room
  • High level of traffic in and out of your room
  • Excessive request for towels, bedding, and other amenities
  • Housekeeping discovering mattress pads, air mattresses, etc. in your room

If you and your guests are low-key and not causing any type of issues, chances are the hotel will not be aware of your additional guests and even if they do suspect something, they may not do anything.

But you still need to be aware that you are potentially violating fire codes by having so many people in your room. Your decision to host a gathering in your hotel room could make it more difficult to evacuate your floor in the event of an emergency.

Related: Should You Tip Hotel Housekeeping?

Additional reasons why you should add the guests staying in your room

Beyond the emergency needs, it’s good practice to let the hotel know about your guests for a couple of more reasons.

If you have elite benefits that apply to you and one guest, you may need to add the guest to your reservation in order for them to take advantage of benefits.

For example, if the hotel is handing out breakfast credits, you may not even notice that they have only given you the credits for half of what you are entitled to if you did not add your guest.

A hotel is more likely to walk a reservation with one guest versus more than one guest. So by adding someone to your reservation, you decrease the odds of getting the boot.

When you add an additional guest, the hotel may request identification for that other guest. I usually only run into this when traveling internationally or perhaps to special places like Hawaii. But every now and again a hotel surprises me and asks about my partner’s ID.

Final word

Hotels have different motivations for asking you to input the number of guests for each room.

Some hotels will charge per person because they offer amenities that can be consumed by any guest on the premises. Other hotels don’t charge per person but they will restrict you to booking 4 to 5 guests per room in order to comply with fire codes.

In the end, there may be some leeway with the guest limits and you may be able to get around them as long as you are acting responsibly during your stay. But you should always consider the effect you could have one rescue efforts in the event something unexpected did happen.

Outrigger Kona Resort and Spa Review (Big Island) [2023]

After staying at five different hotels on our last trip to Hawaii, I realized that none of our hotels were located right on the coast.

So wanting to experience what it would be like to enjoy magnificent ocean views while in Hawaii, we made sure to find a hotel situated right on the coast this time and the Outrigger Kona Resort and Spa fit that bill.

Below, I’ll take you through our experience staying at the Outrigger Kona Resort and Spa, including what it was like staying in one of the top suites at the property. I’ll cover the food, lounge, facilities, and of course, the manta viewing.

Location: Keauhou Bay (Kona Coast)

The Outrigger Kona Resort and Spa sits perched upon the rugged lava rock coast near Keauhou Bay, the historic birthplace of Kamehameha III.

The surrounding area definitely has a “vacation country” feel as the property is set among a large stretch of resorts, vacation rentals, and country clubs, interspersed with barren lava fields.

Found about 15 minutes south of Kailua-Kona, you’ll need to drive to get to nearby stores but there is the Holoholo Market located on site for your convenience where you can find all sorts of snacks, souvenirs, and other necessities.

Also, on Wednesdays and Fridays you can attend the Ho’oulu Community Farmers Market & Artisans Fair, which takes place right in front of the property’s parking areas.

Something that makes this hotel’s location special is its connection to manta rays. The waters just outside of the resort are home to “Manta Village,” one of the premier places to view manta rays. Much more on that later!



Our room wasn’t quite ready whenever we arrived which wasn’t a major problem.

For one, it’s not uncommon for large suites like this to take a little extra time to get ready especially at a property that offers the option for guaranteed late check out (which we took advantage of).

But we also had an extremely personable check-in agent that really made us feel welcomed. She went through all of the different features of the hotel and as soon as our room was ready she came over and notified us.

It was a great start to the stay and the superb treatment by the staff continued on through the duration of our stay.

In fact, I had a few exchanges with housekeeping and they were some of the most friendly and proactive housekeeping crew I ever interacted with.

Outrigger Kona Resort and Spa front desk

The lobby made an immediate impression on me. Large floor to ceiling windows open up wide allowing the seabreeze to flow right through the lobby while giving you sweeping views.

We had just flown in on a connecting flight from Honolulu that gave us some trouble so it was nice to finally be able to relax with such a beautiful view.

Outrigger Kona Resort and Spa lobby
Outrigger Kona Resort and Spa lobby

The Club Deluxe Oceanfront Suite

We booked the 900 square foot Club Deluxe Oceanfront Suite, which often goes for around $799 a night for a pre-paid reservation. You can save $400+ bucks by pre-paying which makes this a much more attractive deal.

When you factor in the lounge access (free breakfast and evening drinks/food) and free valet, it’s actually pretty solid value in my opinion.

These are the biggest rooms available at the property and they only have a few open each night.

Near the entrance of the room, you’ll find a large half bath. It’s directly across from the large balcony so if you have people over out on the balcony, it’s very conveniently located.

Outrigger Kona Resort and Spa bathroom

You have a large living area with plenty of seating options and great ocean views. There’s a table for four along with a wet bar where you will find a small sink, microwave, coffee maker, and mini fridge.

Outrigger Kona Resort and Spa The Club Deluxe Oceanfront Suite living area
Outrigger Kona Resort Club Deluxe Oceanfront Suite
Outrigger Kona Resort Club Deluxe Oceanfront Suite

The main sofa also functions as a sofa bed which means you can sleep up to four in this room.

One thing you will probably notice at the resort is that it does have a dated feel. I knew this going into this stay and so I just focused more on the major highlights of the property like the views and the great service.

But something you’ll be happy to hear is that they recently began renovations and so eventually the property is going to be completely overhauled. So it won’t be dated for long!

Outrigger Kona Resort Club Deluxe Oceanfront Suite

We had a large 55 inch TV in the living area that came with a nice welcome message from Mario Lopez.

Outrigger Kona Resort Club Deluxe Oceanfront Suite

The actual bedroom is super spacious and we had some good sleep in the bed which we found to be very comfortable. The temperature was great and easy to control.

If you open up the balcony door in the bedroom, it will cut off the AC but opening the door on the other side does not.

Outrigger Kona Resort Club Deluxe Oceanfront Suite

There’s a nightstand with a lamp on either side of the bed and you’ll have plenty of easily accessible outlets.

Outrigger Kona Resort Club Deluxe Oceanfront Suite
Outrigger Kona Resort Club Deluxe Oceanfront Suite
Outrigger Kona Resort Club Deluxe Oceanfront Suite

In the corner of the room you’ll have a workstation.

Outrigger Kona Resort Club Deluxe Oceanfront Suite
Outrigger Kona Resort Club Deluxe Oceanfront Suite

Next to the workstation, there’s a dresser with another TV. There is a second mini fridge in this dresser which is easy to miss!

Outrigger Kona Resort Club Deluxe Oceanfront Suite

There’s a little walk-in area on the side of the room where you will find the bathroom, the closet, and also some extra space for a dressing area.

Outrigger Kona Resort Club Deluxe Oceanfront Suite

The bathroom is pretty spacious although it only has one sink.

Outrigger Kona Resort Club Deluxe Oceanfront Suite bathroom
Outrigger Kona Resort Club Deluxe Oceanfront Suite bathroom

The toilet and bath tub/shower are located in the same space and it’s definitely one of the more interesting bath designs that I’ve seen.

Outrigger Kona Resort Club Deluxe Oceanfront Suite bathroom

In the closet, you have multiple hotel safes along with robes.

Outrigger Kona Resort Club Deluxe Oceanfront Suite safe
Outrigger Kona Resort Club Deluxe Oceanfront Suite robes

Now onto the room balconies!

This room has more square feet in the balconies than I think I’ve ever seen in a hotel room.

First, there is the large balcony that you can access from your bedroom or from the living area. On the balcony there will be a small table with a couple of chairs so you can enjoy some drinks or a meal while checking out the view.

Outrigger Kona Resort Club Deluxe Oceanfront Suite balcony

From this side, you have a good view of the main pool area and the beautiful lava rock coast.

Outrigger Kona Resort Club Deluxe Oceanfront Suite balcony view

There’s something just so captivating about watching and listening to waves crash into lava rock cliffs. I definitely did not take this view for granted!

Outrigger Kona Resort Club Deluxe Oceanfront Suite balcony view
Outrigger Kona Resort Club Deluxe Oceanfront Suite balcony view

Then there is the main balcony which has a sliding door that opens up from the entryway of your hotel room. The balcony is gigantic and it comes with a few different types of seating options and umbrellas.

Outrigger Kona Resort Club Deluxe Oceanfront Suite balcony
Outrigger Kona Resort Club Deluxe Oceanfront Suite balcony
Outrigger Kona Resort Club Deluxe Oceanfront Suite balcony

From this balcony, you can look out to the bay and also to the manta ray viewing station.

Outrigger Kona Resort Club Deluxe Oceanfront Suite balcony view

While you do have some great ocean views on both balconies, the biggest thing that stands out with these rooms is the manta ray viewing that’s possible to do right from your own balcony.

A little bit before sun set, you’ll start to notice boats of all sizes coming in to the area and setting up for viewing.

Outrigger Kona Resort Club Deluxe Oceanfront Suite balcony view

They will place some lights in the water to attract plankton which will then attract the manta rays.

We actually did a scuba dive with the mantas the next night but they took us to a different location, closer to the airport. That entire experience was epic to say the least and you can read about it here.

Anyway, from the balcony, your best bet is to have a pair of binoculars to help you zoom in on the action.

When the manta rays appear you can usually hear the snorkelers shouting in amazement and that’s how you can know where to look. You may be able to spot a shadowy figure moving around in the water and that is likely a manta ray. In between sightings, you can just admire the sunset which we had a perfect view of from our balcony.

Outrigger Kona Resort Club Deluxe Oceanfront Suite balcony view manta rays

Even if you are not into spotting manta rays, just the sight of all of the boats and the lights is a bit of a spectacle.

Outrigger Kona Resort Club Deluxe Oceanfront Suite balcony view manta rays

While it was fun viewing from the balcony, you may also want to check out the viewing station which I’ll talk about below.

Voyager 47 Club Lounge

The Voyager 47 Club Lounge exceeded my expectations on this stay.

Sometimes club lounges at resorts in tropical locations can be pretty underwhelming, especially if you don’t drink alcohol. But this club lounge was absolutely worth it.

First, the staff running the lounge did a tremendous job. They were very welcoming, warm, and personable.

Outrigger Kona Resort Club Deluxe Oceanfront Suite Voyager 47 Club Lounge

During the evening you can go for happy hour where you can also get a bite to eat. The snack lineup was pretty extensive with poke bowls, charcuterie, chips, fruit, and sweets.

Outrigger Kona Resort Voyager 47 Club Lounge food
Outrigger Kona Resort Voyager 47 Club Lounge food
Outrigger Kona Resort Voyager 47 Club Lounge food
Outrigger Kona Resort Voyager 47 Club Lounge food

The views from the lounge were pretty impressive although they were essentially the same as the views from our room.

Outrigger Kona Resort Voyager 47 Club Lounge views

Brad had a lot of good things to say about the drinks they were serving up, especially the blue manta.

Outrigger Kona Resort Voyager 47 Club Lounge drinks

The lounge is located in the Ahiahi (red) wing, which was great for us because our room is located just one floor beneath the lounge.

On the other hand, it did mean that we would have reduced privacy on the balcony since the lounge balcony overlooks ours.

It’s something to think about but I didn’t mind because the balcony gave us a premier vantage point for manta ray viewing which was such a unique room feature.

While you can get breakfast at the Wailele Cafe, if you have lounge access you can enjoy your breakfast up there.

I found the breakfast options to be very solid in the lounge and each morning we were able to start our day off with a nice, well-rounded breakfast. Here’s a look at all of the breakfast offerings.

Outrigger Kona Resort Voyager 47 Club Lounge breakfast
Outrigger Kona Resort Voyager 47 Club Lounge breakfast
Outrigger Kona Resort Voyager 47 Club Lounge breakfast
Outrigger Kona Resort Voyager 47 Club Lounge breakfast
Outrigger Kona Resort Voyager 47 Club Lounge breakfast

Yogurt parfaits were perfect breakfast items to take with you on the go.

The staff in the lounge was very clear that we could take items with us which I really appreciated because sometimes you feel like you’re smuggling items out of the lounge.

Outrigger Kona Resort Voyager 47 Club Lounge breakfast

The fruit slices from the fruit bowl were very fresh.

Outrigger Kona Resort Voyager 47 Club Lounge breakfast
Outrigger Kona Resort Voyager 47 Club Lounge breakfast
Outrigger Kona Resort Voyager 47 Club Lounge breakfast
Outrigger Kona Resort Voyager 47 Club Lounge breakfast

Multiple four-slot toasters and pre-made and packaged condiments made it easy to enjoy bagels in the morning.

Outrigger Kona Resort Voyager 47 Club Lounge breakfast
Outrigger Kona Resort Voyager 47 Club Lounge breakfast

The pools

The property has two pool areas and the hours are 8 AM to 10 PM.

The slightly smaller pool (called the inner pool) is the adults only (21+) pool which is located in the courtyard of the resort. This is still a pretty decent sized pool and it never got too crowded during our stay.

Outrigger Kona Resort pool
Outrigger Kona Resort pool
Outrigger Kona Resort pool

One of the cool features of this pool is the waterfall which you can actually get underneath.

Outrigger Kona Resort pool

The much larger pool is family friendly and this pool stayed busier.

Outrigger Kona Resort pool

It’s also the pool where you can find a pretty legit waterslide.

We did the waterslide a few times and it’s a lot of fun for both kids and adults.

Just keep your arms held in when you hit the water because this thing sends you crashing into the water a little bit faster than you might think.

The hours for the slide were 9 AM to 6 PM and there is an attendant at the top to make sure people go down it safely.

Outrigger Kona Resort pool slide

If you have small children, you’ll enjoy the beach entry for the pool located on the other end of the swimming pool.

Outrigger Kona Resort pool kids
Outrigger Kona Resort pool

They also have a couple of large hot tubs in this pool area.

Outrigger Kona Resort pool hot tub

You can rent cabanas by scanning the QR code on your guest reference hand out.

A deluxe cabana for two goes for $100. Meanwhile, you can rent a shaded umbrella with pool lounge seating for up to two people for $20. Compared to other resorts, I thought these prices were pretty reasonable.

I really liked that some of these had real ocean views as some hotels sometimes inexplicably put their chairs and cabanas right behind large bushes that obscure the view.

Manta ray viewing

The Outrigger is a special place to view mantas because this is where it all began.

About 50 years ago, when this property was known as the Kona Surf Hotel, the hotel set up some lights on the water so that guests could enjoy that sights of the ocean at night.

The lights ended up attracting a lot of plankton which also started to bring in the manta rays.

Initially, people didn’t know what the shadowy figures were swooping around but after a bold scuba diver jumped in, they realized these were majestic manta rays coming in to feast on plankton.

Over time, this developed into a tourist attraction with regular scuba dives for people to come check out the mantas. And eventually, a few other spots were found on the Big Island where mantas could reliably be seen.

So when you visit the Outrigger, you get to enjoy spotting manta rays from where it all began!

The viewing area is a pretty cool facility and it’s also where a restaurant was once located.

Reportedly, this restaurant should be returning at some point which a lot of people will be happy to hear because it was apparently a pretty popular joint.

Outrigger Kona Resort manta ray viewing

You’ll find a deck with railing and a row of chairs which do fill up so you may want to get there a little bit early to get a spot.

Outrigger Kona Resort manta ray viewing

We arrived at the viewing deck after our scuba dive so things were slowing down but it’s a really cool vibe from that spot — definitely a unique hotel feature.

Outrigger Kona Resort manta ray viewing


Our first dining was at Holua which is located between the two pools.

Outrigger Kona Resort food

I went with the spicy chicken sandwich which did not have much spice to it but had a fresh chicken breast and good flavor to it. Brad went with the smash burger which did not disappoint.

Outrigger Kona Resort food

Because of our schedule with the diving we didn’t really have an opportunity to sit down and experience Wailele Cafe as we arrived back to the property a little late.

However, despite approaching closing, the staff was still happy to serve us some food to go like the Korean braised short rib and Thai red curry beef and it all hit the spot.

Outrigger Kona Resort food
Outrigger Kona Resort food

Fitness center

You’ll find the fitness center on the first floor of the Helani wing which is located close to the manta ray viewing area. It’s a well equipped gym with some cardio machines having ocean views.

Outrigger Kona Resort gym
Outrigger Kona Resort gym cardio machines

You’ll also have a good range of other equipment to utilize.

Outrigger Kona Resort gym
Outrigger Kona Resort gym
Outrigger Kona Resort gym
Outrigger Kona Resort gym

The resort does put on a luau which is called the “Feast and Fire Luau Show.”

It takes place on the Hawaii Lawn and it looks like they put it on a couple of times a week although that might vary depending on the time of year.

Unfortunately, we had planned a scuba dive with the manta rays on the evening when the show was going on so we were not able to attend. But I’ve heard good things.

If you’re a tennis player, there are a couple of courts for you to enjoy.

The hotel also has a full basketball court with manta ray logo at center court which was a nice touch. I really do love that they brand themselves so closely with the mantas.

You’ll find a pathway that takes you along the coastal portion of the hotel. It’s worth taking a walk around because it gives you a really close view of the beautiful lava rocks.

You can also sign up for a free historic Keauhou Land tour which is a guided walking tour along the shoreline. Take in the beautiful scenery while learning about the historical village of Kaukulaelae which is the birthplace of King Kamehameha III.


The resort puts on a lot of events and you just need to check the activities calendar to see what is going on when you visit.

You can partake in things like lei making, slide races, hula lessons, beginner ukulele, and other activities like yoga classes at the chapel lawn.

If you need equipment rentals for the tennis courts you can get those complimentary and they also offer a daily paddleboard rental for up to two hours free of charge. For those who need snorkel gear or beach chairs and umbrellas, you can get 20% off.

And finally, if you want to learn more about the manta rays, join a manta talk at the mantle learning center, which I believe they put on a little while before sunset.

Final word

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my stay here.

The service was top-notch from beginning to end, and I couldn’t get enough of the views. I’m really big on unique hotel features and the manta ray viewing that can be enjoyed from here ranks pretty high on my list of unique hotel attractions.

The food did not disappoint and neither did the lounge experience. The only drawback to the property is that it is dated but with the renovations just beginning, that will soon be remedied.

So I would gladly return back to this resort!

What Are the Age Requirements for Check-In at a Hotel? [2023]

Are you thinking about booking a hotel but worried that you or your kid might be too young to check-in? In this article, I will break down the minimum age requirement for checking into hotels. I’ll explain why there are certain limitations and how to know what the minimum age requirement is.

What are the age requirements for check-in in at a hotel?

Generally, hotel guests must be 21 years-old (or accompanied by someone 21 years-old) to check-in but age requirements vary. Some hotels may allow 18 year-olds to check-in while other hotels, in more rare cases, may even increase the minimum age to 25.

The age restrictions are often property specific but state laws and local ordinances can play a role in dictating the age requirements as well. Keep reading below to learn more.

Tip: Use the free app WalletFlo to help you travel the world for free by finding the best travel credit cards and promotions!

How to find the minimum age for check-in

Every hotel has a booking process that works a little bit differently but generally you can count on finding the minimum age for checking in the terms and conditions during booking.

A lot of times the terms and conditions will be visible near the end of the booking process — just before you input your payment details.

Scan the terms and conditions for any mention of age and a lot of times you’ll find the minimum age requirement around the “check-in” section. For example, take a look at this snippet taken from the terms and conditions for the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Las Vegas.

Example of the age requirement found in the terms and conditions.

Other times there may not be an official terms and conditions section. Instead, you might find the age requirement listed near the payment details or price summary.

In the event that you do not find an age requirement explicitly stated, don’t take that to mean that there is no minimum age required for check-in. Instead, I would highly recommend that you contact the property and inquire about minimum age requirements.

Related: Guide to Rental Car Age Requirements (Under 25 & 21)

Minimum age for booking a reservation may vary by hotel

One thing to consider is that the minimum age for checking in listed in a hotel’s terms and conditions could be different from the minimum age required by a hotel under that chain.

For example, Hyatt’s terms and conditions state the following:

You may only use the Site if you are at least eighteen (18) years of age and can form legally binding contracts under applicable law. The Site is not intended for and should not be used by minors.

Hyatt then offers somewhat conflicting guidance in its terms when Hyatt states:

Generally, the minimum age to reserve a guestroom at Hyatt is 21 years old. However, this age may vary by hotel. Please check the specific policy of the hotel you plan to visit. A person of the minimum age requirement must be present at check-in and become a registered guest in the room.

This is illustrative of the different ways that hotel chains and brands deal with the age requirement and why it is so important to contact the individual hotel to find out their specific policy. Don’t rely solely on 1-800 numbers or even universal terms and conditions for your information.

Related: Why Do Hotels Ask How Many Guests are Staying in Your Room?

check-in desk
There may be age differences for booking vs checking-in.

Why is there an age requirement?

So you might be wondering why exactly is there an age cut off at 21 or 18 for some hotels? Well, there are a few reasons.

Legally binding contract

Believe it or not when you book a hotel room you are entering into a legally binding contract with the owners of the hotel. In consideration for your payment of the room rate you are receiving the room for a specified period of time along with any amenities that go along with it.

This poses an issue for people under the age of 18. That’s because entering into a contract with people under the age of 18 gets tricky as those contracts may not be valid or legally enforceable. The reason: minors are considered not legally competent to enter into contracts.

Essentially, a 17-year-old could book a room and decide to check-out without paying and a hotel may not have much recourse because the contract entered in with that minor is void or not enforceable.

For that reason, a lot of hotels require a guest to be at least 18 years of age in order to book a room and check-in.

This is not an issue for ages 19 and 20, since those individuals are legal adults. For those over the age of 18, typically there are two other concerns that lead to age restrictions: alcohol consumption and partying.


Some hotels offer alcohol that can be served up through room service. Or, in other cases the room may have a stash of alcohol in the mini fridge or in a wet bar. It’s not uncommon to find alcohol in hotel rooms in places like Las Vegas or at all-inclusive resorts.

In order to ensure compliance with the minimum drinking age in the US, some of these hotels may require guests to be 21 years old when checking in. If alcohol is only available at the bar in the hotel lobby, the age requirement might be more lax.

Related: Can You Bring Alcohol (Mini-Liquor Bottles) on Planes & Through Airports?


Let’s face it, a lot of people under the age of 21 lack the maturity that a hotel wants to see when renting a room. They may be more likely to damage or practically destroy a room by throwing the party of the century. This is why it is pretty common to see the minimum age of 21 in party cities such as those located in Florida like Panama City.

At the same time there are a lot of mature people under the age of 21 who could rent a hotel room like any other responsible adult.

For these people there may be a workaround.

Let’s say a well-dressed and mannered 18 year-old is trying to check-in and they have a credit card that matches their government-issued ID. The hotel may be much more likely to work with them because they can ensure a deposit on the card at the time of check-in and may not have concerns about the 18 year-old’s maturity.

But let’s say there is an 18 year-old trying to pay cash for the hotel room. That could end up being a major problem because it makes it a lot harder for the hotel to guarantee there will be a way to cover incidentals and potential damage to the room.

You might still be able to get by but chances are you will have to front up a pretty hefty cash deposit.

Some hotels that are really worried about partying may even jack up the age requirement to 25! Sometimes this might be a temporary policy that gets applied during known party times such as spring break.

Local laws

Some states or cities may have specific laws or ordinances that require a minimum age to check into a hotel.

beer pong cups

How can a minor check into a hotel?

Sign a guarantee of liability for the child

The best way for a minor to check-in to a hotel would be for the parent or guardian to contact the property and ask if they can work something out.

Specifically, consider bringing up signing a guarantee of liability for the child. This is an agreement between the hotel and the parent/guardian of the minor child staying at the property.

This makes the adult responsible for any damages caused by the minor. Sometimes, it also may place limitations on amenities that the minor can utilize such as room service. Ask the hotel about faxing in one of these forms or sending one in via email (lots of hotels have their own standard forms for these).

Some hotels may be open to this, especially if the booking is not taking place in a party location or during a party time such as New Years, Mardi Gras, St. Patrick’s Day, etc. Also, if there is no direct access to alcohol (even via room service) that would help your cause.

Military members

A point of controversy for the 21 year-old age requirement is military members.

For one, it seems illogical that someone would be old enough to fight for their country and put their life at risk but not old enough to simply check into a hotel.

It seems that some hotels make exceptions for military members under the age of 21 especially when they are in their military uniform or can present a military ID.

A lot of people want to avoid showing disrespect to military members at all costs so it is definitely worth asking the agent at the front desk if they can make an exception to the age requirement based on your military status.

Related: Comprehensive Military Airline Benefits and Discount Guide

Out of state/area young workers

If you are under the age of 21 and have an out-of-state ID your odds of being able to check-in might actually increase in some cases.

Usually, having an out-of-state ID raises more concerns of fraud but if you present a valid ID and credit card a hotel might be more willing to accept you provided that you are traveling on business.

The reason is they understand the type of inconvenience they would be causing to young business travelers and so they may be willing to accommodate you. (If you are perceived as a local then the hotel agent may be more likely to suspect you to be a kid just looking for a place to party.)

This out-of-towner exception will probably be more common at hotels known for catering to business travelers versus hotels known for being party hotspots. And again, your ability to convey maturity at check-in could dictate if the exception is made for you.

Parent adding child to reservation

Some people attempt to get around the age requirement by getting the parent to book the reservation and adding the child to the reservation. The minor then attempts to check-in and simply tells the hotel agent that the parent is “on the way” or some other type of excuse.

Reportedly, this can work better when the booking is made through an OTA such as Expedia but I can’t personally vouch for that method. Presumably, this would work better because some of those OTAs have a minimum age requirement for using their services.

If the minor were to show proof of booking (email receipt), perhaps a hotel would not focus on the minor’s age as much when viewing the ID.

This is an approach that is not guaranteed to work so I would not recommend going this route. But if you do go this route you need to make sure that the minor has both an ID and a credit card in their name. Without both of those the chances of this working go from small to nonexistent.

Checking in under the age of 18?

I’ve seen online reports of people being able to check-in at hotels at the ages of 16 and 17. After reviewing tons of hotels all over the country I have not seen any terms that would explicitly permit someone that young to check-in. (Hotels in other countries will probably be more accepting of guests under 18.)

If I had to guess I would say those cases involve generous hotel agents who felt that the 16 and 17 year-olds were mature enough to check-in. There may have also been extenuating circumstances as well such as a parent arriving at the hotel late.

I personally would not count on this working but it’s possible since in the terms and conditions of some hotels they state to contact the hotel if the individual checking in will be under 18.

Note: If you are a parent thinking about allowing your child to check in, remember that in many states you can be liable for property damage caused by the conduct of the child.

Unaccompanied minors

You might also be interested in finding out more information about unaccompanied minors which are minors flying on planes without adults.

The policies for each airline differ and they often have key distinctions in how they classify minors and how they allow them to fly. You can learn more about unaccompanied minors here.

Final word

Many hotels will require you to be at least 21 years-old to check in. Some properties may allow you to check-in at the age of 18 while others may even require you to be older than 21. That is why it is always smart to check the terms and conditions during the booking process and to also contact the hotel to verify their age restrictions.

Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables Review: Grand & Historic, Yet Charming

Part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection, the Hotel Colonnade at Coral Gables is a beautiful historic property that has a broad appeal to a range of different travelers.

It’s full of grand architecture features and has done a good job of implementing modern design while still preserving its roots.

Below, I’ll take you through a tour of the Hotel Colonnade at Coral Gables and show you what this charming hotel has to offer!

Hotel Colonnade history

Coral Gables is the product of George Merrick and its history dates back to the City Beautiful movement of the 1920s. Merrick drove the town’s development and turned a tropical wilderness into the city of Coral Gables, now known for its carefully planned development and strict zoning.

His taste for lavish design is evident in different buildings in the area as they embody the unmistakable Beaux Arts style which made its way into the US in the late 1800s at places like the Library of Congress in Washington DC and Grand Central Terminal in New York City.

The historic portion of the Hotel Colonnade was designed by architect Phineas Paist and was completed in 1926, meaning that this property is soon approaching its centennial.

Initially designed as the sales center for the community, after completion the building served a lot of different purposes ranging from a pilot training facility, a movie studio, and even a parachute factory during World War II.

Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables

Location: Miracle Mile of Coral Gables

The hotel has a great location along the famed Miracle Mile of Coral Gables. Restaurants, bars, and shopping spots fill the blocks just outside the hotel’s door steps making this a great place to get around on foot.

The Coral Gables Museum is just a couple of blocks away and the University of Miami is under 10 minutes away. Expect it to take you about only about 10 minutes to get from Miami’s airport (MIA). And if you want to head over to South Beach, it’s about a 25 to 30 minute drive.

If you like to stroll around and just soak in a city’s vibe, the tree-lined boulevards of Coral Gables are a perfect place to do just that.

Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables

First impressions

When I first entered the hotel I was immediately impressed by all of the beautiful interior features.

The grand staircases, shimmering chandeliers, and towering columns come together in a masterful way at this historic property.

It quickly became apparent to me why so many people like to have weddings and special events at this former Westin. It’s got some serious glam.

Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables interior
Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables interior

Some of the building caters to commercial offices like the rooms found in the stunning rotunda, which is complete with an indoor fountain in the middle.

Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables interior

If you look closely, some of the fine details will amaze you like these birds native to Florida that are found practically hidden in the molding atop the Corinthian columns.

Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables interior

The hotel is constantly connecting with members of the community and putting on special events like special art nights where they feature things like local art galleries. So before your stay, it might be good to check with the hotel to see what will be going on.

Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables interior


After marveling at some of the architecture, it was time to head upstairs to the check-in desk.

Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables
Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables  lobby

Two agents were attending to the check-in desks and everything went very smoothly for us.

Once again, I had luck with early check-in which was such a wonderful thing given how much traveling we had been doing.

We’d just arrived on a redeye flight from Santiago, Chile on AA’s 777 after spending a couple of weeks in South America exploring places like Easter Island. It was an amazing trip but we were running on E (empty, not the other type of E). So early check-in couldn’t have come at a better time.

The hotel issued us an entire suite of benefits which included free breakfast (via elite status), and then included in the $22 resort fee was: a $25 food and beverage credit, $15 Uber credit, two free citrus sangrias, and some additional perks like a complimentary bike rental.

We ended up putting all of those to use except for the bike rental. As fun as it sounded, we didn’t really have the time or energy and I didn’t notice bike lanes nearby which didn’t give me a lot of confidence considering it’s been a while since I’ve ridden a bike.

Tip: Make sure that you head to the right elevators when going up to your room. The elevators for the rooms are located to the left of the check-in desk (when facing the desk). There is another set of elevators but those are for the commercial tenants.

Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables lobby
Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables lobby

The executive bi-level loft

I don’t know what it is about bi-level hotel rooms but I’m just a major fan of them.

There’s just something so cool and charming about having a staircase in your hotel room and I’m always sort of a sucker for them.

So when I saw the executive bi-level loft I knew I had to go for it and I’m glad I did because it is such a beautiful room.

Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables bi level room

As soon as you enter the room, you’ll find a closet on the left with a hotel safe along with a branded robe and iron/iron board.

Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables bi level room
Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables bi level room

Then there’s a workstation which came with a couple of (non-complimentary) spring water bottles.

Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables bi level room

There’s a phone along with branded hotel stationary which I’m always a fan of.

I’ve really noticed that historic properties (especially recently renovated ones) tend to do a superb job with executing their branding and this hotel was no exception.

Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables bi level room

Next to the phone, there was this cool little outlet station with a handful of power outlets.

Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables bi level room

And finally, a large TV.
Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables bi level room tv

In the corner there was a chair next to the night stand and you’ll find outlets in the wall for your power needs.

Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables bi level room
Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables bi level room

On the other side of the bed there’s some outlets along with a round nightstand and an interesting light fixture hanging above.

Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables bi level room
Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables bi level room

Another thing I loved about the room was that it had some great views of Coral Gables from the 5th floor.

Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables bi level room
Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables bi level room view
Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables bi level room view

Downstairs a modern bathroom with a walk-in shower is situated next to a beautiful vessel sink with a good amount of counter space.

Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables bi level room bathroom
Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables bi level room bathroom

After getting a feel for the downstairs, it was time to explore upstairs.

These stairs are pretty steep so if you have issues with steep stairs, going up and down the stairs (especially at night time), could be an issue.

Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables bi level room stairs

Upstairs you’ll find a sofa with a coffee table and large TV. There is a family version of this loft that features bunkbeds on the second level which I think would be perfect for a family of four or five.

Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables bi level room
Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables bi level room

There’s also a full second bathroom upstairs, which once again would be good for families.

Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables bi level room
Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables bi level room

Just outside the bathroom you’ll find a sink, microwave, mini fridge, coffee maker, and some counter space along with some cabinets.

Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables bi level room
Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables bi level room
Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables bi level room mini fridge
Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables bi level room

The game room

The hotel has a game room downstairs that I thought was pretty interesting.

Inside you’ll find a foosball table, pool table, darts, and some other games.

This is definitely something you don’t often see at a hotel and so I appreciated the uniqueness (and swankiness) that went into this room. I also just enjoy when a hotel doesn’t take themselves too seriously.

Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables game room


Platinum elite members and above can get a free entrée and a free non-alcoholic beverage for breakfast.

We were able to partake in breakfast one day at Aragon Cafe and I was thoroughly impressed with the dining.

I wanted to try something different so I went with their breakfast tacos that had some different ingredients in it like pickled onions and it was such a good choice.

Brad also thoroughly enjoyed his meal, the Colonnade sandwich.

So if you have a breakfast perk from your status, I think you’ll be able to put it to good use here!

Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables dining
Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables food

For the other meal, we tried out the bar on the second level, where we cashed in the tickets for the food and beverage credit and citrus sangrias.

The hotels offers happy hour events where they offer things like discounted fresh oysters so you can check those out when you visit.

Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables bar
Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables bar
Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables bar

Both Brad and I were surprised at how good the fried chicken sandwich was and how well it hit the spot. Perfect food item to split when you’re not overly hungry.

Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables bar

The pool

The pool is located on the rooftop terrace where it’s lined with shady green cabanas and palm trees.

Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables pool

One unique feature about the pool is that they have pool side rooms.

I don’t recall seeing those type of rooms on a rooftop terrace before and I could see it being pretty fun if you were visiting with a group and rented all of those out. You could practically jump into the pool from your room.

Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables pool

Apparently the pool is due up for some renovations sometime soon but I honestly thought it was still a very nice rooftop pool area.

Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables pool
Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables pool

On the other side of the terrace there are chairs and tables set up with umbrellas. Perhaps this area is blocked off for certain events?

Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables pool

There’s also a nice viewing deck out there with great views. It was the perfect place to watch the sunset one night on a breezy evening.

Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables pool

Fitness Center

You’ll find a very well equipped gym at this hotel with a free weights section, multiple benches, workout station, and multiple cardio machines, including a couple of Peloton bikes.

With 157 rooms, the hotel had a good ratio of equipment to rooms so it shouldn’t be hard to find an open station during your workout.

Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables gym
Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables gym
Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables gym
Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables gym
Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables gym

Final word

I was a major fan of the Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables. First, it’s just a beautiful historic property that’s impressive to admire from both the outside and the inside.

We received great service during our stay and I thought the bi-level executive room was unique and charming. The dining and drinks were solid and made even sweeter with some elite benefits.

So I would definitely recommend this property especially for families and for others looking to put on special events, including weddings or even romantic getaways.

Kona Koa Lodge Review: Private Bungalow on Easter Island

During our time at Easter Island, we tried out a few different types of lodging.

We were drawn to the Kona Koa Lodge because it looked like it was a bit more of a remote and quieter experience than the hotels that we booked in town like the Hangaroa Eco Village & Spa. And I could not have been happier that we gave it a shot!

In total, we stayed four nights at the Kona Koa Lodge and this is how that experience went in this private bungalow!


I really loved the location of Kona Koa Lodge. It’s basically a 10 minute drive into town which isn’t bad at all and you only have to deal with bumpy dirt roads for a short portion of the drive.

Even though you are only 10 minutes away, it feels like you are much farther away because of the peacefulness. It’s pretty quiet too although the roosters and dogs definitely let their presence be known!

There are a few attractions really close to the lodge including the Mirador Hanga Kioe and Ahu Tahai — two outstanding places to watch the sunset. The museum is only a couple of minutes away and if you want to explore the caves they are also pretty close.

There’s also a really cool blowhole to check out nearby on the coast and if you want to find out more information about the spots, be sure to check out our in-depth Easter Island guide.

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The check-in experience began at the airport where we received leis once we exited.

There was a little bit of rainfall happening but as far as airport greetings go, this was definitely one of the more memorable ones!

The owner’s daughter, Fidji, helped us with our luggage and took us to her truck and then we were off!

We needed to make a quick pitstop to the market and so she took us through the market so that we could purchase some essentials.

It’s a great feeling to have a local pick you up and give you a quick tour of the city to help you get familiar with your new surroundings.

The bungalow

The property has a few different bungalows or cottages (whatever you want to call them) and we had a bungalow with a king bed. We found the bed to be pretty comfortable and enjoyed having outlets nearby.

Kona Koa Lodge
Kona Koa Lodge
Kona Koa Lodge

The bungalows they have built here are beautiful and I love what they did with the natural wood features. They definitely have a unique rustic charm to them.

Kona Koa Lodge

You’ll have your own little kitchen where you can put together breakfast every morning. The kitchen comes with a sink, some cooking and cleaning supplies, a stove top, and mini fridge. You’ll also have some cookware along with plates and cups.

Kona Koa Lodge
Kona Koa Lodge
Kona Koa Lodge
Kona Koa Lodge

You’ll also have some spices on hand.

Kona Koa Lodge

We ran through a crazy amount of water during our stay and luckily they did have filtered water for us. We still ended up purchasing a couple of large jugs because we knew how much we would be drinking and I’m glad we did!

Kona Koa Lodge
Kona Koa Lodge
Kona Koa Lodge

We had a little patio with a pretty good view of the ocean and because we were facing west we also had pretty good sunset views.

At the same time, all of the vegetation gives you a feeling of secluded privacy — not to mention the feeling like you’re in a lush tropical paradise.

Sitting out on the patio while a rain storm blows in from the ocean is the ultimate exercise in relaxation.

Kona Koa Lodge

There are shades you can pull down on the patio to block out the sun if it gets too warm.

Kona Koa Lodge

But make sure you pull them back up for sunset!

Kona Koa Lodge

I thought the bathroom was really well done as well. It’s got a good-sized window for ventilation and plenty of counter space along with a beautiful glass sink.

Kona Koa Lodge
Kona Koa Lodge

The shower is also very spacious. It’s pretty interesting how the water just drains through a whole but you should be able to get comfortable in the shower no problem with a small bench and even a port hole. We never had any issues with water pressure or temperature.

Kona Koa Lodge
Kona Koa Lodge

Now let’s talk about the internet situation.

When we visited, the lodge had recently installed Starlink and it was absolutely amazing.

We had a strong connection and I was able to get work done and even had a video call without any loss in quality — something I did not expect to be able to do on Easter Island.

Some of the pretty expensive hotels in Easter Island did not even have an internet connection this solid so it was a nice surprise and an underrated benefit!

Kona Koa Lodge


One of the nice perks about this lodge is that you can request breakfast.

You need to make a request the afternoon before so that it will be prepared but your breakfast will consist of: eggs (you cook them), bread, pastry, fresh fruit, and deli meats and cheese, along with milk and juice.

I really did love this breakfast and it’s a great way to start your day!

Kona Koa Lodge

Rental cars

We had our own rental car which was a four-door Suzuki and I really liked having that. I knew the tour guide would be accompanying us so having four doors made those full day tours a lot more comfortable.

However, if you want to rent your car through them you can ask about the Jimmy.

The only issue with the lodge…

So the area surrounding the lodge is beautiful, the bungalows themselves are lovely, and the service that you get from the owners is top notch.

The only issue, which can be a big one depending on your preferences, was the power situation.

I believe because the lodge is so sustainable, it doesn’t have enough electricity to power a fan through the night.

There is no ceiling fan inside the lodge and while the owners were gracious enough to give us a fan to use during the day, we were not able to power it through the night.

This may not have been a big deal during other times of the year but we were visiting during the hottest month of the year.

This made it very difficult to get comfortable at night because we were sweating so much. For people who keep their homes warm or who live in warm and humid environments, this may not be a big deal.

But for people like us who like to sleep in crisp conditions, it can be a major challenge.

If I could go back in time, I would have brought along a fan that could be charged via my computer. Or perhaps some other type of battery powered fan that I would not have to plug-in all night.

That would have made a huge difference!

Final word

I am a huge fan of the Kona Koa Lodge. The personalized attention was phenomenal and you really cannot ask for better service. It was great having a solid breakfast and I enjoyed the peacefulness of the location. If I could have just figured out the fan situation it would’ve been perfect but I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Kona Koa Lodge.

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