Hello! I am trying to book hotels for our family of four in Europe over the summer and seem to be running into problems booking one room for four people--it seems I get suggestions to book two rooms. There don't seem to be any options for more than one bed in a room, or at least one that is not a twin. Any suggestions? Am I missing something in the lingo. It's a fairly easy thing to do here in America but it seems to not be the norm there. I don't want to split us up and I don't want to pay for two rooms. We are traveling to Berlin, Munich, Venice, Florence, Rome, Paris and London. Thanks in advance for any tips!
It's generally not the norm. Nor will finding the odd hotel that does provide 4 beds in a room neccessarily save you that much money over purchasing 2 rooms, because hotels in europe tend to charge per bed/person to a greater extent than we do in the US. That said, try booking.com, as you can search by how many people you want in your room. You might be able to come up with something. Be sure and read the fine print though, sometimes a 3 or 4 person room on booking.com just means a cot in addition to the other beds.
Will you be at least 2 nights in each location? I have rented apartments in most of these cities (not Rome) which will give you the option of having more people in one "room". Booking.com is a good suggestion and you might also look at tripadvisor.com. If you are interested in apartments, then try vrbo.com. Do you mean summer, 2012? You will most likely have difficulty booking apartments within that timeframe.
"American style" rooms with 2 queen beds are hard to find, but "family rooms" with a large (double or queen) bed and 2 twins are not, at least where we have looked for them. Our family of 4 has stayed in family rooms at Hotel Uhland in Munich and B&B Casa dei Tintori in Florence. I'm sure people can suggest other options. Looking on booking.com or venere.com is a good suggestion; you can search specifically for 4-person rooms. In Paris, instead of a hotel, we rented an apartment from Vacationin Paris. this is an American company that has lots of apartments and rents them by the night. the minimum stay is 2 or 3 nights, but surely you are stayin gthat long in Paris? In Venice, try the apartment agencies such as Truly Venice and Views on Venice. You can brouse apaartments on th website. Or try venicerentals.com; they don't list the apartments but you email them your needs and they will find something appropriate.
andrea, yes, quads are in the minority, but they are available, at least in Paris, BUT many places may only have one or two quad rooms, so by now they are booked up for summer dates! There is a thread on tripadvisor.com that lists "quad rooms in Paris" .. with links etc.
Also ,I can suggest a few hotels,, they are not deluxe, but are clean and have a/c etc. Small rooms, decent staff etc. Rome-On a RS Family tour we stayed at the Selene which does have family rooms. Paris-Hotel Des Mines (I stayed here with my son in a double,, on a different trip my ex hubby stayed in a triple with one of our kids and his friend, and said it was fine but small)They do have quads.
For Berlin, try an apartment. I recently rented from Berlinhabitat.com and was happy with them. I think they have a couple of apartments that accommodate 4. For Paris, I have rented from vacationinparis.com and again was happy with them. How old are the children? If they are under 16 then you might try the Premier Inn chain in London. Kids under 16 stay free. Check this thread on tripadvisor which lists budget hotels and indicates ones that have quads: http://www.tripadvisor.com/Travel-g186338-c162572/London:United-Kingdom:Budget.Hotels.In.London.html In general, you may need to contact the hotel directly and tell them what your situation is (e.g. A family with two adults and two children ages x and y) and ask if they have something suitable.
Hi Andrea, We have travelled all over Europe with our 2 kids, now 12 and 16. I am also not comfortable splitting up the family! We leave next week for 3 weeks in Germany and Benelux and we have 2 dbl rooms in only one place. A few tricks I've learned: Never assume the website has all the info you need. Many European hotels are in old buildings with interesting room shapes that include all sorts of combinations! Email any hotel that interests you and ask what they have. I usually say something like, "We are a family of 4 people, 2 adults and 2 children. We would like a family accommodation such as one room, connected rooms, or family apartment. Do you have anything that would be good for our family?" I've found all sorts of awesome things this way. A few buzz words: Quad room: 4 beds in one room, or a double bed with 2 twin beds. Family apartment is a few rooms with assorted sleeping options and maybe even a kitchen. A hotel may have one of these and it is usually cheaper than 2 doubles-for more space! Maisonette or duplex room is usually a largish room with one big (parents) bed and then stairs up to a loft or smaller room with additional kid beds, usually with one bathroom. Also cheaper than 2 doubles and lots of fun to stay in! Extra beds: You must exactly how many people stay in each room. Not like the US where you can heap kids into the Holiday Inn. So some places will add beds to a particularly large double room if you just ask. The cost will depend on the age of your kids.
Connected rooms. 2 dbl rooms with a door in between or some other way to partition off the rooms. Can be very interesting! Sometimes they will give you a discount for the 2nd room since it's for children. Again, you have to ask!
A few specifics: Berlinlofts.com Super roomy apartments at reasonable rates for Berlin Lime Tree Hotel (RS rec) in London has a family room. Very popular, so it may be booked out for the summer. My personal fave find for this summer: Hotel Schloss Schaenke in Bautzen (near Dresden). 165E for 2 connected rooms in an ancient stone castle tower! (I had to do the booking in German though.) Casa Verardo in Venice. We were there in April a few yrs ago and paid 200E for 2 huge rooms with 2 bathrooms and a funky connecting entryway that tied it all together (hard to describe, but really great!) This is totally NOT listed on their website. You would have to get in touch and ask about the family accomodation. Prices may have gone up... One of our all-time favorites was outside of Lucca at Villa Albergo Marta. Again, 2 spacious rooms with their own little entry/connector, not at all indicated on the website, cheaper than 2 doubles. So if you decide to go through Tuscany, check it out!
You all have been an incredible help! I can't imagine doing this without your wonderful advice--at the very least, it would have been much more difficult! Thanks to you, I just booked my first hotel in Europe through Booking.com. I got an amazing price for a quad at Meininger Hotel in Berlin Mitte, which looks to be a chain there. I never would have thought to look on that site! I want to stay at more quaint hotels in other cities so I'm going to look at all the other locations that you all recommended for them as well! Berlin was our first stop so I feel like we are finally off to a start! Thanks again everyone!!!
With as incredibly busy our lives are, I'm lucky I've remembered to book this far in advance :) I did a great job booking a flight months ago but past some research and a creating a basic itinerary , life just got in the way. Actually, now that I know where to look, I've had no problems since then! Thanks again to all who provided helpful advice!
I'll disagree with James's assertion that "smart planners" book rooms far in advance. Some travelers prefer that approach, others don't. I can attest to the fact that even in summer, a family with five children can travel on either side of the pond with a great deal of flexibility in terms of where to stay.
I would have to agree that waiting to book last minute for the Europeon capitals and popular cities DOES limit ones flexibility , availability IS down, and prices of the places left are up,, so on that note I think Colleen is being a bit optimistic,, IF however one is very flexible in where they want to stay, for instance taking hotels on the outskirts of larger cities, or visiting smaller places ,, then perhaps its ok,, so James information points out the reality. That said, Andrea, I understand that many people are busy and don't get around to booking hotels till last minute, and also I think some people don't realize how booking last minute can make it a bit harder.
Enjoy your stay, happy you found some hotels!
Actually, Pat, traveling without an itinerary set in stone and reservations in place increases one's flexibility ~ you have to be more flexible. Which isn't to say reservations aren't a good idea, only that they often aren't a requirement. That's my experience, even with five children in tow.
In Munich, Hotel Uhland can accomodate with a room for 4 people.
In Paris, Hotel de la Cité de Rougemont has 4 people room.
Hi, Andrea. Your Berlin choice looks like a good location for you. I would like to recommend that you look at Oasis B&B on Lido island for Venice. My family of 4 stayed there and liked it very much. Lido is a separate island (with beaches) from Venice so you will have to take the water transit to/from other Venice sights, but it was where I stayed as a teenager and also my own kids. It remains one of our favorite choices.
Chantal, thanks so much. Hotel Uhland is booked for us!!So excited. And Kathy, I will check out Lido, that sounds really neat! We are now booked outside London as well, Premier Inn, another suggestion from you all. Looks like it will work since London was crazy with the Olympics being there the same time, LOL. It worked perfect for us since we are going to other places rather than just London. I think we have wonderful locations in Rome and Paris picked out so things are shaping up nicely! You all are wonderful!
Now I feel snubbed (sniff). I suggested Hotel Uhland 2 days ago! (just kidding). Where outside London is that Premier Inn? If you are looking for places with some charm, you might consider a B&B in Windsor instead. Frances Lodge has a family room for 150 GBP and great breakfasts! Windsor is right on the Thames, has a real castle, and is connected by train to many places west of London (and to London). Just a thought.
Oh Lola, don't feel snubbed--the reason why I went with it is several of you recommended it and they have been wonderful so far! I should've included you in the thank you :) I will definitely check out the B&B you are talking about. The Premier Inn is in Kings Langley. It didn't sound like anything else was there but we wanted to secure something and it was very close. We can cancel but at least we have something. The help is much appreciated!
I don't stay in large hotels when traveling for leisure in Europe, but... Someone mentioned "American Style" hotels...you actually can find many American hotels (not just American Style) with two doubles or other configurations that will work for four people. Check the web for all the familiar names – Marriott, Holiday Inn, Sheraton, etc. You'll find two doubles or something like a queen and sofa bed all in just one room at most of them...just like you have at home. You could also just check by brand – Starwood brands, Hilton brands, etc.
Oh no, I don't want to stay in an American style hotel--I don't want to be like at home--I'm in Europe :) I may have to stay in one but I'm trying to focus on locations that are not chains (minus the one I already booked in England that was an English chain, but I may change that.) Thanks, Michael!
OK, you are forgiven! Here are some more thoughts about Windsor vs. the Premier Inn in Kings Langley: Windsor, as I mentioned, is a lovely town on the Thames, upriver from London. Windsor Castle and grounds are there, and across the river is Eton with its famous school. There are paths along the Thames for walking, and pub, etc. for nice outdoor meals. Frances Lodge B&B is on a residential street about 5 minutes' walk from the castle and the town centre. The do a "changing of the guard" at 11 in the morning; not sure if it is every day but we saw it on a Tuesday. I have never been to Kings Langley so I can't compare, but I'm picturing a typical London suburb? Here are how the transportation connections into London compare: Windsor station to Paddington Station, 30 minutes with one transfer at Slough. Kings Langley to Euston Station, 28 minutes with no changes. Cost is the same for both (9 GBP) and travel time is the same. One thing I like to do when booking places is get on Google Maps, satellite view, and have a look at the surroundings. You might give that a try. http://www.franceslodge.co.uk/ Check out photos. Nice modern rooms, friendly atmosphere.
Kings Langley has a small train station where only local stopping trains between tring and Euston stop. It is semi-rural and has the Grand Union Canal running through. It is where the M25 goes overhead. You don't say if you will have a car or will be using the train. I'd advise a car if you are at the Premier Inn or want to see anything around other than the train line. Watford Junction has loads of trains and is one station closer. An extremely busy place there is a Holiday Inn Express 2 minutes walk to the Watford Junction station which offers rooms for 4 adults - double bed with double sofa bed. Parking free at night and weekends...
It IS hard to find a hotel room for a family of four but it can be done! We have stayed at the following hotels in the cities that you will be visiting: Munich - Hotel Exquisit. Spacious loft room for 4, great location, reasonably priced. Paris - Hôtel Longchamp Elysées. Cozy room for 4, great location in the Trocadero area, ac, reasonably priced. Rome - Hotel Forte - cozy room for 4, great location by the Spanish Steps, ac, reasonably priced. Good luck!
We have stayed in these quads at the following, my disclaimer being some were years ago, they weren't all perfect and my two daughters may have been sharing a bed Florence- Hotel Porta Rossa London-Holiday Inn Kensington Paris-Hotel la Bourdonnaise Venice-Locanda Montin
Nigel, thank you, that information was incredibly helpful. Lola, I am talking with Frances Lodge now and Angela, I will look into the Paris and Rome hotels. We are set in Munich. We have some leads for Rome and Paris but haven't booked yet. Venice is proving to be tough just because I'm trying to watch the cost! :) I think we'll end up on Lido but I'm not sure if that's the best thing for our first trip to Venice. We are only there one night.
Andrea, if you only have one night for Venice, you don't want to stay on Lido. It is a beach resort and nothing at all like Venice. Nice for a family if you are there for several days and have time to spare, but not for a one-night stay, especially if you are in transit between Munich and Florence. You can use Venere.com to find places with quad rooms. Hotel Belle Arti is a nice place in a great location near Accademia Bridge. Looks like their quad rooms are around 215 euros. And I saw some for less than that on Venere. You can see what is available and then check reviews in Tripadvisor or ask here. And if it still proves too expensive, you might consider skipping Venice and staying in Verona instead. We love Venice but I would not want to pay a premium price for a few hours there. How much time do you actually have? How are you getting there?
Lola, we will be leaving Munich that morning and traveling to Venice so expect to get to Venice around early afternoon, sight-seeing the afternoon/evening in Venice and maybe much of the next day. It looks like Florence is only about two hours away so no particular timetable. We are getting a car so we're on our timetable. I have been looking at Venere.com but will keep looking! I have no doubt we'll find something! I checked out Verona and it looks interesting! Karen, I have an email in to Locanda Montin to check on availability there and Angela, we have a reservation with Hotel Longchamp Elysees in Paris. The reviews were mixed but mostly positive. Looks like we can't beat the location. Thanks everyone!
Andrea, The Meininger Hotel in Berlin Mitte is about two minutes from Berlin Hauptbahnhof, exit the station and turn right, you'll see it right there. You've made a good choice in booking that one, esp from the point of convenience and public transportation. Meininger Hotel/Hostel is a chain in Germany and Austria. One term used in the lingo there is Mehrbettzimmer, ie., a room such as in a Pension that holds 3 or more beds.
I just wanted to let all of you know who were so generous with your helpful advice that I was successful in finding lodging in all locations--and I'm excited about each of the beautiful locations we will be staying at! The hardest one was finding an apartment in Paris. I had booked one of the hotels recommended but then our dates changed slightly and we are now staying four nights so I got excited about the idea of an apartment and I looked at dozens searching for the "perfect" one. I was driving my husband crazy! I'm very excited about the one I finally selected in the Marais District. And I think I got great deals at all locations, so thank you, thank you, thank you! Your advice meant so much to me! Hopefully once we return I will be able to pay back the favor by offering assistance to other travelers--though I've got a ways to be as knowledgable as all of you--but I'll have to just keep working on it with more trips!
Colleen,, a family of SEVEN ,,and you find travelling without reservations is easy,, thats at least two rooms in any hotel,, and one a triple and one a quad, and many hotels don't even have quads! I am impressed,,,seriously , what was your secret,, did you have a rental car and could find hotels further out of city centers,, or do you have a generous budget?
For Venice, try the BEST WESTERN Albergo San Marco Piazza San Marco 877, IT Venezia, 30124, Italy
Phone: +39 041 5204277. They are showing a best price of 166.50 euros for 1 queen, two twins, a family room. I know you don't want to stay at an "American style" hotel. However, it sounds like you are running out of options. The Best Western chain in Europe is of higher quality than here in the States. I have not stayed at this hotel, however, I have stayed at a Best Western in Milan which was a wonderful experience. Hope this helps. Have a great trip!