Vote of the week: How much money is too much for a hotel room?
How much is too much for a hotel room?
That's the question everyone budget-conscious traveler faces when planning a theme park vacation. Sure, we'd all love that suite overlooking the park, with 24/7 concierge service, front-of-the-line access to all the rides and shows in the park, and all local transportation on demand. But those rooms cost a lot of money. Too much, for most families.
It can be pricey, but enough Theme Park Insider readers considered it a great value that the Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando won our Theme Park Insider Award as the world's best theme park hotel last summer.
So how high can you go on a nightly hotel rate? What's the point at which you have to say, "I don't care how great the facilities and amenities are, I can't afford it."
You can find "Value" resort rooms on-site at Walt Disney World for under $100, but you'll probably end up paying more than $100 a night once you add taxes and fees. You almost always have to go over $200 a night, after tax, to find on-site rooms at either Universal Orlando or the Disneyland resorts. If you have to travel during school vacations, you'll often need to pay still more. But parks deliver a wide range of services and amenities for travelers who can pay higher nightly rates. Willing to pay $1,000 a night? You can find some really sweet accommodations, at pretty much any theme park, at any time of year.
Of course, most families can't pay that. Many can't afford, or just won't pay for, on-site location and amenities during the time of year when they can travel, so they look for lower-priced, off-site accommodations. But even off-site, you've still got trade-offs to consider: distance from the park, size and quality of the room, availability of parking, dining and airport access, whether you're a member of a loyalty program, etc. Considering all those factors, you try to get the most value for your money.
...Up until a point — that price per night when you can't pay more. And if you don't find the value you need for that price, you don't take the vacation. At least, not to that destination.
So let's talk about your financial breaking point for hotel rooms. How high are you willing to go on nightly rates? For this vote, let's consider the final price per night, including taxes, fees, and all the other costs a hotel tacks on to your bill at check-out.
We've offered a range of prices here, but tell us your specific cut-off, in the comments, if you'd like. What's the best deal you've found for a hotel on a theme park vacation? Where's your go-to option for value when you want to visit your favorite park?
For more: Rate and review on-site theme park hotels from around the world.
We just don't spend enough time in our hotel room during a theme park vacation to warrant paying more than $100/night. In fact, since we normally travel to Central FL during non-peak times of the year (October/November), we typically try to target $50-75/night. When you factor in discounts or free dining promotions, we have even been successful at coming close to that $50/night number at Disney hotels when factoring in the savings that the discounts and promotions offer (along with free parking).
We stay off-site 90% of the time and rent a condo or house for $500-1000 a week. I love having a place to come back to that everyone can relax and chill. We have stayed on-site a few times. While it's been nice to be close to everything, it's just not as nice as having everyone in their own rooms, own bathrooms, tv, etc. And all that for less than a hotel. Greater value (for us) at a much cheaper price.
The last 2 times we have gone to WDW we have stayed off-site in a condo. We just find it more convient overall, as each of our boys has thier own room and if the youngest wants to go to bed he can and eveyone else con continue to watch tv, review pictures taken or what have nad not disturb his sleep.
There's kind of two sides to this coin for us. It costs SO much to travel to the mainland from Hawaii that much of our vacation budget has already been spent on airfare, so for our long term stays (6 nights at Disney World in 2012 for example) we have no choice but to go budget. We loved our stay at Pop Century, by the way, but in all fairness, our family is not that hard to please.
My family generally doesn't pay more than about $150 for a hotel room, but we will make a rare exception for a hotel that offers a special experience, like the Legoland California Hotel, up to around the $300 price range.
I try to get under $150 because most of my vacation is spent far away from my hotel room. I'll spend more for convenience (i.e. staying on WDW property) but not so much for luxury rooms.
Every time I visit Orlando I always find a hotel that is within 2 miles of Universal. Because the hotels are usually cheap within 40 to 60 dollars a night. I stayed at the Holiday Day Inn that was just right across from Universal one year, it was an excellent room but I came back to the room just to sleep and relax after being in the parks all day. I would love to stay at any of the on-site hotels Universal has. But I would never ever pay over 200 dollars just to spend one night there. I make good money at my job but not enough to blow alot of money on a hotel room like that. But that's just my opinion.
Considering the Royal Asante at AK Lodge can bring in up to $3000 a night during peak season, other on-site hotels seem cheap by comparison.
I always stay on the cheap side of prices since, like others, I usually use the room for sleep and showering. Almost never care about pools or spas or on-site restaurants.
$60 is pretty much my cut-off. I'm just visiting regional parks, and I always find something around or less than that price. I'll move up to $70-75 in an "emergency" like I had at Cedar Point a few years ago. If I can find a Motel 6, I'm golden. It's a place to sleep and kill time when necessary. As long as I have the three B's..Bed, Bath, Bowl, it's all good.
What's the point of this survey?
Why does there have to be a point? It is what it is. He was probably just curious, so he asked the question.
I'm paying 400 something a night for AK lodge. This is my daughters first trip to WDW and i decided to make it the best i could at this time. So she will remember this for a life time.
Its not really about can or cant, in my case, Yes I can stay at animal Kingdom , no problem. But as previous posters said, we spend so little time at the hotel. Its just stupid to pay 300 dollars a night, when you leave at 7am in the morning to go to the park and come back around 10 or 11.
I voted under $200, but I make an exception for the universal on-site properties, which, for a two nights at the $200-$300 dollar range, get you three days of early admission to Harry Potter and front of line access to most rides for up to five adults. That is a huge vacation game-changer, and worth the extra money. If you bought the express passes separately and stayed in a $60 hotel room, you would spend nearly the same amount, and you wouldn't get the benefit of being on-site.
My cut-off is 150. Comfort Suites Maingate East in Kissimmee is my favorite hotel; I always pay less than 100 a night, and it's close to Disney World.
I've done up to $189++ at Royal Pacific at Universal. I don't love it, but it comes with a lot of perks (onsite location, can walk/boat to theme parks, express pass, I can bring my dog to the hotel...). But I'll NEVER, EVER consider a Disney value resort again -- got bed bugs at the music one once and that was the end of that!!
The question was phrased as how much would you EVER spend on a hotel room?
I agree with many of you that it's difficult to see paying more than $200 per night for a room that all you're going to do in is sleep in and take a shower.
That's the advantage of DVC
We have stayed at the Contemporary Resort and Animal Kingdom Lodge once each for something different but normally we try to spend under $100 per night because we just can't afford anything else.
I'm staying at the Royal Pacific one of the universal on site hotels... The benefits out weigh the cost especially next year when they open up diagon alley, I'm expecting huge crowds like in 2010 but my family will be on easy street going to the parks an hour early and when the Harry thing fills up we go enjoy everything else with a fast pass that we can use multiple times. Even if you are going to purchase the fast pass at the front gate it only allows you to use it once a ride whereas the on-site you can use it for multiple re rides on that ride. For me I would rather save my money and take a vaca where whether its crowded or not doesn't effect my or my families happiness. That's why I'll save up to go on a nice vacation every few years for expensive things like rooms rather than then go on econo vaca twice a year. It's all a personal preference. I see a vacation as a getaway from my day to day lives so to lessen the waiting, grumpy people, arguing, and strollers I choose to stay onsite. The freedom outweighs the cost.
After buying a timeshare, I am spoiled by good quality and spacious rooms (1 or 2 bedroom suites). Mere hotel studio suites are not good enough. The exception are the hotel rooms at Las Vegas, but you know that the casinos are subsidizing the rooms. The Orlando rooms are still pretty cheap for the location. I find it amazing that rooms are easily had for under $100. This is more difficult here in California where good rooms are $100 minimum near the resorts, but that's if you don't mind a "quality" inn for around $60 further away.
On any vacation, especially theme parks, we want to be out there doing stuff and don't spend much time in the room. Most of that time is spent sleeping. Hard to justify spending much at all.
I chose up to $300 for what my family is willing to spend if we are on vacation. If I'm traveling by myself or if it's a business trip, I try to find the cheapest room available but if I am vacation I enjoy having a nice place to come back to.
I can see a scenario where paying more than $200 a night would be worth it to have close proximity to a theme park or other perks. However, I've been good with paying much less and having a large condo just a few minutes away. I don't get paying the crazy prices that Disney charges for some of their resorts ($500+), especially when they're just pretty basic rooms. I guess as long as people will pay the money...
One aspect of the situation that many people overlook is that some folks are "night" people. My wife is one of them, and she typically doesn't wake up until 10 AM. So when we're on a theme park vacation, we try to stay in one of the onsite hotels at the higher rate, and my son and I will hit the roller coasters while she's still snoozing. Later on, when she's up and ready to go to the park, we'll hit the milder stuff.
I usually aim for a cutoff of $70/night. I absolutely will not pay $100/night for a hotel room. No amenities are worth that to me. As the old Motel 6 commercial said, every hotel room looks the same when you're asleep.
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