Hotwire Hotel: Washington DC with family

By mommydi,

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What a great forum, but I'm a little overwhelmed.

My biggest question is this : we have 3 children - ages 7,11 & 13.

I don't want to have my "tweens in a separate room.

I'm fine with a sleeping bag on the floor for the youngest.

Has anyone ever exceeded 4 per room?

Any suggestions?

Best to book through Priceline or Hotwire?

Also, we want to take the kids to DC for the 1st time.

Our main goal is to see Smithsonians and some monuments.

Having never been to DC, not sure how easy getting around is.

My first choice is White House area, but what other areas should I consider?

Thanks for any help/suggestions!

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Welcome to the site. :)

A main issue with PRICELINE is that it does not guarantee more than 1 bed. This holds especially true in major cities (such as DC.)

HOTWIRE does guarantee bedding for the entire party, although that can possibly mean 1 bed + 1 sofabed (most likely 2 beds, but it can be 1 + 1.) If you have 5 in your party, then it would be advised to not make that obvious at check-in; have an adult and one of the kids wait outside or something along those lines.

What would be your desired budget per night for hotel?

Please use the site's HOTWIRE link to start your purchase and let us know any questions you may have.

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For that reason Priceline seems best, but worried about extra kid and one bed would be hard.

The question remains. Are you willing to take the risk with getting one bed for you and the 11 & 13. Or would you like to go with HOTWIRE and search for a room that guarantee the amount of booked guests. Or would you like to go with PRICELINE?

Sorry about asking again but you seem a bit unsure in your post. I just want to make sure that you do the right thing before you book a non cancellable room.


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Although there are always risks with PL, for me, the savings way outweigh the risks, so I always prepare myself for worst-case scenario before I bid...

Problem 1: We get one room with one bed for 4 people.

Solution: We purchased an inflatable queen-sized bed and pump at Wal-mart for about $25 as well as 400 tc cotton sheets at Ross for $18. They are always on the packing list and in the van if necessary (only used once when we turned down 2 doubles in order to get a king!). Note: most hotels have extra pillows and don't charge for them as they might for a rollaway, so I don't bother packing pillows. Also, this problem is highly unlikely in an area that has many single, business-type travelers... most room requests are FOR single beds!

Problem 2: We get two rooms, but they're not connecting, adjoining, or even on the same floor.

Solution: If rejected for all three requests here (I think very rare), my hubby and I would split the kids between us... in your case, one adult plus 2 kids in one room, and one adult plus 1 kid in the other. There are many benefits to having 2 rooms besides the bed issue; remember you'll get 2 Tvs, and especially, 2 BATHROOMS which will cut your shower time for everyone in half.

As for your DC-specific questions, I think the most convenient area to the Smithsonians is CC/CH. You will probably pay a small fortune ($20+) just to self-park at a hotel in DC, so make sure you include that in your budget. You will usually find lower accepted bids with lower parking rates in areas like Arlington and Crystal City. Keep in mind that you may get a hotel without a pool. I let my kids know that up front and remind them of the purpose for this trip... we'll be having lots of fun seeing all the stuff in the museums, etc., so we probably won't miss having the pool.

Keep in mind that DC is an urban area, and there are shady-looking characters everywhere.... if this concerns you, again, consider the business-area suburbs included in the zone such as Arlington and Crystal City. The one zone I would avoid is Dupont/Woodley Park/Adams Morgan due to several factors. However, if that was the only area I could get a successful bid in, I wouldn't let it keep me from going either!

DC requires a ton of walking. Metro (subway) helps, but pace yourselves carefully. Prioritize the sites as you can't see them all. Consider splitting up the walking-intensive part of your vacation with a side trip to the National Air & Space Museum's Udvar-Hazy Center at Dulles Airport. Call the office of your representative or one of your senators YESTERDAY so that they can help you plan, sign up for WH tour if you like... definitely accept their offer of a tour of the Capitol.

Cheap eats: Potbelly's (cool sandwich and milkshake chain) and anywhere Congress eats (I like the variety and prices at Longworth Office Building Cafeteria-- it'll be the best cafeteria food you've ever eaten; also, the Senate Dining Room at Dirksen Office Building is fabulous and includes yummy ice cream for dessert). Make sure you check tripadvisor for ideas on sites and restaurants. The DC on Foot tour used to be #1 and it's free (tips only); we went and highly recommend it, esp. for the kids!

One more tip: I always try to keep cheapo breakfast and snack foods in the room: cereal bars, individual applesauce cups with plastic spoons, bread, peanut butter, Pringles, a case or two of bottled water, etc. If driving, stock up at a Wal-mart or something well outside of DC.

I'll end my manifesto here. Happy travels!

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When I look up 2 adults/2 kids for these dates, there's a 3* in the South of Plaza area for $99, with the amenities: fitness, business, restaurant, internet, which would be a likely match for the L'Enfant Plaza.

If you do not mind staying in an area a bit further out, there is a 3.5* for $59 in the Bethesda-Silver Spring area with fitness, business, internet, pool and restaurant, which would be a likely match for the Hyatt.

Please use the site's HOTWIRE or PRICELINE links and feel free to ask if you have any questions.

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  • 1 month later...


I'm curious why you say you would stay away from Dupont/Woodley Park/Adams Morgan area? We are just beginning a hotel search for our family of 4 and that's where we were thinking of trying. We will most likely PL and are hoping to get the Residence Inn for bigger room size and the breakfast. We thought there were only 3* in Dupont but it looks as though Courtyard has been upgraded to a 3* from 2.5*. Hmmmm what to do?

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Two comments...

1) sicne PRICELINE only guarantees double occupancy, it's a risk to use PRICELINE for more than double occupancy, especially in large cities where space is at a premium. Many sich city hotels will have a high percentage of rooms with only one bed and the hotel may be unable, or unwiling, go give you a room with two beds (in these situations HOTWIRE can be a better option as they allow you to search for up to quad occupancy)

2) keep in mind that even if there is only one hotel at a given star rating, the hotel list only has hotels reported to the board, there could always be others. As well, the star rating you select is the minimum that you are willing to accept, so you could also be upgraded to a higher rated hotel

Once you're ready to move forward please start a NEW TOPIC for your own stay.

Please use these PRICELINE and HOTWIRE links to begin your travel purchases.

Please use this HOTWIRE and these PRICELINE LINKS: HOTELS, CAR RENTALS, and AIRFARE to begin your travel purchases

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