I surprised myself the other day when I realised that I had never written about the Sheraton Family Package. This is despite booking them in the past and being about to book another in Milan. Let me correct that today.
One problem with having a couple of children is that the cost of hotel rooms shoots up. You can usually find a room that will accept three but four is a lot trickier. You often end up in a Junior Suite – as we had in Stockholm recently – or more often two separate rooms, with a parent and child in each. You may occasionally get these to connect but you would be crazy to rely on it, irrespective of what the hotel promises you.
Two rooms isn’t cheap, of course. Sheraton can help, with the Sheraton Family Package rate.
This appears automatically at participating Sheraton hotels when you search for two rooms. It is very simple:
you book one room at Best Flexible Rate
you get the 2nd room for 50% off Best Flexible Rate
kids under 12 eat free during your stay
If you were going to book a refundable room anyway then this is a good deal. If you were prepared to book a cheaper non-refundable room then you need to do the maths and it may not make sense.
Let’s look at the Sheraton in Zurich for a weekend in April. This is a very pleasant, funky and new hotel, albeit outside the city centre – but a tram stop is literally outside. We stayed there two years ago.
Non-refundable rate (SPG members): CHF 170
Flexible rate (SPG members): CHF 222
Flexible rate: CHF 234
Family rate: CHF 234 for the first room, CHF 117 for the second
The Family rate will cost you a total of CHF 351 per night for two rooms. In this case, it is a worse deal (by CHF 11) than booking two non-refundable rooms at CHF 340 per night.
On the other hand, I’d happily pay the extra CHF 11 per night to have full flexibility, just in case my plans changed or – more likely – room rates dropped nearer the date of stay. If you needed to book a Flexible rate then the Family rate saves you CHF 104 per night.
Let’s try the Sheraton at Dusseldorf Airport where I have also stayed on this deal. For the same weekend:
Non-refundable rate (SPG members): €95
Flexible rate (SPG members): €133
Flexible rate: €140
Family rate: €140 for the first room, €70 for the second
Again, this is a good deal if you need a Flexible rate. The cost for two rooms drops from €266 to €210. If you happy to commit to a pre-paid rate, it is a worse deal – €190 per night for a non-refundable rate is €20 cheaper than the Family Package. I would probably still take the €210 rate however as insurance against plans changing or room rates falling.
So …. the Sheraton Family Package rate is not a guaranteed winner, unless you are the sort of person who books Flexible rates. It is always worth pricing up, however, to see how it compares.
PS. One advantage of this rate is that you do increase the chances of getting connecting rooms, although nothing is ever certain
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