I have 300,000+ Marriott Rewards points, saving up initially for a nice trip to Hawaii with my spouse. I still might do that, but am also thinking it might be more fun to take my family to someplace overseas. I have a family of 5 (kids ranging in age from 10-16), and thinking Europe might be fun. This might be a wish and a prayer, but hoping Marriott Rewards can take the sting out of the cost. I'm not an expert on options using Marriott Rewards, so most of my searches for a location OUS (outside of US) only provide for one Marriott property. Honestly, I don't want to stay at one Marriott Property if traveling OUS, we want to travel, even if it's within the same country. I'm also guessing choosing hotels in various cities a la carte is the most expensive option. I would love to hear from other Rewards users who have taken their family overseas using Rewards points. Any suggestions on how to maximize/stretch Rewards points while visiting multiple cities? Thank you.
First of all, I love Michigan!
From some of the finest Marriott properties I have ever stayed at, including Dearborn Inn, Ypsilanti Resort, Benton Harbor CY, what a wonderful state.
Now to offer some ideas, remember that most European properties limit two people to a room. You can go through a lot of points with two rooms a night.
Here's what I would consider:
Fly to Paris, and start out with a stay in a large Villa at EuroDisney. You could relax and get all under one roof. Use the TVG to commute to Paris for as many days as you would want. You could also take the Eurostar from there for a Day trip to London, Southern France or Belgium. You could change hotels and might even want to consider a 2br suite at the new RI in Munich. Likewise, you may want to rent a van or station wagon and drive somewhere. You could easily drive to Switzerland, Monte Carlo, or?
Any of us, on the MI, will be glad to share specifics with you, once you have a better idea of where you want to really go! Let us know!
I've been working on putting together a family vacation this Christmas to Europe ( London- Venice- Rome) and have been playing around with using Marriott Reward points, Marriott Checks and paying cash for the last week. I have a spreadsheet that tracks it all as it can be confusing especially with some hotels GBP and some Euros and also placing a value on points usage. What I've found is that its almost impossible to put a family of four (or in your case 5) into one room- even suites are almost always intended for 2 and in some cases 3 persons only. I thought I hit on the jackpot with the London Mayfair International Vacation Residence, lovely old world style apartment hotel. Not cheap and doesn't participate in Rewards (cant use or accrue here) but with almost 1,000 square feet full living room and kitchen, 1 bedroom 2 bathrooms and a fireplace it looked perfect however they only allow 2 people max. So its either book two adjoining rooms which is OK but doesn't provide any gathering space or book a very large suite. Here is a run down of what I've looked into and the skinny
County Hall- great family location across form London Eye (Ferris Wheel) on the Thames but no suites large enough
St Pancras- fabulous remodel of grand dame hotel, you'd need to book a Grand Staircase suite which will probably be 1,000 per night
Grovesnor Square- this is the only hotel where a 1 bedroom suite can accommodate 4 ppl,
JW Marriott Grovesnor Hotel - No suites large enough
Grand Residences by Marriott-Mayfair London- as above you'd need a 2 or 3 bedroom which will be about 1,000 per night and no rewards
Its worse in Italy although the rates are less- surprise! and found a couple great hotels. In Venice The Boscola Palace and in Rome the Grand Hotel Flora. In both those cases we are doing 2 rooms.
I'm a meeting planner and travel almost 30% of my time staying in the greatest hotel all over the world. I love Marriott and the rewards system but for the London nights honestly I'm thinking of switching over to Park Plaza which has three great and very well reviewed hotels that cater to families and are a relative bargain for 1, 2, 3 bedroom apartment style hotel rooms- check it out. http://www.parkplaza.com/london.The Park plaza hotels are part of the Carlson Hotel group (includes Raddisson)
You can get in touch with Carlson and ask them to match your Marriott status and get those benefits
Hi Jerry- Thanks for your input, I did talk to someone on the Platinum line at length yesterday and honestly i felt like I knew more than she did, she basically went to her sources and read back to me the same info that I was reading online- perhaps I should give it another shot as the County Hall looks like a great family spot.
Contact the County Hall directly, with an email, or call directly. Try an email to one of the best Concierge, in the business. He can help direct you to getting your situation resolved in a positive way. Feel free to use my name as he and the hotel have been very good to me. I don't know if County Hall is the answer, but just express your honest situation and see what happens. email to email@example.com
Remeber, they are hours ahead of you so try late at night, so they have your needs, "Fresh"!
Here is a picture of Nic,
Good luck, and if I can be of help, in any way, let me know.
I would pick cities or locations that you are interested in exploring and have the hotels somewhere on the route between the locations. There are many partner Marriott brands in Europe so when you search do reduce the Advanced Search by picking a hotel by brand - look at all brands available. Currently there are 18 hotels in France, 20 in Italy, 58 in the United Kingdom and 79 in Spain. My choice to get more bang for your buck is to fly into London for a couple days, take the high speed train under the English Channel to Paris, stay there for two or three days (do not miss going to top of Eiffel Tower - no matter how long the lines are) and take the train to the French Riviera (one of my favorite places) which is a great relaxation, shopping, dining experience, casinos and beautiful views of the Mediterranean Sea. While there you can hop over to Monaco and see the palace and city for a day and either depart from Nice airport to connect to a flight back to the states or continue to Florence or Rome for a flight back to the states depending if you are ready to come home after 7 days or want to stay to see the most beautiful Coastlines of Italy (simply amazing views). That is a trip that I have done. The other trip was London for 2 days - Train to Paris- Paris for 3 days - Overnight Train to Spain and relax in Barcelona for 3 days on the Mediterranean Sea and then fly out of Barcelona back to the states. I will reply again with the hotels........................Enjoy your planning!!!!!
Loved both of these and was able to maximize my visit to various locations and head home due to use of trains and Metros instead of renting cars. Tour companies will pick you up at your hotels. http://www.eurail.com/home Ciao - Kristy
Explore and Plan LInk **This has so many things to review prior to committing to the trip including sights, local events, restaurants, nightlife etc.........................
Marriott also has Timeshare resorts that are Full On (fully furnished) apartments with everything down to silverware and dishes if you decide to take that route. Kristy
Perfect - - I loved that and is a MUST SEE in Monaco!!! I also enjoyed the Le Musée Océanographique (The Oceanogrphic Museum) ,
Monaco Ville = The Old Town. The rocky promontory overlooking the Principality. This is where the Palace, the Oceanographic Museum, the Cathedral and most of the State buildings are located. You get fantastic 360º views of Fontvieille, the Port, Monte Carlo and beyond.
You can stay at Marriott close by as well........................
Port de Cap d'Ail · Cap d'Ail, 06320 France
Having stayed there a number of times, and always got a free upgrade. The Professor seemed to have a rough time there (I think?), but they have really been good to me.
Here are a few photo's you may enjoy! This is a great place to dine, " Le Saliere"and just a short walk past the "Heli port" from the Marriott. Here is a picture of the Marriott shot from the Med. Sea.
You got me in the mood to start planning my next jaunt - - I love the French Riviera, Monaco and the Western Coast of Italy (pretty much all the way to Sorrento, Italy). Much appreciated. I will try to find some pics to post myself when I get a chance.
Kristy (*Did I spell that right? haha)
Wow Jerry/Lisa/Kristy! I have truly enjoyed reading through all of your suggestions and ideas, I really appreciate the help!! This gets me fired up about looking further into making this happen. I figured Europe would prove difficult from a large-space standpoint, as I know we're spoiled here in the US regarding hotel rooms/suites specifically for accommodating larger families. But I'm encouraged by some of the options I read. Posting pictures isn't making this any easier, as I want to do it all! I'm tempted to look at switching careers to become a meeting planner, or at least wonder if Lisa needs a personal assistant, LOL! If any other ideas come to mind, please continue to post. Hopefully one day I can return the favor, or pass it forward.
We totally would like to hear back the options you came up with and if they worked when you get done planning. Enjoy the trip. Mix it up a Marriott cocktail with a shot of Rick Steve's Europe Rick Steves Europe: Tours, Trip Planning, Travel Guides & Information
You will totally love his guides. I use them when I travel and between Marriott and trip guidance, you are sure to not miss things you want to see most!!!! Enjoy.