Travel is universal. We all travel somewhere, some of the time. It doesn’t even have to be far from home – as long as you find yourself staying the night in a different place, in a different bed, that is travel.
But family travel with kids is a distinct type of travel that comes with so many demands that solo travelers and couples just don’t have to deal with. I should know because we travel all the time with our kiddos. And as a family travel writer, I think about these things a lot.
For one, keeping kids comfy and entertained while away from home is hard. Making sure they are safe and secure is a constant challenge that is always on your mind. And finding a way to afford the cost of family travel with a bunch of kids can be daunting.
That is why hotel amenities like a free breakfast buffet, pool, late check out, free parking, on-site restaurant or convenience shop, roll-away or fold-out beds, empty refrigerators, and space (yes, literal empty square footage) can be such a life-saver for families traveling with kids.
Enter Best Western® Hotels & Resorts
As you know, it can be hard to find that perfect hotel that “has it all” in every place you visit. And for whatever reason, some cities just have better hotel options than others.
But one thing we’ve learned traveling on multiple road trips across the country with kids is that we have come to trust and depend on Best Western® Hotels & Resorts to deliver the goods. And more often than not, we have been completely satisfied with our stays at BW properties.
In this article, I will explain 5 concrete reasons why Best Western® Hotels & Resorts has become our go-to hotel chain while traveling with kids. I will also share some personal stories about our favorite BW experiences over the years to help inspire your next family trip.
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These are my top 3 BW hotels ever
BW Plus Hacienda Hotel
Gorgeous hacienda-style hotel in the heart of Old Town San Diego, CA.
Read our review
BW Plus Inn of Williams
A charming hotel off Route 66 and at the gateway to the Grand Canyon.
Read our review
BW Plus Windsor Hotel
A historic Victorian hotel located in the heart of Americus, Georgia.
Read our review
About Best Western® Hotels & Resorts
First I think a brief introduction to Best Western® Hotels & Resorts is warranted so you understand what it is (and what it isn’t). Best Western® Hotels & Resorts is a global family of hotels. Global because you can find Best Western affiliated properties in almost 100 countries and territories, and family because BW is actually comprised of 16 different hotel “brands”.
The most common BW brands you’ve probably seen driving on almost any interstate highway in America are “Best Western” and “Best Western Plus”. The difference between these two is that BW is considered mid-scale and BW Plus is considered upper mid-scale with upgraded furnishings and amenities.
We tend to prefer Best Western Plus properties (see reason #3 below) because the price tends to be similar, and because there is a higher likelihood of finding an unexpected perk at BW Plus hotels. For example, when we arrived at the BW Plus Inn of Williams after a long day of driving on Route 66, we were greeted with live music from a friendly local musician, a great meal at their on-site steakhouse, and a cozy fire pit on their back patio to relax with the kids.
Good luck finding all that at a Holiday Inn Express!
One of the cool things we’ve realized, too, is that each Best Western hotel is independently owned and operated, often by local families and business people. This allows BW hotels to actually maintain their individuality, instead of conforming to a strict, uniform corporate identity like you see in other places.
And since Best Western® Hotels & Resorts is a member-based organization, being a part of the Best Western family allows these local hoteliers to offer BW Rewards and have access to a broad customer base through Best Western® Hotels & Resorts’ global booking system.
In return, BW also does a lot to support it’s members – as recently as 2016, BW invested 2 billion dollars in improvements and renovations across its North American properties including upgrades to lobbies, guest rooms and amenities.
For customers, this all ensures that each BW hotel in every city lives up to the high standards of service, quality, and amenities promised by the global Best Western® Hotels & Resorts brand. It’s win-win all around.
5 Reasons we love Best Western® Hotels & Resorts
1. They’re family-oriented!
You’ve seen the commercials. Best Western® Hotels & Resorts markets specifically to families with children, and for good reason. According to Renee Larson, Marketing Specialist for Best Western® Hotels & Resorts, data from 2018/2019 shows that while couples still make up a majority of visitors to BW properties (48%), families with children make up 14% of visitors, which is more than those that travels with friends/alone (13%).
As a standard, BW hotels offer many different services and amenities with families in mind. One of the features we love the most is that a majority of BW Plus hotels that we’ve stayed at provide free continental buffet breakfast.
This is a real life-saver because a) it saves us money, b) it saves us time in the morning, and c) it caters to the picky needs of each person in our family.
While specific breakfast items vary by property, a large majority have the staples: eggs, toast, protein (bacon/ham/sausage), fruit, oatmeal, yogurt, muffins, waffle iron, cereal, milk and assorted juices.
We’ve also learned that even if the BW Plus hotel doesn’t offer free breakfast near the lobby, they at least have an on-site restaurant that serves breakfast.
Other family-friendly features we appreciate about Best Western hotels are that many have pools with hot tubs, a convenient laundry facility, and kids always stay free (no extra charge for kids 12 and under).
Oh, and one more thing. Because BW hotels tend to be both budget and family-friendly, you will find comfort in the fact that a lot of other families will be staying there too.
What I’m saying is you won’t get eye-rolls like you would at the Ritz when your kids start acting like kids.
I think you know what I’m talking about. Anyhow, on to number 2…
2. They’re budget-friendly!
From our experience, Best Western branded hotels tend to present a great value in comparison to other hotels, especially in big city areas. They are much nicer and have way more standard features than lower budget motels and hotel chains like Motel 6, Travelodge, Red Roof Inn, and Days Inn.
In fact, the free family breakfast alone at Best Western typically saves us more money by comparison to staying at these cheaper alternatives.
The real competition with Best Western® Hotels & Resorts are other upper mid-scale hotel chains like Holiday Inn, Courtyard, Hilton Garden Inn, Radisson, La Quinta, etc. But even by comparison to these hotels, I feel that Best Western Plus tends to be about the same price or less. Of course, there is variability from city to city, so this is not a hard-and-fast rule but simply an observation we’ve made over time.
Finally, (and I talk about this more at reason #4 below) Best Western® Hotels & Resorts has the best hotel loyalty program around. In short, your points never expire and they can be redeemed at ANY of the 4,000+ hotels worldwide without blackouts.
Another thing to note is that they email frequent deals and promotions to save even more money (and rack up more points)! We’ve taken advantage of these promotions in the past, for example, for a quick weekend getaway to Old Town San Diego, and have found that they are straightforward and easy to redeem with no strings attached.
3. They’re authentic & distinct!
As history lovers, one of the cool things we’ve noticed is that every BW hotel is unique and often reflective of a city’s local history and culture. In comparison to other hotel chains, the interior and exterior styling of BW hotels is much less uniform and more unpredictable (in a good way).
You wouldn’t know it, but there is this gorgeous Victorian hotel in the middle of Georgia called the Windsor Hotel. We stayed there one night during our road trip and took the kids on a little ghost hunt (you can watch the video on our YouTube Channel HERE). Well, it’s a Best Western Plus hotel.
And how about the Spanish-Pueblo style of the Inn of Santa Fe, NM, or the breezy art-deco feel of Las Brisas in Palm Springs, CA? Both are Best Western Plus hotels.
As you can clearly see, every Best Western Plus hotel is different. Some are historical. Others are modern. But we’ve come to appreciate that all of them reflect the local culture in various, and sometimes unexpected, ways.
4. They’re rewarding!
If you didn’t already know it, then you now you do. The Best Western® Hotels & Resorts Rewards Program is generous to frequent travelers. Their loyalty program has consistently ranked by U.S. News and World Report as one of the top 5 in the hospitality industry, scoring their highest marks for the “ease of earning a free night”.
Here is a list of features we love about the BW Rewards program:
As an example of how the points work, you will earn 10 points for every $1 spent on hotel stays (NOTE: you must book directly through Best Western, not 3rd party booking sites, to earn points).
-> Hot Tip: You can also accrue points even more quickly by applying for the Best Western Rewards Mastercard.
The cost in points for booking a free night varies, of course, by location and time of year. A free night in the big cities of Los Angeles, New York, or Las Vegas will run you about 20k-36k rewards points, whereas a free night in Charlotte or Houston will cost about 16k points.
Doing a bit of quick math on the back of my envelope here, it seems you can score a free room in most big cities for every $800-$1800 you spend on Best Western hotel stays. This is a rough estimate, but you get the picture.
Best Western also has frequent brand-wide promotions with opportunities to save money, no matter where you’re planning to visit in the world.
You can check the most up-to-date list of discounts and promotions on the Best Western website.
Finally in case you didn’t know it, Best Western offers discounts of 10-15% off standard rates for the following groups:
- AAA members
- AARP members
- Military and Government employees
- CAA members
5. They’re Everywhere!
As I already noted, Best Western® Hotels & Resorts is a global brand with 4,000+ hotels all across the world, including a high density in cities all across the United States. In fact, this is what makes Best Western such a great option for families like ours who like to plan frequent road trips around the country.
It seems that in just about any city we pull our minivan into, we can count on finding a Best Western Plus hotel that meets our family’s needs at a fair price.
Not only that, but we’ve often found that BW hotels are built in some really great or interesting locations.
For example, The Hacienda Hotel is located smack-dab in the heart of one of our favorite places in the world, Old Town San Diego, CA, with an attached restaurant called Tequila Factory that has insane views of San Diego.
The Belle Meade Inn and Suites is located just outside downtown Nashville, but it is close to the Belle Meade Plantation, which was a nice place to spend the day with kids even though we didn’t expect to visit until booking the hotel.
Las Brisas Hotel is located right across the street from our favorite nightlife spot in Palm Springs, Las Casuelas Terraza, which is the perfect place to experience live music with kids any day of the week. Plus they have really good margaritas and Mexican food 😉
The Best Western Premiere in Harrisburg, PA was just 10 minutes from Hershey Park and had a great Irish Pub on-site. It was an excellent alternative to actually staying at the Hershey Hotel, which was already booked (and kinda outside our preferred price range anyways).
The Best Western Plus Inn of Santa Fe was located about 10 minutes away from downtown Santa Fe, but it was actually just a few blocks away from the main attraction for us, which was the psychedelic Meow Wolf experience.
The list could go on and on…
The point is: for family travelers with kids (and especially for multigenerational travelers like us with mobility-restricted grandparents), location is everything. We’ve had wonderful experiences with the locations of BW hotels in cities big and small, all across the country.
That’s a Wrap!
Well there you have it. There are lots of great hotel chains out there that cater to traveling families. But all things being equal, our “go-to” hotel chain for traveling with kids is Best Western. Great rewards. Good locations. Affordable prices. Free breakfast (at most properties). Family-oriented amenities. And unique hotels that are independently owned and tend to reflect the local culture.
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