My Favourite Hilton Hack – Neatly Illustrated

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I was recently looking at options for Hilton stays over the summer. While at best speculative, it did at least lead to me doing some shopping around for prices. As we are a family of 2 adults and 2 kids, it also led to a very stark reminder of a Hilton pricing issue, and how you can potentially stay on the right side of it.

Keeping family stays lower cost

In short, if you are a family of two adults and 1 child, you are usually fine on Hilton room bookings. However, switch that to 2 adults and 2 children, and almost without exception, you will be flipped into “family room”, suite or two room territory. The difference in price when that hits can sometimes be enormous.

The obvious response to my minor conundrum above is if you are indeed 2 adults and 2 children, you need a room for 2 adults and 2 children. That’s true, but the key point is this – the “2 adults 1 child” rooms will often have 2 double beds (or a double and double sofa bed – as I often find at Hamptons or Garden Inns) and, as such, are perfectly capable of holding 2 adults and 2 children without issue (or squeeze).

Of course, this works far better when your kids are aged 6 and 7 than if they’re 16 and 17, so I would caveat the above with the fact it’s definitely a “young family” hack!

The example

I looked at 5 days in the South of Portugal in Jult, staying at the Hilton Vilamoura in the Algarve.

When booking for 2+1 , it was €250 a night.

As you can see from the picture, these are beds that fit two people – perfectly capable of sleeping 4 people. Indeed, given that the room is for 2 adults plus 1 child, that by definition means that the beds must be able to comfortably sleep two adults.

If you do the same search for a 2+2 room, the cheapest you will find is €433 a night:

On a five night stay, that’s €2,165 versus €1,250 – so a substantial difference. Certainly one to bear in mind when deciding on which room suits you best.

Remember: you often get what you pay for!

This post is really more about budgets than value, and there’s definitely a “false economy” element to it, particularly on an Algarve holiday. Ultimately, the twin deluxe may cost a lot less than the two bedroom apartment, but you’re also getting a lot less for that!

In practice, this is generally something I am far more inclined to do at a quick one night 4am start airport hotel, than for a leisurely family holiday. You probably work very hard for your free time, so don’t sell yourself short.

Is this legit?

Clearly, you’re booking a 2+1 bedroom and in fact you’re staying with 2+2.

However, given that the extra person here is generally a young child, you are extremely unlikely to encounter any opposition to it. There is also an arguable loophole to point at – the Hilton Second Guest Stays Free offer, which you can argue (in a slightly square peg in round hole manner) could “discount” the additional child.

In short, if you want absolute, 100% peace of mind that you won’t have an issue, you need to book whatever’s offered to you on a 2+2 basis. However, I have never had a problem booking for 2+1 and going with 2+2. There’s been the occasional squeeze, yes, but never any refusals or additional charges.

Cover photo by Hilton


  1. Craig Sowerby says

    Actually, I only really see two twin beds, based on the fact that the beds are only one pillow “wide”

    • Tom Sumner says

      Sadly I think that’s probably pushing it a bit too far! You could of course try doing it on the back of a 2+1 booking, but the other issue is fitting them in! Even at that age I think you’ll struggle with two 2 person beds.

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