Location, location, location, has always been the main criteria when choosing hotels. We would suggest you take more into consideration: Room and services are critical for a good night's sleep; facilities such as swimming pool, kids club and babysit services, are not a must but always good to have; on-site restaurants become important when you don't feel like going out for dinner after a long day.
Lissy Syoo, a destination expert and mother of a 4-year old, has been traveling in Asia and some European countries for over 10 years. Along with feedback from our previous customers, this article will help you make the right decision for your family trip to Asia.
Location is still certainly a major criteria. In most Asian countries you will find hotels, ranging from 20-buck guesthouses to high-end hotels within a 10 mile radius in the town centers. Some luxurious hotels and resorts even sell themselves for unbeatable view of a certain major attraction, such as the sunset view of Taj Mahal. However, an absolutely centrally-located hotel might not necessarily be ideal for families.
Instead of hotels at the very heart of the city, families with small children should go for hotels at short distance to downtown, yet away from the hustle and bustle. Less traffic and less noise, so your family can get a good night's sleep (you know how kids can get very cranky if they are sleepy). Sometimes you can save a lot with such hotels. It is also important that you can find ATMs, restaurants, pharmacies and grocery stores within walking distance.
One heads-up: there are still some red-light districts in some Asian countries, so try to avoid them (despite the fact that hotel prices may look VERY GOOD in those neighborhoods). Examples: Kabukicho in Tokyo, Chow Kit in Kuala Lumpur, Nana in Bangkok, Tilawala in Jaipur, Grastin in Delhi, and Svay Pak in Phnom Penh.
WOW! I’ve traveled Asia some & I must say Sharon & Asia Highlights made this trip so much more enjoyable and easyMore
Stephen Hollis, Aug 2023
Alisa has has been great to work with
Alisa with Asia Highlights has has been great to work with. Very friendly and responsive.More
Ana Rausch, Aug 2023
Using Sharon right now to book our…
Using Sharon right now to book our upcoming trip to Thailand. She has booked everything that we asked for. Has answered all of my inquiries, which has been many! Looking forward to having a great girls trip in ThailandMore
Tracy, Aug 2023
Thailand, Singapore, Bali
In Thailand, Tanny and Nori(Suparp), were both incredible! They were both fun, funny, and full of knowledge and made sure we got the full experience. They went the extra mile and always made sure we had cold bottled water and towels to cleanse our hands. In Singapore, Nicole was an absolute gem. She was so kind and knowledgeable and guided us in the right direction to make our day as enjoyable as possible. She helped us choose a top notch local lunch and coffee spot in China Town and taught us so much about the country! In Bali, Emon was an absolute joy. He was very knowledgeable and kind and absolutely made sure we were feeling comfortable and was willing to be flexible with us. He was fun to converse with and made our time traveling between destinations so enjoyable! I cannot recommend Asia Highlights enough! Accommodations, travel arrangements and guided tours were all a breeze.More
Cassi Thunker, Jul 2023
Very supportive ! I have received eticket for Sky Lattern Festival very fastMore
Chi?n Nguy?n Ng?c, Jul 2023
My experience in Chang Mai with Asia Highlights
I greatly enjoyed my experience with Asia Highlights for a trip I booked to Thailand.All of my interests were catered too. My guide in Chang Mai Gemma was excellent.I truly felt the soul of Thailand culture and Buddhism.More
Richard, Jul 2023
A pleasure to plan with
Well, this has been a painless and pleasurable process to find such a wonderful company. I had specific dates and places to be and Sharon worked with me diligently to refine the schedule and costs to suit my travel needs and budget. She informed me of a special tour on the dates I am to be in Thailand and I added that to my previous plans.More
Chris Williams, Jul 2023
Large multi-generational holiday in Thailand
The holiday was wonderful. Our guides, Mr Monchai (Bangkok), and Ms Tipagorn (Tippy) (Chiang Mai) were exceptional. Travelling in a large multigenerational group with many children requires patience and our guides truly understood that. Mr Monchai and Ms Tippy shared their extensive knowledge of the many wonderful places we visited, and were flexible to take us to additional places along the way based on discussions. While everyday was busy, having them greet us with patience and a smile truly made this a memorable holiday. The hotels we stayed at were equally wonderful and went above and beyond to celebrate not only my parents 50th anniversary but also celebrate 2 milestone birthdays that occurred. We will cherish this holiday for many years to come. We hope to use Asia Highlights again.More
CL, Jul 2023
I never used a travel agent in my life
I never used a travel agent in my life, but Sharon for Asia Highlights did a phenomenal job helping planning and coordination a family vacation. The best part of working with Sharon was that she maintained an open line of communication and provided answers to my question well within 12-24 hours. Additionally, Sharon was flexible and customized our vacation to my families needs. Overall great experience.More
Antione Barry, Jul 2023
Great company to plan a trip to Southeast Asia!
Sharon Haung has been wonderful to work with! Very patient and accommodating. Responds immediately given time change and is prepared, prompt, and professional.More
Debi Hinerfeld, Jul 2023
We took a 15 days trip (10 days Vietnam and 5 days Thailand …
It was an amazing experience the guides and drivers were there awaiting for us at each airoport for a transfer to the hotels also on time for all the tours all the guides were so lovely , very experienced and spoke very good English , one of the days on tour in Thailand I lost my phone in a temple in Bangkok mr chai went out of his way in a middle of thousands of visitors and managed to find an bring it back to me I found that amazing , also while on a trip I contacted Jason li out tour organizer few time via whatup and he replied and helped on the spot I recommend asiahilights 150% The quality of the service hotels the guides the drivers outstanding From start to finish ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT ????More
SIMO el ghobar, Jun 2023
Wonderful Guides and Experience
Our large group arrived in Bangkok with Tanni as our guide. She was wonderful! An absolute joy to spend time with. She is knowledgeable, kind, and extremely funny. I don’t know what we would have done without her! After Bangkok, we traveled to Chang Mai, where Indy was our tour guide. She was a delight! She is kind, knowledgeable, and so patient. Our trip to Thailand was an adventure of a lifetime and these two women helped make it memorable. I would definitely use Asia Highlights for any future travel in Asia.More
Jessica Bennett, Jun 2023
Guide - Chai
We travelled from Vietnam to Bangkok and were blessed to have a guide named Chai. He was a superb guide and it is a pity we couldn't bottle him and take him home. He was very knowledgeable and an absolute gentleman. He could not have done enough to facilitate us and imparted so much knowledge about the Temples, Buddism and the History of Thailand in general. Not only did he give us a great overview of the past and current ways of living in Thailand but I also feel I came away a much better person having interacting with him. I will carry many of his teachings with me for the rest of my life and know that having met him was a very special blessing in my life.More
Customer, Jun 2023
Our guide Tanni was kind
Our guide Tanni was kind, knowledgeable, funny and beyond accommodating for our group. We felt like we'd made a friend and it enhanced our trip in the most positive way. Everything was coordinated perfectly which is not easy to do in a large traveling group. Excellent experience!More
Marissa Manson, Jun 2023
We are only on day 5 of our 15 day trip…
Our first stop so far was in Hanoi where our guide Trong was just so awesome! He shared about his culture and family life which showing us sites through a city tour. He was so funny making lots of jokes and always made sure we were having fun while learning about everything! He checked on us frequently even when we were no longer with him since we then went on a cruise in Halong Bay! Halong Bay and the cruise on Paradise Elegance went way above anything I expected. The scenery was breathtaking, the ship was so beautiful and clean with such fresh, good food! And I can’t sing enough praise for the staff who took care of us- especially Anna and Belle! They went above and beyond to make sure we enjoyed every aspect from eating meals with Anna to every other detail with Belle! I highly recommend Asian Highlights to help plan these extraordinary trips! This already has been a trip of a lifetime and we still have so much more to see all thanks to Cathy!!More
Diane Creitz, Jun 2023
Tanni for the win!
14 of my closest friends and family descended upon Bangkok ready to see the town. Asia highlights and Tanni took us on a tour that changed our lives. We experienced so much everyday. Tanni was amazing! She did all the thinking for us, so we all could just be present and enjoy the moment. I can’t recommend this company, and especially Tanni enough.More
Megan McGlynn, Jun 2023
This isn't my first trip with Asia…
This isn't my first trip with Asia Highlights. They are great at helping me plan, working my requests into the itinerary, and booking it all. We travel with friends and just got back from a trip to Thailand and Vietnam. Albee did a great job with all the details and we had a wonderful time. We will use them for our next adventure!More
Katie Potesta, Jun 2023
Although we have not been our trip yet I wanted to still write a review based on customer service and the ease of booking. Alisa has been extremely prompt and responsive with planning our trip to Thailand. She has had great recommendations and guidance to add to our custom itinerary. Highly recommend using Asia highlights! -AlexMore
Alex, May 2023
I have never hear of this company…
I have never hear of this company before , and after reading all these reviews ,I decided to give it a try . The professionalism and communicative skill received by one of the agent , Sharon of Asia Highlights , convince me that She was the right travel agent for my trip in Asia . Very quickly she communicated with me and got all the detail of my desire vacation . Sharon made me a great itinerary with great experiences that I am dreaming to experience and I am looking forward to it . Thanks Sharon for been so great and crafting me a dream vacation with great suggestions.More
orge alvarez, May 2023
Coco Yang worked tirelessly to…
From the moment I landed in Bangkok, Ms Noi Ying was there to welcome me and get me settled into my hotel. We enjoyed several days together touring Bangkok and Kanchanaburi. In Chiang Mai, Mr Ekachai took my son snd I on an amazing trip to the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary and to visit a community Lanna home, gardens and a hands-on cooking class preparing an authentic Thai meal. Lisa arranged a last-minute speedboat tour of 5 breathtaking islands in Phuket. From start to finish, the guides exceeded my expectations!! Thank you, Asia Highlight!! Debbie WoodsMore
Debbie Woods, May 2023
Rooms and Amenities
A great hotel can be your temporary home. You will see a long list of facilities of a hotel but remember, not all of them are important to you. For example, as a mother of a 10-month old, you might care more about if they have an electric kettle for formula, rather than if they have a daily fruit basket. Pick a few things that are the most important to your family. Those little details are what make you "feel at home".
According to Lissy's experience, she will pay special attention to these features:
Room: Ample for Everybody
No matter how many people you are traveling with, one room for a family should not be less than 25sqm. In some particular countries or regions, it is very common to have rooms of 20 to 25sqm, namely Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong and some parts in India. In those scenarios, get a twin room instead of a double as it is always slightly bigger than the latter; one child is allowed to share the bed with the parents free of charge (however, policies differ in different hotels). Connecting rooms deserve prior attention.
Most hotels partition 3 to 10sqm for bathroom and western-style toilet, and stand-up shower are basic standard. Although not a must, it will be nice to have two sinks (for kids and adults to use at the same time), separated bathroom, bathtub (good for a dip for small children), and a DIY laundry (you will need it badly on the 3rd day of your trip).
Traveling with a big family, just look for all-suite hotels and you will be granted a big room, ample living space and well-equipped bathrooms. Vacation rental is also a good option, especially for families of more than five. The home features of a kitchen and a laundry facilities, make it as enjoyable and comparable as a mid-priced hotel.
Amenities: Essential is the Key
Sure, a welcome candy bar or free drinks kick some extra scores. However, it is often easy to overlook some amenities that can really solve problems: Think of turn-down service, and 24-hour receptionist if you are arriving late.
Extra beds are the top concern for family trips. Most hotels don't charge anything for one child under 6 years, sharing the bed with the parents. For children between 6 and 12, rollout beds or sofa beds can be added at extra cost, mostly 20% to 50% of the room price. Children above 12 are likely to be charged as adults. Extra bed policy is detailed on the hotel website or booking agent.
If your children are hooked on iPad and Xbox or you bring a lot of electronics, make sure the room has more than 3 power sockets. Two bottles of complimentary water is not enough for a family so make sure they have an electric kettle. Free in-room Wifi comes in handy when you need to check next day's weather and stay online.
Most hotels offer free toiletries including toothbrush, tooth paste, shampoo, shower gel, and after-shave for men. This means you don't need to pack these things. Towels are changed daily. However, out of respect for the environment, we suggest you bring your own towels. They don't usually offer kid-size slippers, shower caps or bath robes, so bring your own or purchase at a close-by store.
Services and Facilities
Besides all the common features of a hotel, some special services can actually improve your experience. Room service, free instant food or mini bar might rank high as desirable offers, yet a hotel's generous service is what makes a family trip memorable. For example, in-room babysitting service gives you a couple of free hours for a romantic spa treatment. Kids club for bigger children and free activities (banana boat, flying kite, pottery making and so on, are great touch.
With certain service details, some hotels win by a nose. For small children and babies, hotels with stroller rental or delivery gets picked easily. Teen and kid concierge is introduced into more and more hotels, such as Omni, Ritz and Marriott. It provides great ideas to explore the city with a family-friendly itinerary or customer map. Some hotels allow late check-out till 18:00 for families.
As for facilities, without doubt, a swimming pool might be the only facility that your children care for. Especially so for your family trip to Asia. It doesn't have to be big but it can be a good distraction or "reward" for good behavior during the day. With parental permission, hotel staff will play kids movies on a PS4 for your children free of charge. Elevators and lifts are a must, since families always travel with big suitcases.
Dining: included breakfast and more dining options for dinner
Check the "Breakfast Included" box without thinking twice, as you know kids always love buffet breakfast, and eating in saves you a lot of time in the morning. For hotels in Asia, buffet breakfast is oftentimes continental with a good variety, plus options for local delicacies. Many have made-to-order hot stands, such as for omelet, waffles, scrambled eggs or, in Asia's case, Pho (rice noodle soup).
Based on our survey, most kids love fresh fruit, yogurt and made-to-order infant menu, and take-out services can be a bonus. As for the food itself, better pay attention or get more information if you have some special dietary requirements such as gluten-free, none-dairy or none-seafood. Sometimes you will want to dine at the restaurant. Choose those hotels with more than 2 dining venues, catering for both, children and adults. One important heads-up is: some hotels require dinner reservation during Christmas Eve, Christmas and New Year.
Well-being: stay happy and healthy
Don't get frazzled during your trip. Get yourself some free time while your kids are playing in the pool. Think about enjoying a spa, high tea at the executive lounge or hitting the gym. Fitness centers at some mid-priced or international chain hotels are actually pretty good; some come along with sauna or Onsen bath (Hyatt Regency Hakone Resort and Spa in Hakone, for instance).
A doctor on call will keep your mind at ease. Such a warm and fuzzy fad has been brought to some up-market hotels and resorts, such as Trident in Jaipur, Peninsula Excelsior Hotel in Singapore, InterContinental Saigon Hotel in Ho Chi Minh City and Ramada Khao Lak Resort in Phuket. Aligned with local hospitals, most hotels provide emergency transport to the local medical center.
"Instead of searching with a fine-toothed comb," said Lissy, "it would be nice if somebody can do the ‘dirty work' for you. Somebody who knows your needs." Take a shortcut and look at our list of Top Hotels for Family Trips in Asia. Or email us with your ideas.
Plan your Family Trip to Asia with Asia Highlights
Asia Highlights welcomes the chance to help you achieve your travel plans. See our itinerary below and let us do the work for you.
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