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Day Use Hotel Rooms for a Long Flight Delay or Layover

Updated in 2021

All about day use hotel rooms for a long flight delay, cruise stop, or flight layover, or for a day at a port of call on a cruise ship.

Exhaustion. Frustration. Those were my emotions as I wiped the sleep from my eyes and learned that my flight from San Diego to Boston was canceled. 

The weather in Boston didn’t look too promising when I woke up, so I was expecting some sort of delay. However, the flight was on time when I woke up very, very early to catch it – driving almost an hour to the airport from my resort.

It was on time as I headed all the way to the airport. It was on time when I arrived at the airport. It was even on time when I passed through airport security – which is never a fun process.

It was not on time, however when I got to the airport gate. It started out delayed but was eventually canceled because of unseasonably early snow in Boston. The next plane to Boston changed from an early morning flight to a red-eye flight, leaving me with over seven hours before my flight, while I was exhausted from an early wake-up.

I knew I was headed back home into snowy weather and the very start of winter. Here I was, in beautiful, sunny San Diego, stuck in an airport with no access to outside, with seven hours to spare.

I knew I couldn’t and shouldn’t stay indoors, but I had two heavy bags and didn’t want to lug them around town. Looking for an idea, I stopped at the courtesy booth at the airport, hoping for a good idea.

There, I found the perfect solution – hotels that rent day use hotel rooms for a day, in addition to overnight. The volunteer at the desk guided me to the local Sheraton, which had a complimentary shuttle from the airport. This wasn’t an old, empty hotel – it was a luxury hotel filled with great amenities that I had full access to, located in the perfect location.

Beach at Grand Cayman
Grand Cayman – Seven Mile Beach

Day Use Rooms at a Hotel for a Long Flight Delay or Layover

What is a Day Use Hotel Room? Can I Rent a Hotel Room for a Few Hours?

A day-use hotel room is exactly as it sounds. Some hotels let you book a hotel room for a day at a reduced rate. Day room guests get access to all of the amenities at the hotel, as well as a room. These hotel day use rates are a single rate – this is not an hourly hotel room.

You may be able to enjoy pool access, a fitness center, beach access, and be able to rest in a quiet space. Depending on the hotel, you may be able to book charges to your room to pay when you check out, and order room service. In some cases, you may also have access to conference rooms.

Orlando Airport Hyatt

I enjoyed my day use room in San Diego. After a quick shuttle ride, I arrived at the Sheraton, less than a mile away from the airport. For a fee (a reduced rate from an overnight stay), I was given a room and full privileges at the hotel for the entire day.

I took a nap, met up with a friend, hung out by the pool, got some great photos, enjoyed free Wi-Fi had dinner in the hotel restaurant and stared at an absolutely beautiful sunset. My room had the most beautiful view of the pool, and I just sat on the deck and worked while enjoying the gorgeous weather. I was able to store my bags there while I did all of these activities during the day.

It was the best way to spend the day – so much better than spending seven hours in the airport waiting for my flight! I was so happy to have that extra time in the sun before returning to snowy Boston.

Day use hotels are also a great option if you have a planned long layover. At the Orlando International Airport, for instance, you can rent a room for a day at the Hyatt right in the airport.

This airport hotel is the perfect option if you are hanging out at the airport all day after getting off a cruise ship or have a flight cancellation after visiting the theme parks. They can be booked online in advance or at the last minute if there is some availability.

The Westin Grand Cayman

Day Stay Hotel Rooms During a Cruise Stop

Speaking of cruise ships – instead of booking an excursion, you may consider booking a day stay hotel. You’ll usually get WiFi, access to the beach, pool, or other amenities, and the use of a room to shower. Just keep in mind that you’ll need to make sure you get yourself to and from the cruise ship on time because you won’t be on a cruise line-sponsored activity.

We did this when we cruised on the Disney Fantasy to Grand Cayman. I booked the hotel in advance, holding the reservation with a credit card. Of course, if for some reason we weren’t able to dock, I would lose my deposit, so there was some risk. Look for day hotels with free cancellation for peace of mind, or understand the risk you are taking.

Waterfront in San Diego

How to Find Day Rate Hotels

Looking for day rate hotels? They aren’t always easy to find. At an airport, ask the courtesy desk if they have any ideas. Many luxurious hotels do offer day rates but don’t always advertise them.

If the airport has an attached hotel (like the TWA Hotel), they probably have a day rate. Ask at the front desk. Or, you can call them in advance or check their website. In some cases, day hotels will allow you to add your day rate to the night rate if you need to stay over (if your flight is canceled, for instance).

For cruise ports of call, inquire at hotels that are near the cruise port. In Grand Cayman, we stayed at the Westin, and I contacted them directly for their day rate.

There are also some third-party websites that help you find and book day-use hotels. DayUse.com is one example. Be sure to check the arrival time and departure time, as well as the cancellation policy before booking.

Have you ever used a day rate hotel?

If you have a flight delay, a long layover, or a cruise stop, you may consider booking a day use hotel room. These can be reserved by the day and typically include all of the resort/hotel's amenities.

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Kiera @easytravelmom

Tuesday 14th of May 2013

Can I just say, this is the best news I've heard all day!!! I have long said that hotels should have day-stays but come to think of it, I have never actually asked. I will have to keep this in mind when flights have issues. Isn't that how it always happens- flight on time until you actually get to the gate and then it's late! Ah love flying!

Jodi

Wednesday 15th of May 2013

I had no idea either, but since then I've also done a day stay at the Hyatt in the Orlando airport. It's such a smart idea for hotels to fill unused rooms too!

Barb

Friday 13th of January 2012

That is an awesome idea. I would have never thought of that!Thanks!

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