Age limits at hotels: how enforced are they?
January 1, 2008 4:04 PM   Subscribe

20 year old looking for a hotel online, but it looks like you have to be 21. Are there any ways around this?

So I'm looking to book a hotel on for April, and I found one that sounded good, so I went ahead to book it, but, unfortunately, it says "Primary guest must be at least 21 years old and present at check in." I'll be 20 when April comes around. Is there any way around this, and do hotels actually check? From what I can see, Hotwire doesn't really care so long as you have a credit card, so the only problem I can see is that I get to the hotel and they turn me away because I'm not 21.

Any ideas?

posted by deansfurniture5 to Travel & Transportation (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Almost definitely (a) no one will ask for ID so long as you have a card, and (b) even if they do ask for ID, they won't sort out your age. I wouldn't be too worried about it.

Also -- don't raid the minibar!
posted by JakeWalker at 4:07 PM on January 1, 2008

I've stayed in hotels that I booked with everyone in my party under 21. They don't check so long as you have your credit card.
posted by disillusioned at 4:23 PM on January 1, 2008

You could try booking through another website, if possible.
posted by drea at 4:24 PM on January 1, 2008

Depends on the hotel (and on the manager's personality), but they do indeed check sometimes. I used to drive around the country a lot from the ages of 19-22, and I was turned away a couple of times, including once in the middle of a huge blizzard. More expensive hotels tend to check; lower-end chains like Motel 6 sometimes have the policy but pretty much never check; no-name cheap hotels won't give a shit.

Most likely you'll be fine, especially with a credit card, but I'd recommend getting some phone numbers and calling a few hotels, rather than booking on a website. There's a very good chance that you can find a place of the same quality that doesn't have that policy at all, and then you won't need to worry.
posted by equalpants at 4:31 PM on January 1, 2008

Response by poster: @equalpants (and others): I'm not sure what the actual hotel is, since hotwire doesn't tell you until you pay, but according to them it's something like "Hilton, Millennium, Crowne Plaza, plus other top brands and quality hotels."
posted by deansfurniture5 at 4:34 PM on January 1, 2008

You might try a youth hostel. That's what I did a lot when I was younger. (It's a lot cheaper, too.)
posted by Margalo Epps at 4:37 PM on January 1, 2008

Wow, they don't even tell you? How weird. I'd be wary of something Hilton-level, but the "other top brands" are probably fine. I'd still recommend booking by phone instead, unless you're paying under $45 or so a night, in which case it's probably safe to assume they won't care.
posted by equalpants at 4:45 PM on January 1, 2008

Response by poster: The rate is $69/night--it's so cheap because they don't tell you.
posted by deansfurniture5 at 4:47 PM on January 1, 2008 doesn't ask for age.
posted by Pants! at 4:53 PM on January 1, 2008

posted by roomwithaview at 4:59 PM on January 1, 2008

I used to be a property manager and from that point of view the age requirement is probably both one of insurance issues and drunken frat boy type worries. If you look presentable at check in, my guess is that they won't really care. If it is a high end hotel they aren't going to want you looking raggedy in their lobby scaring their high end customers, you know? The only conceivable reason you'd be turned away if there was suddenly a high demand for rooms. If they are staring at a 30% vacancy loss for the evening, your money counts.
posted by 45moore45 at 5:03 PM on January 1, 2008

If it's fancy you can probably get by with "Bitch and Moan". I do this a lot with Car Rental places that don't like Debit Cards and want a Credit Card. You make a scene in front of as many people as possible about how booked over the web through a travel site and you got Plane Tickets and whatnot on your card and now you're here and WTF??? STFU and give me my car!".

I wouldn't worry if you have a Credit Card and ID, you can always Bitch and Moan in a public place about being left roomless and most likely get away with 'not quite 21' as long as your Card and ID are valid.
posted by zengargoyle at 5:03 PM on January 1, 2008

I looked very young in my lower 20s and got carded several times at hotels with my wife. I actually was 21 (about 25 then) so it was a non-issue and I don't really know what they would have done if I had been only 20. I tend to agree that if you act the part of a 21+ and have a credit card in your name, they probably won't really care. But I throw out my experience actually getting carded for whatever it is worth.
posted by COD at 5:23 PM on January 1, 2008

I used to be a property manager and from that point of view the age requirement is probably both one of insurance issues and drunken frat boy type worries. If you look presentable at check in, my guess is that they won't really care.

I think this is the real issue. Have a real credit card and look clean cut and no one will care. I used to stay in hotels all the time when I was under 21 and never really had an issue. If it becomes an issue, keep your parents on speed dial and have the hotel call them. (I know, that just sucks, but it does seem to work in these types of situations.)
posted by caddis at 5:41 PM on January 1, 2008

I think it depends as much on the destination as anything else. I attended a family wedding in Las Vegas last spring. One of the sisters of the bride was under 21, but had her own room booked as part of the wedding party. She was almost denied a room, based on her age, until it became clear to the manager that they were going to lose several thousand dollars worth of lodging for the rest of the family unless they gave her the room. (I think it also helped that the bride's parents were also the ones actually paying for the room.)
posted by anastasiav at 8:20 PM on January 1, 2008

When I was in college i was able to order on orbitz and was able to check in at the hotel with just a debit card.
posted by ijoyner at 6:02 AM on January 2, 2008

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