10 Tips for a Teen Birthday Hotel Staycation

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Origami "H" for the Hilton in Salt Lake City

Hotel staycation?  Doesn’t that break the rules of a staycation, to stay in a hotel.  Extreme Staycation says “yeah”  but I disagree if you stay in your hometown.  Also, when we are dealing with teen birthday ideas you have to push the envelope.  Cause let’s be honest, teen birthday parties just can’t be planned the same way as your 7 year old’s.  Teens want BIG.  Teens want OVER THE TOP.  Teens want…..more than you can deliver.  But keeping the goals of enjoyment and connection you can help create a birthday hotel staycation everyone can enjoy.

This post contains sponsored links from Hilton Salt Lake City Center*

  1. Plan the date in a way that works for friends, but limit the guest list

A hotel staycation birthday is perfect for this situation.  Since people will be staying overnight the schedules have to coordinated well.  And with such a significant time commitment it often limits the attendees just by sheer inconvenience.  But the big reason to limit attendees is that too many and you are reserving multiple rooms and that’s not fun for your budget.  On this note no matter how many rooms you plan to reserve, plan the date way in advance.

  1.  Pick a hotel that’s safe and part of the local scene

Card KeyWe choose to use the Hilton City Center Salt Lake City.  This was first because it’s in the heart of downtown Salt Lake City, UT and staying downtown lets the teens feel that young adult vibe they are craving, but haven’t quite gotten full license to live.  Also its location gives it walking access to the sites of SLC including LDS temple square, City Creek Shopping Center, Gallivan Plaza (great for winter ice skating or summer concerts) and several unique vintage shops and bookstores.  And since they are a family friendly hotel you can be certain they take security and safety seriously.  With one of their online deals, it is budget friendly to boot.  Get full details on digital keys, a convenience and security feature of HiltonSLC.

  1.    Explain the ground rules

There should be a hotel curfew.  You can choose this to be a time they must be in the hotel or a time they must be in the room.  This decision is at your discretion.  I simply used our usual curfew at home. And I said that after that same time the girls had to be in the hotel room.  Disruptions to other hotel patrons will not be allowed.  Cause even during a birthday celebration good manners are important.  And make checkout time clear to the teens.  They love to sleep and no one gets to sleep past checkout.

  1.  Use the pools and amenities

Pool of Hilton Salt Lake City CenterYou paid for a hotel, use all its features.  HiltonSLC had a wonderful pool area to enjoy.  This is truly a great feature for a downtown hotel.  Pool and spa.  My daughter said I was not to plan pool games.  And I thought that was wonderful (#SlackerMomsUnite).

I did have them tour the hotel upon arrival and check out all the options. Some teens like working out and would like to use new and different machines in the fitness room.  Our crowd preferred the spa…and can you blame them?  I heard that some hotel wi-fi services block access to things like Netflix (or more likely keep download speeds subpar for streaming)  I honestly don’t know if our hotel blocked Netflix, cause we never bothered trying –we had other stuff to do–hello hot tub?   There is no need to go planning expensive off-site activities when you have already put out your birthday funds for the location.  It’s got plenty to keep teens happy.

  1.  Eat breakfast at the hotel.

breakfast bar at Hilton City Center Salt Lake City

This is one of the things that make s a hotel staycation fun -going out to breakfast.  Cause seriously who goes out to breakfast in regular life (as far as I know only people who have no children and live in NY—according to modern TV).  So eating breakfast out is one of the things that makes it unique and makes it fun.  And I firmly believe we connect well over food.  We ate each morning at Trofi in the hotel.  My daughter’s friends immediately went to the made-to-order omelette bar.    I preferred to order my Starbuck’s Hot Cocoa (and I could do that from Trofi too).  Since all the teens need to do is roll out of bed to go to breakfast, they get to sleep in and that makes everyone happier.made-to-order omlettes are perfect for a teen birthday hotel staycation

  1.  Your teen is planning, but have ideas at the ready JIC, but be ready to let them go.

Most teens don’t want you to plan their party activities.  My teens prefer to be given the chance to wander and explore.  They seem to prefer unstructured time.  But sometimes this isn’t enough and it is obvious when that happens.  Just have a few suggestions to cleverly offer:  do a #mannequinchallenge, load an urban quest app, know of a nearby theme store they will enjoy visiting (our clan went to Decades Vintage Clothing ) and know a coffee house that they can get that “living downtown”  feel while sipping something.  I had several ideas in my back pocket, but never bothered to pull them out.  After the girls visited the shops they wanted to they were rain soaked.  And that led to group nap time.  So most of the day was filled up with all that.

  1.  Get the mini fridge

Bring the mini bar to your hotel staycation for a teens birthdayWhile the teens will be spending time outside the hotel shopping, playing.  They will be in the hotel for the late night portions (if your rules are anything like mine).  And if the teens are staying in the hotel, so are their appetites.  Bring some snacks and drinks from home.  Create their own minibar –best part you won’t get a bill afterward for it.  This is seriously the big advantage of a hotel staycation birthday party.  Lucky for me I didn’t need to request a mini fridge, every room in HiltonSLC comes with  minifridge (one of the reasons I picked the place).



  1. Explain the party is the gift (if it is)

You might do differently, but for my daughter this was the gift.   If you plan to give lots of the bow-wrapped presents skip to #9. If you are like me, it’s completely understandable that paying for a hotel, some downtown fun and giving up some precious sleep means this IS the gift for your teen.  They might not catch that ,if you don’t state it clearly.  Also some kids set their hearts on a new phone or new ski set or other goods outside the family budget, so it’s better all around to let them know in the planning stages.

  1. Drive everyone there

Teens love the freedom of their cars.  And who doesn’t remember their first taste of independence with a license.  It’s a magical time. But for this event everyone should come together.  Teens never think of parking costs or issues involved in city parking.  Let’s not make this the lesson time.  Saves everyone a headache. Plus, carpooling is a great way to begin creating those memories.  My daughter’s friends were completely willing to drive with me downtown.  I think the fact one had her fuel gauge on “E” when she arrived at our house may have had something to do with it.

  1. Get attendees phone numbers.

This is only here as a precaution.  If you don’t have all the attendees numbers , get them.  While adults will be present for some things (cause we are pretty much the sugar daddy wallet at this event), when the teens wander places you would like to be able to reach them.  It’s as certain as me crashing on a mountain bike that one teen will have her phone die.  Alternate contacts are needed.  Plus you can use texting trivia about the local sites as a game, if needed. –That’s when I sit at my computer in the hotel texting questions about locations and they have to go there to answer.

See how great a teen birthday hotel staycation can be.  It just takes a little planning and a little willingness to let go.

*For further details about our compensation and see our disclosures page

teen birthday hotel staycation tips

Annette Barney

Annette Barney

I live in the mountains of Utah. Yes, I am also a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints I love hot pink, XC skiing, running, hot chocolate, yoga, romance novels,traveling for fun, volunteering and, of course, origami. I am a woman, a mom, a wife and a daughter of God. I believe that everything tastes better with a little bacon or a little chocolate but not both.