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Sonesta Secrets: Hotels I’m Looking Forward To From This Undervalued Chain

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Top Sonesta Hotels
Source: Sonesta.

The Top Sonesta Hotels Currently on My List to Visit

Earlier this year, I picked up the Sonesta World Mastercard from Bank of America.  Mark greeted me with chortles when I informed him of said acquisition.  I explain here why I went after the card.  I figure now is a great time to dive deeper into a few of the top Sonesta hotels I’m considering.  I’m covering a wide swath here, as I’m still getting further acquainted with the Sonesta footprint and their properties.  While I have my eye on a few properties, I’ll continue to evaluate newer ones as Sonesta grows.  But as of right now, these are the Sonesta properties I plan to visit.

Top Sonesta Hotels
Source: Sonesta.

Sonesta Resort, Hilton Head Island

I have extended family in the region, but I’ve never visited Hilton Head.  The area has been on my list for years.  The distinctive landscapes and gardens, including South Carolina’s famous Palmetto trees, dot the property.  Sonesta recently renovated all 340 rooms across this sprawling complex.  The hotel has multiple pools, including a zero entry pool for all guests and an adults only pool and jacuzzi.  The resort has a variety of dining options – four currently, with two more during high season.  The property is also dog friendly – pooches up to 35 pounds are welcome for a flat $150 per stay.  Unfortunately, there’s a $28 resort/destination fee.  The nightly points rate is 30k.  Cash rates vary widely, and I see rooms starting at about $430.

Top Sonesta Hotels
Source: Sonesta.

Sonesta ES Suites, Dallas Richardson

Previously a Marriott Residence Inn, this property will come in handy during our relatively frequent visits to North Texas.  I generally don’t gravitate to rebranded properties, but the location and economical points rate (15k) may be enough to entice me.  On top of that, the larger rooms and suites suit my family of four well.  The complimentary grab and go breakfast is nice, and all we actually need, given all the other attractive dining options in the area.  The property has an acceptable pet policy and fee schedule, especially for longer stays.  For the first three nights, a dog is $25 nightly, but for nights 4-29, the rate is a flat $75.  The nightly points rate is 15k; I generally found cash rates between $120-200.

Top Sonesta Hotels
Source: Sonesta.

The Clift Royal Sonesta Hotel, San Francisco

Opened in 1915, the Clift sits two blocks from Union Square.  This hotel holds quite a history.  Four Seasons acquired the hotel in the mid-70’s, and Ian Schrager Hotels took over management in 1997.  Schrager bought it outright in 1999.  Soon after, he oversaw a complete renovation of the property by designer Philipe Starck.  Sonesta took over management in 2018.  Subsequently, Sonesta updated the rooms and lobby.  The property also houses two distinctive restaurants, the Redwood Room and Frederick’s.  The art deco Redwood Room bar opened in 1933 and is paneled with wood from a single redwood tree.  Frederick’s has been relocated to its original location in the hotel and offers all-day dining. The nightly points rate is 30k; I see cash rates starting around $400.

Source: Sonesta.

Stephen F Austin Royal Sonesta Hotel, Austin

The location doesn’t get much better than that of the Stephen F Austin at Congress and 7th.  Branded as an Intercontinental in its earlier life, the hotel continues to thrive.  Local charm envelopes this historic property, extending to the Roaring Fork restaurant and Stephen F’s Bar.  The fitness center is recently renovated and includes an indoor lap swimming pool.  The hotel’s generous pet policy allows dogs up to 60 pounds for a flat $100 fee per stay.  The property primarily offers valet parking, but the excellent location means you probably won’t need a car, anyway.  The nightly points rate is 30k; cash rates vary, mostly over $300.

Source: Sonesta.

Sonesta ES Suites, Lake Buena Vista

Given that off-property stays are more likely on our future Walt Disney World trips, I’m considering Sonesta’s LBV location.  Given our Disney World plans, we won’t be in our room that often.  Therefore, we probably won’t waste points on luxury or resort properties we would minimally use.  Enter this practical, unsexy solution.  The property was previously a Staybridge Suites – an IHG line we rarely visit but enjoy when we do.  It’s certainly not in the prime location of Disney World properties, or even those in the Disney Springs area, but it’s just well-situated enough for us.  Convenient, but lesser-known, options for Disney World trips is our focus now, and this property easily fits into those plans.  The nightly points rate is 25k; cash rates vary, but I see plenty of options between $160-200.

Top Sonesta Hotels – Conclusion

I’m intrigued to see how Sonesta grows.  Sonesta hasn’t incorporated Red Lion properties into their loyalty program just yet.  I’ve never given that line any consideration, but I may be open to it if the property and rewards price are on point.  Beyond their current footprint and Red Lion additions, Sonesta rates well behind my preferred hotel programs like Hilton, Hyatt, IHG, and even Wyndham.  Nonetheless, I’ll keep my eye on Sonesta, albeit peripherally.  Have you stayed at any Sonesta properties?  How was your experience?

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Benjy Harmon
Benjy Harmon
Benjy focuses on the intersection of points, travel, and financial independence (FI). An experienced world traveler, husband, and father, he currently roams throughout the USA close to expense-free. Benjy enjoys helping others achieve their FI and travel goals.

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  1. While there is some value to the card, 2 nights at a good hotel isn’t all that compelling to me. Do you have other ways to earn points, such as buying them at a good price, great earnings through the credit card, or good transfer partners? Something like that might really move the dial.

    • Christian,
      Taking into account the welcome offer, big spend bonus, and incorporating a P2 getting the card, one can put together six nights at Sonesta’s nicer properties. That said, one may do better with other cards, particularly if their spending levels are low. And, of course, others may have other card priorities with Bank of America. I don’t have any plans on putting 1x spend on this card beyond the big spend bonus.


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