"The biggest thing for me is to make sure my children are welcome at the hotel. Is there a kids’ menu at the restaurant? Is there a video game system in the room? These kinds of things tell me whether or not the hotel is family friendly, which ultimately makes it a less stressful experience for everyone involved."
— Josh Roberts, father of Madeleine and Ethan
“With teen and tween girls in tow, space is key. Now, I look for hotels that have connecting rooms or family-size suites, so we can all spread out. It’s worth the extra cost. And if there are two bathrooms? That’s a big bonus. ”
— Chanize Thorpe, mother of Chyna and Croix
What do you look for in a hotel for your family?
30% A swimming pool
25% Large rooms and connecting rooms
23% Activities for children
22% Safety first
|Swimming pools are great for keeping kids entertained. // © 2010 Steve Cole|
When booking a hotel room just for you, I bet a few ideal amenities come to mind — Wi-Fi access, a spa, a fitness center or maybe shopping and local nightlife. If you are considering hotel options for a family, however, a new range of necessities come into play. While kids’ clubs are the norm at most all-inclusive resorts and most cruise ships offer a teen disco, the standard, everyday hotel is lucky to have an arcade. However, there’s still fun to be had. Brian Stacey, manager of new product development for Tauck and Tauck’s family Bridges program, is constantly on the lookout for family-friendly properties. Here’s what he recommends agents consider when booking a hotel for the family.
1. Overall safety. Obviously, safety is always my first consideration, whether I’m selecting a hotel for one of our Bridges programs or planning a vacation for my own family. Ask yourself: Is the surrounding area pedestrian-friendly and is the hotel located in a low-crime area? It’s impossible to enjoy a vacation if you’re troubled by possible safety concerns.
2. Walking distance to major sites and attractions. If the hotel is in a city, how convenient is it to popular sites and attractions? Seeing a city on foot is a great way to really experience its rhythms, culture and local flavor. If you are outside of the city center and you are constantly taking cabs or buses, you are wasting valuable time and money.
3. On-site activities. With hotels that are in more rural areas, it’s great to have a lot of options so kids don’t get bored. If it’s a beachfront property, make sure the hotel beach is protected and good for swimming. In more outlying areas find out if there are outdoor activities such as hiking, canoeing, ziplining or fishing — and if so, find out if the resort provides equipment.
4. Large rooms. When we’re designing Bridges trips, we always look for properties with a large number of triple rooms and quads because those rooms are more family-friendly and give our guests more options.
5. Kid-friendly restaurants. Kids want to be kids and forcing them to eat in upscale restaurants that don’t really cater to them is unfair to the children and unpleasant for the parents and other diners. It is far better for everyone if there is a lively, relaxed place for the family to eat.
6. A swimming pool. It’s a simple thing, and maybe it’s programmed into the genes of everyone ages 16 and under, but kids love hotel swimming pools.