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Where to Stay with Children

Is there such a thing as, “home away from home?” When traveling with children, most parents would like to think so. The key? Familiarity. Children need to feel secure and comfortable in their surroundings. When their environment suits them, harmony follows. With that in mind, it’s best to consider chain hotels or motels versus individual establishments for your accommodations.

There are a lot of reasons for the familiarity of larger chains. For one, their hotels can be found in just about every city and every town across America. And they all look alike. Kids are used to seeing their names, as well as the physical structures of the hotels, just from driving around town. Plus, most of them run national advertising campaigns that appear on television. As we all know, kids pay attention to television.

Apart from the benefits of familiarity, chains offer families a multitude of kid-friendly perks, too. Many chains feature family discounts, “kids stay free” offers, child menus, kid-friendly environments and more. The best part? It’s not hard to find a great deal that suits your family’s needs. Before reserving your accommodations, consider the following points:

Room Options

1. Standard Rooms. Most large chains offer two double beds or one king size bed with each standard room. Be sure to specify non-smoking when making your reservation and keep your eyes peeled for chains that feature entire non-smoking floors.

Hotels/Motels to Note: There are many hotels and motels that feature, “kids stay free” if they stay in their parents’ standard room. Be sure to double-check the age limitation, as it varies dramatically from chain to chain, as well as hotel to hotel within each chain. Here are a few that allow kids to stay free of charge: Best Western, Choice Hotels, Days Inn, Doubletree, Four Seasons, Holiday Inn, Howard Johnson Hotels, Hyatt, Inter-Continental, Marriott, Radisson, Ramada, Ritz-Carleton, Sheraton, Westin.

2. Adjoining Rooms. Ah yes, privacy. When it comes to traveling with kids, nothing beats a little quiet time. Fortunately, many chains offer price breaks to those who reserve an adjoining room. Junior rooms, which are smaller rooms already priced less, are ideal. Be sure to ask for their availability ahead of time when making your reservation.

*Hotels/Motels to Note:
- The Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts discount their adjoining rooms through what they call their “Family Plan.”
- Hyatt offers a great deal - discounted second rooms year-round in most of their hotels.
- Radisson features discounted adjoining rooms as well.

3. Suites. Similar to the set up of the adjoining room, suites offer families room to move around, much needed privacy and opportunities to save money. A typical suite has two full beds, a fold out sofa and a kitchenette, making it an attractive alternative for larger families. (Kitchenettes are ideal for cooking small meals and fixing light snacks!) Another big plus – many suite hotels also feature a “kids stay free” offer.

*Hotels/Motels to Note:
Marriott Residence Inn offers “Family Value Weekend Rates” at many of their locations, saving families up to 50% on rooms.

Family-Friendly Cues

1. Free Amenities. The key word here is “free.” When scoping out a hotel or motel, look for features like a designated children’s play area, free access to local parks, kiddie pools (with lifeguard!), “kids eat free” offers, child care services, child-proofing kits, etc.

Hotels/Motels to Note:
- Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts runs a V.I.K. (Very Important Kids) program that offers goody bags for children. Giveaways include video games, toys, children’s movies and baby supplies. 
- Hyatt offers their visiting kids a welcome pack, complete with a free cap. A few locations also feature “Camp Hyatt,” a free, supervised children’s program.
- Radisson has introduced the Family Magic program, which includes free breakfasts for the family, a discounted adjoining room and free magic trick booklets for kids.

2. Equipment for Rent. Try as you may, you just can’t take your home on the road. You’re going to find yourself in situations where you need a crib, a playpen, a rollaway bed, etc. When booking your room, first ask if these items are offered. If so, find out if they’re complimentary or come with a fee.

Hotels/Motels to Note:
Radisson offers child-care services, cribs, childproofing kits, books, games and videos through their “Family Approved” program.

Safety Measures

1. Your Room. When you first arrive, do a quick check of the room. Are the balcony doors locked? Can a child easily open the windows? Are any cords hanging from the blinds or drapes? What about the outlets? Are they in good shape? Easy for a child to access? It’s a good idea to pack your own outlet covers, as most hotels don’t childproof their rooms.

Hotels/Motels to Note:
- Doubletree offers “Family-Friendly Suites” that are baby and childproofed and are stocked with emergency baby supplies.
- Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts will childproof your room upon request.
- Westin hotels give children gifts – and parents safety kits – at check-in.

2. Tour The Hotel With Your Child. This is one of the best ways to help your child become more familiar – and comfortable - with the surroundings. Introduce him or her to the hotel staff at the front desk. In the event of an emergency or problem, your child will know where to go, and who to ask for help. Walk to the pool and go through the swimming safety rules. On the way back to your room, point out the stairways, exits and fire extinguishers, as well as the most direct route to the lobby.

Safety Tips > Where to Stay with Children > Childproof Your Hotel > Vacation Babysitters

 

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