Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Is it important to find a kid friendly hotel?

We don’t go to hotels very often, part of that is because we have two small children. However, last summer we spent a few days at a hotel so the kids could spend some time with their Grandfather. He was paying for the hotel, so he did the booking. Let me tell you this was not one of the family friendly hotels that are out there. This was a hotel by the airport used by business people or people spending the night before their flight. There was no restaurant in the hotel, game room, play area or playground, pool or babysitting services. As we did not book the rooms we did not get to ask the all-important questions: Do kids stay free? Do kids eat free? It was a real struggle the whole time we where there. There was nothing to do with the kids, nothing but watch TV or go out and try to find some place for the kids to do some thing. The hotel was fine, but not for a family.

What got me was on the last day as we were leaving, one of the staff asked me why we did not have cribs in the room, and they had them. Well no one told us about them, or that they were available, and we did not know to ask. We had never stayed in a hotel with the kids before, we did not know what they had for kids and there were no signs or any thing. So if the staff did not tell us, how were we to know? I know we should have asked about beds for the kids. We had two beds so we each took one kid and tried to make sure they did not fall out. My daughter, who was 1 did fall of the bed and had an owie. I was not happy. Now that I know what it is like first hand to stay at a non kid friendly hotel I know how important it is to make sure the next hotel I stay at with my kids is a kid friendly hotel. I am going to take the time and do my research and save myself a headache.

How do you know what questions to ask when booking a hotel when traveling with kids? How do you find kid friendly hotels? I know that there is sites out there that will tell you what hotels are pet friendly and what special things they offer for pet owners. I figured there had to be a site that did the same for families with kids. I found allstays.com. They have taken the time to do a page to help family’s find the kid friendly hotels in Canada and the US. To be considered a family friendly hotel the hotel had to meet at lest three of these criteria’s: Restaurant in hotel, game room, kids stay free, kids eat free, play area or playground, pool, babysitting services, arcade. It is easy to find hotels along any rout seeing as they let you find them by city and state.

They even had some information on things I never even thought about seeing as my kids are still very young. The best piece of advice was to book a hotel suit with two bed rooms instead of two hotel rooms, it can be cheaper but more importantly it is safer for you and your kids no matter what their age. I liked that they listed some hotels that can be adult content free sites. It never occurred to me I had to worry about that unless I ordered the movies myself. Well it turns out that some times the person who had the room before paid for some movies that can be seen for 24 hrs from the time it was ordered. Guess what, you are clicking to find some thing and boom some thing you don’t need your kids seeing. More importantly some hotels have pictures on the menu you don’t want your kids looking at advertising what can be seen. This is some thing that is important to check with the hotel before showing up with your kids. I liked allstays.com and will use them to do my research the next time I need to stay at a hotel, with or with out my kids. I understand how important it is to make sure the hotel meets my family’s needs, not just provide a bed for the night.

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