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Traveling with your baby can be glorious or difficult, but one part that’s never fun: dragging all of your baby’s stuff along. Even the most storage-heavy cars generally can’t handle a stroller, travel crib, bouncer chair, and a car seat, and getting even one of these things on a plane is herculean.
Modern hotels are responding to the needs of family travelers, with rooms specially designed for families, ask-for-them free baby amenities, and family fun programs to keep kids and parents happy. Here are a few of our favorites.
The chain is making a pitch for family business with ready-for-the-asking baby gear at its Hyatt Place, Hyatt House, and Hyatt Regency hotels.
At Hyatt Place and Hyatt House, guests can ask for baby amenities for their room, including a Pack n’ Play, Diaper Genie, crib, bottle warmer, baby blankets, and baby bath accessories. At the Regency, you can ask for a Pack n’ Play and then rent a human to watch your baby sleep in it — babysitting service is available upon request.
While Hyatt Place and Hyatt Regency are more business-oriented, we particularly like the Hyatt House hotel for its added family-friendly features: Every room is a suite with a door that closes between the living room and bedroom, there’s a big free breakfast with eggs, oatmeal, yogurt, and fruit, and the Hyatt Has It Borrows program allows guests to ask for all kinds of free room amenities, such as a sound machine, board games, and device recharging cords.
We love a hotel with two separate rooms for family travel, whether we’re traveling with a baby or a stays-up-late big kid. So Embassy Suites, which offers foldout couches in the living room, TVs in each room, a fridge, and a microwave, has what a family needs for nighttime. You can request a crib and/or a highchair for your room, and each property has a 24-hour pantry/store, in case you need aspirin or diapers in the middle of the night.
When you wake up, the gigantic free breakfast buffet, with cooked-to-order eggs and quality proteins, is equally kind to traveling clans. There’s a free reception every night too, with snacks and beer and wine for parents, juice and milk for kids — and special napkins with games on them to keep everybody busy at their tables for a few happy minutes.
This budget brand from Marriott is primarily intended for extended-stay business travelers, but families have come to appreciate the large rooms like the one-bedroom suites, which have a door separating the master bedroom from the living room with a pull-out bed. There are two-bedroom suites available in many hotels too, which makes this chain choice for larger families. You can cook in your room, because each has an oven, microwave, dishwasher, and full-sized fridge — plus free grocery delivery, extraordinarily handy for families with small kids.
We also like Marriott’s Tots Travel Too program, available at Residence Inns (as well as Mariott’s Courtyard, Fairfield Inns & Suites, Springhill Suites, and Towne Place Suites). Just ask and you can get a travel crib, night light, baby bath products, toys, bibs, and outlet covers for childproofing.
But what the kids might appreciate most of all is the chain’s Monday-Wednesday evening social program, Residence Inn Mix in the hotel lobby, with local restaurant tastings, an outdoors barbecue, desserts, visits from local food trucks, and other (mostly free) treats.
One of the smaller chains in the United States (just 25 properties), Loew’s works harder to capture its piece of the family-travel pie, with a string of amenities for its long-running “Loews Loves Kids” program.
First of all, each property boasts a Family Concierge, specially trained to guide visiting kids and parents to local fun. Guests can request equipment like a crib and crib sheets, a childproofing kit, and nightlights. Visiting kids also get a “uniquely local gift,” like a Beach in a Box kit in Santa Monica, and a cowboy hat and toy guitar in Nashville.
For tweens and teens, the hotel offers complimentary wifi in all public areas — even by the pool — so they don’t drain family data plans, and adventurous eaters age 12 and under can order from the chain’s Precocious Plates menu at restaurants, small portions of interesting dishes not often found on nugget-laden kids’ menus like lobster risotto, Kobe short rib, and shrimp and grits.
The chain (60+ locations in the U.S.) styles itself as a family-friendly hotel, with special amenities for young traveler. Every kid gets a backpack upon check-in filled with books, a game, binoculars, and crayons. On the first night of their stay, kids get milk and cookies delivered to their rooms too.
But these somewhat-standard amenities pale in impressiveness when compared to offerings at some Omni locations. At three Texas hotels, for instance, Omni offers “Sensory Kid Suites,” with beanbag chairs, an art table, games, books, kid-sized robes and the Kids Sensation Bar with trinkets and snacks designed to awaken travelers’ senses. The Boston Freedom Trail Suite comes complete with child-sized colonist costumes for dress-up play. And in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, Omni guests can get archery lessons and take carriage rides, go fly fishing and ride the hotel’s private carousel on the playground.
The post Traveling with a baby? 5 hotel chains that make it easy appeared first on BabyCenter Blog.