Traveling with the family can be easier with theses kid friendly hotels
Before my husband and I had our 2 children, we traveled at every opportunity we could capture. We were lucky enough to stay at a variety of higher – end hotel chains because I had worked for Hilton Corp, and Starwood Hotel for several years. The employee discount rates were extremely hard to let go after 8 years but it was time to be “self employed” and enjoy time with my family!
So, over those 8 years we had the opportunity to stay at several Hilton properties which include: Hilton, Doubletree, Embassy Suites, Homewood Suites, Hampton Inn, Waldorf, and more. As a parent, I’m always looking for kid friendly hotels! So, let’s get started!
1. Embassy Suites – First on my list of kid friendly hotels. Even if you don’t have children, there are plenty of reasons to LOVE IT!
A. All of the rooms in the hotel are a minimum a 2 room suites. Typically a living room with dining area, sleeper sofa, wet bar, microwave, refrigerator and extra chairs for lounging with a flat screen TV. The actual bedroom has either 2 double beds or king bed and another flat screen TV. There is a door that separates the living room from the bedroom for additional privacy. I love that there is a sleeper sofa in the living room. Our kids are still small enough to share the sleeper sofa bed and watch their own shows on their own TV, while my husband and I lounge on the king sized bed watching some well-deserved grown-up shows!
B. The Full Cooked to Order Breakfast EVERY morning. They make eggs and omelets to order, pancakes, french toast, waffles, bacon, sausage, fruit, pastries, cereals, yogurt, coffe, tea, juice, milk and more! My family loves breakfast and if we were to go out to a restaurant, this breakfast would cost at least $15 / adult and probably around $8 / child.
C. Nightly Manager’s Reception – What is this, you may ask? Every evening from 5:30pm to 7:30pm there is FREE beer, wine and/or liquor plus FREE soda / juice for the kids AND light snacks. At most Embassy’s they serve all 3 drinks for FREE. The liquor is usually rail but you can pay regular price if you want premium brands. The same goes for beer…usually they have 2 to 3 domestic and 1 local beer and possibly another premium microbrew for purchase. Wine is usually free and they usually stick with the same brand of wine at all of the Embassy’s nationwide for consistency. Some properties will only allow 2 drinks per person for the whole 2 hours (depends on local laws) but most allow unlimited drinks during those 2 hours as long as you show responsible drinking. The light snacks range from chips, salsa, fresh veggies with dip, nuts, snack mix, etc. My kids loved drinking the juice, eating snacks to their hearts content! After all, it is vacation!
D. Swimming pool and hot tub – need I say more! This alone is what my kids look forward too!
E. Beautiful Atrium – At most properties the middle of the hotel has sort of water feature with a waterfall or koi fish pond. My kids gravitate towards water and it keeps them entertained while we relax and people watch or enjoy ourselves at Managers Reception.
F. Property locations – At the 20+ Embassy properties I’ve stayed at, they are all a little unique and are all in well established areas. I’ve NEVER been concerned for our safety.
2. Homewood Suites – Again, another Hilton brand but they “get it”! Now, I haven’t stayed at nearly as many Homewood properties as I have Embassy but they are pretty much the same all the way around. The hotel has more of of a “home away from home” feeling. In the lobby their are sofas, loveseats, and always a large fireplace to sit and relax and to watch TV.
A. All Suite hotel – Each suite is either a 2 room suite or studio suite. There is a sleeper sofa, extra chairs, and coffee table. Now what make Homewood different is that each suite also has a kitchen (except an oven). So, they have a full refrigerator with ice maker, stove top, full size microwave, pots, pans, cooking utensils, plates, glasses, eating utensils, coffee maker, and complimentary coffee, and microwave popcorn. Each room also has a DVD player so it was nice for our kids to watch a few, movies we brought along from home.
B. Daily hot breakfast – usually a main breakfast course ( eggs, pancakes, biscuits & gravy, etc), breakfast meat, fresh fruit, waffles, cereal, pastries, yogurt, toast, coffee, juice, and milk. Again, what a value!
C. Manager’s Reception – Unlike the Embassy, the Homewood serves FREE beer and wine only from Mondays – Thursday.
D. Complimentary Evening Dinner – This is also served from Monday thru Thursday. The menu for the month is usually posted on the refrigerator in your suite. During our stay we had Asian Stir Fry with Egg Rolls, Rice, and Salad. The next evening was spaghetti with meatballs, breadsticks, and salad. Again, what a huge money saver! Our kids loved the spaghetti and meatballs! After dinner and ( and a few drinks) were ready for a bath, and bed time!
E. Pool and hot tub!
F. The front desk staff saw our children during check in and gave them a new thick coloring book and crayons. Awesome!
G. Location – Again, I’ve always felt safe at any Homewood properties
3. Staybridge Suites – We haven’t had the opportunity to stay here with the entire family but did stay at one by myself. Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday evenings there is an evening dinner and reception just like Homewood. Unfortunately, my stay was during the weekend so I only experienced the hot breakfast.
We’ve stayed at other chain hotels but Embassy Suites and Homewood Suites are top on our list for family-friendly, and extreme value. All of the amenities offered are truly a economical in the end. Sure, it can seem like you are paying a lot up front but don’t forget all those breakfast bills, tips, drink bills, dinner bills, and tips all add up quickly.
If you plan ahead, usually you can get a good “advance purchase rate”. It is nonrefundable but you can save an extra $20-$30 per night if you can get this rate.
4. Holiday Inn & Holiday Inn Express – One of the great benefits about this hotel chain is that they keep families in the forefront of their business. Did you know that kids eat and stay free at the Holiday Inn? I didn’t know this until a few months ago. Also, the Holiday Inn Express has a complimentary breakfast every morning…awesome! Plus, there is usually a pool and hot tub at these properties so just another perk to keep the kids happy.
I know there are a lot of other lodging accommodations but these are 4 brands that have worked best for our family. What hotel chains are you loyal too or are the best kid friendly hotels? Share your comments below.