10 Best Hotel Amenities for Babies and Toddlers
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Oh, the amount of gear you need when you have a baby. There’s the infant tub, the diapers, monitors, car seats, high chairs, cribs — and this is just at home. What do you do when you want to hit the road with your infant in tow without bringing the entire house with you?
You really can travel with your baby without schlepping all of the gear. More and more, hotels are providing some pretty compelling family-friendly amenities. This allows you to take a true vacation by providing you with all the tools you need. We’re going to list out some of the best amenities hotels make available to those with babies and toddlers, but of course not every hotel has every item, so ask in advance to be 100% certain that any mission critical items are available.
Pack ‘n Plays, high chairs, booster seats and cribs are available at many hotel chains, so you don’t have to pack that bulky gear and potentially get charged for extra luggage on your flight. (Of course, if you’re still breastfeeding, you’ll want to bring your pump if you use one. Here’s what you need to know about flying with breast milk in the US.) You’ll find wallet-friendly hotels like Residence Inn and Courtyard by Marriott, as well as high-end chains providing much of what you need, at no additional charge. For example, just ask and the Four Seasons Las Vegas will have a high chair, playpen and crib waiting in your room, as well as a basket of baby essentials. And, while Four Seasons doesn’t have a loyalty program, you can use your Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card to book a stay through Hotels.com to net 10x points on the purchase.
Leave the bulky stroller at home and skip the annoying gate check process if you can make due in the airport without it. Some hotel chains are now offering complimentary strollers, including properties owned by Loews and Four Seasons. Sure, many hotel strollers are your run-of-the-mill umbrella types, but high-end properties up the game with the upper crust in baby wheels. The Mark Hotel in New York offers an entire fleet of custom-designed Maclaren strollers. (If you do decide to bring your stroller, here are eight of the best strollers for travelers as well as advice for baby carriers from a full-time traveling family.)
Nannies and Sitters
Want to get away for a romantic candlelit dinner at a top-rated restaurant or spend the day ziplining across the rainforest canopy of a tropical destination? In-room babysitting with vetted and trusted local sitters, as well as full-on nannies are becoming increasingly more available at hotels, especially at all-inclusive or high-end resorts. Family-friendly Club Med properties feature a Baby Club Med, where babysitting and evening activities are available for infants and toddlers.
At Jamaica’s Franklyn D. Resort, your all-inclusive price tag includes your own nanny, available for day or evening care. (Of course, many hotel chains and resorts — like Grand Hyatt — also often offer traditional kids club programming for older children, usually starting at the age of 3 or 4 and potty-trained.) At the St. Regis Punta Mita Resort, Mommy Points hired a nanny that she loved for several hours a day for their then baby while their then-5-year-old was able to attend the complimentary on-site kid’s club.
From the basic milk and cookies at the end of a long day exploring a new destination to all-out costumed actors reading bedtime stories with an entire spread of treats, “night-night time” in a new bed for your kiddos will be a breeze when you add on a hotel’s tuck-in amenity. The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island, can bring a pirate, a princess and a parrot to your room with treats, a treasure chest of goodies for a bedtime tale featuring, what else? Princesses and pirates. (Don’t forget that you can transfer Ultimate Rewards points to Ritz-Carlton.)
In-room tents, toys and more are also sometimes options. Sticking with the Ritz-Carlton theme, that chain also sometimes offers an in-room camping package as part of its Ritz Kids program.
You won’t need to worry about electrical sockets, hard edges or other in-room dangers when you stay at properties providing childproofing amenities. Boutique hotelier Kimpton (part of IHG Rewards Club) — with more than 35 properties across the country (and on Mommy Points’ list as one of the best hotel chains for families) — has got you covered. Through Kimpton Kids, outlet covers, toilet latches and other safety gear are available, as well as night-lights to help everyone see better at night. (And, to keep away the monsters under the bed!) Kimpton Kids is available at city locations, including Philadelphia’s Hotel Monaco and Hotel Palomar.
Mom and Dad Treats
When bedtime is as early as 7pm, what are mom and dad to do for the rest of the night? If you stay at a Great Wolf Resort, of which there are more than a dozen around the country, you can order from the Wine Down Service. Sweet and savory treats paired to a selection of wines can be delivered to your room — quietly — for you to enjoy while baby sleeps. Parents receive a text when room service arrives at the door to avoid waking the kids, and prices are as low as $35.
Toddler Spa Treatments
Think massages are just for the adults? The 25-minute toddler massage for 3 year olds and up at the Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit resort in Mexico, for example, promotes sensory and cognitive development, and is accompanied by the music of Mozart. The resort also provides baby’s first haircut and gives parents a certificate to commemorate the special occasion.
Baby Food is On the Menu
In Europe, and slowly coming to American resorts, families can find properties with fresh, pureed fruits and vegetables on the menus to feed your littlest ones. Hotel Serena in Italy offers pear, apple and mixed fruit puree at breakfast, and home-grown vegetable, fruit, meat and fish purees for lunch and dinner. In the US, one of the best chains for healthy eating is Fairmont. Best suited for toddlers, the brand’s Lifestyle Cuisine has created menus to meet dietary requests with low-fat, vegetarian, low-carb and healthy twists for kids’ foods. (Plus, kids under 5 eat free.)
Luxury hotels are making life especially easy by outfitting your room or suite with all your baby needs. One call to a Baby Butler, such as those found at Kimpton Hotel Palomar in Chicago, and you can request items such as diapers, wipes, lotion, pacifiers and more. Mini-bars can be emptied before your arrival to use to store milk and baby food.
If a hotel doesn’t have what you need — or want — there are also companies that will rent items and have them at your hotel when you arrive. Companies such as Traveling Baby are especially good if you’re interested in renting a vacation home and want to stock it with the items you need. Many hotel brands work with rental agencies, as well, so if a hotel doesn’t offer a special infant amenity, ask about their options.
From in-room camping for the littles to quietly delivered wine and treats for adults, some hotels just get it when it comes to the needs (and wants) of young families. What hotel chains or properties have gone above and beyond to make your family’s stay a good one with special amenities and services?
Featured image courtesy of Ritz Carlton
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