Kid Friendly Hotel Guide
When traveling with kids, you’ll want to find the best kid friendly hotels for your stay. You’ll be spending quite a bit of time in your hotel, and you’ll want it to just be perfect. Kid-friendly hotels not just acceptable for families, they also offer amenities that especially appeal to families. Finding that perfect hotel with fun amenities for kids is one way to make a good family vacation a great family vacation.
Kid Friendly Hotel Basics
At a minimum, any kid friendly hotel you choose for your family vacation should offer some basics amenities for children, like in-room refrigerators, cribs upon request, and (if applicable) restaurants with kids’ menus and high chairs/booster seats. Make sure you can get a room with enough beds for your family – you don’t want to be surprised to open the hotel room door and find only one king bed for your whole family. If you have a baby or active toddler, make sure you get a room that’s safe for your child – that means no open balconies or bunk beds. You may also want to make sure that your hotel room offers a bathtub if your children aren’t ready to take showers.
Kid Friendly Hotel Rooms
Some hotels, like the White Elephant Residences in Nantucket, MA and The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess in Scottsdale, AZ, offer fun gifts for kids upon arrival. My kids were so excited to find adorable little gray elephants on their beds at the White Elephant, and they enjoyed choosing their own stuffed animals from a basket on the checkout counter at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess.
Families often enjoy having separate sleeping spaces when traveling, but suite hotels, which can be the best option, are often too expensive for families. The Red Jacket Mountain View Hotel in North Conway, NH offers kid friendly hotel alcove rooms where the kids’ sleeping area is a small room off the main room, and my kids thought that was so much fun.
Kid Friendly Hotel Themes
If you can find a hotel with a kid-friendly theme, your children will likely love to stay there. I recommend that you read family hotel reviews online, however, because a kid-friendly hotel may not be an adult-friendly hotel. I always recommend the Walt Disney World resort hotels, because they are both kid-friendly and adult-friendly. My favorites of these are the Polynesian Resort, the Beach Club Resort, and Disney’s Art of Animation Resort.
Another great hotel chain with a great kid’s theme is the Great Wolf Lodge chain, located throughout the US and Canada. Not only does the Great Wolf Lodge offer an amazing, clean indoor waterpark in each resort, it also has a fun adventure called MagiQuest. Kids of all ages have fun completing the missions in their interactive game. The resort also offers a full-service spa – perfect for when mom needs a bit of a getaway.
Kid Friendly Hotel Amenities
Even if your family vacation hotel doesn’t offer a fun theme, it still may offer hotel amenities that appeal to children. For instance, my kids loved the “Kids in the Kitchen” program at the Westin Kierland Resort in Scottsdale, AZ, which, from the exterior, appears to be a business hotel. Just make sure you book those programs in advance, because they often fill up. Another amenity that children enjoy is a fabulous, kid-friendly pool. The Virginia Beach Holiday Inn, for example, offers a pool with waterslide along with a lazy river that was always filled with happy kids. The Comfort Inn in Plattsburgh, NY has a fun zone with indoor bowling, minigolf and arcade games that my kids just couldn’t get enough of, along with a mini indoor waterpark. With amenities like these, it can be difficult to get your kids to leave the hotel.
Kid Friendly Hotel Locations
Another important factor in choosing a great hotel for your family is location. Chances are, you’ll want to do something on your vacation beyond hanging out in your hotel room. Location is a huge factor – you won’t want to spent your whole vacation driving around. Hotels on the beach, like the Sea Crest Beach Hotel in Falmouth, MA, are fabulous because you’ll have access to your hotel room throughout the day – great for diaper changes and naps. If you are planning to visit a theme park, a hotel within shuttle distance may be worth the extra expense if it’ll save you money.
Deals on Kid Friendly Hotels
If you have school-aged kids like I do, you’ll find that hotel rates often increase during school vacations – including major holidays and summer vacations. My favorite time to travel is the day after Christmas, but often popular kid-friendly hotels are pricey and generally fill up during that time frame. Some of the top hotels actually have guests that book for the next year while on vacation during the current year. So, if you want to travel during school vacations, you’ll need to work hard to find a deal.
Keep an eye in prices, and book early in advance, if possible. Also make sure you know what the cancellation policies are – especially if you may deal with weather issues in the winter. Do your pricing research, and include these higher vacation prices in your family vacation budget so you don’t end up overspending. Also follow deals sites, including our family vacation deals page, so you can take advantage of a great deal when it works for you. If you don’t have a major hotel preference, you should also consider looking at Priceline or Hotwire.
See all of our kid-friendly hotel reviews on Family Travel Magazine.
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