Family Friendly Hotels
Kids may be the pride and joy of a parent’s life, but they can prove to be an especially big burden when traveling, not just on your wallet but on your nerves as well.
MainStreet has cherry-picked a few of the best hotels in North America so parents can take their kids on vacation and still have it feel like a vacation, not an endless series of chores. These hotels do everything from providing free food and lodging for children to chaperoning them on day trips so mom and dad can enjoy themselves for a few hours uninterrupted.
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Omni Hotels & Resorts
The Omni hotel chain knows the way to a child’s heart. As part of Omni’s Sensational Kids program, all children ages 4-12 receive games and books (to borrow, not for keeps) to entertain themselves during their stay, and will get milk and cookies sent to their room the first night of their stay. What’s more, kids get to eat free from the children’s menu at the hotel or can get a half-priced buffet meal, so parents can take some of that unspent money and put it toward a fancy meal out for themselves.
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Acqualina Resort & Spa
Miami may be known as a place to party on the beach, but the Acqualina resort could easily change that. This hotel offers a Kid’s Night Out package for $45, where kids get a dinner and movie and play games, all while being supervised by hotel staff. Sure, it costs a little extra, but it’s less than most babysitters charge, and gives parents the ability to have a night out themselves. Aside from this special package, kids and parents can also enjoy a complimentary marine biology class as well as arts and crafts sessions during holiday seasons. This way the whole family can spend quality time together.
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The downside to staying in the Big Apple is you can quickly end up with a big bill for your vacation, but the Hotel Novotel in New York makes it a little easier for families to travel together by offering free lodging and food for kids. The deal is good anytime for up to two children per family under the age of 16, and includes complimentary buffet breakfasts. If families need it, the hotel also provides an in-house babysitting service, although that will cost you extra, but if you’re coming in from out of town, it’s certainly better than having to phish around on Craigslist for a last-minute sitter.
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Viva Wyndham Family Resort
For this summer only (June 1 – Aug. 31), each of the Wyndam resorts in Mexico, the Dominican Republic and the Bahamas are letting all kids 12 and under stay and eat for free. On top of this, families can sign their kids up for special children-only activities like windsurfing, talent shows and painting classes for $30 extra per night.
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The Westin La Paloma
If you’re planning a family trip to the Southwest, you may want to try the Westin La Paloma in Tucson, Ariz., but be warned: Once you get there, you may not want to leave to explore the rest of the city. This hotel has 10 tennis courts, five swimming pools (including a kids’ pool) and even a huge waterslide that will undoubtedly be a good source of entertainment for kids. If that’s not enough, the Westin also offers a special kids’ club, where kids can play Nintendo, do arts and crafts, watch TV and do any number of other fun activities. The club, which is available to kids 12 and under, costs $12 an hour and is a great way to entertain the kids for an afternoon while you pamper yourself elsewhere.
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The Four Seasons Hotel Boston
Few hotels are as good at pampering adults as the Four Seasons, but this particular Four Seasons hotel in Boston has introduced a program to pamper kids as well. The hotel offers a Very Important Kids package for weekend stays that comes with museum tickets, a toy boat filled with chocolate milk and a backpack that comes with a Boston guidebook for children and a scavenger hunt game. If that’s not enough, as part of the program, the hotel’s ice cream man will visit the room to give the kids a snack. The program’s costs vary by room, but is roughly $50 extra per night.
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Hotel Del Sol
Like the Four Seasons Hotel in Boston, the Hotel Del Sol in San Francisco has a special program called Kids Are VIPs to pamper children during their stay. As part of this program, children are greeted with a welcome package that includes sunglasses, a beach ball and stickers, plus they have access to a closet full of DVDs and books, all for no extra cost.
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For big families on a tight budget, few hotels are as good a deal as Holiday Inn, which lets up to four kids 12 and under per family eat for free off the children’s menu, and all kids 19 and under stay for free at any location. Just don’t tell your 19-year-old that he or she is still considered a kid.
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