If you are the parents of young children, planning a holiday for you inevitably means putting the kids' needs first and your own desires second. Nowadays, however, it is not always so. There are plenty of family hotels and resorts that provide comfortable rest for every member of the family. Family hotels and resorts have a variety of amenities which might include supervised, planned activities; fun activities like theme parks and attractions nearby; larger or themed rooms that accommodate families; or special rates and meals for kids.
There exist several hotel brands that cater for family trips. Four Seasons Hotels have locations throughout the world with amenities just for the kids. Restaurants have children's menus. The "Kids For All Seasons" program provides supervised activities which vary at each property. Most resorts have children's swimming pools and play areas. Some have cribs, roll-away beds and amenities like baby soap.
Children can really have fun at a place like Walt Disney World. It's a safe place to assert some independence from parents. When traveling to Disney World, you are sure to find plenty of family hotels nearby. With Disney World Hotels and Resorts both you and your children will have an exiting rest. Wilderness Lodge and Animal Kingdom have rooms with bunk beds available. The All-Star Resorts and Pop Century feature larger-than-life icons like 101 Dalmations and Mr. Potato Head that will delight younger children. Polynesian, Contemporary and Grand Floridian are a short monorail ride away from the Magic Kingdom.
Another popular chain of family hotels is Kimpton. These are stylish boutique hotels in metropolitan areas. Most offer family vacations that vary with the hotel. For example, the Hotel Marlow in Cambridge offers "Museum of Science" family vacations that include four VIP passes to the museum and mountain bikes. The Hotel Monaco in Denver offers "Monaco Munchkins" family vacations that include four passes to Six Flags (or to the IMAX, the Denver Zoo and the Museum of Nature & Science), a $25 gift certificate to Johnny Rockets, snacks and morning coffee. Most hotels have special programs for children.
The "Loews Loves Kids" program at the Loews hotel was developed in conjunction with Parenting magazine. Family amenities vary by hotel, but generally include children's menus, board game and video libraries, welcome gifts and supervised children's programs. Ritz-Carlton, worldwide luxury hotel chain has an extensive "Ritz Kids" program that caters to family vacations. Amenities vary at each hotel. Babies in Hong Kong can enjoy a butler-drawn bath, while families vacationing in Cancun can request quiet suites with phones that light up instead of ringing. Kids in Grand Cayman kayak and snorkel, while in Orlando families enjoy dive-in movies and take golf lessons. Most locations have creative "Healthy Taste" children's menus, and some have special kid suites.
Other family hotel brands include Hilton, Hyatt, Westin, Radisson and Marriott. You might not necessarily choose these chains, but before booking a hotel for family vacation, you should consider the possibilities offered for your kid. Inquire about the supervised activities provided for your children's age-group, what they include and if they cost extra. You might also need to know if a hotel has a baby-sitting service and an on-site doctor or registered nurse. Most hotels have a swimming pool, but ask if there is a shallow end for children or separate toddler's pool.
Thankfully more and more resorts now have websites, so you can often preview rooms as well as the pool and the resort itself. Bear in mind that if you are a family with three or more kids many family travel arrangements - such as 'kids stay and eat free' - are restricted to one child per paying adult. Bear in mind, too, that sometimes a maximum of four individuals are allowed per room. Many family resorts have family suites or cottages that can accommodate a larger family, but expect to pay extra money. Finally, remember it's not just the facilities that matter, but a relaxed, kid-friendly atmosphere of family hotels which can make all the difference.