Are you looking for tips for finding baby friendly hotels? Here at Wandermust Family we know how important finding the perfect accommodation for your vacation is and how challenging it is when looking for a hotel with a baby in tow. In this guide we give you some practical requirements and things you need to look for before booking a hotel with a baby.
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Is a hotel right for you?
Firstly before we start talking about finding the right hotel for you and your family it is first worth considering if actually a hotel is the right type of accommodation in the first place.
When we were a couple we would always choose a hotel over an Airbnb or vacation rental and we still prefer them in many cases. However it is worth taking a moment to assess whether or not a hotel is right for you.
When considering staying in a hotel vs a vacation rental things you should consider are listed below:
Pros of a hotel vs a holiday rental
- If you are staying in one of the chain hotels then you are likely to know the standard of room you are getting
- They are usually in well known places with easy parking
- They are usually in some of the more desirable or more convenient locations as opposed to vacation properties such as Airbnbs which may be in more suburban neighbourhoods.
- Are accessible even with a stroller due to elevators and ground floor accommodation.
- There are usually several configurations and room types available.
- There is more recourse if something goes on as you will be able to immediately able to speak to the general manager.
- Hotels usually have better health and safety policies and set ups in room as they are more regulated. NB we always recommend traveling with some extra safety plugs and baby proofing items just in case.
- Often have better cancellation policies (check terms when booking) should you be required to cancel at last minute
Cons of a hotel vs a holiday rental
Now you now the pros of a hotel room over a holiday rental it is only fair to let you some of the cons. They are:
- hotels are usually more expensive
- there can be limited space for storage of your baby travel accessories and let’s be honest they come with a lot of stuff
- you may have to share a room with your baby in the evening which if they are an early and light sleeper may curtail your evening activities or ability to watch tv etc.
- they are unlikely to have a kitchen or kitchenette which can be handy for food preparation if you are traveling while weaning.
- they are unlikely to have inroom laundry facilities.
So now that you know what the pros and cons are, if you like us still want to pick a hotel room for your travels the following tips will help you pick the right one for your family.
Tips for finding baby friendly hotels
Location, location, location!
As they say it is all about location, location, location! This is true for whatever vacation you are going on but it is even more important when you are traveling with a baby.
When considering the location for your baby friendly hotel some of the things you may want to consider are:
- will your baby sleep in the stroller? or will you need to head back to your hotel room for nap times? If the latter is true then you will need to pick a central location close to everything you want to do.
- how light a sleeper they are – will they need a hotel room that is off busy roads and city centres?
Our little one was always a really great sleeper so we never had to worry about the above and just picked the hotel in the area that was most convenient for us. However some babies are easier than others to travel with so it is worth thinking about before booking.
So for us when traveling with a baby we want to consider minimising the travel time between the places we want to visit and our hotel. I will always have a rough idea of places I want to visit before booking accommodation and I make a list. For instance when traveling to Rome with a baby I always know I want to see the Colosseum, the Forum and Villa Borghese Gardens so look for a hotel that is in walking distance of all these attractions.
We therefore recommend making a list of your must dos and picking a hotel that will make it easiest for you to reach all of them with a baby.
What amenities makes a hotel baby friendly?
When you booked a hotel as a couple you may have used it merely as a place to sleep but chances are you may have to spend more time in your room with a baby. Therefore now we are a couple we always try and book a hotel with a few more amenities.
Some of the amenities we look for include but aren’t limited to:
- a pool
- access to a beach (location depending obviously).
- an on-site restaurant
- room service provision
- Kids club or babysitting
Now you don’t have to have all or any of the above on your list but it is worth considering whether or not these are important to you before booking.
We never tend to use a babysitter when we travel but we always will use a pool and room service so we like having these options available.
What type of hotel room do you need when traveling with a baby?
Again, as I said before when we traveled as a couple we would only use the hotel room to sleep in. But what we have found is that now we have a baby we spend far more time in our room so we want to make sure we have a nice one.
Also if you are planning on doing a European City Break with a baby then it is worth noting that European hotel rooms are notoriously small. Chances are if you are traveling with a baby you will be travelling with more stuff than you did with a couple. For instance you may have a stroller, pack and play, travel cot or car seat with you to name just a few items. Therefore we recommend double checking the rooms before booking that there will be enough room
Note: For more traveling to Europe with toddlers tips be sure to check out our dedicated post.
Also if you know you are going to be spending a lot of time in the hotel room, you may want to consider booking something that has a seating area.
Or our favourite a room with a balcony or a view as we enjoy having a drink after we have put the baby down in an area where we won’t wake our little bundle of joy up.
Picking a Room with with Baby Friendly Bathrooms
If your little one is anything like mine they will love baths and hate showers. If so then you will need to check out the hotel bathroom before booking unless that is that you decide to travel with an inflatable bath?
When my littles were still babies we would always book a hotel that had a bathtub in the bath room. If this wasn’t available then we would always take an inflatable bathtub with them to save the stress of using the shower.
What type of Hotel is best for baby travel?
You may have loved trendy hotels when you were traveling as a couple but it is really important to consider the atmosphere of the hotel you are booking.
While I think you can take a baby anywhere, even 5* hotels – which we have been lucky enough to do – not all hotels are as welcoming as others for families who are traveling.
Some things that might give you a clue as to whether it is likely to be baby friendly include:
- if the hotel is renowned for its nightlife or has a bar that gets noisy at the weekend
- whether it has a kids club
- whether it allows kids to use the pool.
We learnt this lesson the hard way after booking a very baby unfriendly stay at the Miramar hotel Barcelona. However we have also traveled to the Maldives with a baby, which is more renowned as a honeymoon destination than a family friendly one but had a great time thanks to the hotel we picked.
Baby Friendly Hotel Restaurants
Now that we have a baby we have found that there are more occasions when we eat in the hotel or around the hotel. Whether it’s needing room service rather than going out for dinner because you have just got off a long flight with a jet lagged baby or simply having an over tired or over stimulated baby baby it’s useful to know what the hotel has on offer or if there are takeaways or coffee shops nearby.
I also like to have a look in advance if a hotel or places in its vicinity have a children’s menu as this is usually a good indicator that somewhere is child friendly!
We have also found that we use concierge lounges far more now we have a baby as it is so good to have somewhere where you can go all day to grab food and drinks.
Not to hark back again to what our pre baby travel was like but we would usually be up and out the door finding a quaint spot for breakfast on our way to the day’s destination. However we have found starting the day right with a good breakfast is an essential for a successful day of sightseeing with a baby.
Therefore we recommending trying to book a hotel room rate that includes breakfast.
Remember to book the travel cot
If you plan on using a cot rather than co-sleeping in the hotel then do remember to book a travel cot for your room in advance. We always ring ahead the day before to ensure the cot will be set up in the room when we arrive.
There is nothing worse than having a sleepy baby and having to wait for the cot to be delivered or worse risk waking baby up while it’s put up.
What are your tips for finding a baby friendly hotel? We’d love to hear in the comments how you make your choice.