These days, it’s amazing what some hotels will do for their youngest guests. In an article for Australia’s Brisbane Times, Jane Fraser maps out places to stay around the world that truly go out of their way to make kids feel special and appreciated.
At the Knotts Berry Farm Hotel in Buena Park, California, kids can get “Snoopy” to come to their room and tuck them in with a chocolate dog-bone treat if you stay in one of their Snoopy-themed guest rooms.
Or at the Four Seasons Resort Whistler in British Columbia, Canada, kids not only get a choice of stuffed animal at check-in but child-sized bathrobes and slippers during their stay. As a welcome present, they’ll also get a giant M&M cookie with their name written in chocolate.
For techno-savvy kids, the Rydges Esplanade Resort in Cairns, Queensland, Australia has family rooms featuring bunk beds with a personal 15-inch LCD television in each bed. These are linked to an X-Box allowing split-screen gaming or DVD viewing, with additional content that can be streamed via iPads or iPods.
If your kids have always yearned to go camping, many Ritz Carlton hotels in the US offer an “indoor campout experience” complete with tent, camping light and teddy bear. Family butlers and children’s concierge services are also provided.
The Athenaeum in London offers the “Kids Concierge”: an employee who rustles up young guests’ favorite books, snacks and other requests.
Even babies can have their own concierge, if you’re prepared to pay enough.
Grosvenor House, a JW Marriot Hotel on Park Lane in London, has several royal-themed packages for those who want to play Kate and Wills. These include a “baby concierge service,” with childcare and organic baby food for infants and pampering, shopping trips and restaurant meals for parents. The hotel has also transformed one of its suites into a luxury nursery extravaganza, designed by none other than Dragons of Walton Street, the luxury children’s design firm that styled Prince William and Prince Harry’s nurseries.
Some kids’ services are actually educational, so they learn something other than how to be pampered. Children staying at Sydney, Australia’s Four Seasons are given a ‘Passport to Sydney’ with their photo in the front and pages of puzzles, word searches and other activities about the city to fill in as they visit.
Then there are some hotel services that are unusual enough to qualify as part of the vacation, rather than just the accommodations. The new Disney’s Art of Animation Resort in Lake Buena Vista, FL has a whopping 1120 suites designed in the themes of Finding Nemo, Cars and The Lion King, and 864 rooms designed like The Little Mermaid. And starting in October, 2013, families staying at Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando will be able to stay in Despicable Me suites complete with missile beds and “minion” characters who rappel from the ceiling.
Wow, that sure beats a mint on the pillow!