Finding fantastic hotels that manage to balance looking after the kids and pleasing the parents is no mean feat. As parents ourselves, we’ve set out to uncover those child-friendly hotels and resorts that genuinely go out of their way to ensure every member of the family feels completely at home.
To make it into the Smith & Family collection, a hotel has to offer more than some tatty armbands and chicken nuggets on the menu, it has to really understand the needs of children of all ages – and that includes the parents, too.
There are plenty of things we think about when deciding whether a hotel is right for Smith & Family, including:
Attention to detail The best child-friendly hotels have an eye for the essentials and have really thought through the whole experience of staying there as a family. It’s no good being able to fit a cot in your room if you have to pole-vault to get to the loo. Smith & Family hotels provide those little touches that make your stay easy, your kids safe, and maintain your peace of mind: black-out curtains; sturdy highchairs that still have all the straps; fridges for storing milk – and maybe the odd blind eye at dinner when your little Smith hurls an asparagus spear halfway across the room…
Style As grown-ups, we appreciate style. The kids? Not so much. Nonetheless, although as parents, we’re as likely to be as impressed by a Bumbo as an Eames chair, we still want hotels that are considered and comfortable – it’s just that function takes precedence over form. No one wants to bring their kids to somewhere museum-like, somewhere you’re terrified of letting them loose. Smith & Family hotels get the balance right between looking good and leaving you at ease when your little ones are running around.
Size For Mr & Mrs Smith, we’re used to hunting out small, intimate hotels – it’s hard to have a truly romantic break in a huge luxury resort, after all. But as any experienced family traveller will tell you, once you’ve got kids in tow, romance isn’t as easy to achieve as it used to be. For Smith & Family, we’re less concerned about a hotel being ‘boutique’ if it has exceptional facilities that keep the kids occupied and the grown-ups impressed – and bigger hotels often do. That’s why the Smith & Family collection includes hotels of all sizes, from 30 rooms to 300.
Childcare A reliable babysitting service is a minimum requirement (an apartment-style stay might be an exemption if it ticks other boxes), but we also give brownie points for baby monitors that work properly, baby-listening services, kids’ clubs with an action-packed activity programme, and crèches manned by qualified staff.
Something for everyone It’s not just about ensuring the kids are kept happy, there has to be enough good stuff for the grown-ups to enjoy too, whether that means a romantic restaurant for when the youngsters are in bed, or a pampering spa – parents need their downtime too. We look for hotels that have plenty on offer for children, but don’t make the adults feel they’re trapped in a giant playground.
Found a hotel you think belongs in Smith & Family? Let us know! Please go to www.mrandmrssmith.com/suggest-a-hotel and tell us the name of the hotel, where it is and what makes it a great family stay, and the Smith Team will be sure to check it out.
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