Ah, Christmas – the most wonderful time of the year where families are brought together. The ice-cold holiday season paves the way for family members to snuggle in their cosy homes, sing beautiful Christmas carols, exchange presents, and share a warm banquet next to a comforting fireplace. While most families stick to their annual Christmas traditions, others try to make the remaining days of 2016 memorable by going on a vacation, seeing new and exciting views, and dwelling in their temporary homes – hotels.
Just remember that not all hotels are the same. If you’re travelling with kids, it’s a no-brainer to look for a family-friendly hotel for accommodation. Clearly, something that says “intimate and romantic” and “off-limit to children” aren’t ideal for a family accommodation. But aside from these common red flags, how will you know if the hotel you’re going to book is a family-friendly one? Before signing your family up, start asking these 8 questions.
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- How is the ambience?
Hearing a symphony of jackhammers next door is the last thing you’d want in your holiday vacation. What will make it worse is the old air-conditioning unit that doesn’t help to cool the air. No matter how beautiful the interiors are, all will fail when the ambience sucks. Always ask for the things you’d see, hear, feel, and smell during your stay, whether it’s good or bad.
2. Is there a free wi-fi?
Free internet connectivity is a holy grail for teens and tweens. You’d love them to update their social media status with real-time photos and message their friends regarding the fun they’re having, but you’d also don’t want to destroy your budget. Most hotels have free wi-fi in the foyer but try to look for the ones that include connectivity in the rooms as well.
- Where is the hotel located?
It’s not just about what’s in there but about where it’s located. When boredom strikes, your kids have no choice but to open their gadgets and get lost in the virtual world. Hotels close to places kids love to visit, such as children’s museums, amusement parks, water parks, beaches, restaurants, and shopping malls not only provide entertainment but also promote quality family time, which is the essence of a family vacation.
- What are the activities and attractions?
Apart from nearby attractions, check if the hotel offers fun activities and amenities kids and teens will enjoy during their stay. Modern hotels usually come with swimming pools, bowling alleys, carnival rides, and high-tech video games. Also, some hotels offer in-house camps for kids, like arts and crafts, book readings, and cooking workshops that keep the kids entertained every minute of the vacation, and parents relaxed.
- What are their dining options?
Do they offer free breakfast? How about a lunch buffet? Are there nearby restaurants? Do they have special menus for the kids’ taste buds and tiny serving sizes? Do kids receive meal discounts?
Nothing beats a satisfied appetite and gut while making parents’ wallets happy. Look for lodging establishments that offer great dining options as well as discounts for kids. One of the hotels where “kids eat free” is Holiday Inn. The hotel offers free meals up to four kids aged 12 and under at any on-site restaurants. The family-friendly hotel also lets the kids stay free.
- Do kids have other special discounts?
Well, they should. Discounts for kids are pretty, common. Some hotels make parents even happier by offering a “kids stay and eat free” policy. Settle for hotels that give generous discounts for your little ones. Apart from offering discounted lodging and meals, some hotels even sell discount tickets to major theme parks and other diversions in the area.
- Are there family-friendly packs and services?
If you have young children, this is a must-ask question. There are hotels with toy boxes upon request, just in case your little boy forgot to bring his monster truck. If you need some alone time with your partner, check to see if there are babysitting services, which is a very common service at resort hotels.
- Can our pet stay?
A pet-friendly hotel is a family-friendly hotel. Max, the golden retriever, is family and family means no one gets left behind. And besides, your kids will surely pull a tantrum if you leave Max at home.
Numerous hotels allow pets but there are fees and sets of rules you should comply with. Hotels limit the number of pets allowed per room. Most of them allow only one pet per room while others may allow up to three. And since your pet is a family member, expect to pay for his/her accommodation. The price varies, though there are hotels that allow pets to stay free.
Carmina Natividad is a writer who has always been passionate about giving in to her wanderlust and collecting mementoes from different places. She also enjoys writing for Holiday Inn Parramata, a modern hotel in Western Sydney known for their exceptional accommodation, service, and location, which appeals to travellers in Australia.
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