When vacationing with baby, do you ever feel like there’s a party—and everyone is invited but the two of you?
While many lodgings perform an admirable job of catering to the pre-school and school-age set with programs, packages and special amenities, the offerings are sometimes sorely lacking when it comes to the youngest of special guests. Fortunately, some upscale and luxury chains truly excel at catering to members of the New Parents Club, providing perks and a helping hand.
Read on for a helpful crib sheet on traveling with baby in the cradle of luxury, particularly right here in the U.S.
When it comes to babying baby and company, few do it better than Four Seasons, a chain where luxury means service that goes beyond five-star standards. For young families, this translates to helping hands at every turn—from a butler who delivers bedtime stories at the Four Seasons Chicago, to the concierge who arranges babysitting, to the attendant who graciously schleps your stroller and sets up sand chairs, so that you can enjoy a sweat-free trip to the beach.
In the guest room, babies are welcomed to the Four Season’s nest with gifts reflecting each property’s unique geographic setting: At the Four Seasons Jackson Hole Resort, the present is a soft onesie with a Western motif that coordinates with crib bedding; at the Four Seasons Scottsdale, new buckaroos receive a stuffed horse with a signature Four Seasons bandana.
More personalized treatments await in the bathroom, where the names of tiny travelers are spelled out in sponges in the bathtub. In baby’s bed, an infant-sized tub is stocked with diapers, wipes and other essentials for staying clean and smelling sweet.
Upon request, guest rooms receive a full-scale childproofing prior to arrival. And during their stay, families can enjoy complimentary use of an extensive array of baby equipment, from high chairs to humidifiers.
Resort chefs will whip up a fresh batch of pureed food to order, and if you prefer to bring your own baby food, refrigerators and microwaves are available. When its time to venture out, Four Seasons staff can supply some fashionable wheels. If they don’t have your preferred stroller make, they’ll do their best to get it for you.
Find out how the Four Seasons did with: Putting the Concierge to the Test: Family Travel at the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea.
New parents with an eye for style needn’t lose their cool when they check into a Kimpton.
The trendy boutique hotel chain caters to the fashionably as well as technically hip, with sleekly designed rooms, free Wi-Fi and daily wine hour, and complimentary use of animal-print robes (available for purchase at www.kimptonstyle.com) for mom, dad and little travelers, too
All Kimpton locations provide a free crib or play yard (request at time of booking), and will deliver a booster seat or high chair as well.
Childproofing kits contains nightlights, outlet covers and toilet latches—an item that’s extra helpful if your toddler wants to participate in the chain’s free “Borrow a Goldfish” program (available at select locations).
Babysitting arrangements can be made with advance notice, and for parents who prefer to stay close to home, Kimpton delivers the ultimate room-service, with “Mind.Body.Spa” The in-room spa program serves up a tempting menu of treats, from manicures and facials to massages and body scrubs.
KimptonKids city guides take the guesswork out of touring the town with little ones, with a local list of kid-friendly sites, shops and dining venues. The concierge will gladly provide one, along with a stroller (advance reservations required; additional fee) for exploring.
Famous for its love of kids as well as pets, the Loews chain removes the weighty challenge of how to move all that baby gear, with a program designed to lighten the travel load. Don’t want to lug along your baby bath tub? Loews’ “Kids Closet” will loan you one, along with a baby blanket, stroller and even a car seat.
At check-in time, little persons receive a Fisher-Price toy–thanks to the chain’s partnership with the company. At any time, you can check out larger age-appropriate toys such as activity tables, along with DVDs for your room. Childproofing kits are available to those with children under four, and each property provides a local guide that includes a list of babysitting services and suggestions for sightseeing.
When it’s time to eat, Loews Kids Menu serves up pureed vegetables and fruits just for baby, and at select locations, kiddie pools and “Fisher-Price KidBanas” offer safe spots for tots to play.
So how does Loews actually perform? Check out Putting Concierge Services to the Test: A Mom at Loews Regency in New York.
New mom massages in Naples and select other locations, made-to-order baby food in Palm Beach, and rooms designed especially for infants in Cancun are just a few of the royal treatments offered to families at The Ritz-Carlton, a luxury chain known for exemplary customer service.
The Cancun property makes slumber even sweeter with three “Itzy Bitzy Rooms”—thoughtfully designed king guest rooms outfitted with a crib, rocking chair and a telephone programmed to light up instead of ring.
Personalized sand buckets and beach toys welcome little ones to The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island, an oceanfront property with free daily toddler craft and story hours and a play and swim zone just for little kids.
Children’s services vary at each Ritz-Carlton property, but include babysitting arrangements at most all locations. For those who want to bring along their own helping hand, The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco offers up a bag of tricks that would make Marry Poppins proud: the property’s “Nanny Survival Kit” contains maps, travel snacks and other tools for touring.
The chain’s Protect Our Little Ones (POLO) program offers items to keep each young guest safe and comfortable, from soft spout, corner and outlet covers to First Aid basics. At some locations, staff will remove alcohol from an in-room refrigerator as part of this service, making way for baby’s food, not to mention adult vacation essentials like premium chocolates.
Get help with Planning for Family-Friendly Adventures Abroad.
Although they don’t offer branded family programs company-wide, two additional chains stand out as giving special attention to young families, with select baby-friendly properties:
Besides a family pool with a shaded toy-stocked sandbox, Fairmont Scottsdale offers a wide range of complimentary baby gear to its family guests, from high chairs, cribs and strollers to baby monitors and childproofing supplies. The Fairmont Olympic Hotel in Seattle provides all this equipment and more, like baby carriers, baby baths and car seats.
Grocery shopping service (fee), jogging strollers and complimentary DVDs and players are available to guests of Fairmont Heritage Place Franz Klammer Lodge in Telluride, Colorado, while the Fairmont Turnberry Isle Resort & Club (in Miami offers traveling tots and their companions a separate kiddie pool as well as microwaves, refrigerators and DVD players (when available). Many of these properties will make babysitting arrangements upon request.
Want hotel alternatives? Check out Tips for Finding Kid-Friendly Villas.
Since it spread its wings to central Florida this year, with the opening of The Waldorf Astoria Orlando, Hilton Hotel’s luxury brand—The Waldorf Astoria Collection—is ideally positioned to grow its family loyalties. On the Gulf Coast of Florida, the Naples Grand Beach Resort provides baby and family with a naturally fun place to play, with shell hunting and sand castle building on Clam Pass Beach and a dedicated family pool with zero entry. Rental bikes can be equipped with baby seats and trailers, for a lunch excursion to trendy Fifth Avenue.
Post-natal massages at the onsite Guerlin Spa are a draw for new moms at Trianon Palace Versailles. The property greets little ones with a fluffy sheep and offers high chairs, cribs and cradles, as well as babysitting (for a fee).
At Rome Cavalieri, parents can check out the latest wheels from Fendi before setting out on a tour of The Eternal City. The hotel baby bounty includes complimentary diapers, wipes, and rubber bath toys, and an array of equipment, from bottle warmers and humidifiers to high chairs and changing tables.
For more information about kid-friendly travel, check out:
- Tips for Finding Kid-Friendly Villas
- Family-Friendly Adventures in Orlando Beyond the Theme Parks
- Planning for Family-Friendly Adventures Abroad
- Putting the Concierge to the Test: Family Travel at the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea
- Putting Concierge Services to the Test: A Mom at Loews Regency in New York
By Jackie Perrin for PeterGreenberg.com. Jackie Perrin has covered the best of family travel for over a decade. While on vacation with her baby, her favorite luxury is a non-stop flight.