January 6, 2009

Treating Families Like Royalty in London

London is a great destination for families, with lots of kid-friendly activities such as watching the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace, riding on a double-decker bus, visiting Harry Potter movie sights, or exploring the Tower of London. But parents often get frustrated trying to find suitable accommodations. As a Family Travel Advisor, I know which hotels go out of their way to make children of all ages welcome, and how to obtain the best value and extra amenities.

One of the most kids-friendly hotels in London is The Goring, a Virtuoso hotel in a wonderful location next to Buckingham Palace. And they are one of the few hotels that will guarantee a complimentary upgrade at time of booking for clients of Virtuoso travel advisors. A free upgrade is a standard Virtuoso amenity, but it is usually based “on availability.” That means you won’t find out until you check-in if you will be bumped up to a better room. By guaranteeing the upgrade “at time of booking,” you pay for one room category but are confirmed in the next higher room category. So you can book the room or view you want and be assured of a discounted rate. Virtuoso clients also receive complimentary daily breakfast for two, flowers, fruit, and a selection of teas.

The Goring welcomes children with open arms, and even has a connecting room configuration – just ask for the “Delightful Family Accommodation.” Yes, that's what it's really called. In fact, The Goring has some of the most unique names for their rooms I have ever seen, including “The Most Splendid Balcony Room” or my personal favorite, “The Best Room.” There is no stodginess here!

Parents of very young children will find all the essentials they need, from changing pads to bath toys, and children of all ages are welcome to check out books from the Bedtime Story Library. A "For Kids Eyes Only" pack includes an activity book and crayons, and a Goring Passport to be stamped as they visit different areas in the hotel, including the kitchen where they will decorate cookies with the chef. The beautiful gardens also provide a safe area for kids to run around and burn off energy.

The Draycott, located between fashionable Chelsea and Knightsbridge, also has rooms designed just for families. Most popular are bunk bed rooms adjoining to a double room, many which have their own fireplaces and sitting areas. For more space, families can book the two bedroom Draycott Suite, which spans an entire floor of the hotel and includes a fully equipped kitchen. Children receive a gift bag on arrival, and have access to a library of CD’s, DVD’s, and Playstation games. Families are pampered with gourmet picnic lunches made to order, special breakfast for children, champagne and tea for the adults, and hot chocolate at bedtime for the kids.

For families spending a weekend in London, The Stafford near Piccadilly is offering special rates on connecting rooms in the Main House, or connecting junior suites in the Stafford Mews. A recent upgrade provides modern amenities such as air-conditioning, complimentary wireless internet access, US power sockets; satellite television, plasma TV’s and a fitness center.

And for the most discriminating families, Ritz-Carlton can always be relied upon to offer impeccable service and elegance. Keeping with the luxury chain’s family-friendly reputation, The Ritz London gives children the VIK (Very Important Kid) treatment with their Kidz@TheRitz program, including a welcome goodie bag, bathrobe and slippers, complimentary ice cream, milk and cookies at bedtime, and even a Teen Concierge. Virtuoso guests also receive preferred rates, a complimentary upgrade (based on availability), and daily breakfast for two.

For more details, contact Suzette Mack, a Virtuoso Family Travel Advisor at suzette@family-treks.com.


London Five Star Hotels said...

Nice post on families & kids-friendly hotels.

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