Hotels That Put Out the Welcome Mat for Families

Wouldn't your kids be thrilled if your hotel room doubled as a cinema suite, complete with a 60-inch television, videocassette recorder with theater surround sound, recliner and beanbag chairs, and popcorn popping in the kitchenette?

Wouldn't you be pleased if, when they got up early, tummies growling, they ate a free continental breakfast in the hotel's breakfast room? They get fed pronto and you stay within your budget.

Attention to these little details can make a family vacation much more relaxing for both kids and parents. There's a new breed of kid-friendly hotels that are recognizing this and going the extra mile to welcome kids. So how can you find out if a hotel is extra family-friendly before you plunk down your credit card number for reservations?

Ask these questions when booking a room:

  • Do kids stay free? Is breakfast free?
  • Does the hotel offer a discount for adjoining rooms?
  • Does the hotel have cribs and roll-away beds? Do they charge to rent them?
  • Are there any supervised programs for kids? How much do they cost? Do you have to make a reservation?
  • Is there in-room babysitting? How much per hour? What are the qualifications of the sitter? How far in advance do you need to make reservations?
  • Do the hotel restaurant and room service have a kids' menu?
  • Does the hotel offer several family-oriented cable stations, like Disney, Nickelodeon, AMC, Discovery and Lifetime? Does the TV have a VCR, and is there a video library with kids' videos?
  • Are there Super Nintendos in the room?
  • Can the balcony or patio door be locked?
  • Does the pool have any special features (like a slide or waterfalls)?
  • Does the hotel offer a children's program? Is it included in the room rate?
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