There’s nothing more stressful than standing in a hushed hotel lobby with a toddler writhing on the floor and screaming his lungs out because you refused to let him sip your Champagne, play on the businessman next door’s laptop or swim in the water feature. Eyes like knives stab you from all, staff tut and non-parents smugly assume you’re probably on some sort of list at the council.
So what a relief there are hotels that are kid-friendly. Where they’ll not make a fuss about providing a cot or an extra bed. Where there’s a listening service to allow you to head down to dinner or a kids’ club to take your darling hell-raisers off your hands for a few hours of peace.
We approached a number of hotels, and they’ve all come back to tell us they’re thrilled at the prospect of your little screamer…
Coworth Park is a serious hotel, full of serious people (Prince Harry spent his final night as a bachelor here), it’s the sort of place you don’t necessarily expect to be cool with kids. But you’d be wrong.
I took a screaming one-year-old to Coworth park and the staff could not have been more accommodating. Our room, in the main mansion house so that we would be able to head down to dinner, and located on a corridor clearly designated as families’ corridor (ideal for midnight screaming bouts (theirs or yours)).
A cot was set up when we arrived, along with toys (two years on the orange rubber duck is still a fave) and child-friendly food alongside the adult goodies.
For slightly older kids there’s a special club to entertain them while you enjoy the spa (our child’s first swimming experience) or walks in the grounds. I’d take ours back in a heartbeat!
Where: Blacknest Road, Ascot, Berkshire, SL5 7SE
Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square
Don’t be fooled by the grandeur and the fact it’s perfectly placed for city bankers, located right on the edge of The City.
Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square is a pro-kids zone and within strolling distance of family-friendly sites like the Tower of London and HMS Belfast (visitors to the Tower will trip over the thing about 15 paces out of the hotel door).
The rooms can be child-equipped, or do really things properly in one of the residences which have up to four bedrooms, living space and kitchens.
The pool makes for a great kids’ wind-down while families staying at the hotel on any Friday, Saturday or Sunday night are invited to enjoy complimentary orders from the In-Room Dining and Rotunda children’s menus for children up to 12 years old.
Where: 10 Trinity Square, The City, EC3N 4AJ
The Great House at Sonning
It’s not just children who are welcome at The Great House at Sonning, why not bring an animal or three?
Not only is the cosy hotel child-friendly, but pets are welcome too.
The riverside hotel, an hour out of London in the Berkshire countryside, includes spacious family suites ideal for all the detritus that comes with family life while still having space to yourself.
Where: Thames Street, Sonning-on-Thames, Reading, Berkshire. RG4 6UT
The Montague on the Gardens
The resounding message from hotel Manager Dirk at The Montague on the Gardens is that children are welcome! He says, “I have a family of my own and have the first-hand experience of travelling with young children. There is so much you need to think about and remember!… I can personally ensure that you and your family are in the best of hands, and that we will do all we can to make this a memorable and special stay with us”
And it’s not just idle words, the Bloomsbury hotel, famous for its alfresco dining, pop-ups and its Leopard Bar is also geared to younger guests. From the kids’ slippers and bath robes to an in-house nanny, the hotel will go out of its way to look after your little horrors.
Along with children’s board games, colouring books and toys there are DVDs and games consoles. Children can even indulge in a cocktail masterclass!
Rooms can be adjusted to ensure baby cot and changing facilities, baby monitors and bathtubs as well as providing a baby kit with moisturising cream, talc and sponge. There’s even a babysitting service (though of course you have to book in advance and pay extra for this).
Where: 15 Montague Street, Bloomsbury, WC1B 5BJ
New Park Manor
Set in the heart of the New Forest, New Park Manor is the epitome of child-friendly. In fact, the hotel group which it’s part of is even called Luxury Family Hotels… THAT’S how family-friendly they are!
A glance at the website confirms that family comes first, with activities for toddlers, for 5 year-olds and over and older children laid on with a trowel. Video baby monitors come as standard while a creche is there to look after your littlest from three months, all the baby equipment you could need (no lugging that bag of everything around with you) as well as baby bottles and even a baby food menu!
Older children are equally well catered for, with everything they’ll need from toddlers toys to bikes and all manner of activities for older children too.
All of which gives parents the space to relax, to head to the spa, the restaurant or bar without constantly having to scan for choking hazards. Just for pure relaxation opportunities.
Where: Lyndhurst Road, New Forest, Hampshire, SO42 7QH
Rubens At The Palace
With half term approaching and the PTSD of lockdown with the kids yet to fully recede, who’d blame you for carting the whole family off to a hotel. And the Rubens is uniquely kid-friendly this May-day half term.
Partnering with kids entertainers extraordinaire, Sharky & George, the hotel will offer kids all day activities, starting with a full English breakfast and ending with a turndown service.
If your child loves being in the kitchen, then they can don a chef’s uniform for the Pastry Chef Experience with cake and biscuit decoration and a kitchen tour into the bargain.
The milkshake masterclass gives children the opportunity to make themed shakes, such as a favourite chocolate bar or sweet from a choice of Pick ‘n’ Mix.
Finally under-12s can enjoy a Pamper and Superhero party. The half-term package includes superhero training, games, dancing, hairstyling and face masks. It also comes with a Prince & Princess Afternoon Tea, a catwalk down the red carpet, gift and certificate.
Where: 39 Buckingham Palace Road, Victoria, SW1W 0PS
Shangri La London The Shard
What child wouldn’t be thrilled to travel up The Shard? The iconic building is the home of Shangri La London The Shard, a genuinely bucket list hotel.
Families shave access the Sky Sauna and Sky Pool (Europe’s highest swimming pool) to relax above the clouds on level 52 of this infinitely cool building.
And while adults receive a treat from Neal’s Yard, kids get an exclusive “Romeo the Fox” toy. Kids under 16 also qualify for 50% off à la carte meals.
Where: 31 St Thomas Street, Borough, SE1 9QU
Website: Book a family staycation here…
“I’d like the finest Peppa Pig yoghurt that money can buy sent to my room pronto…” The Athenaeum have a children’s concierge to be at the beck-and-call of your little ones! Whether it’s delving into the Toy Store, arranging a kite-flying session in Hyde Park or making sure milk and biscuits are waiting at bedtime, they’re on-hand.
Book into The Athenaeum’s Townhouse Residences for complete privacy, and take advantage of the hotel’s team of nannies and babysitters, on standby to look after your kids while you swan off and do grown-up things in central London.
The Athenaeum is truly geared toward parents, making it an ideal booking this summer.
Where: 116 Piccadilly, Mayfair, W1J 7BJ
Taj 51 Buckingham Gate Suites & Residences
More free stuff for parents! Book a room at Taj 51 Buckingham Gate and get a second for half price.
The offer is ideal if you want to staycate in London but the cost of accommodating your children is, frankly, a little too much. With 50% off a second children’s room you don’t need to stretch your holiday budget (or, worse, share with your children!).
It’s twice the fun for half the price. Or is it twice the fun for 3/4 of the price? Either way, there’s fun!
Where: 51 Buckingham Gate, St James’s, SW1E 6AF
Sheraton Grand Park Lane
Yet another buy-one-get-one-half-price (BOGOHP?) deal, this time from the Sheraton Grand Park Lane.
The hotel, located on London’s Piccadilly, is offering families with only two children the chance to buy a second room at half price when you book to stay for one or two nights’ stay.
With all the sights and pleasures of central London on your doorstep, the 50% saved would go a long way to enjoying a meal or buying half the stock in the M&M Store…
Where: Piccadilly, Mayfair, W1J 7BX
Kimpton Fitzroy London
Anyone with children will know that they are anything but free. But that doesn’t apply at Kimpton Fitroy London.
The grand gothic ediface on the edge of Russell Square is offering guests a child-friendly deal where one Bedroom, Corner or Fitzroy Suite comes with a free interconnecting Superior Double or Deluxe Double Room.
On top of which the hotel is currently offering guests £75 credit to spend in the restaurants or on room service.
Where: 1-8 Russell Square, Bloomsbury, WC1B 5BE