The 5 Best Places to Stay in Charlottesville (+ another 5 Great Places To Stay Near Charlottesville, VA)

The 5 Best Places to Stay in Charlottesville (+ another 5 Great Places To Stay Near Charlottesville, VA)

Our kids’ sleep away camp does a week where you can have a family sleepover option with them. Being eating alive by mosquitoes in cabins with communal bathrooms and no WiFi?  That’s not our kind of family bonding. We’ll be nearby in Charlottesville Virginia!  Although a small town, Charlottesville, Virginia seems to draw us regularly to its environs. Visiting this cool university town where both my brother and his wife went to business school was no hardship.The university is, of course, Thomas Jefferson’s pet project, the University of Virginia (UVA).  We are always delighted to explore Charlottesville which shines as  a beacon of excellent hotels and great food options near where our kids go to camp in the back of beyond West Virginia.

Lodging in Charlottesville, VA

When you are looking for places to staying Charlottesville, you will have a choice of accommodation because this university town is very popular with visitors. We’ve chosen two bed and breakfasts in Charlottesville downtown and one luxury hotel/inn in the same area. We’ve also picked a couple of boutique hotels in Charlottesville near UVA.

200 South Street Inn

In our opinion, 200 South Street Inn is the best bed and breakfast in Charlottesville VA when you consider value and location.Set in two historic buildings, with the oldest building being the only building on the street when it was built for a son of Thomas Jefferson’s friends.

200 South Street Inn, a Charlottesville bed and breakfast downtown

200 South Street Inn, a Charlottesville bed and breakfast downtown

This Charlottesville bed and breakfast in downtown is a few minutes walk from the pedestrian mall area with its many shops, the Jefferson theatre and eating options. Every Saturday, the celebrated Charlottesville farmer’s market takes place pretty much across the street from this Inn.

Heading to Charlottesville, Virginia? Check out our curated selection of where to stay in charlottesville (as well as where to stay near Charlottesville) #Charlottesville #cville #Virginia #hotel #bedandbreakfast #boutiquehotel #luxuryhotel

Heading to Charlottesville, Virginia? Check out our curated selection of where to stay in charlottesville (as well as where to stay near Charlottesville)

The 200 South Street Inn is spread across two buildings with a parking lot in the back (very handy!)l, The rooms are furnished with antiques and the staff are friendly and helpful.  I’ve done a full review of the 200 South Street Inn as well.

Check out the reviews for 200 South Street Inn on TripAdvisor

For the latest rates for 200 South Street Inn, here are a selection of travel booking sites: booking.com Expedia  Hotels.com

 

The Inn at Court Square

There are lots of chain hotels in Charlottesville (Hyatt Place, Omni Charlottesville etc) but assuming you are looking for unique and charming, the boutique-style of the Inn at Court Square makes it one of the best hotels in Charlottesville, VA. Among the hotels in downtown Charlottesville, VA, the location is super-central.

The Stonewall Jackson statute in Jackson Square Charlottesville VA

The Stonewall Jackson statute in Jackson Square Charlottesville VA

The Inn at Court Square is spread out across two restored historic houses which face Stonewall Jackson square. The potential removal of the Stonewall Jackson statue in this square is one of the causes that lead to the violent white national protests in Charlottesville in the summer 2017 .

The Inn at Court Square is beautifully styled as you would expect from the innkeeper and her family being interior designers. Between the two buildings, there are 6 guest rooms, 4 suites. and the family’s antique stores.

Check out the reviews for the Inn at Court Square on TripAdvisor

For the latest rates for the Inn at Court Square, here are a selection of travel booking sites: booking.com Expedia Hotels.com

The Inn at 400 West High

Continuing with the boutique luxury theme, the Inn at 400 West High is another bed and breakfast in Charlottesville, VA.  It is a mix and match of the previously mentioned places to stay in Charlottesville, VA. You get the elegance of The Inn at Court Square with the small bed and breakfast aspect of 200 South Street Inn.

 

This little gem can accommodate 2-4 people depending on which of the 5 rooms are available. Unlike other inns at Charlottesville, the style at this Inn is less antiques and more contemporaries. Some of the rooms have their own outside private sitting areas.

Check out the reviews for the Inn at 400 West High on TripAdvisor.

For the latest rates for at the Inn at 400 West High, here are a selection of travel booking sites: booking.com Expedia Hotels.com

Where to eat in downtown Charlottesville

Our casual choice for dining in downtown Charlottesville is South Street Brewery located conveniently next door to 200 South Street Inn.  With craft beer and locally-sourced food, this brewery is open for lunch and dinner 7 days a week. The South Street Brewery menu is heavy on salads, pizzas and sandwiches.

The South Street Brewery is located very near 200 South Street Inn

The South Street Brewery is located very near 200 South Street Inn

Our fine dining option is C&O Restaurant which as been a fixture in downtown Charlottesville since the 1970’s. The restaurant is large but spread out over several dining spaces so you still get the intimacy of a smaller space.

Hotels in Charlottesville near UVA

Oakhurst Inn

The Oakhurst Inn is a boutique hotel located close to UVA perfect for book-lovers. Among the inns in Charlottesville, the Oakhurst Inn is unusual for having no hotel lobby. Instead there are 4 communal libraries filled with books, newspapers and other items. You can relax as if you were in the comfort of your own home, and catch up on your reading with a cup of coffee.

 

The guest rooms are as luxurious as you would expect for luxury hotels in Charlottesville VA – free valet parking, flat screen televisions, free fast WiFI and bathroom toiletries by Malin + Goetz. The suites have pull-out beds which would work for families with children.

The 27 rooms are individually furnished so you don’t get a cookie-cutter look. Although set in historic buildings, the style is clean and contemporary perfect for those people who like their Charlottesville lodging without the fuss of traditional decor.

Check out the reviews for Oakhurst Inn on TripAdvisor

For the latest rates for Oakhurst Inn, here are a selection of travel booking sites: booking.com Expedia Hotels.com

 

Dinsmore House Bed & Breakfast

Another one of the hotels near Charlottesville UVA, Dinsmore House was bult in 1822 by Thomas Jefferson’s master builder, James Dinsmore. A recent remodel of this Charlottesville bed and breakfast has left if feeling fresh and contemporary with a twist of traditional elegance. Thing four poster beds and clawfoot rugs – making it one of the best places to stay in Charlottesville VA.

Dinsmore House, a bed and breakfast in Charlottesville VA (image credit: Dinsmore House)

Dinsmore House, a bed and breakfast in Charlottesville VA (image credit: Dinsmore House)

There are 9 guest rooms at this inn in Charlottesville VA. If you are travelling with children, this Charlottesville lodging may not be your best bet because some of the rooms are able to accommodate only one other person on a fold-out sofa or futon.

This hotel in Charlottesville near UVA also is home to the Farm Bell Kitchen, a cafe that serves locally sourced food for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Check out the reviews for Dinsmore House on TripAdvisor

For the latest rates for Dinsmore House, here are a selection of travel booking sites: booking.com Expedia Hotels.com

Where to Eat in Charlottesville near UVA

Carrying along with the theme of good eats, Bodos Bagels is a UVA tradition and serves up a good breakfast. It has 3 locations in Charlottesville and is open all day serving bagels, sandwiches and salads.

The Ivy Inn offers fine dining in Charlottesville near UVA.

The Ivy Inn offers fine dining in Charlottesville near UVA.

For a fancy dinner, we recommend the Ivy Inn where the drinks and food were superb which has (you guessed it) a locally sourced menu. We found the dinner crowd to be a mixed group – there was a large party who were there for a wedding weekend, people on date nights, etc. We were a little amused by the table of UVA students (clearly undergraduates) out for a nice meal – clearly they could afford much better grub for a Saturday night out than we could when we were college students!

Places To Stay near Charlottesville, VA

It’s great to realise that when you are looking for where to stay in Charlottesville, there are some great options just outside of the city. Not only are these places bigger, they offer a range of facilities varying from walking trails to full resort-style facilities.

The Clifton Inn

The Clifton Inn is a boutique hotel near Monticello VA with yet another Thomas Jefferson connection. The Clifton was originally built for Thomas Jefferson’s daughter, Martha and her husband, who Jefferson wanted living near him. If you are looking for places to stay in Charlottesville VA without being in the city itself, the Clifton Inn is a good choice because it took us only 15 minutes to get into town.

The elegant entrance to the Clifton Inn, a bed and breakfast near Charlottesville VA

The elegant entrance to the Clifton Inn, a bed and breakfast near Charlottesville VA

The Clifton Inn is truly one of the best luxury hotels near Charlottesville, VA.  Set on 100 acres with beautifully landscaped grounds for you to explore including an infinity pool set in the woods, there are 20 guest rooms and suites some of whom accommodate children. You can read a full review of this Charlottesville resort here.

Check out the reviews for the Clifton on TripAdvisor

For the latest rates for the Clifton, here are a selection of travel booking sites: booking.com Expedia Hotels.com

Keswick Hall

Other hotels in Charlottesville VA near Monticello include Keswick Hall. A pre-eminent Charlottesville resort type, Keswick Hall  is a grand Southern resort along the lines of The Greenbrier in West Virginia or the Omni Homestead in Virginia.

 

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It’s currently undergoing an extensive refurbishment and will be open in 2019. It was recommended previously on this website for being one of the best hotels in North America with kids. When it re-opens, Keswick Hall will be even better than ever!

Check out the reviews for Keswick Hall on TripAdvisor

For the latest rates for Keswick Hall, here are a selection of travel booking sites: booking.com  Expedia hotels.com

The Boar’s Head Inn

The Boar’s Head Inn is another Charlottesville VA resort located. Presumably as soon as you leave the confines of the city, it’s easier to set up resort-style accommodation without space constraints. The Boar’s Head Inn and Resort is owned by the UVA Foundation.

 

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It’s a great day for a walk around the resort.

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This grand Charlottesville resort set on 573 acres and has 175 guest rooms. Of course, it has a Thomas Jefferson connection. It was originally the estate of Eliza Trist, a friend of Thomas Jefferon’s and whose grandchildren would eventually marry. The Boar’s Head Resort is another one of the Charlottesville resorts that is currently being renovated – but parts are still open during the renovation.

The Boar’s Head Inn has a sports club, a nationally-famed 18 hole golf course and spa facilities. Children under 12 are allowed to have mani-pedis only and under 16’s massages and facials are also allowed if they are accompanied by an adult.

Check out the reviews for The Boar’s Head Resort on TripAdvisor

For the latest rates for the Boars Head Inn and resort, here are a selection of travel booking sites: booking.com Expedia   hotels.com

The Iris Inn

The Iris Inn is a bed and breakfast near Charlottesville VA.. Unlike the other luxury hotels in/near Charlottesville, VA, the Iris Inn is a purpose-built facility overlooking the Shenandoah Valley in Waynseboro Virginia. In addition to being a bed and breakfast facility, the Iris Inn also has cabin rentals if you are looking for a self-catering experience.

Sunset over an Iris Inn Cabin (image credit: Iris Inn Jumping Rocks)

Sunset over an Iris Inn Cabin (image credit: Iris Inn Jumping Rocks)

Two of the cottages are pet-friendly. Children over the age of 10 can stay in either the main Inn or a cottage.

Check out the reviews for the Iris Inn on TripAdvisor

For the latest rates for the Iris Inn and cabins, here are a selection of travel booking sites: booking.com Expedia  hotels.com  

 

The Inn at Willow Grove

The Inn at Willow Grove is a boutique-style luxury hotel near Charlottesville, VA set up to look like a little self-contained village. Originally built in 1778 as a historic plantation, the Inn at Willow Grove has been given a total refurbishment to  create one of the best places to stay near Charlottesville.

The Inn at Willow Grove is located in Orange Virginia and conveniently close to Montpelier, James Madison’s home, and located about 31 miles (about 45 minutes) from Charlottesville itself. This inn is the furthest of our choices from Charlottesville but many people stay in Charlottesville and come to Montpelier.

The Inn at Willow Grove (Image credit: Inn at Willow Grove)

The Inn at Willow Grove (Image credit: Inn at Willow Grove)

The 25 rooms spread between cottages and suites of which 3  can accommodate family groups of up to 4 people.  Among the amenities is complimentary butler service. There’s a well-regarded restaurant/pub on site. The 3000 s.f. Mill House spa is located in a barn and oozes farmhouse chic.

Check out the reviews for the Inn at Willow Grove on TripAdvisor

For the latest rates for the Inn at Willow Grove, here are a selection of travel booking sites: booking.com Expedia hotels.com

 

Where To Eat Near Charlottesville

How good does your pizza have to be that it gets praised by both National Geographic and The Food Network? The family-owned business at Crozet Pizza has been run-in since the 1970’s with home made dough, a secret sauce recipe and other locally-sourced ingredients. It’s open 7 days a week for lunch and dinner. The original location is in Crozet Pizza but there’s also Crozet Pizza being served at the Buddhist Biker Bar near UVA in Chartlottesville.

1771 restaurant is located at The Clifton, one of the best luxury hotels near Monticello, VA

1771 restaurant is located at The Clifton, one of the best luxury hotels near Monticello, VA

After a 2018 revamp, the Clifton Inn has emerged with a renewed focus on food. The chef at the 1799, the Clifton’s Restaurant is a one-Michelin starred chef from California. He oversees the preparation of a locally sourced menu of reinterpreted American classics. Meals are served either on a beautiful verandah or an elegant library room. The 1799 refers to the date the property was constructed for Thomas Jefferson’s daughter.

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When you are searching for where to stay in Charlottesville VA it’s definitely good to remember the city has lots of great options both for places to stay in Charlottesville itself as well as an assortment of fabulous places to stay nearby, both Bed and Breakfasts as well as resorts.

Where to stay in Charlottesville, VA and where to stay near Charlottesville VA #Charlottesville #cville #Virginia #hotel #bedandbreakfast #boutiquehotel #luxuryhotel

Where to stay in Charlottesville, VA and where to stay near Charlottesville VA

Charlottesville Virginia has plenty of offer because it is beautiful countryside with lots of history and natural attractions. Just a 2 hour drive from Washington, D.C. means it is also a great weekend escape from  the city. There is a reason that we have returned to this area time and time again (and not just for the UVA connection)).

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Where To Stay in Beijing If You Are Seeking Design-Led Hotel Luxury (Including Family-Friendly Options)

Where To Stay in Beijing If You Are Seeking Design-Led Hotel Luxury (Including Family-Friendly Options)

Beijing is an enormous sprawling city and deciding where to stay in Beijing can be a daunting task. Since the former Palace Hotel (now Peninsula Beijing) opened in 1989, numerous 5 star hotels have opened in the city. There are outposts of Western brands, Chinese own brands and Beijing boutique hotels. The Chinese have embraced luxury like the French to pate. For example, like Dubai’s Burj Al Arab, the Pangu Hotel has given itself a seven-star rating even though there’s technically nothing above 5 stars. In a world where Beijing is trying to out-nouveau riche the Middle East, what’s left for hotel luxury other than great design?

A captivating dessert - white chocolate and milk chocolate ducks set on dry ice.

A captivating dessert shows of culinary artistry – white chocolate and milk chocolate ducks set on dry ice.

We’ve stayed a total of 10 days in Beijing to date. So where IS the best place to stay in Beijing and the best neighbourhood to stay in Beijing? We had a specific set of criteria in mind when we chose our hotels.   The design and interiors geek in me likes cool design hotels. As for my family, my husband wanted convenience and the kids just wanted simple hotel luxury.

The Best Neighbourhood To Stay in Beijing

After conversations with expat friends who live in Beijing and the expertise advice of Abercrombie and Kent, who organised our trips to China, we would suggest two neighbourhoods, Wangfujing and Sanlitun, as the best place to stay in Beijing for tourists seeking contemporary style as well as hotel luxury.

Where to stay in Beijing for family-friendly Beijing boutique hotels

Where to stay in Beijing for family-friendly luxury hotels

Sprawling Beijing

To give you an idea of the city’s size, Beijing has 7 ring roads circling it. This last 7th ring road is under construction. The Beijing International Airport is on the northeast side of the 6th Ring Road approximately 20 miles from the city center.

As you can see, the airport is miles away (a distance made even longer with traffic) from central Beijing.

As you can see, the airport is miles away (a distance made even longer with traffic) from central Beijing.

Both these areas have good transport links, including subway stations. We, however, stuck to taxis. And, walking extended periods in the brutal smog and humidity wasn’t an option either.

Do you want to spend your vacation time stuck in a taxi in Beijing? Sure, you can find cool hotels like the Beijing NUO Hotel (a Beijing boutique hotel loaded with art and style near the 728 Art District). This 728 Art District area though is not very central. There is a Beijing NUO Wangfujing which has a more traditional French-Colonial feel because it’s in the former Beijing Raffles hotel. The 7 star Pangu Hotel which was mentioned above is on the fourth ring road near the Olympic stadiums – a total non-starter for us.

If you would like to stay outside of Central Beijing, I would suggest the Aman Summer Palace which is near one of the bucket list items that is on everyone’s itinerary for Beijing anyway. The amazing Aman service will also ensure that you get your sightseeing in central Beijing done smoothly as well as enjoying your hotel luxury in beautiful surroundings.

Staying in Wangfujing

We personally considered Wangfujing as the best place to stay in Beijing because we loved the area. Admittedly, the neighbourhood doesn’t have much of a nightlife scene but we were travelling with kids. There are great hotels located relatively closely to the Forbidden City which is about a 20 minute walk.

All the big names are in the area of Wangfujing shopping street

We consider Wangfujing shopping street one of the best neighbourhoods to stay in Beijing

There are large malls with upscale stores and food courts in addition to Wangfujing shopping street. Wangfujing night market sells some of the strange street food you have heard about. We got our fix just by looking at the Wangfujing street food – Fried scorpions anyone? And, there’s a ginormous Apple Store in with excellent WiFi which made my kids happy.

Fun Fact!   Wangfujing shopping street is the busiest street in Beijing. Every day Wangfujing shopping street is traversed by 600,000 people (and double that number on holidays).

It’s totally a microcosm of modern China – traditional culture, luxury goods and a population obsessed with conspicuous consumption.

Staying in Sanlitun

If you are travelling with teenagers, you may consider Sanlitun to be the best place to stay in Beijing. Sanlitun is an up and coming trendy area with lots of young and artsy hipster types. Think Shoreditch in London or Brooklyn in New York. Unlike these other areas though, there are many embassies located nearby.

Din Tai Fung, a one Michelin-starred dumpling restaurant, has a location in one of Beijing’s upscale malls.

Din Tai Fung, a one Michelin-starred dumpling restaurant, has a location in one of Beijing’s upscale malls.

Sanlitun definitely attracts a well-heeled and well-dressed crowd. There’s a large Sanlitun Village entertainment complex in Sanlitun which has shops, cafes and restaurants so there’s plenty to do in the neighbourhood as well. Sanlitun Village has a great website in English if you want to browse for what’s available (and positioned prominently is Opposite House Beijing).

Fun Fact! Sanlitun Village actually was the location for China’s first Apple store.

Beijing Where To Stay Centrally

These hotels are in our preferred areas where there is plenty to do in the evenings in terms of shopping, restaurants and people-watching generally.

The Peninsula Beijing

After the Peninsula Beijing got its recent £100 million facelift, this Grande Dame is looking good again! Located in Wangfujing area, the all-suites hotel is probably the definition of hotel luxury. It’s got everything you would expect from The Peninsula including excellent service,rooms and amenities.

The moon over the Peninsula Hotel Beijing

The moon over the Peninsula Hotel Beijing

Way back when the hotel opened in 1989, it was China’s first Western luxury hotel! Much though has changed in Beijing (and China in the intervening nearly 30 years). It was time for The Peninsula Beijing to be refreshed as well!

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Gone are the dowdy interiors and the hotel is now light and airy. Post-renovation, the Peninsula Beijing no longer has check-in desks. It’s filled with contemporary art chosen by the director of the Museum of Contemporary Art Beijing. And, acres of luxury materials such as jade, marble and mahogany.

Families can get connecting rooms with the second room at a discount. Kids will love the large (black!) swimming pool. Adults will love the spa and gym facilities. There are two restaurants (Cantonese Chinese and farm-to-table international cuisine) and a pastry cafe. It’s also got the distinction of having a luxury shopping arcade on site with names even my kids recognised – Chanel, Ralph Lauren, Bottega Veneta and Tiffany to name a few.

Check out what how The Peninsula ranks among TripAdvisor Beijing hotels!

For the latest rates for The Peninsula Beijing, here are a selection of travel booking sites.

Booking.com Hotels.com Expedia

Vue Hotel Houhai Beijing

Have kids in tow but do you still want to be part of the action? The Vue Hotel Hou Hai Beijing is a good option if you want to hang out with the cool kids but you have kids of your own.

 

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The Vue Hotel is young, hip and trendy and an easy place to join the action around the venues of Houhai Lake. Then you can go back to the hotel which is secluded from the main action and put the kids to bed!

The Vue Hotel Houhai Beijing is close to where we took a rickshaw tour of a traditional hutong (a neighbourhood of alleys with courtyard homes leading of the alley). Houhai is one of the lakes in Beijing which is a popular place to hang out.

The rickshaw tours of the hutongs start near Houhai Lake

The rickshaw tours of the hutongs start near Houhai Lake

The Vue Hotel Beiing is is decorated in assorted shades of grey trendiness with pops of color. It’s design credentials are impeccable having been designed by Ministry of Design, a Singapore firm and featured in Wallpaper (naturally).

There are lots of contemporary flourishes including open-plan bathrooms like the Muscat Chedi. There is a high-end restaurant, a French pastry cafe and a slick bar.

Check out what how the Vue Houhai ranks among TripAdvisor Beijing hotels!

For the latest rates for Vue Hou Hai , here are a selection of travel booking sites.

Hotels.com Expedia

Rosewood Beijing Hotel

The Rosewood Beijing hotel is a slick sophisticated hotel set in a skyscraper. The decor is non-risk taking, high end contemporary with a calm muted palette. Think Kelly Hoppen. What’s extraordinary though is the gallery’s worth of contemporary artwork on display.

There’s a hotel spa, gym and yoga studio to add to the hotel luxury. Unfortunately,  the large emerald green pool is adults only but there is a smaller kids’ pool. There are interconnecting rooms available which would be suitable for families.

The Rosewood Beijing hotel offers several dining options (Northern Chinese, Szechuan Hot Pot and French) and a trendy bar scene. If you pay extra for the members lounge, you get free breakfast, afternoon tea and evening cocktails which is remarkably good value (for adults).

Check out what how the Rosewood Beijing ranks among TripAdvisor Beijing hotels!

For the latest rates for Rosewood Beijing, here are a selection of travel booking sites.

Booking.com Hotels.com Expedia

Opposite House

A slick, minimal and hipster-friendly boutique hotel, Opposite House Beijing is located smack dab in nightlife-central, Sanlitun. There’s nothing so bourgeois as a check-in desk for example at this Beijing boutique hotel.

Opposite House Beijing is light, airy and spacious which is hotel luxury in itself. I felt this accomplishment particularly keenly in Beijing where the city’s concrete smoggy drabness seems to weigh down on you.

There are two restaurants (Chinese and Spanish/Italian fusion cuisines), a cafe and a bar on site. There’s also a small stainless steel pool and a gym also at this Beijing boutique hotel.

In terms of family friendly, one kid can stay for free in your room at Opposite House Beijing. On the other hand, this hotel is better for teens who will appreciate the hipster quality of its hotel luxury so do you really want a teenager bunking down with you?

Check out what how Opposite House Beijing ranks among TripAdvisor Beijing hotels!

For the latest rates for Opposite House Beijing, here are a selection of travel booking sites.

Booking.com Hotels.com Expedia

 

Hotel Eclat Beijing

Hotel Eclat Beijing is located in the Parkview Green mall in fantastic location between the central business district and the nightlife area of Sanlitun. The Parkview Green is one of Beijing’s best malls. For a suburban American kid like me, a luxury hotel in a great mall is a dream come true!

Where to stay in Beijing if you are seeking luxury and good design hotels.

Where to stay in Beijing if you are seeking luxury and good design hotels.

Staying at this Beijing boutique hotel is like staying in an art gallery and also being in something like the Truman Show. You are covered by the glass dome that covers the Parkview Green – so it’s all temperature controlled and the Beijing smog is kept outside.

We didn’t have a pool but we did have interconnecting terraces in our rooms. These large terraces reminded me of Manhattan apartment living. It’s like being outside without actually the terrible heat, humidity and smog of being outside. It’s very artificial – but we loved it! I consider not having to deal with Beijing smog hotel luxury in itself.

The pools at this hotel are individual  to the particular rooms. The decor is cool and quirky. Although not an open-plan bathroom, the bathroom did have dimmable glass if you wanted the world to see you bathe (or not). My kids LOVED the lamp that you can turn on and off with a gun.

There’s no spa and the little gym is a bit lame. Obviously you can choose from Parkview Green’s mall restaurants or the hotel restaurants (Spanish or British cuisines). There’s a bar at which hotel guests get a free drink.

Check out what how Hotel Eclat Beijing ranks among TripAdvisor Beijing hotels!

For the latest rates for Hotel Eclat Beijing, here are a selection of travel booking sites.

Booking.com Hotels.com Expedia

Beijing Where To Stay Further Afield

Aman Summer Palace

If you don’t mind being away from the tourist spots in Beijing, the Aman Summer Palace is a great option. A plus side? The air is a lot cleaner when you are 1 hour+ from Beijing. You are near the Summer Palace (a UNESCO world heritage site) and pretty much nothing else.

The hotel is set up as a traditional Chinese complex (courtyards, walkways, and gardens). It’s got a gorgeous pool and spa all of which are in an underground complex oozing hotel luxury.

The Aman Summer Palace has several restaurants (steaks, Japanese and Cantonese) as well as assorted cultural craft activities on offer to make up for the fact that there’s very little to do in terms of entertainment nearby.

Tip – Even if you do not stay at the Aman Summer Palace, you should consider stopping by for tea in the library room after a visit to the Summer Palace before your long trek in traffic back to Beijing. Speaking of treks, the Summer Palace is famous for having a very long corridor of approximately 1/2 a mile. Afternoon tea will be a welcome break after experiencing this walkway and dodging hordes of domestic Chinese tourists.

The tinkling sound of Chinese music is prevalent. One of my kids’ complaints about China was this tinkly version of Chinese Muzak that you hear everywhere. I told them to get over it! The Chinese are probably as used to hearing the tinkly music and tuning it out as we are to Muzak.

Another big bonus is that you get direct access to the Summer Palace before the tourist hordes arrive. Like the rest of China’s attractions, the Summer Palace gets very crowded and so it’s nice to have this one UNESCO world heritage site almost to yourself in China.

Children under 12 can stay free with parents but only in suites and older children pay a reduced rate. There are two types of suites that have double en-suite bedrooms that sleep up to four people.

Check out what how the Aman Summer Palace ranks among TripAdvisor Beijing hotels!

For the latest rates for Aman Summer Palace, you can look it up on Expedia.

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Is Brunch in the Clouds at the St. Regis the Best Brunch in Abu Dhabi?

Is Brunch in the Clouds at the St. Regis the Best Brunch in Abu Dhabi?

Today we have a review from our occasional contributor/expat at large, Dianna, on the Brunch in the Clouds at the St. Regis Hotel in Abu Dhabi that she experienced last month.  Read on and see if you agree with her that it’s the best brunch in Abu Dhabi.

My review in a word:  Amazing. I’ve done a lot of awesome things in my time living in the Middle East, but Brunch in the Clouds at the St. Regis Abu Dhabi took the brunch concept to a whole another level. After years of hardcore brunching, I can totally say with complete expertise that Brunch in the Clouds is the best brunch in Abu Dhabi.

Best Brunch in Abu Dhabi at The Brunch in the Clouds St Regis Abu Dhabi

You could have fed a small army at this brunch.

Where is the Brunch in the Clouds?

Brunch in the Clouds is held in the suspended suite between the two towers that make up the St. Regis Abu Dhabi.  The St. Regis Abu Dhabi is located on the Corniche with fabulous views overlooking the gulf.  The suite is a duplex on the 48th and 49th floors. It’s the highest suspended suite in the world at 220 metres at sea level. With a total capacity for 50 people, it is held on the last Friday of each month.

Best Brunch in Abu Dhabi at The Brunch in the Clouds St Regis Abu Dhabi

The view from the Brunch in the Clouds

Why Is It The Best Brunch in Abu Dhabi?

The luxe experience starts when your very own butler whisks you up your private elevator up to the suite. You get a quick tour so you know where things are.

The Suite

You can continue to explore the 12,000 s.f. suite during the brunch.  Wow!  The suite is 3 bedrooms and 4 and 1/2 bathrooms and staff quarters. The pace was so big I realised I never got around to seeing the master bedroom. What I didn’t expect?  The cinema, the bar, the spa, the jazz band serenade etc.

Best Brunch in Abu Dhabi at The Brunch in the Clouds St Regis Abu Dhabi

The cinema room also doubled as the candy room – multitasking at is best.

Best Brunch in Abu Dhabi at The Brunch in the Clouds St Regis Abu Dhabi

You could stop off for a romantic bath mid-brunch if you so wished.

The table is exquisitely set with fresh flowers, crystal, china and silverware. Delicious food and champagne. And, the views over the city and the Gulf are to die for! The whole thing is a delightful extravagance which can only happen in the Middle East.

Best Brunch in Abu Dhabi at The Brunch in the Clouds St Regis Abu Dhabi

I didn’t even know where to start with all these desserts to pick from.

The Spread

During the brunch, you have chef stations serving up food, a cocktail bar, candy in the cinema room, a cheese and desert room, a caviar bar and an oyster room.  If you are feeling too content to get up and go to the buffet, there is also waiter service that brings around other (different) main courses to you at your table. It’s the best of both worlds – a buffet where no one is judging how  much you take and the lazy person’s beautifully plated dishes.

Best Brunch in Abu Dhabi at The Brunch in the Clouds St Regis Abu Dhabi

Please sir… may I have some more?

Obviously you need great food to make Brunch in the Clouds the best brunch in Abu Dhabi. I felt though the fabulous spread was just an additional bonus to all the extras provided. I mean, of course, the food was great.

Best Brunch in Abu Dhabi at The Brunch in the Clouds St Regis Abu Dhabi

Cocktails anyone?

Best Brunch in Abu Dhabi at The Brunch in the Clouds St Regis Abu Dhabi

The stairs up to the master bedroom suite. Can you believe I didn’t even make it up there?

Best Brunch in Abu Dhabi at The Brunch in the Clouds St Regis Abu Dhabi

A gin trolley because … why not?

Spa Treatments and Other Extras

In between courses, you can step out for a manicure and a massage in the private spa room. The therapists are from the St. Regis Spa downstairs.

 

Best Brunch in Abu Dhabi at The Brunch in the Clouds St Regis Abu Dhabi

The brunch massages were conducted by the St. Regis spa staff.

Best Brunch in Abu Dhabi at The Brunch in the Clouds St Regis Abu Dhabi

This room is where we had our manicures during brunch.

Practical Information For Brunch in the Clouds

Brunch in the Clouds started in April 2016 and has been so popular it already has a 6 month waiting list.  I never plan anything that far in advance but I got lucky on the Friday before Christmas.  It’s always worth a try if you are in Abu Dhabi.

Best Brunch in Abu Dhabi at The Brunch in the Clouds St Regis Abu Dhabi

When the setting is this fabulous, even the best brunch spread takes second place.

Unfortunately, no kids are allowed in the Brunch in the Clouds experience.  The prices are pretty reasonable for all that you get – AED 500 (approximately $136) or AED 750 (approximately $200).  The brunch lasts a leisurely 5 hours from noon until 5 pm.  Where else can you take a nap in the middle of your brunch??

I loved the suite so much that I bought a night in the suite at an auction 😂 Yikes. I have 6 months to use it and might throw a party for my birthday. The suite typically costs $30,000 per night. I paid a lot less and the money goes to charity (UNICEF). I consider that a win/win. Besides, I’ve got to get back to see that master suite! I’ve heard the walk-in closet is amazing.

Brunch in the Clouds is available at the St. Regis Abu Dhabi.  Make sure it is the one at the Corniche and not the one at Saadiyat Island because there are 2 St. Regis hotels in Abu Dhabi.

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10 Family Getaways Recommended by Kids (Outside of North America)

10 Family Getaways Recommended by Kids (Outside of North America)

Are you looking for a more adventurous family trip with your children? In this first part of this series, we looked at family-friendly hotels in North America that were chosen by the children of 15 family travel bloggers. In this part, we look at 10 family getaways recommended by kids outside of North America.  These family getaways are a more varied type including hotels in theme parks, a luxury family-friendly tree house and a luxury family safari lodge. According to travel industry reports, 85% of family travellers are influenced by their children in making a decision about where to travel.  Going by the list below, I’d say our kids know what they want and have excellent taste.

Family Getaways in Europe

Navigating the tiny side streets of an Italian town (Photo credit: Alessandra Granata)

The Resort With The Water Park Next Door

The Atlantis
The Palm, Dubai

“My kids loved The Atlantis in Dubai but not for the reason you would expect.  Sure, they loved having easy access to the Atlantis Water Park next door.  We could nip in for an hour or two and then return to our uncrowded hotel pools to lounge.

Their absolute favourite bit though were the chocolate fountains at breakfast.  There was even a choice of white chocolate and milk chocolate.  It was the first time they’d seen chocolate fountains and they were smitten.  I didn’t have the heart to say no to chocolate for breakfast (after all, they successfully argued hot chocolate is a European breakfast drink). I did make them dip fruit in the chocolate fountain instead of marshmallows. Strawberries in chocolate for breakfast – the hardship! “

– Shobha George at Just Go Places

Family hotel Atlantis in Dubai

The water park next door to the Atlantis Hotel in Dubai meant we could nip in and out as we liked.

The Hotel For Thomas The Tank Engine Fans

The Drayton Manor Hotel
Tamworth, England

“My son fell in love with Thomas the Tank engine when he was one year old, so when we discovered that in the UK there is a park entirely dedicated to his hero, we knew we had to go. We made a weekend out of the expedition and went all out booking a family room in the on-site accommodation, the Drayton Manor Hotel: to say it was a hit, with the kids, would be a gross understatement.

The hotel is all themed out with characters from the Thomas series and as soon as we walked into the lobby, the children caught a glimpse of two massive moulds of Thomas and Rosie, attached to the walls. They dashed to them and plastered themselves against the big trains, giving them a hug and kisses. You would have thought they were long lost parents or siblings they hadn’t seen in years: a display of love I had never witnessed before! My daughter in particular, until that moment quite brazen about trains, started cooing and stroking Rosie’s plastic face. It took us 40 minutes to peel them away from the lobby and,to this day, what they remember most about the Drayton Manor experience was the hotel and that they could sleep while their heroes guarded the hotel door!”

– Marta Correale at Learning Escapes

family hotel Drayton Park Manor

Kids love Thomas the Tank Engine (Photo credit: Marta Correale)

The Hotel That is an Irish Castle

The Clontarf Castle Hotel
Dublin, Ireland

“In April I took two of my boys, ages 10 and 12, on their first visit to Europe. One of the things that they were the most excited about was to explore some castles. This was a big draw since they had already been studying them in school and pretended to be knights for years. When I was looking for places to stay in Dublin, I found The Clontarf Castle Hotel. Not only did my kids get to go into a castle, they got to sleep and eat in one! The luxury hotel made the whole family happy. I loved the location slightly outside of the city, but close to the waterfront and Howth, as well as a bus line.
The kids loved the decorations and food. It is one of the parts of the trip that they still talk about and wrote about in papers when we returned to school.”

– Jamie Italiane at The Daily Adventures of Me

Clontarf Castle Dublin Family Hotel

The Clontarf Castle is a family-friendly hotel in Dublin, Ireland

The Hidden Gem in the Cinque Terre

B&B Il Tulipano
Cinque Terre, Italy

“The Cinque Terre is an enchanted place, known all over the world for the five tiny villages sheltered behind mountain and sea. We adore going there!! It’s quite close to Milano (2 hours drive) and it’s the ideal escape from the city, no matter the season. But Cinque Terre can be very crowded and expensive too… so that’s why the accommodation we love the most is not properly there, but just a few km from Riomaggiore, the biggest village of Cinque Terre. Let us introduce you B&B Il Tulipano (The Tulip) because the owner is a Dutch girl who settled there and welcomes guests from all over the world!!

This cosy B&B is just behind the hill of Riomaggiore, close to the sea, but it’s completely surrounded by silence, enchanted nature and a familiar atmosphere. You can even admire fireflies at night! You’ll love this place and your kids too. Federico (our eldest son) never wants to go back home and always asks to plan a new adventure there, guess why?? Because he can play free and have fun with a kids-tractor in unspoilt nature! Mariette is a superb host for a great place to stay: you’ll remember breakfast served under wisteria, the deepest sleep ever and the feel of freedom!!”

– Alessandra Granata at Tips 4 Italian Trips

family getaways at a B&B in the cinque terre

The beloved tractor that got driven around for hours (Photo credit: Alessandra Granata)

The Red Sea Resort With the Great Food

The Radisson Blu Tala Bay Resort
Aqaba, Jordan

“During our visit to Jordan we experienced countless gorgeous desert landscapes. Hot and dry were the norm during our visit. That is until we visited the Red Sea resort town of Aqaba and checked into the Radisson Blu Tala Bay Resort.
With sweeping views of the Red Sea and large, bright and sunny rooms, the Radisson Blu offered all the luxury that was promised. The kids loved the countless swimming pools available. The food was incredible as well. The boys favourite was the Aziab buffet which featured a very plentiful desert bar that had my kid’s attention the moment they walked in.
We booked the boys in to the hotels Kid’s Club while we joined a dive, and when we returned we could barely pull the boys away. Their faces had been painted in superhero themes and they were sporting toys they had won at the camp. The boys still talk about what a great experience they had at this hotel, and without a doubt, we would return.”

– Kevin Wagar at Wandering Wagars

Radisson Blu family getaway

A family getaway at the Radisson Blu Aqaba has everything (Photo credit: Kevin Wagar)

The Resort With All Complimentary Activities

The Hilton Mauritius Resort and Spa
Flic-En-Flac, Mauritius

“When it comes to staying at a family-friendly resort, my kids’ can be tough critics. Hilton Mauritius Resort and Spa exceeded their kid-tough expectations and more! Located on an idyllic island in the Indian Ocean and surrounded by stunning crystalline waters, steep volcanic mountains frame the backdrop of this family-friendly resort which features lush landscaping, koi ponds and waterfall pools.

What makes Hilton Mauritius Resort and Spa stand out are all of the complimentary activities offered to guests. In fact, it can be very difficult to decide what to do! You will find in your room a list of daily activities offered such as morning yoga, pool exercise classes, tennis lessons and bike rides. Evening entertainment is also provided and the kids will definitely enjoy the torch lightening ceremony! Best of all, numerous water activities such as water-skiing, snorkeling, and dolphin watching are also complimentary.

When the parents need some adult-time, kids will love spending time in the complimentary Kidz Paradise club. Because there are so many fun family activities at Hilton Mauritius Resort and Spa, your family will have the vacation of a lifetime!”

– Lara Dorman at 2 Moms Travel

Hilton Mauritius family getaway

The Hilton Mauritius is a good value hotel among the super-expensive resorts on this island (Photo credit: Lara Dorman)

The Resort Where You Make A Grand Entrance

The Six Senses Zighy Bay
Dibba, Oman

The Six Senses Zighy Bay in Oman, just two hours from Dubai, is one of the kid-friendliest places we’ve stayed anywhere. In fact, my 10-year-old has already voted to return there next year as part of her annual trip with me.

What made it kid-friendly?

  1. You paraglide in to check in. This may be the only hotel in the world with a paragliding entrance? My daughter loved it.
  2. The beach is perfect and the water is warm.
  3. There’s a fort at each villa. Technically it’s an Omani Summer House, a small-shaded room in the courtyard, but my daughter took it over as her own personal fort.
  4. There’s a private plunge pool at each villa. Enough said!
  5. The food was excellent. Even the pickiest eaters should be able to find food they like.
  6. There’s a kid’s club and a teen club with legitimately cool activities. The teen club has a bungee trampoline!
  7. The ocean tubing was a blast – we could have stayed out there all day.
  8. You get around the resort on bicycles, and there are bikes sized perfectly for every age.”

– Eric Stoen at Travel Babbo

Family Hotel Six Senses Zighy Bay in Oman

The Six Senses Zighy Bay is a unique destination in Oman.

The Game Reserve With the Great Animal Views

Mala Mala Game Reserve
Kruger National Park, South Africa

“Mala Mala Game Reserve outside of Kruger National Park in South Africa is my 6 year old’s favourite hotel in the world.  Sitting in our private deck overlooking a river where animals come to drink from morning to night was all the entertainment he needed. Watching as elephants, giraffe, leopards, exotic birds and hippos appeared on our doorstep all within minutes was out of this world.

With morning and afternoon game drives through the reserve observing the worlds most fantastic animals in their native habitats, followed by kids club activities like fishing, animal tracking and bush walks.

My 6 year old’s days were filled with what he loves most – animals. Families looking for a once in a lifetime experience up close and personal with the wilds of Africa will be in heaven at the Mala Mala Game Reserve. All you need is to arrive with a desire to experience the world in its most natural form and you will leave aching to return again.”

– Karilyn Owen at No Back Home

Family Getaway at Mala Mala Game Reserve at Kruger National Park in South Africa

Kids will love the luxury safari at Mala Mala Game Reserve at the Kruger National Park in South Africa

The Luxury Private Hotel Set In the Rainforest

Tsala Treetop Lodge
Harkerville, near Plettenberg Bay, South Africa

“Our children loved the Tsala Treetop Lodge because our villa was a separate little tree house with it’s own privacy wall overlooking an ancient rain forest. They had their own bedroom, en-suite bathroom and (very importantly) flat-screen television.

The best part though was the inside-outside shower.  My son thought it was the coolest thing to have a hot shower outside overlooking the forest (with the mist and rain surrounding him).  I fear we may have a future naturist on our hands.  The little villa also had it’s own private hot tub which was also a big hit for the kids.”

– Shobha George at Just Go Places

family getaways in Tsala Treetop Lodge

The Tsala Treetop Lodge overlooks an ancient rain forest in South Africa

The Resort With For The Active Family in Thailand

Sunwing Kamala Beach Resort
Phuket, Thailand

“Our kids (6, 4, 3 months) LOVE the Sunwing Kamala Beach Resort in Phuket, Thailand. It’s very kid focused so it suited them perfectly.

The first thing that attracted them to this resort is the fact that it has 8 pools. 7 of which are big with beach entry points. They loved trying them all out. There are also three waterslides which are very popular.

Next, they loved the kids’ club. It has great staff who would play with them and some good activities like ceramic painting and party times which they enjoyed.

They loved meal times as there is always a buffet (they’re favourite thing in the world). In fact, the only thing that would have made this resort better is if we had been there in peak season where they have a special kids’ buffet at meal times.

They also loved that there is a massage place on the hotel grounds that serves tons of kids so they were able to get massages and have their nails done, etc by people who are used to dealing with kids.

Finally they loved the crazy amount of kid equipment that came with our room. Our baby was happy that he had a bouncer, bumbo, changing mat, pram etc. My 4 year old son was super happy that there was a stool so he could reach the sink, and a mat with roads on it so he could use it to play with his cars.”

– Sharon Gourlay at Where’s Sharon 

family getaway at sunwing kampala

One of the many pools at Sunning Kamala Resort (Photo credit: Sharon Gourlay)

10 Family Getaways Recommended by Kids

I love the diversity of these recommendations by kids.  It shows that kids are more interested in enjoying a place than just hanging out in the pool or at the kids club.

Family getaways chosen by kids

Family getaways chosen by children ensure that everyone has a good time

Which of these hotels, resorts and lodges  would you consider?  I personally would love to do the paragliding experience into the Six Senses Zighy Bay because it’s something I would not do otherwise.  Do you have any other family-friendly accommodation  you would like to add to the list?

15 Child Friendly Hotels Kids Love, the North America Edition

15 Child Friendly Hotels Kids Love, the North America Edition

If baby ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.  I’m pretty sure that is a truism on any family trip. On the other hand, if your children like their hotel or resort on vacation, their happiness is contagious. Bearing that thought in mind, I asked some of the world’s best family travel bloggers what their kids considered their favourite hotel. With so many great responses, I’ve decided to split this list in two to make it more manageable. This list contains 15 hotels from North America and the next will contain 10 from the rest of the world. Hopefully this list inspires you to try some new hotels for your next trip that you may not have considered!

15 luxury hotels kids love

The best hotels know how to balance opportunities for activity and relaxation.

What Do Families Look For in Child Friendly Hotels?

I attended a panel discussion where a group of travel professionals sat around talking about how to attract high spending families to their hotels and resorts worldwide. Scintillating conversation, I know.

Family trips are 1/3 of the travel market.  So, what are hotels and resorts doing to attract family travellers? According to the professionals, high spending family travellers (i.e., you) are looking for more than a kids’ club to dump your kids while you relax by the pool. Instead, you are looking for a hotel where you can spend time both together and apart. You also want to try fun, new activities with your kids. The key though is to strike a balance between activity and relaxation. You also want your kids to feel welcome and special at your choice of accommodation. Remember, our special little snowflakes need to have attention paid to them on holiday, too.

To further the discussion, I thought I would ask well-traveled kids about their favourite hotels and resorts. I found that the market research is right. All of these recommended family accommodations have something special that sets them apart.  Whether it is a small or big thing – anything from a s’mores making kit to an amazing pool complex – that ‘x’ factor makes the holiday memorable for kids.

Child friendly hotels that kids love

What makes a child-friendly hotel special for kids? Our seasoned young travellers tell us.

The 15 Child Friendly Hotels Kids Love in North America

Not surprisingly, the hotels and resorts that the children of these top family travel bloggers have chosen are a varied bunch.  In all honesty, I can tell you from personal experience that there is no accounting for kids’ tastes.  My kids are obsessed with Fowey Hall Hotel because it had a zip wire outside their room and the Four Seasons hotel in Dublin (now the InterContinental) because they got cookies with their names written on them.

Index To the 15 North American Hotels Kids Love:

        1. The Chelsea Hotel (Toronto, Canada)
        2. The Disneyland Hotel (Anaheim, California)
        3. Magic Castle Hotel (Los Angeles, California)
        4. The Langham Huntington (Pasadena, California)
        5. The Broadmoor (Colorado Springs, Colorado)
        6. Hawks Cay Resort (Duck Key, Florida)
        7. The Four Seasons Resort Orlando (Orlando, Florida)
        8. The Hilton Waikoloa Village (Big Island, Hawaii)
        9. The Grand Wailea (Maui, Hawaii)
        10. The Best Western Great Northern Railway Hotel (Helena, Montana)
        11. Bellagio (Las Vegas, Nevada)
        12. The Sanderling Hotel (Outer Banks, North Carolina)
        13. Keswick Hall (Charlottesville, Virginia)
        14. The Hyatt Ziva Resort (Los Cabos, Mexico)
        15. Beaches Resort (Ocho Rios, Jamaica)

The Hotel With the Rubber Duckies

The Chelsea Hotel
Toronto, Canada

“It is often the little touches that make a place special for kids and, in this case, they came in the form of rubber duckies! We got to the Chelsea hotel in Toronto in the late afternoon and the ingredients for a major meltdown were stirring: the kids were exhausted after the long haul flight, we were ourselves jet lagged like never before and the line at reception promised to keep up standing for at least half an hour.

As we were bracing ourselves for an embarrassing family scene in the middle of the elegant lobby, the gentle girl behind the reception desk walked towards us and gave both kids a present of a bright yellow rubber duck: she said it was just for them and they could use it in the kid’s pools downstairs, where they would also find a playroom and water slide. Tiredness gave room to excitement and happiness and, to this day, the rubber ducks keep us company at bathtime. Forget the Niagara falls, the best part of Canada, according to my kids, was the Chelsea hotel!”

– Marta Correale at Learning Escapes

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Toronto Tower

The CN Tower is a well-known Toronto landmark. Photo credit: Marta Correale

The Disney Hotel With the Musical Headboards

The Disneyland Hotel
Anaheim, California

“The incredible Monorail Pool and light-up, musical headboards are the most memorable treats for kids at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim, California. In addition to the more traditional D-ticket pool area, kids will love zipping through a waterslide decked out to look like Disney’s Monorail. Kids delight in pressing the button on the bedside to make the musical headboards come to life with twinkling lights and the tinkling sounds of, “When You Wish Upon A Star.” Worry not, the song is short but sweet…if you can get children to stop clicking the switch!

The Disneyland Hotel keeps the magical feeling of Disney alive without hitting you over the head with cartoon-y decor. Standard rooms are decorated with subtle Disney elements. Look for Mickey Mouse-shaped faucets, white-on-white Mickey-patterned duvet covers, and royal blue fireworks-inspired coverlets.

This hotel is ideally located at one end of Downtown Disney, near a Monorail stop. A stay here feels very much at the center of all things Disney.”

– Colleen Lanin, founder/editor of Travel Mamas

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Disneyland Monorail Slides at Disneyland Anaheim

The Disneyland Monorail slides are a children’s delight. (Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland)

The Hollywood Hotel To Experience the Magic of the Movies

Magic Castle Hotel
Los Angeles, California

“Looking to spend a few days in downtown Hollywood? The Magic Castle Hotel is the perfect base for exploring the area. We stayed here the first two nights of a California road trip and my kids absolutely loved it!

The suites are large, with full kitchens, and plenty of room for families to spread out. The hotel has a pool in the inside courtyard, and it’s a nice spot to enjoy the free continental breakfast. The staff was amazing, very welcoming and knowledgeable about special events happening around town (our timing was perfect as there was a Disney movie premier the first night we were there so we saw a parade of stars on the red carpet at the nearby Dolby Theater). You can’t beat the location for exploring the Hollywood Walk of Fame and it was an easy drive to Universal Studios. The best part – the free snacks and drinks that were always available! That made it the hands down winner for my kids.”

– Kath Race at Family Travels USA

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Hollywood Sign in Los Angeles

The Magic Castle is located centrally in Hollywood, Los Angeles.

The Hotel That Appreciates A Little Old School Glamour

The Langham Huntington
Pasadena, California

“We have stayed at many wonderful hotels over the years, but my son’s favorite hotel to visit is the luxurious Langham Huntington in Pasadena, California.  We have shared many family adventures here, with wonderful memories of family and friends.  Once, while visiting with his friend Nolan, he had the chance to ring the antique railroad bell from Henry Huntington that is rung at 7:05 p.m. Another visit we watched a traditional Indian wedding take place on the front lawn from our bedroom window.

The first time we stayed at the Langham Huntington, my son marveled over the grandness of a building that looked more like a palace than a hotel.  In our room, my son quickly discovered the enormous marble bathroom with shower and separate soaking tub.  Every time we visit the Langham Huntington, he makes a point to take a bubble bath in the soaking tub.

My son enjoys the pool and grounds of the Langham Huntington, especially the Japanese garden with Koi pond.  His all-time favorite activity, however, is the afternoon tea in the Lobby Lounge, served on antique Wedgewood china. The first time we had afternoon tea at the Langham, he was annoyed to be doing such a “girly” activity but one sip of the vanilla tea and a bite of one of the scones quickly changed his mind.  From that point on, a visit to the Langham Huntington is not complete without a seating for afternoon tea.

The Langham Pasadena is a Forbes four-star hotel.”

– Julie Cohn at A Cork, Fork, & Passport

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The Langham Huntington Pasadena

I can see why a kid would think the Langham Huntington Pasadena looks like a palace. Photo credit: Julie Cohn

The Luxury Resort That Is Straight Out of A Storybook World

The Broadmoor
Colorado Springs, Colorado

“I had been a long-time fan of The Broadmoor, a resort in Colorado Springs, when I brought my grandkids for the first time. As we entered the gates of this sprawling 1918 resort with its towering turrets, my then four-year-old granddaughter said, “Welcome to my princess land, Grammie.” I agreed that these definitely might resemble a castle to a preschooler enthralled with a storybook world. Perhaps the only missing structures were a drawbridge and moat, but she didn’t seem to notice.

Surrounded by the mountains and framed by Cheyenne Lake, the historic Broadmoor Hotel is just 90 miles south of Denver. This historic resort sits on 3,000 landscaped acres with splashes of brightly-colored flora and manicured lawns. During the holidays, it’s a winter wonderland with festive holiday lights and immense gingerbread villages. For families, The Broadmoor is a mecca of things to do including swimming pools, slipper slides, paddle boats, fishing, hiking, biking, horseback riding, and more.

As if this stately and historic hotel weren’t enough, there’s an abundance of family friendly things to do in Colorado Springs. From riding the Pikes Peak Cog Railway to hiking the majestic Garden of the Gods to getting up-close-and-personal with giraffes at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, Colorado Springs and The Broadmoor are indeed a vacation in a princess land – just ask my granddaughter.”

– Diana Rowe at Traveling in Heels

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the Broadmoor colorado Springs colorado

The historic Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs. Photo Credit: Diana Rowe 

The Luxury Resort For the Active Family in the Florida Keys

Hawks Cay Resort
Duck Key, Florida

Hawks Cay in the Florida Keys is one of our kids favorite hotels! We spent all day playing on the pirate ship splash pad, jumping in the pool, and playing soccer on the huge soccer field, playing basketball, ping pong, and miniature golf. They also enjoyed the 2 story townhouse we stayed in that had multiple balconies and TV’s.

We started our next day at the delicious breakfast buffet where the kids made waffles covered in whipped cream and ate as many pastries as they could. Then headed to the cove area where they enjoyed paddle boarding and snorkeling in the calm ocean water of the cove. They also enjoyed watching the dolphins and swimming in the main resort pool before ending the night with a kiddie cocktail around the firepit.

Needless to say when it was time to leave they didn’t want to go!”

– Craig and Bryanna at Crazy Family Adventure

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Hawks Cay Resort in the Florida Keys

Hawks Cay Resort in the Florida Keys. Photo credit: Craig and Bryanna

The Luxury Orlando Resort With The Best Pool Complex

The Four Seasons Resort Orlando
Orlando, Florida

“My kids are with me as I feature five star-hotels and resorts, the focus of my site, and they have become true connoisseurs of kids’ clubs. They absolutely love a good kids’ club, and the Four Seasons Orlando is their favorite. Despite the property’s location in the Disney World resort, the Mouse has little to do with their love.

The kids’ club at the Four Seasons is complementary for guests, and my kids start taking off into a run once we set foot outside in the pool area. There is a volcano structure in the kids’ club that erupts with a red light show and audio soundtrack every time the kids push the hidden button, and they think this is the best thing ever.

The pool area is, in our opinion, the best resort pool in North America, too, and my kids love the teepee style kids’ cabanas and the lazy river. My five-year-old will wait with the patience of the Dalai Lama for his big sister to complete the lazy river loop so he can squirt her each time she passes with a water gun hidden in a telescope. It’s the best patience exercise ever invented for children.”

– Robin Hutson at Luxe Recess

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the four seasons orlando luxury hotel

The kids club with its erupting play volcano. Photo credit: Robin Hutson

The Luxury Resort for the Active Family in Hawaii

The Hilton Waikoloa Village
Waikoloa Village, Hawaii

“The spectacular mega-resort on Hawaii’s Big Island, the Hilton Waikoloa Village, is our family’s paradise! Set among the most stunning scenery in Hawaii, we could have spent days without ever leaving this gorgeous property. The resort offers all sorts of family-friendly adventures: multiple pools, ultra-fun water slides, lagoon activities, mini-golf, and even some entertaining classes on Hawaiian culture, such as dancing and lei making. The restaurants are delicious and very family-friendly – we loved the casual Lagoon Grill overlooking the dolphins and the gourmet foodie heaven at the Kamuela Provision Company (book on the lanai at sunset – perfection!).

My girls adored swimming with the dolphins (and even getting a few dolphin kisses) at the hotel’s ocean-fed lagoon at Dolphin Quest. The Hilton’s famous Legends of Hawaii Luau was a highlight for us. We loved learning the hula, listening to traditional Hawaiian songs, watching ancestral dances and feasting on a lavish Hawaiian buffet. My girls delighted in visiting the hotel’s top-notch spa, and then posing for pictures on the beach. The ultimate highlight of our Hilton Waikoloa visit was riding the super-cool monorail and boats around the 62 oceanfront acres of lushly manicured gardens.”

– Lia Grabelle at Hilton Mom Voyage

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The Hilton Waikoloa, Big Island, Hawaii

The Hilton Waikoloa resort is set on 62 ocean front acres on the Big Island. Photo credit: Lisa Grabelle

The Luxury Resort Where The Kids Get Treated Like VIPs

The Grand Wailea
Maui, Hawaii

“Maui isn’t just a honeymoon destination, it’s a tropical family friendly paradise perfect for kids too. My son Harry’s favorite resort of all time is The Grand Wailea Maui. I don’t always agree with my 6 year old little boy on everything, but in this case his favorite resort is also our family favorite!

Harry loves to be pampered and teated like a special guest when we travel and The Grand Wailea treats kids like VIPs. What kid wouldn’t love a resort that welcomes them with Leis, POG (passion fruit, orange, guava juice) and goodies to enjoy in the room. The Grand Wailea has everything a kid could ask for including breathtaking beaches to play in the sand, rooms with huge lanai’s that overlook the crystal blue Pacific Ocean, beautiful pools, awesome water slides, lazy river, kids meals served in sand pails, and a super fun kids club.

We always stay in the Napua tower where Harry loves to help him self to daily breakfasts, snacks, and over-the-top nightly Hawaiian appetizers while we sip on their signature Mai Tais. During our last visit, Harry was wild about an inventive appetizer that the chef’s concocted with rice crispy treats and dry ice, a definite crowd pleaser with the kids.

Even kids as young as Harry can’t help but feel the amazing Aloha spirt of the resort and ask to return to the Grand Wailea year after year. “

– Sarah Hirsch, Founder & Editor-in-Chief at Well-Traveled Kids

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The Grand Wailea Maui Resort Hawaii

One of the many pools at The Grand Wailea Resort in Maui, Hawaii. Photo credit: Sarah Hirsch

The Hotel With The Railroad Theme For Trainspotters of All Ages

The Best Western Great Northern Railway Hotel
Helena, Montana

“My son’s favorite hotel was the Best Western Great Northern Railway Hotel in Helena, Montana. My son adores trains so the he thought the train decor was amazing. They also turned on the model train for him that runs above the front desk. It’s walking distance to the carousel which probably doesn’t hurt either.”

– Dana Wheatley, Calgary Playground Review

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Great Northern Hotel Helena

The model train that goes above the front desk at the Great Northern Railway Hotel. Photo credit: Dana Wheatley

The Luxury Hotel That Is Kid-Friendly in Las Vegas

Bellagio
Las Vegas, Nevada

“My seven-year old daughter loves hotels with large heated outdoor pools. I have to say that she and I share a similar taste in this regard! No matter how busy we are in a destination, we find time in the afternoon to relax in a (heated!) hotel pool. Our favorite hotel pool we have experienced so far is an outdoor pool complex at Bellagio Las Vegas. It has several heated generous size pools and hot tubs, and the entire pool area is beautifully styled and has a look and feel of an Italian villa (complete with a café serving a very decent espresso!).

While Las Vegas is not considered a traditional family-friendly destination, there are a good number of things to enjoy with a family: we never ran out of things to do in our 48 hours in this city!”

-Victoria Burdman at Celebrate the Weekend

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musical fountains of Bellagio Las Vegas

The fountains at Bellagio in Las Vegas put on their show every evening.

The Hotel Where They Treat You Like Extended Family

The Sanderling Hotel
Duck, Outer Banks, North Carolina

“When we checked in to the Sanderling Resort, the desk clerk told us to be sure to call the front desk before we went down to the beach so a staffer could set up chairs and an umbrella for us. I was instantly sold. We got to the room and found a s’mores kit for the outdoor fire rings the resort lights every night and my 7-year-old was hooked. For my husband the balcony where we had drinks every evening and coffee every morning clinched it. My entire family felt relaxed and taken care of and really loved this hotel.

The room was roomy, the beach and family pool were very nice. The common areas, where you could listen to music, play games and eat take-out at night were welcoming and people used them. We rarely eat in hotel restaurants but we ate twice at the LifeSaving Station because the food was local, the presentation was nice, the kids menu was great (fresh veggies!) and by OBX standards it was a good value. The room rate is splurgy, no doubt, but for families looking for a real get away and quality time together, it’s worth saving up for.”

– Eileen Gunn at Families Go!

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The Sanderling Hotel, Duck, Outer Banks, North Carolina

The Sanderling Resort in Duck in the Outer Banks of California. Photo credit: Eileen Gunn

The Luxury Resort For Kids Who Love Dogs

Keswick Hall
Charlottesville, Virginia

When I think of family friendly hotels, they often have great kid perks like water slides, fun dining options and maybe an ice cream bar or snack shop. Yet, when we stayed at Keswick Hall, a luxury resort in Charlottesville, Virginia, we discovered that luxe can be family friendly too. At first glance, the Italianate style architecture seems stuffy and formal — harkening back to the era in which the home was built. The staff, though, is anything but stuffy.

On arrival, they greeted our daughter with a polite handshake and introductions. They gave her a stuffed dog, in honor of the estate’s resident hunting dogs. They presented her with a large brass key to her bedroom. After settling in, our son went to the lobby to ask about movies — and was astounded when the staff rolled a TV and DVD player into our room and hooked everything up. Later that night, after an evening in town, the kids were delighted to enjoy fresh baked bedtime cookies.

Besides these special touches, the resort also has tennis courts, hiking trails, indoor and outdoor pools — kids loved them, golf, archery and more. Maybe the best of all, besides the friendly service, is the opportunity to walk the resort’s dogs. All in all, a stay at Keswick Hall is something beyond the ordinary — it’s a special getaway the whole family can enjoy.

– Karen Dawkins, Family Travels on a Budget

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Keswick Hall in Virginia

A bed that would make any little girl feel like a princess. Photo credit:  Karen Dawkins

The Luxury Resort for The Active Family in Mexico

The Hyatt Ziva Resort
Los Cabos, Mexico

“Families looking for a property their kids will love, need look no further than the Hyatt Ziva resort in Los Cabos, Mexico. This stunning beach front property is a quick fifteen minute ride from the airport, which is appealing to families after a long flight. Upon arrival, families are welcomed by a stunning view that looks out over the pool area and to the Sea of Cortez beyond.

Children love this all-inclusive property with its fun kids club and pool with well organized daily activities, but they really love the food (can you say cupcakes for breakfast?). The property boasts 12 unique dining spaces, each featuring a different cuisine, so each meal brings a new feast for their eyes and stomachs. Rooms are spacious and staff goes above and beyond to make all guests feel special. This is the one resort my kids ask to return to time and time again. (If you want a kid’s point of view on the Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos, you can read my son’s review here.)”

– Kirsten Maxwell at Kids Are A Trip

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Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos Mexico

Fueling up before more playtime at the beach restaurant at Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos

The Luxury Resort That My Kids Have Never Forgotten

Beaches Boscobel Resort
Ocho Rios, Jamaica

“Flitting among the water park, the arts & crafts room and the beach, my children were as happy as they have ever been at the Beaches Resort in Ocho Rios. This resort was also where they discovered swim-up bars where you can order cocktails. Swim-up bars are something that can spoil you for life! We had interconnecting rooms which was perfect because we also took our nanny on holiday with us.

While our  nanny and the kids hung out at the resort, my husband and I were able to enjoy some excursions to the countryside that the concierge arranged for us. We took day trips to Good Hope Plantation and Prospect Plantation, the kind of cultural sightseeing we used to enjoy before we had kids. We had no guilt about leaving the kids behind because we could not  have dragged them away from the resort if we had tried!”

– Shobha George at Just Go Places

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Beaches Boscobel Resort Ocho Rios

Every day was another day in paradise at a Beaches resort.

The 15 North American Hotels Kids Love

Our 15 child friendly hotels kids love in North America is heavily weighted towards the USA.  In fact, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean only feature one hotel each.  What do you think of these choices?  I would love to hear if you know any others you would add to the list.

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