I adore hotels. If anybody asks me what I’d like to do for a milestone birthday treat, invariably I’ll say that I want to check in somewhere swanky and make use of all the glorious facilities. I loved hotels before I had my kids – in fact I lived and breathed them for work – but I think I love them even more now, because time away is so rare and precious. Imagine if you never get to go to the toilet alone, how amazing it is to sit in a roll top bath, gently drinking away the mini bar?
Taking kids to a hotel is a different game. I’m the first to admit that it can be a very stressful undertaking, particularly if your offspring are also budding hotelphiles and want to be everywhere, on everything, all at once. I’ve had a few years’ experience of managing sprogs en vacances. here’s what I know:
Forget the days of papers, poached eggs and freshly-brewed coffee. Breakfast is now giddy carnage and I always lose part of my brain. The event becomes some parody of a military operation. Remember how you bribed the kids to go to bed last night, with the promise of Coco Pops, Frosties and waffles? Well so do they. Before you know it, you’re juggling tiny juice glasses, burning toast and glaring at the the poached eggy, chilled-out couple by the window. Best way around this is to just feed the kids first. Hungry shoppers are terrible, sweary shoppers, whereas full ones are sedate. Work as a relay team with anybody you’re travelling with. Take it in turns for eating and crowd management. Supplementary iPad or phone always helps too.
Regardless of a child’s age, you can be sure that swimming with them can push buttons. It’s a natural thing to feel jaded, when squeezing your semi-damp body back into jeans, in the way that sausage meat is crammed into a skin. So be kind to yourself. Sometimes things are taken care of, by doing a hoppy, chilly dance from foot to foot, still in swim wear, until children are dried off, given a snack (even though it’s five minutes after breakfast) and supplied with the helpful iPad or phone.
Kids just love to make friends in the hotel’s public spaces, so embrace the opportunity to sit back and let the little mites play with their newfound friends. Bonus points for being near a bar so you can sink a drink or two. So what if it’s not yet noon? You’re on holiday, so I won’t tell if you don’t. And don’t worry about having to speak much to the other kids’ parents. They probably feel just the same as you, so it’s perfectly acceptable to just ignore each other a bit; maybe check the headlines, if there’s any charge left on your phone or iPad.
Your bathed, fluffy ducklings and more hyper than Lee Evans after a litre of Sunny D. It’s getting late. There’s a feeling that this is never going to end. In all honesty? I just let them stay up until they’ve thrashed it out of their system. There’s a reason why a lot of family hotel entertainment starts way later than a typical bedtime. And a later bedtime many just mean a small lie in the next day. Hurrah! And when they finally snooze, you can blissfully sip wine from a bathroom tumbler, not daring to speak and watching TV with the sound off. Think how lovely your snoozing kids are, vowing never to do this again… until the next flash hotel sale. Happy hoteling!