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Hotel amenities you loved as a kid vs. now

Elaina is a Phoenix-based freelance writer, blogger and co-founder of the Kidlee baby book app. Check out her blog, Fun Finds For Mom, for product reviews, recipes and fun activities for moms and kids.

Lodging luxuries: then and now

Staying at a good hotel can make or break a trip. Looking back, it's clear our priorities in hotel amenities have seriously changed since we were kids.

Lodging luxuries: then and now

Photo credit: XiXinXing/Getty Images

Favorite amenity as a kid:

Mini bar goodies

As a kid, it was awesome to swing open the door of the hotel room for the first time and make a beeline for the mini bar to check out the goodies. Of course with mini bar prices, it was never a free-for-all, but every now and then Mom and Dad would spring for a can of soda or a bag of Cheetos.

Favorite amenity now:


Forget the overpriced mini bar. Today, coffee is priority number one. These days most hotels provide the means to brew your own coffee, but what kind of coffee is it? Are those coffee packets filled with a brand name we're familiar with or a sketchy generic java? Freshly brewed coffee in the lobby is always a bonus too — especially if you have a husband who willingly fetches you a cup while you're still curled up in your jammies.

Favorite amenity as a kid:

Free treats in the lobby

As a kid, it was such a treat when hotels would set out a big plate of freshly baked cookies or a bowl of bright red crunchy apples on the check-in desk for our personal munching pleasure. Kid nirvana.

Favorite amenity now:

Complimentary happy hour

If we're deciding between two comparable hotels and one offers a complimentary evening reception, the choice is clear. We'll go with the free wine every time.

Favorite amenity as a kid:

Free postcards and pens

As a kid, writing letters and sending postcards was a vacation highlight. The hotel night table usually had a padded folder stocked with free stationery and postcards for guests' writing pleasure. Of course those were the days when kids brought their address books and stamps on trips, because back then there was no such thing as snail mail. It was just “mail.”

Favorite amenity now:

Free Wi-Fi

Now postcards and letters have been replaced with Facebook updates, tweets and emails. Naturally, Wi-Fi is a must. Hotels that provide free in-room Wi-Fi are most appreciated in today’s digital age.

Favorite amenity as a kid:

Swimming pool

Remember the excitement of throwing on a bathing suit and cruising the hotel to find the swimming pool? The pool was the hub of the kid social scene — the place where vacation friendships were formed after a few rounds of Marco Polo.

Favorite amenity now:

Exercise facilities

Strapping on a bathing suit may have lost some of its allure over the years — or maybe those hotel pools just aren’t as warm as we remember. Either way, we’d much prefer to slip into exercise gear and hit the treadmill or the elliptical for a quick calorie-blasting workout.

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