When picking a hotel for your family, there are a few definite non-negotiables. Do we want a big room with plenty of space for a Pack ‘n Play? Of course! Comfy pillows and bedding? You bet. What about a hotel staff that won’t give a feral toddler the side-eye upon entry? Like we said: Non-negotiable.
But today, more than ever, we need a little more out of a hotel for it to truly be family-friendly. After all, these days, whether your vacay involves road-tripping, socially distant tourism, or cautiously visiting some much-missed relatives, you want your hotel to be your family’s safe haven. Or, heck, after months of hunkering at home and in sore need of a change of scenery, your hotel might be your vacation in and of itself. Here you’ll find the new must-haves to ensure your hotel stay is not only fun, but safe for your crew.
1. Smart food options
When budgeting vacation expenses, it’s always painful to factor in breakfast, especially when kiddos too often only eat one slice of cantaloupe and two bites of a muffin from their $18 hotel price fix meal. (The worst!) But the idea of getting everyone out the door to a restaurant and dealing with social distancing? My goodness. We’re not superheroes. So when booking a hotel, look for places like Comfort Inn and Suites, where, 1) breakfast is included and 2) the buffets have been replaced with ready-to-grab pre-packaged breakfast items. While, yes, kids will totally miss the unlimited waffles and Froot Loops at the buffet, this is for-sure the family-friendliest option right now.
2. It’s gotta be clean
We don’t mean dust bunny-free, here. We’re talking hospital-grade disinfectant on everything and heightened cleaning protocols in high-traffic spots like the lobby and the pool—plus, hand sanitizers, like, everywhere. Beyond keeping surfaces clean (kids touch everything!), you want to make sure the air is as safe as can be, too. Translation: There better be plexiglass partitions at the front desk and staff members sporting masks. (PS: All hotels under the Choice Hotels umbrella, including Comfort Suites and Quality Inn, do this.)
3. Strong and free Wifi
When everyone is tapping the Wifi, you need to make sure it’s a strong connection and that it’s on the house. Because, hard truth: Parents are often continuing to work remotely even while “on vacation,” right? At the same time, kids are connecting with each other via FaceTime and video games. And, hey, sometimes you want to just be able to hand over the iPad so you and yours can snuggle and watch a movie on the hotel’s HBO.
4. The pool!
The ultimate kid-friendly hotel feature remains the tried-and-true pool. To ensure the kids get their splash on—and everyone remains safe—seek hotels that not only extend their improved cleaning protocols to the pool, but also adhere to the 6-feet-apart rule. For instance, Choice Hotels, like Comfort Inn, arrange all their furniture, including pool furniture, in accordance with CDC safe-distance guidelines. And, they’ve got signs and decals all over reminding guests of social distancing guidelines, so you don’t have to.
5. Easy cancellation
Not to be a bummer, but being able to pull the plug on your travel plans without penalty is super-important when we’re in the midst of a pandemic. (Just ask anyone who had a family cruise on schedule for this summer!) When you book smart, like going directly through the hotel and not a third-party portal, you’re able to cancel and manage your travel plans easily. (Bonus: When you book directly, like via the Choice Hotels website, you’ll get the lowest rates and have easy access to almost 7,000 hotels, like the newly refreshed Comfort Inns, along with Sleep Inns and Quality Inns.) Because no, summer isn’t cancelled, and you can still have *lots* of family fun—just be sure to do it wisely!
This article was created by SheKnows for Choice Hotels.