Where to stay as a family?

Our first overseas experience of staying in  a hotel room  with kids was very positive.  We were in the  Lake Como area, Italy with our 6 week old son and other family members for a wedding.  The hotel room was organised and paid for us (we might not have been able to afford it otherwise), they  served a good breakfast, offered  a decent sized room, reasonable service and were situated in a great location in the town centre.  It was great to be able to pop downstairs for a coffee, lunch or a  morning or evening passeggiata (stroll) and pop back up stairs again for baby naps.

During that same holiday we stayed in a couple more hotels (Italy, Switzerland) and it all went down hill from there –the hotels were expensive, over priced, small and shoebox like, smelt of stale cigarettes, a pain to have to go out for all our meals with a young baby, and we began to feel very claustrophic,  like the walls were caving in and far too paper thin…ahhhh   HELP!!!!!!

In addition,  we were turned down at other hotels we enquired for vacancies.  Perhaps it  helps to book first and then answer  questions later!!  Maybe it was just my paranoia but I had a sneaking suspicion it was because we had a young baby…..

It was while we were in Cinque Terre, Italy  that we discovered “apartments”.  A great alternative to hotel rooms and not necessarily more expensive.  We saw a flyer, asked someone and presto – we were in someone’s apartment with our own space, where we didn’t have to worry so much about noise level and  more importantly we had our own kitchen.   It only cost us 60 euro per night, much  cheaper and nicer than any of the hotels in the same range.   So a lesson learnt….

Three years later, we are on holidays again for an indefinite period with two young kids.  For a day or two we are happy to stay in a hotel room, but when the washing starts piling up and we become tired of eating out its time to head for an apartment.

Of course, the ideal apartment would have 3 or 4 bedrooms, a private roof top pool, a large balcony and backyard so you can send the kids outside for a play when they get too noisy.  Dream on….!!

The reality is,  even apartment living is tough  – kids (and even adults!!) need space,  the ability to let off steam/energy (adults again.!) be able to play noisily and happily indoors, and have places to explore and play without having to go out all the time….  My 3 year old son told us that it would be nice to have a backyard so we didn’t have to go out to the playground all the time……..

HOWEVER, the best accommodation option when not in a city would have to be camping and living the outdoor lifestyle – no mess to clean up, no having to persuade kids to “go outside” because the outside of the tent is the playground/play area (no convincing needed there!!!)   There is no television, or internet and yet the kids are distracted for hours by their surrounds where endless entertainment exists with finding all sorts of “bush toys” to play with.  And you know what?  They can make as much noise as they like, because no one cares!!!!!!!

A room with a view
A room with a view