I can’t be the only parent out there that thinks hotels ‘Family Rooms’ are more like ‘Torture Parents Rooms’.  After several overnight stays confined to the one room with the small people, I have decided that no, there is no such thing as a family friendly hotel.

Our hotel stays as a family have mainly because we were attending a wedding the next day.  You know, the kind of function where you want your kids to be well rested so they behave the next day.  You want them to have a good nights sleep so that you can push them past their normal bedtime in the hope of a few glasses of wine and a throwing some shapes on the dance floor.  Both me, just to be clear.  

What you don’t want is cranky kids who are prone to meltdowns because they had about 30 minutes uninterrupted sleep the night before, and have turned into the spawn of Satan who burst into tears upon the entrance of the Bride*.  And what exactly do you do when that happens?  You can’t very well escape when the only exit is being used by the bride in all her finery and her seven bridesmaids.  You can’t disown your kid when they are hanging off your neck and screaming “Mummmmmmmyyyyyyy”.  It’s pretty obvious the kid is yours.  You can desperately wish for the possibility of teleportation, whilst offering the bride an apologetic look and clamping your hand over your child’s mouth.

I blame the hotels and their ‘Family Friendly’ rooms.  From what I have experienced, to qualify as ‘Family Friendly’ means one room, two beds.  Combine that with two kids who have an abundance of energy after being stuck in the car most of the day on route to the hotel, and it’s a recipe for parental torture.    


Family Friendly Hotels


If you’ve ever experienced a night in a hotel with small people I’m sure you have done most things on this list:
  • Spent the first half hour in your room looking for out-of-reach places to put all your stuff you don’t want the small people to break and/or eat.
  • Unplugged the phone because your toddler keeps calling reception and you can’t afford the room service bill.
  • Been concerned that someone might call the police about the screams coming from your room when your toddler experiences his first shower in the absence of a bath.
  • Turned the room into Blackpool Illuminations whilst trying to determine which light switch creates a dim ‘calming down’ ambiance.
  • Spent the best part of the evening sat on a cold bathroom floor whispering to your other half and getting a numb arse and leg cramps whilst the kids ‘go to sleep.’
  • Said ‘go to sleep’ about 450 times until you decide to opt for the ignoring tactic, which is when your small person says “Mummy?” “Mummy?” “Mummy?” about 450 times.
  • Held your pee from 4am until 6am because if the kids wake up now there’s no getting them back to sleep.
  • Held your pee because the only space to put the travel cot (and the sleeping baby inhabiting the travel cot) was in the bathroom.
  • Flipped the bird at your room door and whispered obscenities at everyone going out for fun and making a lot of noise about it as they walk by.
  • Flipped the bird at your room door and whispered obscenities at everyone returning from their night of fun and making a lot of noise about it as they walk by.
  • Slept with foot up your nose because despite having their own bed in the same room as you, your small person insights on ‘sharing’ yours.
  • Mastered the highly skilled talent of the silent sneeze.  This is no mean feat when you have to combine it with the post childbirth leg cross.
  • Spent four hours resisting the urge to cough and wondering if your eyes might actually pop from their sockets in the process.
  • Wished the bride and groom had insisted on one of those ‘no kids’ weddings.
  • Stubbed your toe and screamed into a pillow when maneuvering around the furniture in the dark.
  • Wish you could boil the loudest kettle in the world for a cup of tea without waking the kids, but instead just stare at it longingly.
  • Realise that painting your nails in the dark wasn’t the best idea you’ve ever had.
  • Have had lengthy text conversations with your other half even though he’s right next to you.
  • Plan new chain of hotels that really are family friendly and declare that this time next year you’ll be a millionaire.
  • Called it payback to your noisy neighbours when the kids start bouncing on the bed at 6am.
  • Got your money’s worth at the complimentary breakfast because you sure as hell didn’t get your moneys worth in the sleep stakes.


In my experience a family friendly hotel break is one the parents whilst the kids have a sleepover at the grandparents!


*Yes that was my kid.  I was seven months pregnant at the time.  I missed the ceremony because I made a sharp exit with the screaming child soon after the brides entrance.  I missed the entire evening do because by 4pm my overtired child was done in and we retired back to our hotel room.  I did get to watch everyone get drunk and eat pate, prawns and goats cheese tarts, whilst I drank my water and ate my honeydew melon. 


Share your hotel horror stories in the comments…


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Family Friendly Hotel Rooms


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Claire Kirby

18 Comments on Family Friendly Hotels: Is there Such a Thing?

  1. This made me laugh out loud with each new entry. We’re in the second phase of ‘family friendly rooms’ where the teens in the next bed keep giggling and laughing while we say ‘Go to sleep’ 450 times. We’ve been woken in the middle of the night by the sour blue light of the iPad or phone which they have been staring at — hollow-eyed — since we drifted off during the first half of a Mentalist rerun. Both instances create something close to your experience: cranky toddler-like children who melt down just when we want to toss back from G&Ts. The only difference, they do it not by crying but yelling, “You’re ruining my life!” Fab piece!

  2. I cannot stop laughing. Seriously. Sorry Claire!!!! We travel a lot and have worked out what does and doesn’t work for us, we’ve had a fab room in Thailand with an annex for the kids which works well!! Otherwise it’s all about balconys and wine. That said last time we went away we had 4 in a bed and no one slept!!

  3. This brings back memories of our hotel stay before we went on holiday. Let’s have a hotel room we said it will be great no having to get up really early to get to the airport. IDIOTS. You are so right there isn’t such a thing as family friendly, noise, inadequate space for cots and the many Things for the kids to break. I slept with a toddler on my face woke up completely knackered with a 12 hour flight ahead. Never again xx #fridayfrolicks

  4. This really made me laugh! I feel like the blunt answer to this would be NO. But I can’t stop at that… We recently stayed in a hotel and I wrote a post about it, about how awful it was. We booked a family room which was only ‘family’ because it had a single bed snuggled up against the far wall. There were no partition walls for us parents to relax behind, no sift lighting, no escape from our toddler beasts. The only escape was the bathroom! One day there will be a hotel whose family rooms have an extra room, I really hope there is at least!! Great post, made me laugh as always x #effitfriday

  5. we were very lucky to recently find a room in New Hampshire with a small loft area for my daughter to sleep. It enabled us to get her to bed at a somewhat reasonable time and still be able to stay up a bit ourselves

  6. Bahahahahaha! We’re travelling at the mo and have experienced a fair few shitty family rooms! The last one had a (tiny) double bed and a set of bunks which clearly stated no child under 6 could sleep on the top… my kids are 4 and 2! Decided to risk it and – surprise surprise – the 4 yr old almost fell off the top bunk. We ended up with the kids and I in the double bed and hubby on the bottom bunk… not a lot of sleep had by anyone!

  7. This is spot on! I remember hotel stays when my eldest was little and actually hiding in the bathroom until she fell asleep as she just wouldn’t settle otherwise!! And to think we’re planning a hotel stay with an 8 year old and a baby this summer. I must be stupid!!! #effitfriday

  8. I have been to the most family friendly hotel, but its not a large chain and its not cheap and I think that’s where these rooms differ. I never ever dared to stay in a Travelodgey type room with Oscar even when he was in a cot, and even less now, for all the reasons you stated. I know it would be a farce. Sorry you had such a rubbish trip.

    (If you ever want a hotel that understands families I highly recommend Luxury Family Hotels and in particular Moonfleet Manor in Weymouth http://www.mrssavageangel.com/2014/08/19/toddler-on-holiday-at-moonfleet-manor/)

  9. My goodness, what an experience. We’ve not really done hotels with the kids, partly because we have three children and you just can’t get family rooms for three kids…only two. Really wish they had suitable rooms for families including larger families. #BloggerclubUK

  10. I agree no such thing as a family friendly hotel. I blame Lenny Henry and those Premier Inn adverts for giving us false hope and whilst I am it, those beds do not guarantee you a good nights sleep! The only time we have had a pleasant family hotel experience was when we were upgraded to a suite! It had two bedrooms and a living room. So really not a hotel room and whilst this was lovely, I now constantly compare every subsequent hotel experience to the suite. Everytime I am crammed into a hotel bathroom, bottle of wine wine cooling in the luke warm water in the sink, I think back to that glorious suite. Only if you can afford a mahoosive suite does a hotel become family friendly #bloggerclubuk

  11. Lol at the world’s loudest kettle 🙂 Oh God this brings back hideous memories of the time we decided to do a 2-dayer at Peppa Pig World!!! Think we were all in bed by 8.30 so the kids would actually sleep and spent the night trying not to move/cough/curse at the herd of elephants in the hall/breath too loudly ‘just in case’! Followed by a 5.30 start to our second day at a Theme Park. Stuff of nightmares I tell you. #BloggerClubUK

  12. Oh I properly snorted at this, Claire! Absolutely laugh out loud funny…And painfully true!!! Honestly, brilliant post 🙂 I will be chortling about the side by side texting and noisy kettle comments all day! #BloggerClubuk

    Commentluv is broken for me on some sites! It is driving me mad!! If there’s any way you can pop in my latest post (super cheeky) that’d be marvellous..It I try and do it here it might banish me to the bin forever…

  13. I don’t think there is such a thing as a child-friendly hotel room either, although some are more friendly than others. Usually if there’s a bath then I spend the evening in there while my husband goes and hangs out in the bar which suits us both! But for longer holidays we always go for apartments now

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