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Take the Family › Boutique Hotels with Kids - Heaven or Hell?

Boutique Hotels with Kids - Heaven or Hell?

By TakeTheFamily
Mas Candille, South of FranceMas Candille, South of France

Your hedonistic 20s or even 30s are over but your taste for chic boltholes lives on. Is this something you can really reconcile with a family holiday or break, though, or are you best off leaving the brats with the grandparents and sneaking off by yourself?

Staying in a boutique hotel with kids can actually work brilliantly provided you choose the right place for your particular family, with the age of your kids being the most important factor to take into consideration - see our Favourite Boutique Hotels section for our handpicked recommendations for properties with children of all ages, from babies to teens.

Here are our other tips drawn from our team's own experience of staying in boutique properties with kids, from country houses in the UK to stylish city-break or seaside hotels in Europe and around the world.

• Do your research – is 'family-friendly' just being used as a marketing buzzword, or does a given hotel genuinely welcome children and make you, as parents, feel you're able to relax? The best way to find out is to ask other parents or seek out their feedback on the internet. You won't get a break if you're worried about your kids trashing the place, but also if staff fail to make the whole family feel totally at home.

• Try to find somewhere that can arrange for everything you need to be in place on arrival, from cots and nappies to DVDs and toys, minimising the time spent packing and loading up the car, and unpacking/unloading when you get back to reality!

• If childcare is important to you, doublecheck what age ranges it covers to make sure you will be able to take advantage of it - especially with very young babies. Check also if it needs booking ahead, to avoid disappointed and wrecked plans.

• Consider carefully whether a family room might be enough for you – if you want some privacy in the evening, or the option to read or watch a movie over a bottle of wine, an interconnecting room will be much more comfortable for all you.

• If some 'me' or 'us' time is important to you, look for a hotel that offers separate children's teas and a babylistening service so that you can enjoy a quiet dinner without having to pay for a babysitter.

• If you're longing for some peaceful spa time while your kids are in the crèche or kids' club, check that its swimming pool has some adult-only time slots so you won't have to battle against screaming, splashing toddlers. Better still, choose a hotel with a dedicated kids' pool as well as a spa.

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