Vacation with the kids? For parents, going away with the children involves some challenges. In a matter of seconds, boredom can give way to chaos, peaceful play to squabbles. Best if the hotel helps to keep everyone happy so that parents and kids stay cool.
Vacations are supposed to be one thing above all: relaxing. A time to simply switch off and spend the day as you please. In the best-case scenario, tension melts away and your body becomes lighter, your head clear … and you morph into a mix of sloth and butterfly floating through the air.
But when you have kids, achieving that metamorphosis is not so easy. Vacation with offspring – as parents will generally agree – is different. Naturally, you look forward to spending time with the family. But when there’s no nursery or school to keep kids on their toes and they are around you the whole time, they constantly bombard you with their moods and wishes. That can sometimes be pretty exhausting.
Even on vacation, parents are like restless weasels, making sure that boredom doesn’t raise its ugly head, and that no one gets hurt or lost. They clear up after the children; fetch what they need, tidy away when they leave stuff lying around. “Mom, I want to play, Dad, I’m thirsty!” Parents need all the support they can get – especially when they want to get some rest and regeneration.
With this in mind, Lilian Roten, Vice President Brand Management Swissôtel of Swissôtel Hotels & Resorts, came up with the idea of offering special rooms for young guests designed for three age groups: from zero to five, six to 12, and ages 13 and over. Roten is a devoted aunt who spends at least one weekend a year at a hotel with her godchildren. What she noticed on these trips was that children need a space of their own – even in a hotel.
Playstation, games and soft toys
Now Swissôtel has been offering rooms for children and teenagers since 2007. While these are located close to the adults’ rooms (opposite, next door to or even adjoining them), they give kids a separate space in which they can play freely without interruptions from their parents or accompanying adults.
Kids of between six and 12 can also choose between DVDs, a Wii or a Playstation at the time the room is booked, but a selection of analogue games and card quizzes is always provided. Young guests will find a large and welcoming soft toy on their bed and popular heroes, like the characters from the Angry Birds movie, on the bedclothes. Tooth mug, bathroom mat and soap dispenser also feature colorful motifs in line with kids’ trends. The young guests also receive an extra welcome in the form of milk and cookies – or if they prefer, hot chocolate.
We want to give children happy memories
“We cater to our young guests’ individual preferences and needs,” says executive assistant Marie Brandt of the Swissôtel Berlin on Kurfürstendamm. “Whenever we take reservations for our Kids Rooms, we ask probing questions. Since we started the Kids Rooms, we have amassed a very large stock of supplies to suit children’s needs in all of our hotels. If a regular guests insists on Lillifee bedclothes, we can make that possible. “We want to give children happy memories,” says Brandt.
In the rooms for over-13s, the decor is a little different again: more grown up, less colorful. These rooms contain latest-edition magazines in a variety of languages, and PlayStation controls are already laid out on the bed, ready for action. To keep the teens going, room service provides gummy bears and hot chocolate with marshmallows.
The Kids Room – Pack and travel with an easy mind
Parents traveling with under-fives will be delighted with Swissôtel’s baby rooms, which have a cot right beside the parents’ bed. Everything the little ones need is provided: diaper-changing pad, diapers, comforter and wipes, so parents can pack and travel with an easy mind. If the inevitable feeling of maybe having forgotten something arises, they know there’s need to worry because all the important things are on hand at the hotel.
The bulkier utensils parents don’t necessarily want to lug around with them, such as hot-water bottle, baby shampoo and bottle warmer, also await them at the hotel. At those Swissôtels that have a pool, water wings are also provided. On request, we also equip rooms with socket safety devices and edge protectors. And to make sure the little ones don’t get bored, the rooms also come with coloring books and storybooks.
The kids’ rooms can be booked for half the regular price and in combination with a double room. “We make everything as good as we possibly can for all of our guests, big and small,” says Brandt. The more requests we receive, the better, because that way each individual Swissôtel increases its selection of kids’ supplies and that means a better offering across the group. “‘No’ is a word we prefer not to use,” says Brandt. The aim, after all, is to provide Swiss hospitality.