by Alina Sandor
Suddenly it's cool to travel with baby, and now it is practical, too. Hotels across North America are recognizing babies and babies-on-board as valuable clients with new, deluxe accommodations.
The Iroquois hotels (www.slh.com), for example, treats their "future business travelers" to amenities such as pint sized bathrobes, a trio of rubber duckies, gentle body wash, lotion, and a designer crib complete with a set of designer Frette sheets. There are many other offerings, though, that a family should consider when choosing a hotel for baby.
Before the Baby Pampering
There has been no better time to be a traveling mommy-to-be. Expectant parents are being encouraged to feel pampered with new hotel packages that cater to their needs.
"Babymoon vacations are one of the hottest travel trends," says representatives of the Grand Lido Braco Resort & Spa in Jamaica.
Hotels like Conrad Indianapolis (www.conradindianapolis.com) are taking notice of this trend. Conrad is introducing its Indulging Mothers-to-Be package that includes a prenatal listening system to monitor the baby's heartbeat, kicks, and hiccups, extra pillows for elevating legs and releasing pressure from the lower back, unlimited bottled water to keep the body hydrated, and a sixty minute prenatal massage at the hotel's Spa Chakra. According to the hotel, the massage "helps alleviate tension from the lower back, feet and ankles. These treatments also help reduce stretch marks, increase circulation and stabilize hormonal activity."
Other hotels, like the Grand Lido Braco Resort & Spa in Jamaica (www.grandlido.com) offer packages that cater to a mother's cravings, both food and beauty wise, while giving Dad the boost he needs as well.
The Grand Lido Braco Resort's Babymoon Package gives dads-to-be a break on the cravings food runs by providing hungry mommies with in-room fridges stocked daily with a jar of pickles, a chocolate bar, Ginger Ale and bottled water. It also supplies a 24-hour in-room menu with pregnancy pleasing desserts, such as banana splits, brownie a la mode, and hot fudge sundaes. Moms can also enjoy a ventilated, specialized in-room manicure and pedicure.
Dads are encouraged have a relaxed time, too. They can hit the gym for a 30-minute personal training session to develop and strengthen their upper body, enjoy a couple's foot massage, have candlelight dinner with his lady at the hotel's restaurant, and reserve a hammock on the beach for cuddling time.
Indulging Newborns and Beyond
Once the baby is born, the deluxe travel accommodations don't end there. Many hotels, in all price ranges, are becoming baby-friendly to allow families to travel with ease.
What defines a baby-friendly hotel? Here are some things to look for:
- Mini fridges for storing breast milk
- Gift shops that sell diapers, wipes, sun screen SPF 50, arm floaters, donuts for swimming, beach toys, and sandals
- High chair and crib availability
- Bumper guards on sharp corners
- Covered electrical outlets
Discovery at Marigot Bay (www.slh.com/discovery) in St. Lucia goes one step further in their offerings with the Nanny on Demand service. "For families that do not wish to travel with their own nanny," the hotel states to new visitors, "they can request a nanny prior to arrival that will be dedicated to them for the duration of their stay." Discovery says that the nanny will perform duties the family needs, including preparing meals for the baby in the suite kitchen, daily supervision, evening babysitting, and more.
For parents uncomfortable with leaving their babies in the care of strangers, many hotels are offering baby listening facilities in all bedrooms, enabling a parent to listen into their room from all around the hotel while the baby is napping. Listening systems have been popular in other countries for years, but are now becoming more common in the United States. Many hotels will not allow parents, and reasonably so, to leave the hotel grounds while a listening system is in use. Hotels will also have parents sign a waver of accountability before allowing use of the systems.
Many hotels are taking steps to make it easier for families to include a baby or toddler in the fun by creating special play places, tours, and more just for them. Separate pools designed for younger clients are now becoming more available. Hotels are also adding playrooms for toddlers, complete with age appropriate toys. The Concierge of The Iroquois NY (www.slh.com/iroquois) has developed a complete "Kid's Guide to Manhattan" with both the well known and unique sights to see with tots. They also plan for fun on rainy days by providing a Nintendo system on their room's flat screen plasma television. (Parents should be sure to ask about toddler-friendly games.)
Today, there is no reason to put off family trips until the baby's older. With the right hotel choice, any family, with one on the way or one just born, can have a trip to remember!
Alina Sandor has been a freelance writer for around a decade and now runs the mommy website www.defrazzledmom.com. Feel free to visit her site at www.alinasandor.com.
Copyright © Alina Sandor. Permission to republish granted to Pregnancy.org, LLC.