This past weekend my husband, Maximara and I stayed at the Langham Chicago. While traveling with a baby can be a struggle and a total bore, we were determined to make the best of the weekend. To make sure the stay was a success we discussed prior to our arrival our game plan. How would we handle naps, bed time, activities for her, etc. As soon as we checked in to the hotel it was game on. We got her bed positioned and ready for nap time, we unpacked what we needed, and got all of her food ready for when she woke up. We knew what we were going to do and when. If something happened and changed our course, which of course happened, we just rolled with the punches. It was all-in-all stress free and enjoyable. If you are planning a staycation or are traveling with your little one soon, read my tips below for a successful stay.
– Plan your activities prior to arrival. Call the hotel to find out what they have in-house, if they recommend anything nearby and make reservations if you need to. The Langham has a cinema suite you can reserve for your family to watch movies. There is not a fee to do so. They offer around 21 movies (all geared towards children) but you can also bring your own DVDs to watch. You can order room service to the suite, they also offer movie inspired snacks. Looking for a pillow and blanket for that movie? The hotel will bring that in too. We requested this room prior to our arrival and I am so happy we did.
– Sign any waivers you need to when checking in, for example we had to sign one for the Kids Suite for Maximara to play. Rather than stalling the process when they are ready to play, get it out of the way as soon as you get there. Get the hours of any activity rooms you plan on using.
– Get their bed set up as soon as you walk in those hotel doors. There was a vanity area that we stuck her crib in. I called guest services and requested duct tape and an extra bed sheet to create a fourth wall for her. In the matter of 10 minutes she had her own “room.” Picture above.
– Download and practice using an ipad / iphone based baby monitor if you plan on using one. We use an app called Baby Monitor. I believe it was $4.99 and it was the best 4 dollars I have ever spent. We have trained Maximara to sleep through noise and rooms that are not pitch black but do we want to be sitting in the room the entire time she sleeps? Probably not. We didn’t stray far, but if you want to have a drink or some snacks on your floor where you can keep an eye on the door of your hotel room, this app is a lifesaver. It will alert you if it detects noise and you can see her face/crib with the video monitor as well.
– Plan activities for quiet time in room if you can’t make noise while baby sleeps. Trashy magazines, newspaper, books, a puzzle – make sure you know what you will be doing when she is sleeping so you don’t lose your fucking marbles out of extreme boredom.
– Decide what you will do when she goes down for bed. Hire a sitter with the help of the concierge, apps like Urban Sitter or Chime, or ask friends for referrals. If that isn’t an option have the baby fall asleep in a stroller while you are at dinner, cruising the city, etc. Our baby falls asleep around 5:30pm. We clearly are not going to bed that early so we had to make a plan.
– Don’t forget a light first-aid kit. Maximara has never really gotten hurt, knock on wood. During our stay she, I have no idea how, hurt her foot or ankle. She would cry any time she went to put pressure on her foot. We decided, rather than a trip to the hospital, to give her a little children’s tylenol and sure enough in an hour she was back to 100%.
– Utilize the do not disturb sign if your baby is napping or sleeping. Self explanatory.
– If you are a germaphobe bring your disinfecting wipes and wipe down remotes, etc. you think your little one will touch. My thoughts are it will build her immune system (still no sick visits at 11 mos, knock on everything wood), but I know some people are totally grossed out by hotel rooms.
– If you are grossed out by your baby crawling on the floor, ask for an extra bed sheet and throw it on the ground for baby to play on. You can also ask the service desk for duct tape to tape it to the carpet to make it more “permanent.”
– Bring a floatation device for your little one if you plan on swimming. And make sure they are allowed!
I’d love to know what are some of your travel tips when staying at a hotel with a little on. Share in the comments.