Our Family Stay at Disney’s Grand Floridian

Our Family Stay at Disney's Grand Floridian pin

When visiting Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, families have many options for lodgings. For the most elaborate and luxurious  experience, we suggest staying at The Grand Floridian. This elegant resort is surprisingly family friendly, with plenty of activities for kids and parents alike to enjoy.

Our Family Stay at Disney's Grand Floridian lobby

What Makes it Family Worthy?

This hotel is opulent with all sorts of amenities. It is also close to the Magic Kingdom. Guests can enjoy free WiFi in both the rooms and public areas as well as free parking.

Our Family Stay at Disney's Grand Floridian playground

Our Welcome

When we arrived, the staff was friendly and welcoming. We experienced practically no wait before we got to our rooms but spent the time enjoying the meet and greet with Cinderella in the lobby.

Our Family Stay at Disney's Grand Floridian ceiling

Hotel Decor

The hotel’s lobby is a sight to behold, decorated with a Victorian aesthetic. Guests walking in will see a ceiling five stories high with huge chandeliers. Throughout the hotel, one can see detailed latticework and ornamentation. The lobby is a lovely spot to relax while waiting to check in or after returning from the parks.

Our Family Stay at Disney's Grand Floridian white

Our Room

We stayed in room 9409 in a Garden view room. The first thing we noticed was the locking mechanisms for our door. Everyone gets a magic band as their door “key,” and guests can even customize this band with their favorite color. The bolt mechanism on the door is pretty high up, which is great for child safety.

Our room was decorated in rich creams, golds, and greens, with lovely crown molding. We had wood flooring, perfect for those who suffer from allergies. The entire room was also extremely well maintained. We saw no scuff marks, dirt on the carpet, or peeling on the walls.

Our Family Stay at Disney's Grand Floridian bed

The room featured a large two door closet with complimentary robes. The safety deposit box sat at a perfect level and could easily store a 15-inch laptop.

We appreciated the two queen sized beds, as not every Disney hotel has this. There was also an overhead fan, perfect for the hot, humid Florida days. We had a lovely nightstand between the beds as well as an opening desk next to the bed. Guests should look for one of Disney’s well-known Hidden Mickeys around the room,. We found several including one on the back of the desk chair!

Our Family Stay at Disney's Grand Floridian TV

Our room boasted a red sofa, a relaxing place to stay and lounge after a day in the park. We also had a TV with all the Disney movies. The TV displayed a daily schedule, which included a weather report. We found the mini cooler under the TV and a coffee maker next to the TV. The room featured plenty of hidden places to charge electronics, such as behind the coffee maker.

We loved the gorgeous setting out of our window. We requested a quiet room with “no view” but still got to see a lovely stretch of beach outside.Our room featured a big balcony. It struck us how squeaky clean it was with two white chairs and no bugs, impressive in Florida.
The door to the balcony had a high up double lock so little kids can’t unlock the door by themselves. The door itself was hard to open, another good safety feature.

Our Family Stay at Disney's Grand Floridian outside

 

Our Bathroom

Our bathroom featured tan marble tile throughout, with the hypoallergenic wood floor continuing into the room. We enjoyed the double sink, something that all families can appreciate, as well as the hair dryer and complimentary toiletries.

Our Family Stay at Disney's Grand Floridian sink

We had a tub with a showerhead as well as a clothesline. Unfortunately, the showerhead was not handheld, but the tub had a grab bar.Our biggest surprise was the laundry hamper. Not every hotel has one, but a basket is perfect for keeping dirty towels off the floor.

Dining

The Grand Floridian offers several choices for character dining, such as the Supercalifragilistic Breakfast on 1900 Park Fare. Parents can even book the Wonderland Tea Party where kids can chat with Alice.

Our Family Stay at Disney's Grand Floridian piano

 

Those looking for Mediterranean fusion can try Citricos. This restaurant does have a relaxed dress code; men can wear khakis, slacks, jeans, or dress shorts, and women can wear capri pants, skirts, dresses, jeans, or dress shorts. They do not allow tank tops, swimsuits, torn clothes, or t-shirts with offensive graphics. Parents can book their reservation online or over the phone, which we recommend.

Narcoossee’s features seafood dining on the waterfront. This restaurant boasts beautiful panoramic ocean views. Narcoossee’s has a slightly stricter dress code than Citricos, essentially business casual.

Our Family Stay at Disney's Grand Floridian cupcake

Victoria & Albert’s is the most high-end establishment at the Grand Floridian. Here, patrons dine on award-winning cuisine in a classically elegant environment. They have a strict dress code; men must wear dinner jackets, slacks, and shoes, and women must wear either a dress, dressy pant suit, or a skirt with a blouse. Guests must also book in advance to dine here.

More budget friendly options include the Grand Floridian Cafe, Garden Tea View Room, or Gasparilla Island Grill. At the Gasparilla Island Grill, our son particularly enjoyed their cupcakes and had to have one every night before bed.

Our Family Stay at Disney's Grand Floridian car

Those who can’t or don’t want to leave their rooms can enjoy the hotel’s 24-hour room service.

Amenities

The Grand Floridian boasts several pools. We particularly enjoyed the zero entry leisure pool with an 181-foot tall water slide, whirlpool spa, waterfall, and hammocks. One can get towels and lifejackets at The Captain’s Shipyard. Guests with disabilities can also arrange for pool lifts and other access options at the Front Desk.Our Family Stay at Disney's Grand Floridian night

Those wanting to get their feet wet can enjoy fishing, water cruises, and motorboat rentals. There’s also plenty of other outdoor fitness activities such as tennis, volleyball, and golf.

The Grand Floridian offers plenty of activities. Parents can sign kids up for such activities as Campfire Activities or Grand Adventures in Cooking. There is also Arcadia Games, featuring both classic and modern arcade games.

Our Family Stay at Disney's Grand Floridian grass

Cost

The Grand Floridian is pricey, with rooms starting at $570 a night. The Garden View rooms are typically the cheapest option.

Our Family Stay at Disney's Grand Floridian duck

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Though the balcony is secure, parents should still try not to avoid booking a balcony room when traveling with young kids.
  • Make sure all balcony doors, and windows are locked. The balcony doors have two high up locks for added security.
  • Parents need to bring a non-slip bathmat, as the hotel does not provide one.

 

Our Family Stay at the W Fort Lauderdale Hotel

Our Family Stay at the W Fort Lauderdale Hotel PIN
When our family went on the Harmony of the Seas inaugural cruise, we chose to spend the night before the cruise at the W Fort Lauderdale in Florida. Located on 401 North Fort Lauderdale Beach Boulevard, this hotel proved to be a great stay for our family despite the fact it typically caters to couples.

Our Family Stay at the W Fort Lauderdale Hotel building

 

What Makes it Family Worthy?

This wave-shaped luxury hotel boasts 430 rooms and sits on beachfront property overlooking the Atlantic. The hotel is an SPG property, so guests can both use and earn SPG points during their stay. The hotel is near several great recreational locations and activities, including the Museum of Discovery and Science, the Sawgrass Mills Mall, and the Fort Lauderdale Ghost Tour.As mentioned before, the hotel mainly caters to couples, and we mostly saw couples during our stay. However, families and other groups are certainly welcome at this hotel.
Our Family Stay at the W Fort Lauderdale Hotel elevator

Our Arrival

We requested our usual accommodations of feather free pillow for allergies and a quiet location for our son with autism. However, when we arrived at our room, we discovered the hotel had given us a couples room that was not at all appropriate for families. Our shower had a clear glass wall so that people in the room could see whoever was showering. While the hotel did give us a curtain, we found that the room was still not working for us, so the hotel thankfully moved us to a suite.

 

Our Family Stay at the W Fort Lauderdale Hotel couples

Hotel Decor

The Fort Lauderdale W prides itself on his whimsical, humorous touches. The W features dark decor, lots of velures, and metallics on white and black backgrounds. We appreciated the amazingly decorated elevators done in metal with pink-reddish light. The mat outside the elevator changes three times a day, so it says “good morning” “good afternoon” and “good evening” as appropriate.The wall behind the counter had a large stamped “W” symbol. There was plenty of dim lighting throughout the lobby, some of it cleverly hidden behind walls or in crevices.  The hotel is made up of two towers, one of which boasts residential properties, where we stayed.

Our Family Stay at the W Fort Lauderdale Hotel view

Our Room

The kitchen boasted an island with a pull-out sink faucet. We found the trash can stored underneath the sink, and next to the sink was a working dishwasher. Near the island was a dining table with several chairs where guests could sit together and have a meal.

Our Family Stay at the W Fort Lauderdale Hotel sofa

 

The closet by the door had a motion detector light and large safe. The safe in the closet sat at a convenient height on top of a set of drawers. We also saw another closet near the bathroom that guests could lock, an excellent additional security feature. We found a third closet in one of the bedrooms, which had shelving, a bathrobe, an ironing board, a luggage rack, and a chest of drawers. Something we noticed about the closets was that they were all painted black, which made the clothes stand out.

Our Family Stay at the W Fort Lauderdale Hotel breakfast

The living room was decorated with faux-marble white walls. The living room had a nice offwhite L-shaped sofa with an attractive coffee table. Over the couch, we saw a black and white blanket. The living room had a third TV over another black chest of drawers.

 

Our Family Stay at the W Fort Lauderdale Hotel safe

Our suite had two bedrooms that looked incredibly similar. Both bedrooms had blue carpeting that simulated waves, with similarly decorated curtains. The rooms each had a chest of drawers in black wood, above which we could enjoy a 45 inch TV mounted on the wall. The wall behind the bed in each room was a bold silver taupe. The rooms both had king sized beds with nightstands and night lights on each side. Each nightstand featured an outlet and two USB ports. Finally, both rooms had a sitting area with a standing lamp and an unusually designed chair. The seat was wide, sleek black, and looked like a cross between a lounge and regular chair.

Our Family Stay at the W Fort Lauderdale Hotel ROOM

Perhaps the best feature of the room was the provided washing machine and dryer. In-room access to clothes washing machines is perfect for families, especially for extended stays.There was adjustable air conditioning in every single room, ideal for family members with temperature sensitivities.Our room had a balcony with spectacular views of the ocean. The room had two sliding doors, one in the living room and one in one of the bedrooms. Unfortunately, both sliding doors had only one easy -to-open lock, not the best to stop wandering kids.
Our Family Stay at the W Fort Lauderdale Hotel bed

Overall, the decor of the room was a pleasant blend of metallic colors and neutrals, with the bright blue kitchen standing out in the room. The room felt like an upscale two bedroom apartment.
Our Family Stay at the W Fort Lauderdale Hotel lock

 

Our Bathrooms

Our suite featured two bathrooms, one next to each bedroom. A sliding door without a lock led into the first bathroom. The flooring of the entire bathroom was a tile that simulated wood in tan colors. The decor consisted of white walls with a cherry wood vanity. The sink was a Corian material and had toiletries, tissues, and a magnifying mirror. Our amenity kit was from Bliss, a sample of the hotel’s onsite Spa supplies.
Our Family Stay at the W Fort Lauderdale Hotel bliss

The toilet was in a separate room with a door for privacy. The shower area boasted a cherrywood shelf. Unfortunately, we didn’t see a handheld showerhead or grab bar, which can be an issue for some families. However, the shower did have an overhead light. Also, while most of the shower was tile like the rest of the bathroom, the flooring by the shower drain was made of small stones.

 

Our Family Stay at the W Fort Lauderdale Hotel sink

The second bathroom was next to the master bedroom. This bathroom was not separated from the bedroom by a wall or door. The first thing we saw was the large jacuzzi tub. As we went into the bathroom, we saw the sink with more bliss products ad toiletries.The area also had light up mirror and a mini magnifying mirror.Similar to the other bathroom, the tiles in this room were neutral and light tan. The shower of this bathroom had the same setup as the first but with stone tiling and an area to sit.

Our Family Stay at the W Fort Lauderdale Hotel tub

 

Amenities

Travelers who want to take full advantage of the W Fort Lauderdale’s beachside location could sign up for the hotel’s Beach Boot Camp and Seaside Yoga. There, depending on the day guests could take complimentary classes involving different types of yoga and cardio exercises.A fitness center featuring state of the art pilates, treadmills, free weights, and balance balls was available to patrons. Most of the gym equipment also had iPod docking stations.The hotel also featured the Bliss Spa, where guests could get things like massages, manicures and pedicures. The Bliss Spa also has a “legendary” brownie buffet for guests to try.
Our Family Stay at the W Fort Lauderdale Hotel gym

 

As well as the beach, guests can also swim at the hotel’s outdoor infinity edge pool WET West on the fifth floor. Travelers can relax on one of the many loungers surrounding the pool, shaded by several umbrellas. The hotel also has a relaxing hot tub near a gas powered fire pit.
Our Family Stay at the W Fort Lauderdale Hotel pool

Not only was the hotel pet-friendly, but it also offered guests an exclusive Pet Suite. Those staying in the Pet Suite could expect to see in the room several “Tinkle Turf” pads, a plush dog bed, food and water bowls, fancy dog snacks, pick up bags, and a special dog menu. The hotel also provided a special limited edition dog bandana. Sadly, the property has no accommodations for cat owners.
Our Family Stay at the W Fort Lauderdale Hotel cabanas

 

Dining

The hotel had several on-site dining options. Diners looking for fancy dining could try Steak 954. The restaurant featured different delicious steaks from chef Stephen Starr that customers could eat while enjoying beautiful oceanside views. Unique to this venue was the restaurant’s jellyfish aquarium, which extended 15-feet behind several sitting areas and was lit up with bright blue and green lights.
Our Family Stay at the W Fort Lauderdale Hotel pool dining

Swimmers at the hotel’s WET West could stop for a bite to eat at the Wet Bar. Along with cocktails, guests could get salads, wraps, and burgers. The bar also offered several smoothies and shakes.

The W Cafe was the perfect place for grabbing a quick bite to eat or coffee. Hungry guests could enjoy everything from yogurt parfaits to teas. The W Cafe also advertised themselves as dedicated to health food.
Our Family Stay at the W Fort Lauderdale Hotel steak 24

 

Cost

Pricing starts at $200 a night and includes access to the mentioned amenities as well as the free high-speed internet for SPG members. Non-SPG members must pay $14.95 per day for internet access.
Our Family Stay at the W Fort Lauderdale Hotel brch

 

The hotel site recommends that guests take an Uber, taxi, or shuttle from the Fort Lauderdale airport to get to the hotel. However, those traveling in their car can use the on-site valet parking for $36 per day.

 

Autism Travel Tips

  • The hotel is a dog-friendly property and allows those staying to bring along pets as well as service animals. Families dealing with allergies should request a hypoallergenic room.
  • While our room did not have a grab bar, other rooms in the hotel do have these as well as other accessibility features. Families should request these features when booking.
  • Families staying in the couple oriented rooms should request a curtain for the “peeping” shower so as to give everyone more privacy.
  • Parents need to bring a non-slip bathmat, as the hotel does not provide one.

 

Staying with Family at the Vital Hotel Tel Aviv

 

Staying with Family VITAL TEL AVIV PIN

 

Tel Aviv is one of Israel’s major cities, sitting along the Mediterranean coastline. Families traveling through Israel have many hotel options when staying in one of the country’s most famous cities. We stayed at the Vital Hotel during one of our visits to Tel Aviv. The hotel is unusual as it shares a building with medical and office suites, and it doesn’t look like any other hotel we’ve seen during our travels. However, the Vital Hotel is still a valid option for some families planning a visit to Tel Aviv.

Staying with Family at the Vital Hotel Tel Aviv room

What Makes it Family Worthy?

The Vital Hotel on 14 Weizman Street is a small and unique boutique hotel in the commercial center of the city. The hotel is in a safe area close to the beach, Weizman Mall, Rabin Square, and several restaurants, galleries, and museums. It is a budget-friendly establishment that caters to families, business and leisure guests, as well as patients from the Ichilov Hospital which specializes in medical tourism.

Families will appreciate the large rooms with opening sofas that can easily accommodate a party of five. The only “issue” is that the hotel doesn’t have the atmosphere of a normal hotel, which some might find lacking, especially since they do not have specific services at all hours.

Our Welcome

We called ahead to request our usual accommodations of a feather-free quiet room. The room was ready by the time we got there, and the staff even left us a  complimentary bottle of wine.

Staying with Family at the Vital Hotel Tel Aviv phone

Hotel Decor

This hotel was clean, modern, and stylish. The decor included parquet flooring throughout and solid, dark wood furnishings. Using hues of creams and browns with accents of black and white, it was functional and pleasing to the eye with views of Tel Aviv skyline. However, it lacked curb appeal and looked more like an office building than a hotel from the outside. Inside, the hotel felt incredibly disjointed, with seemingly no planning to the rooms on each of the floors.

Our Room

We stayed in room 512. The room was quiet and well-lit with clean, no-frills décor in a generous and functional size.
The rooms colors were simple browns, whites, and creams. The flooring was wood, a great feature for those with allergies. It pretty much looked like an average apartment.

Staying with Family at the Vital Hotel Tel Aviv wine

Our closet had basic shelving and a safe to store valuables. The hotel provided us with slippers, which is a nice personal touch in a budget friendly hotel.

Our room had a king sized bed with a nightstand. We were pleasantly surprised to find a full-sized pullout sleeper sofa that could accommodate two additional people. There were ample power sockets, ideal for families with numerous handheld devices. The hotel strives to be eco-friendly, and we found several energy-saving gadgets. We enjoyed complimentary cable TV and WiFi.

The room also had a nice desk next to the TV which was hung on the wall. Under the desk, we found the mini fridge full of purchasable snacks and drinks.

Staying with Family at the Vital Hotel Tel Aviv bed

Our Bathroom

The bathroom was also a good size with no frills. It was almost entirely white tiled, with a small pot of red flowers on the gray countertop.
We had a basic shower with a glass door enclosure. We did appreciate the fact the room had practical amenities like a handheld shower attachment and a non-slip floor surface. However, there was no grab bar.

There was ample place for toiletries and cosmetics on the vanity sink countertop, and the property provided a nice amenity kit.

Staying with Family at the Vital Hotel Tel Aviv kit

Business Lounge

We enjoyed their small business lounge, which had modest offerings and was open between 11 AM and 10 PM. Apart from being convenient for printing and Internet access, they also provided a few refreshments, snacks, and a light dinner.

Dining

The dining room served a typical but modest Israeli breakfast buffet. There was a selection of hot and cold vegetable dishes and salads, a variety of yellow and white cheeses, hot and cold cereals, boiled or scrambled eggs, a smoked and pickled fish selection, bread, and pastries, fresh fruit and liquid refreshments in the form of fruit juices, coffees or teas.

Staying with Family at the Vital Hotel Tel Aviv food

The hotel did offer room service for those who couldn’t or didn’t want to leave their rooms.

Amenities

Guests at the Vital Hotel can enjoy free access to the nearby mall’s health club. The on-site fitness center is equipped with both conventional and advanced fitness machines. Those flying in can use the hotel’s airport transfer service.

Staying with Family at the Vital Hotel Tel Aviv nutella

We found that the Vital staff made an effort to make our stay memorable. They showed us personalized attention and did their best to attend to the guests personally. When we arrived, they asked if we were hungry and they went out of their way to provide something for us to eat and drink. We asked for chamomile tea in the room. Not only did they send four tea bags, but they also gave us crackers and a bottle of water. They were very attentive.

Cost

Pricing starts at $180 per night and includes free WiFi in all rooms and public areas.

Staying with Family at the Vital Hotel Tel Aviv flower

Autism Travel Tips:

  • It is important to communicate your child’s individual needs with the hotel staff.
  • If you have a child who is noise-sensitive, do ask for a quiet room.
  • One of the many benefits of having parquet flooring is that it cuts down on allergies, but if your child is feather-sensitive for example, it is critical that you explain this to the hotel so that they can provide feather-free pillows and linen.
  • For those with asthma and other allergies, make sure that you inform the staff not to spray cans of air freshener or bug spray in the room for 48 hours before your arrival. Unfortunately, we had a bad experience with their air freshener and ended up getting sick,
  • The hotel takes safety seriously which is good, but there is no grab bar in the bathroom, so you need to make sure you are there to help your child at all times.
  • If your child is temperature-sensitive, there is a/c in the room which can be adjusted.
  • If your child is light-sensitive, there are double curtains to block out the early-morning sun.

 

 

Dan Tel Aviv Hotel Welcomes Families

Dan Tel Aviv Hotel Welcomes Families pin

Located at 99 Hayarkon Street, Tel Aviv, travelers will find the beautiful Dan Hotel. This hotel’s multicolored painted front facing the Mediterranean offers magnificent ocean views while the other side shows off the magnificent cityscapes of the White City.

Dan Tel Aviv Hotel Welcomes Families building

When it opened in 1953, The Dan Tel Aviv Hotel was the first luxury hotel in Israel and paved the way for the Israeli hospitality industry. Its proximity to the beach, restaurants, museums, art galleries, boutiques, the open-air Carmel market to the north, the unique neighborhood of Neve Tzedek, and the ancient port city of Jaffa to the south makes the Dan Hotel a prime location for all.
Dan Tel Aviv Hotel Welcomes Families lobby

 

What Makes it Family Worthy?

There are 280 rooms available as well as 41 luxury suites, 84 Executive Sea View rooms, one Royal Suite and one Presidential Suite. Therefore, the hotel is perfect for serving an extensive range of guests. While staying, we saw everyone from vacationing families to business travelers.

The Dan Tel Aviv is part of a small fourteen property chain in Israel that prides itself on luxury and family friendliness. The location of the hotel itself is a central part of Tel Aviv, allowing families to get to the attractions and landmarks easily. The hotel is also right across from the beach.

Families will appreciate the size of the rooms as well as the well-planned layout. Moreover, the chain a prides itself on having an on-site Kids Club called DanyLand.

Dan Tel Aviv Hotel Welcomes Families beach

Our Welcome

We did let the front desk staff know of our special needs for a feather-free quiet room a week before arrival.
The hotel surprised us by giving us a room on the first floor, facing the street, which we thought would be noisy. However, after staying there, during the Tel Aviv marathon, we can say that we didn’t hear a thing1  The hotel had dual pane windows and fantastic insulation making our room unbelievably quiet.

Dan Tel Aviv Hotel Welcomes Families light

Hotel Decor

The colors on the exterior of this flagship building change hues according to the movements of the sun. The interior décor portrays pure elegance and class with its creams and blacks with gold accents. This theme is continued with statues and artwork throughout the establishment.

Our Room

The room had beautiful wooden paneling and lots of lighting. Soothing muted tones of whites and creams decorated the room, and the area was well designed and comfortable. Housekeeping left our room well kept, sticking to the high standards that gave the Dan Hotel its stellar reputation.

Our room was divided into two sections, a rather large sitting/dining area and sleeping area.
The sitting area was roomy, and the artwork on the walls stood out against the painted walls and the thick, plush carpet. They provided armchairs, an opening sofa, a table, television desk and chair which were all very practical and functional. There was even a phone on the desk for guests’ convenience.
Dan Tel Aviv Hotel Welcomes Families bed

The sleeping area had a King-sized bed and yet another flat-screened TV. The two TVs allowed those in the sitting area to watch something different from those in the bedroom. Another practical touch was that each nightstand has its own phone as well as light controls. For lighting , fixtures ,the room boasted over twenty recesfixtures,as well as standing lamps and nightlights next to the beds.

Our bedroom had a giant closet with full-length mirrors. The closet had four sections of shelving with double hanging space, many hangers, and a room safe placed at eye-level.

Housekeeping and room service were at our disposal. There was a handy feature at the door which allowed us to communicate with the staff through the electronic “Do not disturb” and “Please make up the room” buttons.
Dan Tel Aviv Hotel Welcomes Families tub

Our Bathroom

The bathroom had tan marble flooring and granite countertops. It was one of the largest bathrooms we’ve seen throughout our hotel stays. A door divided the bathroom into two sections, perfect for several family members needing to use the facilities at the same time.A door separated a tub-sink-bidet area and a sink-toilet area. The tub had an overhead shower as well as a handheld showerhead. There were grab bars in the bath, and it had an anti-slip surface. The hotel provided a lovely amenity kit, towels, bathrobes, and slippers.
Dan Tel Aviv Hotel Welcomes Families food

Our Breakfast

We enjoyed our breakfast in the Yam Breakfast Hall. The vast dining area was two interlinking halls with elegant décor in black and creams and a magnificent view of the Mediterranean promenade.The drink station of the buffet had cider, freshly squeezed fruit, and vegetable juices as well as mineral water, luxury teas and coffees.

The food buffet was a feast for the eyes. We enjoyed a selection of white cheeses like ricotta, different fat percentage cream cheeses, cottage, aged, French cheeses, goat’s milk cheeses, mozzarella and Bulgarian. There were stuffed grape leaves, a huge variety of fish in different preparation styles: pickled, smoked and marinated like sardines, smoked salmon, herring, and Ikra which is a fish-egg spread.

Dan Tel Aviv Hotel Welcomes Families buffet

There were capers, grains, dressings, freshly cut up vegetables in brilliant reds, greens and oranges as well as leaves, mushrooms and seed sprouts in the ‘make your own salad’ area.

The ‘sweet’ station was a favorite of ours, filled with croissants and other baked delicacies; orange and chocolate cakes, cut up fresh and whole fruits, and an assortment of the Sesame Halva.
For those with particular dietary needs, there was even a sugar-free section alongside yogurts, cereals, granolas and muesli.

The bread station had a good selection of sliced and whole loaves in an assortment of flours and grains as well as crackers, tapenades, spreads, jams.
Dan Tel Aviv Hotel Welcomes Families dish

Shabbat Dinner

We had the opportunity to experience the Dan Hotel’s spectacular Shabbat Dinner which followed a moving and special ceremony. The amount of time and effort that went into the preparation of this meal by the staff was noteworthy.

We started at the soup station with its excellent vegetable and meat soups followed by the salad station in which each salad was more appealing than the next. The colors and flavors were a sight to behold.

Dan Tel Aviv Hotel Welcomes Families meat

The staff prepared the meats so well, and there was something for every taste whether it was chicken, rack of lamb, beef, tongue or vegetarian dishes. There was a whole table of bread slices with sesame and poppy seed challahs, the traditional bread served on this special day of the week. There was a range of appetizers and side dishes including couscous, rice, pasta, potatoes, Gefilte fish, relishes, olives and cold cuts.

The buffet staff went the extra mile by providing a Kids station that served chicken nuggets, hot dogs, and kid-appropriate sides.
Last but not least was the dessert station with individual bowls that served a variety of jellies, crème brûlées and other pastries and baked goods. Travelers who are not planning to stay in the hotel but wish to sample the dinner can still do so by booking their spot in advance with the front desk.

Executive Lounge

We got to enjoy the Executive Lounge during our stay. This hotel’s lounge was a large, elegant, and upscale room facing the Mediterranean Sea. It was open throughout the day and offered guests many appetizers, snacks, and drinks.

Dan Tel Aviv Hotel Welcomes Families wrap

Dining

The Dan Hotel offers two main restaurants – the Hayarkon 99 and the D-Restaurant.The Hayarkon 99 is the hotel’s flagship restaurant. Here, guests could dine on foods made with local ingredients in a comfortable atmosphere.We enjoyed  a fish entree with a glass of local wine for dinner.The D-Restaurant famous for its kosher dairy products also boasted  lovely views of the beach.

Amenities

The hotel had the option of both an indoor and outdoor swimming pool as well as a gym which is for the use of the guests. There was a spa but both guests and non-residents needed to pay for this service.

Dan Tel Aviv Hotel Welcomes Families dessert

The Dan Hotel Kids Club

The Dan Hotel chain has a signature entertainment club for children of all ages called Danyland. It is available during the summer months and various holidays and it is a really beneficial amenity that is ideal for parents who need a safe place for their children to play and be cared for. Over the age of three, children do not require parental supervision to participate in the Danyland program. They cater to youth of all ages with soft play facilities and play-stations and great murals for artwork on the walls.

Cost

Pricing starts at $300 and includes free WiFi in all the rooms, lobby, and public areas.

Dan Tel Aviv Hotel Welcomes Families bread

Autism Travel Tips:

  • All facilities are wheelchair accessible.
  • For those who are noise-sensitive, the rooms have excellent sound insulation.
  • For those who are heat-sensitive, the room air-conditioning can be controlled by the guests.
  • In the same vein, the vents for the air-conditioning are well placed, so they do not blow directly on the beds.
  • For those who are sensitive to light, there is a double curtain which keeps out the morning sun.
  • There is a great safety feature in all of the rooms. To open the windows, one has to follow very specific instructions. Therefore, children cannot open the windows, so there is no danger of them falling.
  • The hotel does offer loaner tablets for guests who wish to borrow them.

 

 

Family Stay at the Intercontinental David Tel Aviv

Family Stay at the Intercontinental David Tel Aviv pin

Ideally situated within walking distance of the Mediterranean beach at 12 Kaufman Street, Tel Aviv, the David Intercontinental Tel Aviv is hands down one of our favorite places to stay. It is close to museums and cafes, restaurants, galleries, open-air markets, bars and clubs, designer boutiques as well as the ancient port city of Jaffa and the ever so quaint Neve Tzedek which reminds people of Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood.

Family Stay at the Intercontinental David Tel Aviv mosque

 

What Makes it Family Worthy?

This hotel attracts tourists and locals alike, for those coming to the city for business or a getaway. During the months of August and the week of Passover, the hotel caters especially to children with their very own Kids Club. The establishment also provides babysitting services.

Family Stay at the Intercontinental David Tel Aviv spa

Families will also enjoy the hotel’s proximity to shopping areas, attractions, the Carmel market, and the old city Jaffa. Finally, the hotel is literally across the street from the beach, which is always a plus for kids.

Our Welcome

We always call ahead to request a feather-free quiet room. Since this was not our first time staying at this hotel the room, we asked whether the room could be ready early in the morning. After our 30 hour flight, we greatly appreciated we could check-in early and take a much-needed nap.

Family Stay at the Intercontinental David Tel Aviv views

Hotel Decor

Apart from the natural views, the hotel is very tastefully designed with modern tones and classic lines and beautiful wooden furnishings. The lobby is spacious and done in light colors of natural stone. Huge windows throughout the lobby let in natural light and offer a welcoming seating area for guests.

Family Stay at the Intercontinental David Tel Aviv bed

Our Room

Our room on the 18th floor was luxurious and comfortable. The room featured subdued colors of creams, light browns, and reds with brown striped carpet flooring.The closet had great hanging space and deep drawers with a large safe that could fit a laptop. We especially liked the fact most things in the closet were at eye level.

We had a king sized bed in the room. Along with the many lamps around the room, we had tiny nightlights attached to each side of the headboard, which we thought was a nice touch. Across from the bed, we saw a 40 inch sized TV and a surcharge mini bar with a selection of cold beverages. However, the cooler fridge under the TV that held the mini bar was computerized to register anyone lifting items out of it. Once a guest raised the drink out of its place, the cost would be charged to their bill.

For travelers needing to work during their stay,  the room had a large working desk with an ergonomic chair next to a relaxing sitting area.  Though the room had adequate electric sockets, we felt more were needed for larger families.

Family Stay at the Intercontinental David Tel Aviv bath

Our Bathroom

The brightly lit bathroom featured creams and whites. The countertop was a copper color, and quite large. Over the countertop, we found a hairdryer and magnifying mirror.

The bathroom featured a combination shower/tub with a hand-held showerhead and a grab bar which made it safer to use. The tub/shower had a short side panel glass door that we found didn’t pose much of a risk to smaller kids. There was also a retractable clothes line useful to hang wet swimsuits.

Family Stay at the Intercontinental David Tel Aviv bath

The property provided a comprehensive amenities kit which included shampoo, conditioner, sewing kit, other toiletries and slippers, all great reminders of the service that this chain provided for its guests.

Our Breakfast

Served in Jaffa Court, our Breakfast Buffet was a feast for the eyes. It was ample, prepared with only the freshest ingredients and guests could choose from fruits and vegetables, muffins and cereals, white and yellow cheeses and spreads like tapenades that went well with a varied assortment of bread.

Family Stay at the Intercontinental David Tel Aviv salads

Guests could build their salad from the salad bar, let the chef help them make their own omelet, or enjoy traditional Shakshuka – eggs poached in a spicy tomato dish. There were even lasagnas for those who wanted something more filling for breakfast.

Family Stay at the Intercontinental David Tel Aviv fruit

There were packaged puddings and jellies for children, chilled champagne for adults as well as cheesecakes, pancakes, and other sweet pastries.

Another excellent example of the attention to detail – we saw miso soup and congee catering to those who have a hankering for the Asian cuisine.

Family Stay at the Intercontinental David Tel Aviv plate

Executive Lounge

On the 24th floor of this establishment was their luxurious Executive Lounge. It had a spectacular view over the Mediterranean Sea and the greater Tel Aviv coastal area. The executive lounge was open most of the day, and they had a lot to offer.

The breakfast menu was a smaller version of the hotel’s extensive Buffet Breakfast with white cheeses, shakshuka, freshly prepared vegetables beautifully presented in Armenian pottery dishes. They also have an extensive selection of coffees.

Family Stay at the Intercontinental David Tel Aviv sweet

The lounge’s Happy Hour was also elaborate with multiple appetizers, hot dishes, and desserts, along with a fantastic selection of alcoholic drinks, sodas, and juices. Equipped with one of the best-trained staff in the city,t the service was impeccable.

Family Stay at the Intercontinental David Tel Aviv drinks

Dining

We had breakfast in the Jaffa Court as mentioned above, which was a lovely experience. The hotel also offers two other family-friendly onsite eateries. Aubergine was the hotel’s signature restaurant, where they served kosher gourmet cuisine.

 

Family Stay at the Intercontinental David Tel Aviv snack

The Atrium Lobby Lounge was a small place overlooking the Mediterranean where guests could grab light meals while socializing.

 

Family Stay at the Intercontinental David Tel Aviv eggs

Amenities

The 5-star rating for this hotel was quite well earned with its outdoor pool and bar, its fitness center on the 2nd floor , and the wellness spa where guests could get a variety of treatments.

Family Stay at the Intercontinental David Tel Aviv gym

Cost

Pricing started at $270 a night and included free access to the gym.

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Be aware that as it is an older hotel, the heating or A/C is set according to the season. Travelers won’t be able to adjust the settings differently.
  • The outdoor pool does not have lifeguards on duty, so parents should be sure to watch their kids.
  • They do have quiet rooms. Ask for top floor, because the hotel is situated on a busy street.
  • Bring own bath mat/nightlight.
  • Elevators can get busy, so parents to noise sensitive kids should ask for a room away from elevators

 

Family Fun at the Crowne Plaza Tel Aviv Beach Hotel

Family Fun at the Crowne Plaza Tel Aviv Beach Hotel pin

Centrally located at 145 Hayarkon street, the Crowne Plaza Tel Aviv Beach Hotel is the perfect place to make a home away from home. The hotel is comfortable, and the personnel was welcoming, friendly and helpful. We had a fantastic stay!Family Fun at the Crowne Plaza Tel Aviv Beach Hotel beach

What Makes it Family Worthy?

The Crowne Plaza Tel Aviv is located along what we call Hotel Row, as guests can find hotels all along the beach strip. The hotel is built on the Mediterranean beach, next to Tel Aviv Marina. Guests can go boating, fishing, windsurfing, or play volleyball close to the hotel. The hotel is also centrally located, within walking distance of the many markets, museums, retail outlets, and coffee shops of Tel Aviv. Travelers are only a ten-minute drive away from main shopping streets, Dizengoff and Nahalat Benyamin. Finally, the hotel is not far from the ancient port city of Jaffa.

Family Fun at the Crowne Plaza Tel Aviv Beach Hotel sky

This hotel is ideal for businessmen , locals and tourists alike. They have a strict policy of not allowing anyone under 18 to walk around without adult supervision. This fact is ideal for the gym, indoor and outdoor pools and other public areas in the building.

Hotel Decor

The furnishings and trimmings in the hotel were tasteful and modern, complementing the natural focus of the design to the natural surroundings of the sun, sand, and sea. With a combination of fresh flowers and foliage, there was attention to detail in the public areas as well as the rooms – each of which boasted a sea view.

A fun little feature we liked was that each elevator had a theme and digital screen. As the elevator moves, guests could watch themselves going up and down either an aquarium scene or the solar system.

Family Fun at the Crowne Plaza Tel Aviv Beach Hotel juice

Our Room

The hotel upgraded us to a spacious Executive Suite in room 1309, situated close to the exit which we prefer in the event of an emergency.

Family Fun at the Crowne Plaza Tel Aviv Beach Hotel fridge

The decor in the room was simple and modern, much like the rest of the hotel. Our room had tan carpeting and cream walls with lots of dark brown and black furnishings.

We had a large comfortable king sized bed. There were plenty of night lights providing adequate lighting on the side tables that also featured deep drawers.

Family Fun at the Crowne Plaza Tel Aviv Beach Hotel bed

Over the window, we had a double curtain so we could block out the bright early morning light if we wanted to sleep in later. The view of the Mediterranean beach from the windows and the small balcony was stunning!

Our room featured a sizable black office desk with an Apple computer provided, which would come in handy for those who don’t have their own laptops. There were ample power outlets throughout the room for charging gadgets. An unexpected bonus we found was the fact that the safe, which was large enough to store a laptop, had its own power outlet!

Family Fun at the Crowne Plaza Tel Aviv Beach Hotel lamp

The closet felt as big as a whole room, with deep shelving and drawers, a luggage rack, mirror, hanging space, and even an ironing board. We saw complimentary drinking water and mints in the room as well as a surcharge mini-bar fridge with snacks and chocolates. Everything in the room was well thought out, and all needs were taken into consideration.

Our Bathroom

Much like the rest of the room, the bathroom featured modern, basic furnishings. Our bathroom had white and soft green walls with a white topped black counter. The counter had a lot of space and came equipped with a useful magnifying mirror, hairdryer, a Dead Sea mineral gift set as well as a disposable sewing kit, makeup remover, and shower cap.

Family Fun at the Crowne Plaza Tel Aviv Beach Hotel sink

We liked that the shower had both an overhead showerhead as well as a hand-held attachment.We were happy to see an extendable and retractable cord for hanging up damp towels or swimming gear – helpful and lacking in other hotels. The water pressure was strong which was remarkable for being so high up in the building.

The Breakfast Buffet

The buffet breakfast was elaborate and a highlight of the day. We had our breakfast in the dining room with a stunning view of the beachfront.

Family Fun at the Crowne Plaza Tel Aviv Beach Hotel fish

In the breakfast buffet, we saw fridges full of different yogurts and drinks. There was also a selection of hot and cold cereals near the fridges.

We found pancakes, pizza, and other warmed pastries at the chef station. However, the omelets made to order station proved the most popular.

Family Fun at the Crowne Plaza Tel Aviv Beach Hotel dishes

As diners move through the buffet, they will find cheese-stuffed pastries called bourekas. We also saw cheesecakes, kugel dishes, and traditional shakshuka, which were eggs poached in a spicy tomato sauce.

Guests could build their own salad with a variety of roasted or raw vegetables and dressings. There was also an assortment of white and yellow cheeses, both local and international, including a yogurt-based cheese called labneh.

Family Fun at the Crowne Plaza Tel Aviv Beach Hotel plate

For those who like fish, along with salmon and herring there was even sushi!

Diners with a sweet tooth could enjoy the dessert table, where there are cut up fresh fruits as well as dried fruits, jellies, halva, marble cakes, muffins and even sugar-free cake options.Guests could enjoy a selection of fresh fruit juices, teas or coffees. There was even a traditional rosewater dessert drink called Sahlab, which means orchid in Hebrew and Arabic.

Family Fun at the Crowne Plaza Tel Aviv Beach Hotel sushi

All of these great foods could be eaten with a huge selection of bread, pastries, croissants and rolls, crackers and rice cakes.

Shabbat Lunch Buffet

The Saturday afternoon meal was beautifully prepared before sunset on Friday evening and served in the main dining room overlooking the Mediterranean.

The Saturday meals were different than other days of the week because, to maintain the kosher laws, everything had to be prepared before the Shabbat began and kept either cold or hot, with no further cooking done at all.

Family Fun at the Crowne Plaza Tel Aviv Beach Hotel bowl

The menu was full, and the options were endless. We enjoyed roasted vegetables, rice, bulgur wheat, chicken dishes, and even huevos haminados or long-boiled eggs. We tried the Hamin, a traditional peasant stew cooked for many hours, and were not disappointed.

The desserts were all non-dairy to maintain the kosher element of the meal. There was no way anybody could leave this buffet hungry or dissatisfied!

Family Fun at the Crowne Plaza Tel Aviv Beach Hotel buffet

Amenities

One of the things we particularly liked was the fact the hotel had an excellent 24-hour laundry service. Another unique amenity this hotel offered was their free shuttle running every two hours to and from the Azrieli Shopping Mall and sister property The Crowne Plaza City Center.

Family Fun at the Crowne Plaza Tel Aviv Beach Hotel pool

The hotel had an onsite fitness center featuring essential equipment like a stair-stepper and stationary bike. Families who like swimming could enjoy either the indoor or outdoor pool, and the outdoor pool was heated.

Executive Lounge

While we stayed, we got to check out their Executive Lounge. We were not disappointed with all that the lounge had to offer.

Family Fun at the Crowne Plaza Tel Aviv Beach Hotel lounge

The hotel kept this lounge open early morning until late evening. They had plentiful offerings for the morning buffet and their happy hour as well as excellent snacks during the midday. We got to enjoy little dessert delights like macaroons as well as coffee from a turn of the century holder.Family Fun at the Crowne Plaza Tel Aviv Beach Hotel bar

Of course, this was yet another part of the hotel showcasing beautiful views of the beach, although the view felt much more personal and relaxing than in the dining hall. The staff at the Executive Lounge was incredibly helpful and friendly, especially towards our son with autism.

Family Fun at the Crowne Plaza Tel Aviv Beach Hotel treat

Cost

Pricing starts at $180 and includes free wifi as well as access to the amenities mentioned above. Self-parking on-site is $20 daily.

Family Fun at the Crowne Plaza Tel Aviv Beach Hotel sunset

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Parents should remember that this is a mostly business hotel and the rooms reflect this fact.
  • Parents of escape artist children will want to take the necessary precautions. They can make use of the double lock for the room and balcony, or ask housekeeping to remove the handle on the balcony door.
  • Families should bring their own bathmats for the tub.
  • Extra beds are not available in the rooms, as this is more of a business hotel than a family hotel.
  • The staff was autism friendly and understanding, so parents can always ask the staff for any questions they have or anything they require.

 

Luxury Family Stay at the Hilton Tel Aviv

Luxury Family Stay at the Hilton Tel Aviv pin

Exquisitely situated 150 feet from the Mediterranean at 205 Hayarkon St. Independence Park, the Hilton Tel Aviv is in a prime spot to take advantage of everything Tel Aviv has to offer including beaches, museums, restaurants, cafes, and designer clothing boutiques. Guests can enjoy a short drive to the ancient port city of Jaffa with its ruins and reconstructions and the Carmel Shuk – the well-known cultural treat of an open-air market.

Luxury Family Stay at the Hilton Tel Aviv steel

What Makes it Family Worthy?

The Hilton Tel Aviv caters to everyone from tourists to travelers and families, even offering babysitting services. However, what is most impressive is how they go out of their way to welcome guests who have special needs.
Families will feel welcome at this establishment, especially since the hotel is centrally located, right next to the iconic Tel Aviv beachfront and not far from the eateries in the old port of Tel Aviv.

Our Welcome

We called ahead for a feather-free quiet room, which was ready upon our arrival. We were warmly welcomed and upgraded to a larger room as Hilton Gold members, which we appreciated.

Luxury Family Stay at the Hilton Tel Aviv sky

Hotel Decor

The architecture and design made use of the natural light. Together with the modern interior, the decor gave this “grand dame of Tel Aviv” a luxurious feel. In all the areas of the hotel, the clean lines, and vibrant colors contributed to the well-earned five-star feeling.

The public areas were decorated in stone and marble of light tans and dark browns with splashes of color, giving the spaces an opulent, luxurious feel.

Luxury Family Stay at the Hilton Tel Aviv hall

Our Room

We stayed in room 745. The room was well lit and beautifully decorated in hues of whites, creams, browns, and yellows. We saw the colorful art on the walls and square brown carpeting. The lighting in the room included several side lamps, adjustable reading lamps on the headboard, and a section of lighting above the bed.

The door had three locks for excellent security. For further security, as we always do, we checked the emergency exit map on the back of the door.

Luxury Family Stay at the Hilton Tel Aviv bed

We had ample storage space in the closet and broad chest of drawers as well as a safe. The safe ,neatly tucked in the desk drawer ,was large and could easily store a laptop.

To the left of the entrance hall, we found the mini bar. Below the mini bar was a refrigerator with sodas, snacks, and alcohol.

Our room had a modern king-sized bed. Near the bed was the sitting area with a chair and sofa, which we liked as it contributed to the relaxed atmosphere. We loved the in-room glass desk with an ergonomic chair and access to lots of outlets.

Luxury Family Stay at the Hilton Tel Aviv desk

We enjoyed a lovely view of the old port of Tel Aviv from the balcony. In keeping with this hotel’s attention to detail and special needs, we did see a disclaimer on the balcony requesting parents watch their children at all times.

From the complimentary bottled water in the bar area to the fresh roses in the bathroom, this hotel set a very high bar when it comes to service!

Luxury Family Stay at the Hilton Tel Aviv seating

Our Bathroom

The bathroom had beautifully crafted light tan stone tiles and lovely mosaics to complement its Jacuzzi tub. Dark browns complimenting the white floors continued the decor throughout the bathroom.

Luxury Family Stay at the Hilton Tel Aviv sink

We saw a shower head attachment and grab bar in the tub and separate shower, which we appreciated. With a hairdryer, magnifying mirror, bathroom scale and toiletries provided, there was no lack of anything and this room was a pleasure to stay in.Luxury Family Stay at the Hilton Tel Aviv kit

Executive Lounge

The executive lounge at this property was moderately sized and overlooked  the old port of Jaffa. The lounge was open most of the day, offering ample breakfast choices and happy hour appetizers as well as snacks during the day.

Our Breakfast

We enjoyed breakfast at the Cafe Med. This airy dining room served this sumptuous buffet with magnificent views of the hotel pool and the Mediterranean Sea.

The Cafe featured multiple stations .We saw loaves of bread, pastries, hot and cold cereals, a build-your-own salad bar complete with seeds and nuts and a choice of dressings; and a dairy station with flavored butter, yogurts, international cheeses and local yellow and white cheeses which were a favorite!

Luxury Family Stay at the Hilton Tel Aviv treat

The fish station had mackerel and herring in smoked, pickled and brined form, as well as salmon and even sardines.

At the cooked food station one could find Shakshuka, a traditional dish of eggs poached in a spicy tomato sauce. At the same location, guests could get prepared eggs, steamed and roasted vegetables, quiches, latkes which are the Jewish equivalent of hash browns, pancakes and an order-a-waffle stand with all the toppings that typically go with fresh waffles!

Luxury Family Stay at the Hilton Tel Aviv food

There was a dessert station with an assortment of cakes, fresh fruit and even fresh honey dripping from the comb, which our son with autism thought to be very cool! Also, there was a large selection of liquid beverages both hot and cold.

Completing the ample selection there was a station with various  liquid beverages to choose from; both hot and cold.

Shabbat Dinner

It was an honor to spend the weekend at the Hilton Tel Aviv and experience a traditional Shabbat dinner. This meal was an enjoyable cultural experience. During the event, we watched guests observing the first lighting of the candles. We also heard praying and singing from the in-house synagogue. Then we moved on to the lavish meal prepared  before sundown in keeping with the kosher laws of Judaism.

The Friday night feast was served buffet style, but extra care was taken to make the dining area feel ultra special. The meal of the week was the American equivalent of a traditional Sunday lunch where the best of the best was served.

Luxury Family Stay at the Hilton Tel Aviv buffet

The hot meals included poultry and beef in a variety of sauces as well as vegetarian and vegan options. There were vegetables, pasta, rice, potatoes and side dishes. Not to be outdone, the cold meats and their accompaniments, as well as all the salad options, were beautifully presented and tasty. The desserts ranged from individual parfaits, tartlets, fruit bars and cobblers to fresh fruit salad and whole fruit. We were grateful to have had this opportunity.

Not to be outdone, the cold meats and their accompaniments, as well as all the salad options, were beautifully presented and tasty. The desserts ranged from individual parfaits, tartlets, fruit bars and cobblers to fresh fruit salad and whole fruit. We were grateful to have had this opportunity to share with our sons and help them understand Jewish customs.

Amenities

There was a fully equipped gym available to guests who want to work out while they vacation. Also, this establishment boasted a saltwater pool along with a regular pool, one of their unique amenities. Visitors shouldn’t miss the spa where they can have treatments that suit their budget.

Luxury Family Stay at the Hilton Tel Aviv chair

Cost

Room prices start at $400 a night and include free WiFi in the room and public areas. Hilton Honors points can be used to stay at this hotel. Both self and valet parking on-site are $15 a day.

Autism Travel Tips:

  • For those who are light sensitive, the rooms have a double curtain for keeping out the light.
  • For those who are temperature sensitive, the Hilton Hotel is one of the very few hotels that have both A/C and heating options available at the same time
  • The room did come with a balcony, so it is pertinent to ask the hotel if they can lock it or bring a portable alarm.
  • Parents should consider paacking a bathmat and nightlight.
  • Service animals are allowed at this hotel, but pets are not.

Family Stay at the DoubleTree Los Angeles

Family Stay at the DoubleTree Los Angeles pin

For travelers around the world, Los Angeles is synonymous with Glamour, glitz, and the high life. Though the city is quite spread out, it is one of the more central places downtown area that is close to the major freeways providing quick and easy accessibility for visitors. For families looking for an affordable and convenient stay in the downtown area, the DoubleTree by Hilton in Los Angeles is a good choice, home to 434 suites and rooms. The hotel can be found at 120 South Los Angeles Street in Los Angeles, California.

Family Stay at the DoubleTree Los Angeles building

What Makes it Family Worthy?

Located off the 110, 101 and 5 California freeways, the DoubleTree Hotel is less than a mile from the Los Angeles major attractions. Families will appreciate the hotel’s central location near Little Tokyo, the perfect local place to introduce kids to Japanese food and culture. The hotel is also not far from the rail station, the Broad Museum, Olvera Street, and the L.A. Food Mart. Parents, especially those with two or more kids, will appreciate the hotel’s spacious rooms and the proximity to entertainment venues like L.A Live and Pershing Square.

Family Stay at the DoubleTree Los Angeles lobby

The DoubleTree Los Angeles caters mostly to business people,families will feel welcome too.

 

Our Welcome

We decided to book this hotel  this past May for a night before our son’s college graduation from the University of Southern California  which was a short minute drive away.As usual we called the property ahead to ask them for a quiet room with feather free bedding due to our son’s autism.When we arrived, we had to wait in a long line since it was almost 3 PM which was check-in time. Once we finally got to the counter, we were unhappy to hear that our room, with the requested feather free and quiet accommodations, was not ready. It did take several hours and a front desk manager to sort the snafu out.On the upside, our son with autism enjoyed several helpings of the famous warm chocolate chip cookies.

Family Stay at the DoubleTree Los Angeles cookie

 

Hotel Decor

The decor of this particular Double Tree hotel was simple and elegant. All Asian styled furnishings, wall hangings, and artifacts were done in hues of browns, blacks, and tans.We liked the fact there were not only plenty of comfortable seating areas but also a place to watch TV while waiting. Overall the feel of the hotel was inviting and well lit, giving guests a pleasurable welcome when they checked- into the hotel.

Family Stay at the DoubleTree Los Angeles carpet

Our Room

We stayed in a standard room 1601 on the 16th floor of the high rise hotel.
The first thing we saw after we closed the door  was the Emergency sign. This sign was great because it informed us of where exactly where to go in the event of an evacuation. There was also a double lock on the door, ideal for parents traveling with ‘escape artists’  kids.

Family Stay at the DoubleTree Los Angeles bed

The carpeting in the room was brown with dark furniture to match. The wallpaper of the room was  done in a light cream color that contrasted nicely with the brown patterned wallpaper overlooking the bed.

Upon entering the room, we came across the closet with its shutter doors. While the closet itself was roomy, there wasn’t a light which was a bit of an issue for visibility. There was plenty of room to store our luggage and hang clothes as well as an iron with ironing board. There was even an in-room safe with enough room to fit a large laptop.

The television stand in the central area had a coffee maker as well as a 50″ flat screen TV. It also had six built-in drawers, so there was additional storage space for items like clothes and personal things. Housed underneath the television stand was a mini fridge. The refrigerator did not come with any free bottled water, but there were bottles available in the room guests could pay for.

Thankfully our room boasted two queen beds. Situated between the two queen beds was a nightstand that doubled as a desk. We had never seen this layout before in any hotel and thought it was an interesting way to save space. The nightstand/desk  had several outlets for charging devices as well as a relaxing sound machine and room phone.

We had a small sitting area by the window for reading and resting. The chair, unfortunately, didn’t open or recline in any way. The table beside the chair was perfect for magazines or books, and the lamp overhead provided enough light for reading without disturbing any other familymemberss.

Family Stay at the DoubleTree Los Angeles chair

Double curtains covered the window overlooking the Los Angeles high-rises. The window could only open slightly, which was perfect for those wanting fresh air to circulate the room while ensuring the safety of younger family members. The   room had central A/C  with an adjustable thermostat and its vent was placed overhead so it  didn’t blow on any of the beds, which we greatly appreciated.

Our Bathroom

The door to the bathroom was across from the closet. The first thing we noticed when stepping into the bathroom was that the ceiling was  rather low, which was a little odd. The room was rather small, yet functional and convenient.

Family Stay at the DoubleTree Los Angeles bathroom

The vanity had a speckled marble countertop and boasted an amenity kit that included soap, shampoo, and conditioner. Meanwhile, the storage spaces below the countertop held several towels. The commode was a basic model with a push button flush on top.

The shower pleasantly surprised us. Not only did it have a grab bar, which we always like to see, but it also had a no-slip mat which is rare these days. The shower head was, unfortunately,n ot a handheld  model which might present a problem for those traveling with small children.

Family Stay at the DoubleTree Los Angeles towel

Amenities

The DoubleTree brand often has some quality amenities to offer for guests, and the Los Angeles location was no different.
Guests seeking total relaxation could try out the complimentary yoga classes held on the beautiful rooftop Kyoto Gardens on Thursday mornings. Any other day, guests could go up to the roof just to enjoy the zen gardens at their own pace.For guests wanting to travel the nearby area without their own car, the hotel provided a complimentary shuttle that covered a three-mile radius.

Family Stay at the DoubleTree Los Angeles street

Travelers who love to exercise could use the 24-hour fitness center with all the essential exercise equipment like stairsteps, treadmills, and weights.Finally, visitors who forgot anything back at home, or who just wanted to find a fun souvenir, could go check out the hotel’s gift shop.

Family Stay at the DoubleTree Los Angeles garden

Dining

The hotel featured two restaurants on the property: the Justice Urban Tavern, and the Rendezvous Lounge.

The Justice Urban Tavern with its hip atmosphere  boasted delicious meals prepared by chefs Gerry Leskody and Gabe Colunga. Diners could get nice classic dishes like beef brisket, blue crab cake sandwiches, Irish oatmeal, or beer battered fish and chips. We enjoyed their happy hour Tuna Tartare Tacos along with thier unique avocado cocktails..

Family Stay at the DoubleTree Los Angeles

Travelers looking for snacks and cocktails could go to the Rendezvous Lounge in the hotel’s lobby. Here, diners sat in nice chairs watching sports on HDTVs, enjoying things like oysters, New England clam chowder, and grilled salmon.There was also a Starbucks at the hotel for those wanting their favorite cup of java or a quick breakfast sandwich.

Family Stay at the DoubleTree Los Angeles stair

Cost

Prices start at $199 per room. Internet access is $9.95 per day for basic, $11.95 per day for high speed. There is on-site parking for $35 self and $40 valet which sounds steep but is the norm for downtown L.A prices.

Family Stay at the DoubleTree Los Angeles sky

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Even when we requested a quiet room, we could still hear some noise from the nearby trains exiting Union Station. Families with noise sensitive children should take this into consideration.
  • When checking in, guests get warm chocolate chip cookies, which kids are sure to love. However, families with children who have diet restrictions such as gluten intolerance should be aware of this ahead of time so they can  avoid disappointment.
  • As mentioned above, the window in the room does not open all the way. This fact should give some peace of mind to parents who might worry about their child falling out of the window otherwise.

 

 

Family Friendly Stay at the Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel

Family Friendly Stay at the Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel pin

Walt Disney World in sunny Orlando, Florida is the place where anyone can be a kid. It is home to multiple parks and restaurants and is the best place to make lasting family memories. In addition to its theme parks, it is also home to some of the best resorts and hotels in the U.S. The Dolphin Resort is one of SPG’s family-friendly properties in Orlando. It is also the sister resort to the Swan where we stayed recently.

Family Friendly Stay at the Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel dolphin

 

What Makes it Family Worthy?

The Dolphin boasts features for everyone in the family. The hotel; centrally located near Disney’s Epcot theme park is also close to several Disney hotels– the Boardwalk, Beach Hotel, and Yacht Club. Its location, plus the fact it shares a restaurant complex with the Swan, means families will find no shortage of food options while staying here.

The hotel also offers a more budget friendly yet luxurious option for families wishing to stay near the parks.Moreover, since The Dolphin is part of the SPG hotels, guests can use their points to stay.
The newly renovated Dolphin does feature connecting rooms so families of any size can stay there comfortably.However, unlike The Swan the property only offers rooms with two double beds or a king size bed. Fellow travelers, we met, were families and business people that came to attend conferences.

Family Friendly Stay at the Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel pyramid

 

Our Welcome

Though we did contact the hotel initially to let them know we needed feather free quiet, the room was not ready by the time we arrived at 6 pm. In fact, it took a good extra hour for them to arrange the room and get it ready for us.Needless to say, the waiting made our son with autism quite anxious and antsy.

Family Friendly Stay at the Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel light

Hotel Decor

The resort’s tropical vibe was enhanced by the plethora of palm trees leading to the resort and inside the lobby . One could easily recognize the resort by the twin dolphin statues on the rooftop. The decor inside The Dolphin was similar to The Swan, with hues of soft yellows and browns along with tan tiling. The central area featured a fountain much like the one in The Swan, except that the centerpiece had dolphins holding a water spouting clamshell with their tails.

Family Friendly Stay at the Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel water

Our Room

Our recently renovated standard room  17104, on the 17th floor, which we paid for with SPG points, was comfortable enough for a family of four. The room color palate was very similar to what we had experienced previously at The Swan. With its turquoise carpeting, textured grey-green walls, and Scandinavian-style furnishings the room looked modern and functional.

The closet, right by the entrance, had shutter doors and featured an ironing board, safe, and luggage rack. Across from the closet was the “bar” area with bottled waters and a coffee maker for guests to enjoy.

Our room had two double beds. Between the beds was a nightstand, on top of which stood a lamp with power outlets and a clock. The headboards were made of a silvery tan leatherette with a wood trim. Facing the beds was a 42 inch TV over a set of chest of drawers that housed a mini cooler. Family Friendly Stay at the Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel bed

In the far corner of the room, we saw a glass table on wheels that could also be used as a desk. Directly across from it was a sitting chair with an attractive tan and wintergreen velour texture.

The windows had both thin and thick curtains. We didn’t have much of a view, as our requested quiet room faced a parking lot. We did appreciate that the hotel apparently covered some machinery just below us with a colorful orange and blue roof.

 

Our Bathroom

The bathroom, also recently renovated, was decorated with lots of soft greens, blues, and whites. Just like in The Swan, the backsplash behind the single sink was made of pale green and white glass mosaic tiles. In the bathtub area, the walls were a textured pearly white tile. We found the floor tile interesting, textured in an almost fabric looking tan and set in a subway pattern.

Family Friendly Stay at the Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel towel

The bathroom’s  tub/shower combo had a grab bar, anti-slip textured flooring, and a clothesline to dry swimsuits. Unfortunately, this tub did not have a handheld showerhead.The provided amenity kit included the basic shampoo, body soap, and body lotion and housekeeping provided more than enough towels for our stay.

Amenities

As a resort close to Disney properties, The Dolphin had a lot to offer for families.
The property boasted five swimming pools, including two lap pools and a three-acre grotto pool complete with a sandy beach front and a waterslide. There was also a spring pool for a more relaxing swim where guests could enjoy conversation in the water.Kids and kids at heart will also love the onsite playground and arcade room.

Family Friendly Stay at the Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel door

The property also offers a state of the art health club with cardiovascular and strength equipment. There are also onsite tennis, volleyball, and basketball courts. Joggers could enjoy one of many jogging trails with varying levels of difficulty, including a run around the nearby Crescent Lake.
The resort provides a relaxing shuttle boat ride to Disney’s Epcot theme park for staying guests.

Dining

As sister properties, both The Dolphin and Swan shared an area featuring many different restaurants. Even the pickiest of eaters could find something in this place.

Family Friendly Stay at the Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel bluezoo

There are several restaurants unique to the Dolphin property. Guests seeking fine dining can try out Shula’s Steak House or Todd English’s Bluezoo. At Bluezoo, we enjoyed Happy Hour drinks and loaded nachos. Those seeking budget friendly or casual dining can try out the Cabana Bar and Beach Club, the Fresh Mediterranean Market, or the Fountain. Picabu features quick, cafeteria style dining along with a sundries store. And finally, The Dolphin has 24-hour room service for those who couldn’t or didn’t want to leave their rooms.

Cost

The cost, which includes free Wi-Fi and access to the previously mentioned amenities, starts at around $350 a night. Both self and valet parking are available near the resort, for $18 a day self-parking and $26 a day valet parking.

Family Friendly Stay at the Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel view

Autism Travel Tips:

  • The glass rolling table in the rooms can be hazardous for little kids as they can easily move it, break it and get injured.
  • The pools do have lifeguards for added security, although they only work specific hours. Families who consider this an important feature should check schedules ahead of time.
  • The dresser and the nightstand featured glass tops, which could also be potentially hazardous for kids.
  • Parents should bring an anti-slip mat and night light since the hotel does not supply them.

Family Friendly Stay at the Walt Disney World Swan Hotel

Family Friendly Stay at the Walt Disney World Swan Hotel pin

Walt Disney World is a magical place to bring families together. This year, when my family visited Walt Disney World, we decided to stay on a non-Disney property to see how it compared to staying at a Disney resort. Facing Crescent Lake, the Swan Hotel, with its 1509 rooms, is located at 1200 Epcot Resorts Boulevard in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. The resort is part of a duplex along with the Dolphin hotel. Together, the two hotels create the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort complex.

Family Friendly Stay at the Walt Disney World Swan Hotel swan

What Makes it Family Worthy?

For families looking for a resort offering a luxury stay for everyone, the SPG run Swan Resort is the way to go. Though not officially part of the Disney property, it is a boat ride away from Disney’s Epcot theme park. As the Swan is in a complex with the Dolphin, patrons have access to multiple restaurants within walking distance. The hotel is also close to three Disney hotels; the Boardwalk, Beach hotel, and Yacht Club. Each of these hotels has their restaurants for additional choices.

The property is much more budget friendly than the average Disney resort, and one can use SPG points to stay there. Even with the lower prices, families will find the hotel boasts larger rooms with two queen beds, something that not every hotel offers. Some of these large rooms also connect so more people can stay there comfortably in the same area.

Family Friendly Stay at the Walt Disney World Swan Hotel view

Fellow travelers range from business people attending conferences in the buildings to families wishing to try out a non-Disney, luxurious but slightly cheaper lodging option.

Our Welcome

Due to an unexpected snafu with our flight, we arrived at the hotel at one in the morning. This delay was unusual, and we were exhausted after flying from CA for six hours. The staff at check-in not only assisted us, but also upgraded us to a suite.

We had previously contacted the property to inform the staff that we needed certain accommodations, like feather free pillows and a quiet room. Therefore, they already knew about our needs, but it was a lovely added surprise that they upgraded us.

Family Friendly Stay at the Walt Disney World Swan Hotel bench

Hotel Decor

The lobby featured warm colors of yellows and browns highlighted with occasional touches of soft greens. The flooring alternates between flower patterned carpet to marble and natural stone. Guests walking out into the main lobby would see a large fountain with four white swans drizzling water out of their beaks. The area is well lit with lots of subdued lights with multiple tropical plants scattered around the lobby and public spaces.

Family Friendly Stay at the Walt Disney World Swan Hotel hall

Our Room

When we arrived at our suite 731, we were delighted with how spacious and comfortable it was. Throughout the room, we saw large floor to ceiling windows. Out of these windows, guests could see the iconic Epcot dome, which was lit up bright blue at night. Both thin and thick curtain covered the 180-degree suite windows.

Much of the decor in the suite consisted of glass top countertops, dark wood furnishings, tan walls, and greenish-gray carpeting. The room featured decorative plants which are usually used in luxurious upscale suites.

Family Friendly Stay at the Walt Disney World Swan Hotel room

The suite had two large closets with shutter doors and ample hanging space, shelving, and place for our luggage. The closets housed an ironing board, bathrobes, slippers, and a blow dryer. We found the in-room safe in one of the closets, an important feature for families who want to store valuables they don’t want to take with them into the theme parks. We noted the bar area, which included a coffee maker.

The huge living room was divided into a seating area and a dining area. The seating area had a dark blue velour opening sofa perfect for our son with autism to sleep in comfortably while the dining area was comprised of a table with several yellow chairs. There was a large screen TV over a chest of drawers facing the opening sofa in the sitting area perfect for our son to watch his favorite TV channels.

Our bedroom, aka the parents’ bedroom, featured two beds in the room with a nightstand between them. On the nightstand was a standing lamp with additional outlets, an alarm clock, and a soothing sound machine. The mini sitting area consisted of an armchair and a glass table that could either be a regular table or a desk. Across from the two beds was a rather large dresser on top of a flat-screen TV and a coffee machine along with another standing lamp. The dresser had many drawers and also housed a mini cooler.

Family Friendly Stay at the Walt Disney World Swan Hotel blue

The door between the main bedroom and the rest of the suite could be locked from both sides, a fantastic privacy feature.We particularly loved the ample seating and the fact there were two TVs in the room. We regretted getting to stay only for one night and  not being able to fully enjoy the suite.

Our Bathroom

Our suite boasted two bathrooms which turned out to be a very convenient feature for our family stay. Though both bathrooms were similar in size, they differed in decor. The first bathroom, just off the living room area, had tan tiles and marble flooring. There was a brown countertop with plenty of towels for all of us staying to use.

Family Friendly Stay at the Walt Disney World Swan Hotel sink

The second bathroom, right off the entrance hallway, featured modern decor with a glass mosaic green backsplash along with a wooden vanity with Corian countertop and sink.

Both bathrooms featured combination tubs/showers with grab bars, but the one in the first bathroom had a curtain while the second had a glass enclosure. We appreciated that both had a hand held shower head and a separate rain shower head.

Family Friendly Stay at the Walt Disney World Swan Hotel tub

Amenities

In addition to boasting terrific views and a luxurious decor, the Swan Resort had excellent family-friendly recreational offerings. Guests who love swimming could try out one of five different swimming pools. Two of these pools were lap pools, perfect for those who enjoy exercising. The most popular and featured pool was the three-acre grotto pool with a beautiful waterfall and rock caves. There was also a “kiddie” pool on site for younger kids to enjoy the water safely.

Guests who love swimming could try out one of five different swimming pools. Two of these pools were lap pools, perfect for those who enjoy exercising. The most popular and featured pool was the three-acre grotto pool with a beautiful waterfall and rock caves. There was also a “kiddie” pool on site for younger kids to enjoy the water safely.

Family Friendly Stay at the Walt Disney World Swan Hotel outside

Travelers looking for relaxation should try out the Mandara Spa. The Spa features a large selection of leisure options, including body wraps, facials, mani/pedis, and deep tissue massages. Guests could also enjoy sitting or sampling soothing tea in the Meditation Garden themed after a Meru Temple.

For those who want to keep in shape on their vacation, the Swan Hotel had a lot to offer. Guests could indulge in the Swan Health Club for access to workout machines like treadmills, stair climbers, and stationary bikes. Those staying could also participate in different sports like tennis, volleyball, basketball, and mini golf, all without having to leave the property. Finally, the hotel offered guests access to jogging trails. One of these trails takes runners around Crescent Lake and through five other hotels in the Epcot area.

Family Friendly Stay at the Walt Disney World Swan Hotel swan

Dining

Both the Dolphin and the Swan share a common area where they have several restaurants. There’s something for just about anyone in this joint area.

Regarding restaurants unique to the Swan, we had many options. For fine dining, visitors could go to Kimonos for Japanese sushi or Il Mulino for Italian cooking. Casual, more budget-friendly dining options included the Garden Grove, featuring Disney Character Dining in a beautiful garden setting, or Splash Terrace, where one could get grass fed burgers or ice cream right next to one of the Swan’s lap pools. Families looking for fast service could stop by the Java Bar to get a quick coffee or pastry. Of course, for those who couldn’t or didn’t want to leave their rooms, the hotel provided 24-hour room service.

Family Friendly Stay at the Walt Disney World Swan Hotel food

We ultimately decided to try Todd English’s Bluezoo, a restaurant technically on Dolphin property. We enjoyed their Happy Hour where we got to try their nachos, loaded with guacamole, beef, cheese, and sour cream.

For those wanting something different, one can access the three Disney resorts via a free short boat ride or a five-minute walk. Guests can also take the boat straight to Disney Springs for even more options.

Family Friendly Stay at the Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel bluezoo

Cost

The price for a one night stay starts around $300 and includes free Wi-Fi. The hotel offers plenty of package deals, especially in conjunction with Disney parks. One can find self-parking near the entrance to the park costing $18 per day. Guests can also utilize valet parking for $26 per day.

Family Friendly Stay at the Walt Disney World Swan Hotel sky

Autism Travel Tips:

  • The suites feature lots of glass standing lamps, which can be hazardous to kids if they get knocked over.
  • We saw lots of living plants throughout the hotel, including in the rooms. Parents of children with Pica might want to request a plant-free room.
  • The mini suite had quite a few vases and other breakable artifacts. These might be a problem for rambunctious kids with autism. Parents can request the removal of such items while booking.
  • There wasn’t a no-grip mat in the shower. However, guests can easily bring one from home to further assist those who need it.
  • Bring a nightlight as the suite is a really a big space and can be difficult to navigate in the dark.
  • The dresser and the nightstand featured glass tops, which could be hazardous for kids.

 

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