Quality Family Relaxation at JW Marriott Hong Kong

 

Quality Family Relaxation at JW Marriott Hong Kong pin

When visiting China, families might want to explore Hong Kong, since it is such a unique destination. When we visited the island, we opted to stay at the luxurious JW Marriott Hong Kong because of its quiet location and proximity to public transportation.

 

What Makes it Family Worthy?

The JW Marriott in Hong Kong is located in an upscale high-rise building at  One Pacific Place, 88 Queensway. This hotel has 602 rooms, including connecting rooms, and is situated just above the Admiralty subway station.

Teenagers traveling with their families would enjoy the freedom of hanging out in the posh mall on the lower levels, while their parents would be relieved that their children don’t even have to leave the premises to do so.
Furthermore, with its proximity to the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center as well as the Hong Kong Park this hotel caters to both business travelers and families.

Quality Family Relaxation at JW Marriott Hong Kong sky

Hotel Decor

The Marriott Hong Kong boasted mostly neutral and dark colored furnishings, with splashes of color strategically placed throughout the lobby. Many of the public areas featured elegant and elaborate Chinese themed decorations like silk paintings and jade carvings as well as area rugs and koi fish in bowls. And of course, the open hotel design gave guests every opportunity it could to show off the fantastic views of the surrounding area.

Quality Family Relaxation at JW Marriott Hong Kong dishes

Our Welcome

As we normally do, we did call the hotel ahead of time to ask for a feather free quiet room. Upon our arrival after a very long haul flight, the staff surprised us by not only having the room ready early in the morning but by sending a welcome gift of sticky buns to our room for us to enjoy.
Quality Family Relaxation at JW Marriott Hong Kong bed

Our Room

We were assigned a top floor corner room with large 180-degree windows from which we could see the city skyline.
Our room had two comfortable double beds which felt more like American queen sized beds with some white sheets and two fluffy pillows each. Situated between the two beds was a nightstand with a wall lamp and phone. A  sitting area, work desk as well as a safe and mini fridge completed the furnishings.

What we loved about the hotel was in in-room technology that included gadgets which were some of the more elaborate ones we’ve seen in recent years. Not only did we see plenty of outlets to charge our electronics, but the room came with remote controlled window shades, and a doorbell with a do-not-disturb button, which came in handy for communicating with the staff. Our son was so fascinated with the bamboo scroll that displayed the TV channels that he asked the staff if he could take one home.

Family Stay at the Manhattan Beach Marriott chair

Our Bathroom

Our luxurious bathroom, tiled in tan colored marble, had a separate shower with a glass enclosure and tub sectioned off from the toilet area, leading to overall greater privacy. Furthermore, it was well- stocked with an array of toiletries, such as nail files, Band-Aids, and bath salts along with the usual shampoos and soaps.

Quality Family Relaxation at JW Marriott Hong Kong pork leg

Amenities

The Marriott had a helpful concierge service and a tour desk that could assist travelers in arranging various activities in Hong Kong.
The property featured was a spa, an outdoor pool, and a state-of-the-art gym for guests to use. The provided Wi-Fi was free, fast and quite reliable.

Executive Lounge

This hotel had one of the best executive level lounges we’ve ever seen in the course of our travels. The tri-level venue had an extensive selection of reading the material available for travelers, and the gorgeous city views provided the perfect complement to dining.
Not only was the service outstanding, but a plethora of well-prepared dishes were served at breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Quality Family Relaxation at JW Marriott Hong Kong hall

For breakfast, we found food stations with stacked with salads, baked goods, cheese, and waffles. There were also cereals, yogurts, eggs, and smoked meats as well chicken porridge, fried noodles, and barbecue pork buns.
For Happy Hour, the various dishes and appetizers along with the drinks were so filling that we usually skipped going out for any additional meals.
We loved the fact that guests could choose from the two available seating areas, with the upper deck somewhat quieter than the lower level.

The Marriott Hong Kong lavish Sunday Brunch

We did get to enjoy the pricey hotel brunch while we stayed, and it was superb.
The brunch boasted a dedicated sushi station. Next to this station, we saw other seafood such as crab, lobster, tiger shrimp, and caviar.
There was a carving station with a ham under a heat lamp and sauces. Near this station was a salmon section with three types of salmon, lox, and trimmings.
We enjoyed the egg station with hardboiled eggs and Eggs Benedict. This station had a make your omelet section where guests could put caviar or ham in their eggs.
Travelers could make their salads with different toppings and dressings, or choose a pre-made salad such as potato or pasta.

Quality Family Relaxation at JW Marriott Hong Kong shrimp

Also, the buffet offered round, beehive shaped containers that held pork dumplings and buns and Peking duck with toppings like cucumber and onions. Near this area was a Foie Gras table where travelers could watch the chefs prepare the delicacy.
Other food items at this buffet included baked scallops, vegetarian soup, Indian curry, baked cheese Boston lobster, and lamb chops.
Topping this elaborate food fest was the dessert table with plenty of danishes, chocolates, beautiful cakes, and baked flan.
For drinks, patrons could pick from watermelon, mango, grapefruit, orange, guava, and strawberry juices or opt for wines and champagne.

Dining

Tasty meals could be had at the many onsite eateries.
The Fish Bar served up fresh, delicious seafood at reasonable prices while the Flint Grill & Bar offered steak and seafood. Authentic Cantonese dishes were on the menu at the Man Ho Restaurant.

Quality Family Relaxation at JW Marriott Hong Kong juice

The hotel had three bar areas which provided guests with a variety of drinks from which to choose. Coffee lovers might instead want to check out Dolce 88, which served delicious cups of many different coffees.

Service

By far, this hotel had the best service we have experienced.
Every time that we picked up the phone to ask anything of housekeeping, the staff would race to our door in five minutes or less. Furthermore, the staff worked diligently to ensure that our son with autism had his needs met and enjoyed his stay.
Quality Family Relaxation at JW Marriott Hong Kong chef

 

 

Autism Travel Tips:

  • The bathrooms have tubs with a safety grip on the side, making it easy for disabled persons to enter and exit the bath without slipping.
  • There is a separate shower with a hand-held showerhead, making baths less complicated for those who require assistance.
  • The hotel had built-in nightlights to help navigate the room in the dark.
  • The staff showed great autism awareness and was instrumental in making our son with autism very comfortable during our stay.Quality Family Relaxation at JW Marriott Hong Kong stick

 

 

Our Stay at the Las Vegas Venetian Hotel

 Our Stay at the Las Vegas Venetian Hotel pin

Though known for its adult-oriented entertainment, Las Vegas is a city with a lot to offer, even for families. Those wanting the best experience out of their Vegas stay should consider The Venetian  Hotel.
Comprised of 4,027 rooms and suites, the five-star Venetian Las Vegas hotel stands along 3355 S Las Vegas Blvd.This establishment,  sits in the center of all the action, right on the iconic Vegas Strip!

Fellow Travelers

This hotel caters to everyone – business people, single travelers couples, and families.

Our Stay at the Las Vegas Venetian Hotel wall

Decor

Though the hotel’s appearance varied from place to place, most of the décor could easily be summed up as opulent.
Bedroom accommodations were done up in neutrals with hints of color and darker accent pieces. The higher end suites reflected that fact with more luxurious furnishings than those found in other parts of the hotel.

Our Room

We stayed in room 21*136.
There was plenty of storage space for our luggage and the suite we stayed in had an excellent view overlooking the pool and Las Vegas Strip.Our closets had ample storage space, with included bathrobes and plenty of hangers.
Our room had a lowered living room area that was the perfect set-up for our son with autism. That portion of the suite included a pull-out sofa bed, a work desk, and a small dining table with chairs. It also had a separate flat screen television.

Our part of the suite had two queen sized beds, each with plentiful pillows, and both beds had benches at the foot that provided additional seating. This section had its own TV, perfect for parents wanting to watch something different from what their children are watching.

 

Our Stay at the Las Vegas Venetian Hotel room

 

Bathroom

The spacious, well-lit bathroom facilities had gilt embellishments, generous mirrors, and marble accents.
We liked the fact that our bathroom had both a tub and a shower with ample toiletries provided. The bathing areas were kept separate from the toilet, allowing for more privacy. There was not only a sink but also a separate vanity area where travelers could put on makeup or get ready for the day.
We found a third TV in the bathroom, which our kids particularly enjoyed.

Our Stay at the Las Vegas Venetian Hotel bathroom

Dining

Families are sure to find something appealing to their tastes among the nineteen different eateries located within the Venetian.Seafood or steak lovers had several restaurants to choose from, and those who prefer Italian, French, Asian, or International cuisine had a number of options.

Hamburger lovers will be happy to learn that there were also a few American-style restaurants located within the hotel.Dining in one’s suite or by the pool could be easily arranged as well.

Our Stay at the Las Vegas Venetian Hotel pool

Amenities

The hotel had a beauty salon, a spa, three pools, and an Italian style shopping mall with about 80 boutique stores.While the rooms have internet capabilities, guests should be aware of the additional charge for using the web.There was free onsite parking for those staying at this location.

On-Site Activities

The Venetian complex had two nightclubs and ten lounges. The Tao Beach Club was a good place for celebrity spotting as well as enjoying drinks, music, and swimming in the nearby pool.
There was also an onsite casino, which had an excellent poker room. This is Vegas after all.

Theater lovers may instead opt to attend performances such as Rock of Ages, Lipstick, and Panda regularly held in the hotel’s various venues.
For families with younger kids riding the gondolas or visiting Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum highly recommended.

Our son with autism loved the gondola ride on a waterway complete with bridges and Old World scenes reminiscent of those found in Venice.There was also atmospheric lighting provided to enhance the experience further.Furthermore, the serenading gondoliers manning the boats wore the traditional uniforms of a black and white stripe shirt, black pants, and a red sash.

Our Stay at the Las Vegas Venetian Hotel strip

Autism Travel Tips:

  • This bustling hotel can be overwhelming in its scope, but children can easily return to their rooms to recuperate.
  • Those with noise sensitive family members should book a room that’s both facing away from the street and located far from the onsite nightclubs.
  • Room service is available if travelers don’t feel like venturing out.
  • Families who deal with allergies can request a hypoallergenic room.
  • The gondolier rides are essentially a mini performance. Parents should make sure their child won’t be too disruptive or distressed before going on one.

 

 

Family Fun at Universal’s Loews Portofino Bay Hotel

portofino pin

Universal Studios in Orlando Florida is a great place for families to visit, especially families who enjoy  Hollywood movies. As avid theme park goers, our family decided to stay at the Loews Portofino Bay Luxury Resort on our latest visit to Universal, and it did not disappoint! Not only did we enjoy our stay fun but even got a  peak at their uniquely designed Despicable Me suite.
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The Portofino Bay hotel, located on 5601 Universal Boulevard, Orlando, boasts 750 rooms and suites. As a courtesy to guests, the property offers complimentary water taxi shuttle to the nearby  Universal City Walk and  Studios which families will find very helpful.

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Decor

Inspired by the quaint towns of Portofino Italy, this luxurious hotel transported its guests to the Mediterranean beaches. The thought and attention to details included; like the narrow stone alleys beautifully arched windows and scattered Vespas and Fiat cars were impressive. The public spaces, set in marble and natural stone with beautifully painted frescos and Italian artifacts gave us the feeling that we were away on a relaxing European vacation.

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Our Welcome

Like its sister properties, the Hard Rock Cafe and the Royal Pacific Resort, this hotel mostly hosts families and couples visiting the Universal Studios theme park. We had previously called to ask for a feather free and quiet room to accommodate our son with autism special needs and were assured the requests were noted on our reservation. Upon arrival, a smiling front desk staff member greeted us and made certain check-in process was a breeze. But the best surprise for our kids was a delicious chocolate confection with macaroons that was delivered to our room by the thoughtful manager.
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Our Room

We stayed in room 2419, decorated in shades of cream and tan except for one of the walls, painted a bright aqua. The Italian theme was carried into the room with touches such as the small shuttered window and sculpted wood headboards.

The room featured two queen beds and a large nightstand between them, topped with a phone, an alarm clock, and some writing supplies. A mirror and two lamps hung above the nightstand. The large closet in the room had hangers, bathrobes, several luggage racks, and even extra folding chairs. We were surprised to discover a sizable safe, which was ideal for storing our laptops and other valuables.

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There was a large flat screen television that featured a lot of family friendly channels, always useful to occupy antsy kids. The cabinet housing the TV also contained the minibar. This minibar sold universal electric adapters along with the usual assortment of snack foods and beverages. We counted a total of twelve power outlets in the room. We were subsequently delighted our family of four could easily charge all our electronics.

Next, we noticed a sitting area with a large leather chair, standing lamp, and an unusually shaped footrest. The granite topped table across from the sitting area where guests could sit and enjoy a meal or work on their computers completed the look.

 

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Our Bathroom

As mentioned before our room had a set of wooden shutters that opened up into the bathroom area. We thought this feature was particularly helpful for parents wanting to keep an eye on their kids.

The bathroom itself featured white woodwork, tiled floors and a double sink with a large storage area underneath. It also had separate shower and tub areas, neither of which had grab bars. Toiletry products provided included soap, shampoo, conditioner, and body lotion.

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The ‘Despicable Me’ Suite

We got a chance to look around the Despicable Me suite, designed for families traveling with small kids. The suite had two separate rooms, one for kids and one for parents. The parents’ area was decorated in soft white shades, with blue and green accent pieces to help brighten things up. The room boasted a king sized bed, a desk and sitting area along with a balcony facing the lake. The bathroom attached looked pretty much the same as the one in the room in which we stayed.

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Meanwhile, the kids’ suite, featuring a bright color scheme, had the lovable minions from the Despicable Me series emblazoned on every available surface. The entrance door to the room looked like the vault door in the actual movie. In the room, we noted the two specially shaped pod beds. The suite additionally featured a desk area where youngsters could set up their computers to play games or talk on Skype with friends. There was also a stylish lounge looked like it was taken from the ‘Despicable Me’ movie set.

The Executive Lounge.

This property has one of the best lounges we’ve seen so far. Apart from a beautiful locale overlooking the peaceful lake it had attentive staff members that did everything to ensure our son with autism was enjoying himself. The lounge served a scrumptious display of breakfast items in the morning and a plethora of appetizers and beverages for Happy Hour.

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Amenities

This hotel offered several resort amenities including a gym, a well-appointed spa, multiple pools, a kids’ club and various onsite dining options.

We found the hotel pools to be particularly noteworthy. This establishment had a special water playground area for children too young to be in an actual swimming pool. This playground was located close to the regular sized swimming pool, which had water slides that older kids were sure to love.

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Also, we saw a heated pool lined with real powdered sand, perfect for the younger ones to construct sandcastles while their parents relaxed on nearby lounge chairs. Worth mentioning was the fact this resort had lifeguards patrolling. We thought this was an excellent way to keep kids safe.

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But it was the property’s tranquil ambiance that captivated us most. We enjoyed strolling around listening to evening performers and sampling authentc Italian dishes from Bice Ristorante and Mama Dela’s Ristorante as well as the Trattoria del Porto. Our kids still remember the peperroni pizza from Sal’s and the vanilla gelato from their gelateria.

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Autism Travel Tips:

  • The property offers a kid’s camp program of all kids, including those with autism. Parents wanting their kids to participate should talk to the counselors and advise on any accommodations needed for their child.Hard Rock Hotel Universal Orlando:Tmom Travel Disclosure
  • Lifeguards patrol the pools, an unusual but welcome feature.
  • There didn’t seem to be any grab bars in the bathroom. This could make it difficult for people with limited mobility to get in and out of the bath.
  • We didn’t see any bathmats in our suite, so travelers that need them should bring their own.
  • The child beds in the Despicable Me suite are slightly enclosed, which might bother some kids.

 

The Family Friendly Westin Tokyo

The Family Friendly

 

Any family wanting to explore Japan and expose their children to Japanese culture will want to visit Tokyo. When staying over in the city, travelers have some quality options. We decided to stay at the  Westin Tokyo, and we were pleased with our decision.

The Family Friendly Westin Tokyo GATE

What Makes it Family Worthy?

Travelers can find the Westin at 1-4-1 Mita Street in the Meguro-Ku area of Tokyo. Though the location may not be in the more popular and touristy areas of the city, its main advantage is the peaceful neighborhood it is in along with the fact it has a giant mall and Ebisu subway station nearby.

Families will appreciate the location of this hotel, about 30 minutes away from the local airport as well as the city center. This five-star hotel contains approximately 438 rooms, with 20 suites.

Fellow Travelers

This hotel caters to business travelers as well as couples and families on vacation.

The Family Friendly Westin Tokyo LOBBY

Decor

The lobby, decorated in opulent dark blues, reds, and hues of brown and black had an understated elegance. From the massive marble pillars to the shiny floors and the plush seating, the luxurious feel of the hotel was evident. These colors complimented the neutral tones throughout the building.

The Family Friendly Westin Tokyo PIANO

Our Room

Our rooms 1616 and 1617 on the 16th floor had lovely city views.The boys’ room had two twin beds, each with an adequate number of pillows, and a nightstand between them. A cabinet containing complimentary kimonos and a sizable flat screened television faced the beds. There was also a well-equipped vanity area in their room, as well as small sitting area with two armchairs and a table. In addition, the room’s furnishings included a work desk with all the usual paraphernalia.

The Family Friendly Westin Tokyo BED

The well-lit, large closet in the boys’ room had an excellent array of amenities including a clothes brush, iron, and an ironing board. Plentiful tea and coffee making supplies were provided in the room as well. There was a mini fridge for guests to use, which we found very convenient for holding leftovers and other edibles. In one of the drawers beside the mini fridge, we found drinks and snacks available for purchase. Directly below that particular drawer was the in-room safe, a feature which always comes in handy for storing valuables.

The room that we, the parents, stayed in had similar furnishing but a much larger sitting area, as well as a king-sized bed. Our room also featured a tea and coffee making area with ample amounts of counter space.

The Family Friendly Westin Tokyo CHAIR

The Bathrooms

Both suites had bathrooms with black granite counter-tops and white porcelain sinks. The bathrooms both had separate tub and shower units, each with raised sides so that the bathwater didn’t splash out and cause the floors to become slippery. In both bathrooms, there were water glasses, fresh towels, and all the usual toiletry supplies such as soap, shampoo, and conditioner. Additional useful items, including toothbrushes and makeup sponges, could be found in the kits that were provided in each bathroom. Extra bath supplies were provided in the tub and shower areas, so travelers won’t find themselves hopping out of the tub and soaking the floors while they hunt around for the toiletry items. An excellent privacy feature in both bathrooms was the frosted glass shower door that obscured bathers from view.

The Family Friendly Westin Tokyo SINK

Our master bathroom somewhat differed from the boy’s bathroom. The tub and shower area in our room was paneled in black marble, adding a touch of elegance. Our bathroom also contained a linen basket for wet towels, which we thought was a very good idea.

The kids’ bathtub had a shelf behind it to hold extra towels and their toilet area was sectioned off from where the bathtub was, lending extra privacy to those who needed it.

The Family Friendly Westin Tokyo CHEESE

Our Breakfast

The breakfast area was a beautiful room decorated with red carpeting and white chairs around set tables. We noted an outside area where travelers could eat if they desired.

The breakfast buffet had the typical American fare of scrambled eggs, bacon, and sausage, with a pancake and build your own omelet station. In the pancake station, guests could top their pancakes with chocolate and banana sauces. There were several options for vegetarians and vegans, including tofu and a salad buffet.

There was a section dedicated to Japanese foods, which included rice, wontons, boiled fish paste, smoked salmon and soybeans. Visitors looking for drinks could choose from fresh grapefruit or orange juice.

The Family Friendly Westin Tokyo PLANT

Dining

The hotel featured several onsite restaurants. Diners had the option of selecting from French, Chinese, and Japanese cuisines without leaving the building, or even their rooms with the Westin’s 24-hour room service.

Those dining at the Compass Rose on the 22nd floor could experience stunning city views with dark wood decor. There, diners could enjoy live jazz with a nice alcoholic beverage and even a Cuban cigar. Guests who ordered a cocktail could watch the unique method the bartenders employed for spinning ice in a glass.

Also on the 22nd floor, travelers could enjoy the Teppanyaki grill of the Yebisu. Diners could watch their meal be prepared right in front of them. The Yebisu offered three private rooms that could seat up to 10 people for a quieter dining experience.

The Family Friendly Westin Tokyo FLOWERS

The hotel’s Ryutenmon, a Cantonese restaurant, received a Michelin Star in the Michelin Tokyo 2010. This restaurant on the second floor boasted Chinese inspired decor. Parents should be aware that this restaurant had a smoking and nonsmoking sections in the restaurant as well as five private dining rooms. Noteworthy is the restaurant’s Shark Fin Soup which, though controversial, some travelers might like.

Also, the Westin had an onsite sushi restaurant, Mai, where guests could experience a Japanese Afternoon Tea with traditional tea cakes. Diners could sit next to each other at the sushi bar, or a family with up to four members could enjoy their meal on a private counter. The restaurant also offered a weekend Japanese Buffet.

Even all the way in Tokyo, visitors could enjoy authentic French dining at Victor’s. Executive Chef Toshio Numajiri, using local produce and meats, was able to create delicious French dishes such as bouillabaisse. While dining in the restaurant, patrons could enjoy fantastic views of the city in the main dining hall or the “Rococo” private room.

Travelers looking for a quick meal on the go could try out the Westin Deli, where they could get coffee, croissants, and even banana bread.
The Family Friendly Westin Tokyo APPETIZERS

Amenities

The hotel had a spa, a beauty salon, and concierge services available for guests. The reception desk was open at all hours as well. We had to purchase In-room wifi. However, public areas of the hotel had complimentary wifi.

Executive Lounge

The lounge featured elaborate decor with dark blue carpet and beautiful furniture. We loved the fantastic city views as we sipped our morning coffee in the lounge.An assortment of teas, coffees, and sodas were available throughout the day. In the morning, the lounge served breakfast for guests. During Happy Hour, the Lounge had a plethora of hot and cold appetizers as well as a variety of libations.

The Family Friendly Westin Tokyo SALMO

Autism Travel Tips:

  • The bathtubs at this hotel have safety handles, but bathmats are not provided, so travelers should plan accordingly.
  • There is a handheld head in the shower, which makes bathing easier for disabled persons.

 

Family Stay at DoubleTree Times Square

Family Stay at DoubleTree Times Square1 pin

 

When our family finally decided to take a trip to NYC, we chose to stay at the DoubleTree Suites in the middle of Times Square. The hotel on the corner of Broadway and 47th street is perfect for families who want to stay right in the center of the action and still enjoy the comfort of a suite at a moderate price.

What Makes it Family Worthy

Families will love the property’s convenient location. The hotel is next to a metro station and across from the TKTS Discount Ticket Booth. The place was ideal for sightseeing, shopping, and, of course, attending Broadway shows.

Family Stay at DoubleTree Times Square night

Our Requests

We contacted the hotel to ask for a quiet and feather-free room as we normally do and were thrilled to hear of their hypoallergenic bedding and in-room air purifiers.

Our Arrival

When we arrived at midnight, we were a bit overwhelmed by the crowds of people walking around and gawking at the makeshift artisans displaying their work on the street corners.
The reception area on the 3rd floor was surprisingly congested for midnight, and we had to wait patiently in the small lobby area to check in. Though tired from our long flight, our son with autism did manage to devour the warm chocolate chip cookies the staff welcomed us with and even asked for more.

Family Stay at DoubleTree Times Square city

 

Lobby Decor

The lobby as mentioned before was compact. Whites, creams, and browns mostly decorated the area with marble tiled floors. Off to one side, guests could find an extensive seating area with plenty of light brown couches and pillows for a comfortable wait. In the back, there was also a small bar area with some stools for seating.

The Suite

The decor of our suite on the 31st floor boasted 80’s brown hues. The hotel dedicated the entire 31st floor as a hypoallergenic floor, so our room had an air purifier. A door separated the bedroom and the living room, allowing parents to enjoy some privacy when traveling with kids.

The living room consisted of a desk and opening sofa (perfect for one older kid or two younger ones). The cabinet that the 40 inch TV stood on held a moderately sized mini fridge. On the side, the room was stocked with a small bar with a sink, microwave, coffee maker, and good sized safe.

Family Stay at DoubleTree Times Square bed

 

In the bedroom, we had a comfortable queen sized bed with two nightstands. The bedroom also had a closet which we found to be on the small side. It was easy to recharge electronics as both rooms had multiple places to plug into, however, the WiFi in the room was temperamental.

We appreciated the two TV sets, one in each room. The two sets allowed us to relax and watch the news while our son enjoyed his Nickelodeon shows. The double curtains helped darken the bright neon lights of the iconic billboards, a feature which we appreciated. And finally, the hotel staff left warm cookies in our room as a greeting, which we found to be a very nice touch.

Family Stay at DoubleTree Times Square sink

The Bathroom

Though the bathroom suite configuration was somewhat oddly shaped, we found it surprisingly convenient.
As we first walked in, we saw that there was a lot of counter space, almost enough to have fit two sinks, but there was only one.

The long and narrow bathroom had a door separating the combination curtained shower/tub and commode from the sink area. This fact allowed two family members to use the bathroom area without disturbing each other which was helpful. The tub had a grab bar with an adjustable, not handheld, shower head.

Family Stay at DoubleTree Times Square street

The Breakfast

The breakfast buffet at Ginger’s Restaurant on the fifth floor served the American staples of scrambled eggs, hash browns, sausages and bacon along with cereals, cut up fruits, cheeses, and pastries.
The best part was Joseph, the staff member who efficiently ran the delicious pancake/waffle/omelet station. He was friendly and helpful, especially with our special needs son.
For more budget-friendly options, there are numerous restaurants in the immediate area such as Sbarro’s, Olive Garden, and McDonalds.

Amenities

Additional hotel amenities included a morning kiosk, Ad Lib Lounge, and a complimentary 24-hour fitness center that we didn’t get a chance to check out as we were too busy walking around the city. The hotel had tight security, and guests had to show their room key to enter the building, which we found reassuring.

Family Stay at DoubleTree Times Square sky

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Make sure to ask for a top floor room that doesn’t face Times Square as the lights and noise will bother kids with those particular sensitivities.
  • Bring an anti-slip bath mat, like the hotel, does not supply one.
  • Due to the configuration of the suite, pack one or two night lights so you can see your way around the furniture at night.

Family Stay at Bakersfield’s SpringHill Suites by Marriott

Staying with Family at Bakersfield's SpringHill Suites by Marriott pin

Last month our travels took us to Bakersfield, California which is over hundred miles out of Los Angeles. Even though we had passed it many times on the freight highway on the way to Sacramento and San Francisco, we have never actually stopped there. So, this time, we were determined to spend at least one night, and we finally got to explore the ninth biggest city in the State.

Staying with Family at Bakersfield's SpringHill Suites by Marriott table

 

Since we are Marriott members and big fans of the hotel brand we decided to try their SpringHill Suites in Bakersfield. They offer a low-end, no-frills place to stay that still provides comfort and some decent amenities. We enjoyed their complimentary breakfast and pool but especially their family-friendly budget price. And it certainly did not disappoint!

Located at 3801 Marriott Drive, in Bakersfield, theCalifornia, the hotel is in one of the nonresidential areas of Bakersfield. It is set on a street which we fondly nicknamed ‘Hotel Row’ as it houses multiple hotels from several brands.

What Works for Families

For us, the main selling points for this property were the size of the; the fact that they had an opening sofa for our son with autism and the complimentary breakfast included in the room price. Also, parking was free, and the property offered access to free Wi-Fi.

Staying with Family at Bakersfield's SpringHill Suites by Marriott desk

What Doesn’t Work for Families

There was no way to fit a fifth family member in a standard room, so traveling with more than four would require booking two rooms, and there were very few options for adjoining rooms.

Unfortunately, the hotel was a bit far from most stores, entertainment, and restaurants, so guests need a car to reach any of these destinations.

Special Accommodations

We always call ahead and this time was no different. We requested a feather-free room due to allergies as well as a quiet room not facing a busy street or any other noisy area. The hotel met both of these accommodations without needing a reminder.

Staying with Family at Bakersfield's SpringHill Suites by Marriott stool

Our Arrival and Welcome

Check-in was a breeze and the lady at the front desk who also served as a makeshift concierge, advised us on places to visit and where to dine. It turns out that Bakersfield is famous for many Basque eateries. Who knew?

Decor

The hotel’s front lobby decoration is modern and accessorized with bright colors that set the welcoming and inviting tone for a cheery atmosphere. There was a moderately-sized space right at the entrance that served as their breakfast area.

Staying with Family at Bakersfield's SpringHill Suites by Marriott bar

Fellow Travelers

The area is famous for its farming, so the hotel welcomes business folk who come for the various farming industry activities. The hotel also houses adventure-seekers looking for a place to spend nights before or after visiting the two nearby National Parks.

Our Room

The room was decked out in luxury creams and browns with tasteful artwork on the walls. It was immaculate, modern, and comfortable, providing adequate space for a family of four.

There was a kitchenette with a microwave, coffee maker, a cabinet, counter space and a small refrigerator we used as a cooler. They provided a few dishes and silverware.There were two refuse bins, one for recycling and one for regular trash.

Staying with Family at Bakersfield's SpringHill Suites by Marriott couch

The king size bed had nightstands on either side; both had lamps, and one had a phone. Pillows and cotton linens were all provided. There was a half-wall separation between the sleeping area and the sitting room which we thought was a nice way to offer a little privacy.

We were very impressed with the fold-out couch, perfect for those who have two younger children or one older child. With the sofa, there was plenty of seating and the desk provided a useful surface to work at.The TV cabinet doubled up as a chest of drawers providing ample space for storage. Like other budget Marriott premises we have stayed in, there was no wall safe provided.

The room was well-lit, and there was no shortage of places to plug-in electronic gadgets.There were sockets on the desk, walls, and even in the lamp bases on the nightstands.

Staying with Family at Bakersfield's SpringHill Suites by Marriott computer

The window had the option of heavy curtains to shut out the light. There were safety locks on both the window and the front door which we appreciated.Though the A/C  wall unit was quite noisy, we had no choice but to keep the machine running as Bakersfield was quite hot .

The Bathroom

The decor of the remodeled bathroom was a continuation of the room’s theme of creams and browns. There was an adequate granite countertop boasting an extra shelf around the basin. We were grateful for the towels and the Paul Mitchell amenity kit provided.

Staying with Family at Bakersfield's SpringHill Suites by Marriott kit

The room featured a tub (with a grab bar), a shower, and a commode with tiled was tiled flooring. The toilet-paper dispenser was, weirdly, located quite a distance from the toilet on the opposite wall. Apart from that, this bathroom complimented the room quite well.

Our Breakfast

The hotel offered a complimentary American breakfast buffet. It was typically hearty and generous with egg, bacon, sausages, yogurt, cut up fruit, pastries and cold and warm beverages, always helpful for travelers that need to start their morning on a full stomach. The dining area was rather small, so it was a little challenging to find a table.

Staying with Family at Bakersfield's SpringHill Suites by Marriott fridge

This property did not feature room service. However, there was a little mini store that sells groceries and sundries should visitors need something in a hurry after hours located next to the check-in area. Numerous malls and stores were within a short driving distance from the hotel, so getting provisions was not a problem. In fact, on the way there we saw a giant Walmart open 24 hours a day with a hair and nail salon inside.

Pool and Gym

The hotel has a small gym and a pool which several guest kids staying there enjoyed when we visited. Parents should be advised that there is no lifeguard, so they need to supervise their children while using the pool.

Staying with Family at Bakersfield's SpringHill Suites by Marriott counter

Cost

As mentioned before, the price was family-friendly, under $100 a night. The price included free wifi, complimentary breakfast, and access to the fitness center.

Overall the property not only managed to meet our needs but exceeded our expectations. Service was efficient prompt and professional, and we would be happy to stay here again should we be in this area.

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Parents of smell sensitive children should be aware that the pool chlorine was quite intense when the enclosed area is first entered.
  • As we did, parents of sound sensitive children should try to get a quiet room facing away from busy streets.
  • Parents should pack a shower mat and night light as this hotel does not supply them.

Why the Sheraton Tel Aviv is Still Family Friendly

1-Why the Sheraton Tel Aviv is
The Sheraton Tel Aviv is a beachside hotel on 115 Hayarkon, Israel, right next to the beautiful Mediterranean sea. Other than its spectacular views, what is most significant about this hotel is that it is the first hotel in Israel to offer vegan-friendly food in all its restaurants. The Sheraton has a lot to offer for any guest staying in its luxurious rooms.
Why the Sheraton Tel Aviv is Still Family Friendly first

What Makes it Family Worthy

The hotel is within short driving distance to the most popular attractions of Tel Aviv, including the Diaspora Museum, Luna Park, and the Ramat Aviv Mall. This hotel is a great location for any family wanting to explore the best parts of Tel Aviv. It is also, as previously mentioned, literally on the Mediterranean beachfront so that families can enjoy fun in the sun and lovely views.

Special Requests

 We called ahead and requested a feather-free quiet room. They gave us a room facing the Renaissance Hotel, which is in a quieter area of the hotel.
Why the Sheraton Tel Aviv is Still Family Friendly umbrella

Our Arrival

We arrived in the evening at 9 PM and were thrilled to discover that, after a 30-hour flight, the hotel catered to our every need and pampered us. They sent us additional towels, shampoos, and soaps, so we didn’t need to call housekeeping for any reason.

Lobby Décor

Those who enjoy 80s aesthetics will love this area. Some might find the decor to be a little outdated, but people are encouraged to be close together and do socialize which means a lot in this hotel. Travelers from France, the US, and Israel all kind of sit together and, due to the proximity of everything, socialize and get to know each other while waiting for different services.

Fellow Travelers

In the past, the Sheraton was more of a business type hotel. However, because of its beach location, its value has lessened since business travelers need to be on the fast highways. Nowadays, the Sheraton, like its neighbors, is more of a hotel that caters to families and tends to be, as such, more crowded during the Jewish holidays and the summer.

Our Room

We stayed in room 1314. We noted the wood floors, a welcome feature especially for those with allergies. The décor was mostly tan wallpaper and dark wood. The floor between the bathroom and the main room was slightly different in level, so there was some risk of tripping. There were two closets in the room, one with more hanging space, the other with more shelves. They gave us fluffy towels, bathrobes, and slippers as well as an ironing board, for which we were grateful.
Why the Sheraton Tel Aviv is Still Family Friendly food
The room had a big safety deposit box, large enough for us to store a tablet and a 15-inch laptop. There was a coffee machine with Keurig pods on top of the dresser, which we use every morning. They closed the executive lounge early, but guests could instead indulge in purchasable drinks or chocolate in the room’s mini-fridge. The 40 inch TV near the dresser was attached to the wall and, unfortunately, immovable. Right under the TV was a bench where kids could sit or parents could leave luggage.
Our room had a comfortable king-sized bed and two nightstands with little drawers. There were night lights attached to the leather headboards. The air-conditioning was blowing slightly on our beds, and it would have been nice to see it elsewhere. However, there was a control panel for the AC right next to the bed, which we liked.
While most of the room had very nice lighting, there was a pitch dark area in the corner with the lounge chair. A standing lamp in this area would have been appreciated.
The room had a large desk with a lamp featuring three strength settings and several convenient outlets nearby. However, the chair was not comfortable to sit in for extended periods of time, and the lamp did not light up the entire desk.
Why the Sheraton Tel Aviv is Still Family Friendly toilet
Over the windows were both thick and sheer curtain. There was an opening balcony with a secure lock that took a lot of strength to open, so younger kids could not do this on their own. On the small balcony, guests could stand and take in a lovely view of the Mediterranean sea.

Our Bathroom

The bathroom was decorated in tones of silver, gold, and bronze. The first thing we noticed was the magnifying mirror, a very nice feature. The hotel gave us an amenity kit that included Dead Sea mineral products, with a shower cap, mouthwash, and shaving package. There was a slot with tissues just under the countertop, and we didn’t like the fact that one had to dig their hands into the groove to get tissues. The entire bathroom was nicely lit, with a light up mirror perfect for those needing to shave or apply makeup.
Why the Sheraton Tel Aviv is Still Family Friendly amenities
There was shiny rainbow tile all around the bathtub area. The shower had a grab bar, an overhead rain shower, and a handheld head. The shower was also above floor level to prevent flooding, although this fact can be dangerous for an older person who might be unaware of the step. The toilet had two options to flush depending on the type of waste as a means to conserve water.
We appreciated that the door could be locked, though wary that it was glass. The primary factor that we didn’t like was the fact there was a window facing out into the room. From the room itself, one could see people showering. While it’s understandable that this was planned to allow in natural light, many families want a certain amount of privacy while they shower. The hotel should at least provide a curtain to block the window when needed.
Why the Sheraton Tel Aviv is Still Family Friendly view

Restaurants

There are several dining options onsite for any family at any time of the day.
Visitors who want some Mediterranean cuisine can visit the Olive Leaf Restaurant. Those who want a nice meal with a beautiful view should try the Kum Kum Restaurant. There’s the convenient Deck 115 for poolside dining. And finally, for a la carte snacks and drinks, guests can go to the Lobby Lounge Bar.
When we were there, the hotel’s Olive Leaf Restaurant was hosting a Peruvian Festival celebrating Peruvian culinary traditions. The Restaurant served both traditional and contemporary authentic Peruvian dishes.
Why the Sheraton Tel Aviv is Still Family Friendly chef

Our Breakfast

The Kum Kum, where we had breakfast, featured fantastic views of the Mediterranean. Numerous windows showed off the view and allowed in natural light. The breakfast hall consisted of many different stations with all sorts of options.
In the cold section alone, travelers could get several different kinds of milk, including skim and soy. There was an entire selection of cheeses, such as cottage cheese, cream cheese, mozzarella cheese, and French cheese. We saw various dried fruits and cereals at all the stations. Included in the hall was a salad section with all the standard vegetables and dressing options as well as pickled olives, herrings, and salmon. The venue offered gluten free cookies, a nice touch.
In the warm station, visitors could find various porridges, oatmeal, and rice. We saw the typical American fare of potatoes, scrambled eggs, hard boiled eggs, and a make your own omelet section. The venue also had Shakshuka, a Mediterranean dish of poached eggs in tomato sauce. True to its claim as the first restaurant to offer vegan options, there was an entire vegan section. This area included sweet potatoes, potatoes latkes, and eggplant.
Why the Sheraton Tel Aviv is Still Family Friendly juice
For sweeter choices, we saw pancakes with syrup, baked cheesecakes, chocolate croissants, homemade jams, spreadable chocolates, and even many different types of donuts. There was also a section for bread and yogurts.
Regarding drinks, the hall offered many choices. Guests could start their day with a cup of coffee from an authentic turn of the century holder. They could drink a refreshing orange juice, grape juice, apple juice or pomegranate juice. Those who love tea would find plenty of options here. And breakfast goers could even start the day with a nice glass of champagne.
From going through this breakfast hall, its becomes pretty clear that the Israeli breakfast is all about delicious white cheeses and fried donuts.

Executive Lounge

The hotel’s executive lounge is truly one of its selling points, as it offers quality food as well as engaging ambiance overlooking the Mediterranean. The lounge has plenty of seating space and offers an ample breakfast and happy hour buffet as well as snacks throughout the day with a plethora of snacks and beverages. Best part is the friendly and efficient staff running the lounge.

Pool

The hotel features a pool with a separate toddler’s splash pool. Guests can dine at the poolside restaurant bar, Deck 115. The pool area also has free wifi, a welcome feature for many families.
Why the Sheraton Tel Aviv is Still Family Friendly food

Gym

For patrons who want to stay fit while they travel, there is an onsite gym open 24 hours per day. The gym includes standard equipment, such as treadmills, bikes, and other machines, as well as a TV.

Spa

Guests looking to relax should come to the Cielo Spa. Here, patrons can get a massage, facial, and mani/pedis. They can also indulge in hammam treatments, a dry sauna, hair removal, and Dead Sea treatments.

Cost

Rooms start at $290 and include free wifi throughout the hotel as well as access to the spa and fitness center. There is 24-hour parking costing about $17 for the night

Autism Travel Tips:

  • The hotel supplies plenty of amenities for those with disabilities, including an accessible check in desk with special sound devices, evacuation chairs, accessible pool chairs, and parking.
  • Families who need certain accessibility features, such as an emergency bathroom button, special shower chairs, or roll in showers should request these when booking the room.
  • The hotel allows pets up to 25 kg. Pets are given a welcome pack, including a Sheraton dog bed. Those who have problems with pet dander should let the hotel know during booking.

 

Family Stay at Courtyard Marriott San Jose North

Family Stay at Courtyard Marriott San Jose North pin

Over the holiday weekend, my family and I  stayed at the Courtyard by Marriott San Jose North Silicon Valley. Located at 111 Holger Way, San Jose, the Courtyard is a recently opened hotel in tip-top shape and has a lovely newness about it. We felt that it was good value for money and had decent service. It is right off the 880 freeway and close to many company headquarters, so it is easily accessible. Being so close to restaurants and two mini-malls makes it a convenient place for a getaway or prolonged stay for most travelers.

Family Stay at Courtyard Marriott San Jose North outer

What Makes it Family Worthy

The cost of the Courtyard is reasonable for most hotels. The hotel is also, as mentioned before, relatively close to the freeway and located inside a mini-mall with various restaurants. There are plenty of food choices literally outside the hotel. There is a Target Mall and a Chipotle, Chic-Fil-A and other fast-food places which serve this part of the Valley very well.

Fellow travelers

Business people coming for interviews or temporary employment in the high-tech companies frequent the property on weekdays. However, families who come to visit or travelers who wish to stay close to San Francisco without paying an exorbitant price for a hotel room also frequent this location.

Family Stay at Courtyard Marriott San Jose North fridge

Our Welcome

Our check-in experience hit a snag when we arrived at 4 pm, and the room wasn’t ready.
Though my husband had mentioned our need for a quiet room at booking, the lack of a follow-through call to the property itself saw us allocated to a room facing the busy freeway on the first floor. The manager, to our amazement, was both understand and accommodating and reassigned us to a quieter room facing the parking lot on the fifth floor.
The manager also contacted housekeeping and expedited the change of bed linens and pillows to accommodate our feather allergies.

Hotel Decor

The hotel’s minimalist decor is tasteful with modern silvers, dark browns, and some blues. The modern decor provides a pleasant ambiance with distinct sections for people to quietly work at their computer while others chat with family and friends.

Family Stay at Courtyard Marriott San Jose North purple

Our Room

We stayed in room 540. Our door had extra locks and a device to jam the door should someone try to break in, an additional layer of security we appreciated. Earthy hues, including a light brown carpet, decorated the room, accented with turquoise artwork on the walls. In the entry hall, there was a little coffee machine with non-pod coffee and tea provided and an empty mini-fridge, which is handy.

We had a comfortable King-sized box spring bed as well as the fold-out sofa bed which was a bit springy. There was a plug in nightlight, digital clock, and phone by the bed, with enough space to comfortably get out in the morning. Of course, when the sofa is being used as a bed, there is no alternative for seating.

Family Stay at Courtyard Marriott San Jose North bed

We turned the couch, which had a standing lamp next to it, into a bed for our son. While the AC unit was right next to the bed, we could close it at night while he slept. Of course, when the sofa was used as a bed, there was no alternative for seating.

The room had a nicely sized desk with a pull out shelf for your keyboard. The chair for the desk was a comfortable swivel chair. Next to the desk sat the set of drawers with the 40 inch TV on top. The hotel offered us many channels, including HBO.

We had both thin and thick light blocking curtains over the window. We had a view of the street, since as mentioned we had requested a room not facing the freeway.

There is a standing closet with an ironing board which was small but adequate for a short visit such as ours. It was certainly enough to fit all of our carry-on size bags.

Family Stay at Courtyard Marriott San Jose North desk

We counted six power outlets, enough for charging all our portable electronic devices. We had free Wifi as Marriott Gold loyalty members, and it was reliable and reasonably fast service.

All in all, we found the room to be a compact and functional room perfect for our length of stay.

Our Bathroom

The compact bathroom had modern decor with simple lines, pictures of San Francisco, and a speckled granite counter top. There was a simple glass shower with no grab bars inside a glass enclosure. The shower was also raised, reducing the risk of flooding.

Family Stay at Courtyard Marriott San Jose North bathroom

The bathroom only had one hook to hang a towel or robe. Housekeeping provided a sample sized Paul Mitchell toiletry set.

Amenities

The Courtyard Hotel has a small pool and hot tub that is useful for occupying the kids and for adults to relax in the late afternoon and evening hours. They even have a Gym for guests who want to work out while staying.
Like all Courtyards, this hotel features a small store where one can buy snacks and a couple of frozen items. The hotel also features the relatively new concept of an onsite bistro that serves cooked breakfast, lunch and dinner items.

Family Stay at Courtyard Marriott San Jose North egg
We opted to have the healthy choice sandwich which was egg, spinach and Havarti cheese in an English muffin for breakfast, with Starbucks coffee. However, there are many other more budget-friendly options in the two mini-malls next to the hotel.

One can make use of the spacious, smoke-free lobby with its colorful futuristic designs. It is a fun place to work on a laptop or enjoy a happy hour beer.

Parking is free though the lot can become crowded in the evenings.

Service

As mentioned before, the front desk staff was helpful with accommodating our son with autism’s needs. Also, housekeeping promptly brought requested extra soap and towels when we asked.

Family Stay at Courtyard Marriott San Jose North pool

Cost

The hotel is budget-friendly with prices ranging from $110-$300 per night depending on the date. The price increases when there are conferences in town.

Autism Travel Tips:

  • The design of the property means that half the rooms face a busy freeway and are not a good fit for noise-sensitive travelers. To ensure quiet, make sure that you specifically ask for a room facing the parking lot on a high floor.
  • Bring entertainment for the children as there aren’t that many TV channel choices.
  • Bring a non-slip shower mat, since the hotel, does not provide one.

 

Luxurious Family Stay at the Intercontinental Los Angeles

The Intercontinental Century City Hotel in Los Angeles, located in the heart of the City of Angels, is a central spot for those visiting LA for the first time to get acquainted with the city. The central location, along with its amenities, will provide visitors with comfort and a luxurious experience when they explore Southern California’s largest city.
Luxurious Family Stay at the Intercontinental Los Angeles candelabra

What Makes it Family Friendly

The hotel is the perfect place to stay for families visiting LA. It is right next to the Century City outdoor mall and close to Beverly Hills, which is a must see for any first time visitor in LA. The hotel’s location is also an excellent spot to explore Santa Monica and Venice with its beautiful beaches, as well as the new up and coming downtown. The hotel boasts large rooms suitable for families along with the great amenity kit and excellent service, catering to all family members’ needs.
Luxurious Family Stay at the Intercontinental Los Angeles lobby

Special Requests

We did call ahead and ask the front desk to provide us with a feather-free quiet room to accommodate our son with autism, and they tagged our reservation as such.

Our Arrival

We arrived around 3:30 PM, which is check-in time, and were very surprised to discover a lack of crowds. We were welcomed warmly by the staff and our son with autism was enchanted by the red velvet cupcake he was given as welcome.
Luxurious Family Stay at the Intercontinental Los Angeles cupcake

Lobby Decor

Before one entered the lobby, guests will walk through an open-air lobby, the area that people either waited for cabs or the valet to the car. This airy lobby was elegant with seating areas made of Rattan and standing lamps, which was a nice touch and very “Southern California.” Inside, the lobby walls and marble flooring are predominantly white, brown, and black. This simple coloration stands in sharp contrast to the bold, funky purple carpeting, making a very eclectic atmosphere. They had tables, and each one had a mini personal garden of orchids in individual planters, which was a surprising element. There were a lot of predominantly leather loungers and sofas for guests to rest in.
Luxurious Family Stay at the Intercontinental Los Angeles lobby

Fellow Travelers

Here we experienced an interesting mix since many of the fellow travelers staying in the hotel were business people that were working with offices right there in Century City. However, there was a minority of families staying in the hotel, especially foreigners, since they did recognize the Intercontinental brand as a luxurious brand.
Luxurious Family Stay at the Intercontinental Los Angeles couch

Our Room

We stayed in room 1012, on the 10th floor. The first thing we did when we entered was to look at the emergency map on the door to figure out how far our room was from the staircase (in this case, two rooms over). We always do this in a different environment to make sure that we know the shortest escape route if there is an emergency, like a fire or earthquake (especially pertinent in LA). We noted two locks on the front door, a welcome security feature. Families and solo travelers alike want to feel that safety is a priority.
Luxurious Family Stay at the Intercontinental Los Angeles coffee
What struck us as surprising when we first entered the room was the sheer size of it. It was actually on the large size for a city hotel room. The next thing that wowed us were the views. The room had floor to ceiling windows all around providing 180-degree views of the LA skyline.
The room had carpet in shades of green-gray, with the wallpaper in the same tones. Around the corner from the entrance hall was a huge floor to ceiling mirror. The closet was on the large size and included bathrobes, slippers, hangers and an iron/ironing board.
Luxurious Family Stay at the Intercontinental Los Angeles desk
There was a small desk with a white leather looking chair, lamp, and phone, with a few outlets nearby. The room had a long chest of drawers on which stood a 40 inch TV. Next to the TV was the mini bar for purchase and a coffee machine with pods. There was also a safe and empty mini cooler, separate from the mini bar, under the TV.
The room had two comfortable double beds with soft linens and plenty of pillows. A nightstand between the beds with a phone and a lamp provided extra convenience. We liked the fact that the AC was nowhere near the beds and didn’t blow on us directly, like in other properties.
Luxurious Family Stay at the Intercontinental Los Angeles bed
Parents need to know that most rooms have balconies with sliding doors that open to the outside. The sliding door had two locks placed at the height of an adult, so younger kids could not quickly open the door. Furthermore, most balconies that we saw, including ours, had a wide planter in front of them that would have prevented a kid from literally tumbling down into the street, a smart safety feature. For adults that want to enjoy LA views, the balcony itself, with two chairs and a table, would be an excellent spot for a late afternoon drink or morning coffee.

Our Bathroom

The bathroom décor continued the theme in the room and consisted of tan and green hues throughout, with brown marble on the floor and countertop.
Luxurious Family Stay at the Intercontinental Los Angeles sink
The bathroom was spacious with two separate sections. The room had the bathtub on the left, while the commode and shower were in a small area on the right. The bathtub had a full-length mirror all around as well as a useful grab bar. The enclosed shower also had a grab bar, but it was also elevated, so there was no risk of flooding. The shower would have been perfect for families had they also provided a handheld showerhead.
Luxurious Family Stay at the Intercontinental Los Angeles bathroom
Like other luxury properties, this hotel was generous with the amenities needed for multiple members of the family. Our kit included lots of shampoos, soaps, conditioners, and lotions, without our asking. The housekeeping was thoughtful and even provided us with toothbrushes.
Luxurious Family Stay at the Intercontinental Los Angeles tub

Dining Options

Guests looking for fine dining onsite should try out the Mari Los Angeles, run by executive chef Jonathan Wood. At the Mari, guests can relax and dine, sharing plates of tapas style international foods. The hotel also has the Copper Lounge for guests wanting delicious cocktails and appetizers in the evenings. Furthermore, the hotel also offers 24-hour room service for those who can’t or don’t want to leave the comfort of their rooms.
Luxurious Family Stay at the Intercontinental Los Angeles dining

Our Breakfast

The breakfast area, decorated in shades of white and tan, was beautiful. Guests had the option of dining indoors or outdoors in the garden area. The restaurant offered al la carte options as well as a buffet. We chose the buffet, which had many different food sections.
Luxurious Family Stay at the Intercontinental Los Angeles breakfast
They, of course, had the usual spread of traditional American fare, including sausages (turkey and chicken), bacon, country potatoes, pancakes, scrambled eggs, and pastries. Diners wanting cereal had a few basic options such as Cheerios and bran flakes. Guests could also customize their own omelet, using eggs or egg whites, with many toppings including cheeses and vegetables. Those dining could also try the chef’s special of the day, which was Shakshuka (sunny side eggs on top of a tomato base) when we were there.
Luxurious Family Stay at the Intercontinental Los Angeles cheese
The buffet had a small yogurt bar where you could choose a base yogurt, such as lemon custard or honey, and add tasty toppings. There was a small section of fruits; both cut up and whole. The breakfast also had butter, pastries, and bread.
Luxurious Family Stay at the Intercontinental Los Angeles buffet
An interesting section in this dining hall was the Japanese station. Here, guests could get miso soup with scallions or enjoy some steamed rice.
Luxurious Family Stay at the Intercontinental Los Angeles view yogurt
There was also a build your own Lox sandwich station with onions, capers, and sliced tomatoes. Next to this station was a section including cold cuts, cheeses, and stuffed olives.
Luxurious Family Stay at the Intercontinental Los Angeles eat
We were delighted to see that this hotel had some vegetarian options. Not only did the central breakfast section have offerings of braised tofu and fried rice with eggs, but there was an entire section in the breakfast hall specifically for vegetarians. This area featured feta cheese, hummus, rosewater custard, and olives among other options.
For drink options, the buffet had orange juice, skim milk, and low-fat milk. We especially liked the fact the hotel breakfast offered gluten free banana nut muffins for those who need this option.
Luxurious Family Stay at the Intercontinental Los Angeles special

Amenities

It is important to note that the hotel provides a free car service for guests looking to travel up to 1.5 miles around the hotel.
The venue has a 24-hour fitness center that includes steam baths.
Guests wanting to relax can head over to the infinity edge pool or Jacuzzi. We saw few people in this area the day we visited, which made us want to try it out.
Luxurious Family Stay at the Intercontinental Los Angeles pool
We would have liked to, but didn’t get a chance to try their spa. The spa included pampering treatments such as massages, facials, body wraps and mani/pedis, which sounded fantastic.

Cost

Rooms start at $300 a night, which might be rather steep for some families. However, the website does offer some package deals. Travelers might also want to look into booking this hotel, like we did, as IHG members on points.
Like many other places in LA and major US cities, expect to pay around $40 for parking every 24 hours. The hotel does offer valet parking.
Luxurious Family Stay at the Intercontinental Los Angeles balcony lock

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Not all room balconies have a planter in front of them. So, for that extra layer of security, be sure to book a room with a planter.
  • For parents with kids that wander, call the front desk and ask how they can block the balcony sliding door.
  • Bring your own bath mat, as the hotel doesn’t supply an anti-slip mat for the bathroom.
  • Do bring a small night light, because the room is rather large. Family members can bump in the dark into furniture on their way to the bathroom.
  • Service animals are allowed in hotel rooms. Families who have problems with pet dander should call ahead to ask for a hypoallergenic room.
  • The hotel offers fourteen onsite rooms with “accessibility standards” for physical disabilities. Call ahead to request one of these rooms if you or your family requires one of these rooms.
  • There is a handicap parking section available onsite, or travelers can use valet parking.

 

Family Weekend at the Balboa Bay Beach Resort

Family Weekend at the Balboa Bay Beach Resort veranda

The classy Balboa Bay Beach Resort, on 1221 West Coast Highway in  Newport Beach, overlooks the waters of the Pacific Ocean.
This establishment’s spacious rooms and convenient location make it an ideal hotel for families that wish to experience California’s Orange County area. In fact, the resort is only a short distance away from the beach,  amusement parks, and the nearby South Coast Plaza.

Thinking the resort would provide a fun mini-vacation, for our LA-based family, we booked our hotel via Groupon.
After completing the purchase, we contacted the hotel front desk to ask for a feather-free, quiet room to accommodate our son’s autism.
Family Weekend at the Balboa Bay Beach Resort street

Décor

The Mediterranean-style resort spread over 15 acres features 159 guest rooms and ten suites with courtyard or bay views.
The hotel public places were decorated in a timeless nautical style with accent colors ranging from tan to burgundy, giving it a laid-back yet sophisticated feel.

Fellow Travelers

During the weekends, the guests were equally divided among beach-going families and couples on romantic holidays.

Family Weekend at the Balboa Bay Beach Resort corridor

Our Welcome

Upon arriving at the hotel earlier than we had anticipated, a long line of fancy cars greeted us. There was a wine festival taking place that day, and those vehicles were all headed towards the valet parking area.

Despite the opulent size of the hotel, the actual ordinary check-in area was somewhat small and disappointing for us as first-time visitors.

We soon discovered, there was a minor problem with our reservation since the Groupon coupon kept coming up on the front desk computers as null and void. After the error got sorted out, check in was speedy.

Family Weekend at the Balboa Bay Beach Resort seats

So, how was our room?

Our room, 340, a standard room, was on the hotel’s top floor. For larger families, the hotel offers a variety of accommodations including connecting rooms and two-bed room suites.

The white and beige tones used for space provided an understated elegance successfully carried through the room and bath areas.
The room’s two rattan base queen beds were comfortable and had the perfect ‘bounce’ in them.
Besides the beds, the room had a high dresser housing a large screen TV, a DVD player, and mini cooler as well as a working area with a desk.

Family Weekend at the Balboa Bay Beach Resort shutters

We appreciated the room had ample seating -two chairs and two benches, as well as the wooden plantation shutters that efficiently blocked the bright morning light out.
Our room, facing the pool had a veranda with a small table and two chairs, making it convenient for us to sit and enjoy the sunsets.Parents should be aware that though the sliding door to the balcony did have a lock, it was placed rather low which would enable some kids to open it.

Family Weekend at the Balboa Bay Beach Resort chest

Amenities provided by the resort included bathrobes and slippers as well as a coffee/tea maker and a safe for valuables.
We thought the complimentary Evian water was a nice touch.The resort’s complimentary Wi-Fi is very reliable.
However, those traveling with a family may find the number of power sockets provided less than adequate. Bringing along a Phillips ultra-slim USB charger is recommended so that all electronic devices can be ‘juiced up’ faster.

Family Weekend at the Balboa Bay Beach Resort tub

Bathroom

The well-lit bathroom made lavish use of both marble and granite.
The facilities were sectioned off into four different areas ( tub, shower, vanity, commode) to ensure privacy.The shower glass shower enclosure helped keep it from flooding the room. We never ran out of towels or aromatherapy infused toiletries because the hotel provided more than enough.

Family Weekend at the Balboa Bay Beach Resort shampoo

Amenities 

The hotel’s well-equipped fitness center was open 24 hours a day so guests could exercise anytime. The hotel also featured a pool, hair salon and onsite spa wth steam rooms, saunas, and whirlpools.

Family Weekend at the Balboa Bay Beach Resort desk

Dining

There are currently three dining venues in the Balboa Resort- the ‘Waterline’ serving seafood and steaks, the ‘A&O  Kitchen and Bar’  for guests seeking a family-style dining experience and ‘Blend ‘ for specialty coffees and sandwiches.

 Cost  

Rooms start at $300 a night, so budget conscious travelers should be on the lookout for deals on discount sites. Parking fees range between 20$ to 30$, the valet option being the more pricey of the two.

Family Weekend at the Balboa Bay Beach Resort food

Autism Travel Tips

The closets have a light that that can be left on at night without disturbing anyone’s sleep.
Parents with noise sensitive children should ask for a quiet room away from the pool, elevators, and street traffic.
The bathroom does not have built-in grab bars for the tub or shower.
Parents should bring an anti-slip bath mat if their child needs one.
There are a DVD  player and a large flat screen TV in every room so feel free to bring your kid’s favorite DVDs.
Parents of children with a tendency to wander off should bring stick -on contact alarms or separate locks for both the front and balcony doors.

 

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