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.

 

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.

 

Family Stay at the Westin Grand Central Hotel NYC

Family Stay at the Westin Grand Central Hotel NYC sign
As frequent travelers to New York, we’ve always opted to stay in one of two areas-Times Square or Central Park.Last month, for a change of pace, we decided to try the Westin New York Grand Central Hotel and see how family friendly it is.The property with over 700 rooms and suites is close to Grand Central Terminal  and the Chrysler Building in Midtown Manhattan. Based within walking distance to Times Square’s shopping and dining venues, the hotel is moderately priced (for Manhattan standards), and a convenient location for guests arriving into town via rail. The hotel also has event halls for conventions and weddings as well as a rooftop garden where the hotel grows its own herbs.

Family Stay at the Westin Grand Central Hotel NYC lobby

Décor

The outside of the 41-story building is contemporary looking with glass walls, and metallic-colored pillars at the entrance. The lobby and public spaces sport a neutral upscale looking decor in tones of cream, brown and tan accented by splashes of color in cushions and the artwork on the walls.

Family Stay at the Westin Grand Central Hotel NYC reception

Our welcome

My husband and son arrived a day earlier than I did and experienced a smooth, quick check-in.
I arrived at 4 AM the following morning  on a red eye from Europe and managed to get lost while walking a few blocks in the dark from the airport shuttle station to the hotel. When I called the hotel, a staff member not only explained how to get to the hotel but stayed on the line (for a good five minutes) making sure I was alright. Now THAT was great service!

Family Stay at the Westin Grand Central Hotel NYC bar

The room

We were allocated a king bed with opening sofa room on the 32nd floor. We were a bit leery about getting a room facing the 42nd street, but we heard very little noise.Our carpeted room was reasonably spacious, clean and comfortable. Storage was no problem in the room with both closet hanging space and a large chest of deep drawers. There was also a decently sized work desk, nightstands and a mini sitting area compiled of a chaise and ottoman.

Family Stay at the Westin Grand Central Hotel NYC
The bedside reading lights ,decent sized safe and large mirror at the entrance to the room all added functionality to the room. There was a proper distribution of power outlets throughout the room which is good for a family who have multiple electronic devices that need charging at once. The large screen TV proved challenging to watch from the opening sofa since it couldn’t be moved but didn’t bother us too much as we were busy sightseeing and meeting with friends.

Family Stay at the Westin Grand Central Hotel NYC desk
The hotel supplied bottled drinking water and replenished it daily. There was also a coffee machine with complimentary coffee and tea. At our request, housekeeping provided a no-charge fridge we could fill with snacks and refreshments we purchased for our son. There is a surcharge minibar that is well stocked but be aware that when it comes to the contents you should know that if you move it you pay for it.

 

The bathroom

The bathroom was moderately sized and well-lit with a granite-like, sturdy countertop and tan colored tile and wallpaper. It featured a combo bathtub and shower with a handheld attachment as well as an overhead showerhead that was placed a tad too high up for me.

Family Stay at the Westin Grand Central Hotel NYC ammenity

This bathroom featured a convenient safety grab bar, magnifying mirror and a typical amenity kit with shampoo, conditioner, shower gel and body lotion.

Family Stay at the Westin Grand Central Hotel NYC bathroom

Dining

Though the hotel itself had only one restaurant with a limited menu, there are various dining options for all budgets in the immediate area: from fast food to elegant sit-down restaurants.Be sure to stop by Grand Central Station and check out all the food venues there :especially those offering desserts.

Family Stay at the Westin Grand Central Hotel NYC restaurant

Autism Travel Tips

  • The hotel windows are all fitted with are special locks that should be reassuring for safety – in particular on the upper floors of the building.
  • If your child is light-sensitive, there are double curtains that effectively block out the light.
  • Request a feather-free room  if  your child has feather allergies
  • Though the property has built-in grab bars, we brought our non-slip mat as a backup
  • Be sure to ask for extra foam padding to place on  the sofa bed if your child feels the mattress is too stiff.

 

The Family-Friendly W Hollywood Hotel

The Family-Friendly W Hollywood Hotel sign

For travelers wishing to experience the glitz and glam of the  City of Angels, the W Hotel in Hollywood is the place to stay!
An impressive boutique high rise on one of the world’s most famed boulevards, facing the Pantages Theater, the W Hotel in Hollywood is the perfect location for touring downtown LA by Metro and the neighboring posh Beverly Hills.

There are plenty of eateries and attractions around to occupy family members of all ages, yet away from the noisy and crowded Hollywood and Vine intersection.

The Family-Friendly W Hollywood Hotel parking

Décor

The decor can be described as a strange combination of futuristic, funky, with just a touch of whimsy in gorgeous hues of whites, browns, and reds.
From the giant red lit W sign at the entrance, the crystal waterfall and candelabra in the center of the lobby to the elegant red-carpeted staircase; the W Hollywood manages to impress travelers from the very moment they walk through the door.

The Family-Friendly W Hollywood Hotel flowers

Ideas to Steal for home

 

The sofa pillows resembling vintage cameras caught our eye but sadly the hotel doesn’t sell replicas in its gift store.

The Family-Friendly W Hollywood Hotel pillows

Booking

We used the Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) website to book the hotel on points but did call the front desk to remind them of our special needs – quiet room and feather-free bedding. I also mentioned that my son was excited to visit and asked for early check-in.

The Family-Friendly W Hollywood Hotel bar

Our Welcome

We were checked in very quickly, given a free Wi-Fi code (loyalty pays at SPG!), and shown to our top floor club room after riding in probably one of the most unusually lit elevator I’ve ever seen.

The Family-Friendly W Hollywood Hotel staircase

Fellow travelers

The hotel is frequented by a mix of people, including a younger crowd working in the entertainment and music business.

The Family-Friendly W Hollywood Hotel candelabra

Our Guest Room

You know you are in for a treat when even the peephole on the door is decorated with crystals.
Our all white clubroom (think a cross between the Jetsons and Clockwise Orange) came with two leather headboard queen sized beds, making it perfect for a family of four. The beds, though on the low side, were very comfortable.

The Family-Friendly W Hollywood Hotel beds

The room also featured a mirrored closet, a rectangular desk table and desk chair, a mini nightstand, a wall mounted TV.
We especially loved the window seat with views overlooking the city, and the tufted side table holding cocktail drinks that looked straight out of a 50’s Lana Turner flick.

The Family-Friendly W Hollywood Hotel vanity

Did I mention that the hotel caters well to techie needs, with multiple outlets to plug in electronics, a safe to leave tablets or small laptops while you tour the city, and a sound machine to relax the travelers after a jam-packed day of movie-land sight- seeing.

The Family-Friendly W Hollywood Hotel mirror

The fun surprise

The room mini bar contained an assortment of candies, nuts, chocolates and….condoms. Don’t be too shocked – this is Hollywood after all!

The Family-Friendly W Hollywood Hotel minibar

The pleasant surprise

 

During our stay, the hotel was offering free shuttles to anywhere within a five-mile range in a luxurious Acura SUV.
We took advantage of this service to skip walking to the El Captain Theater in the heat!

The Family-Friendly W Hollywood Hotel shuttle

The Bathroom

The shiny white marble tiled bathroom is well-lit and a comfortable size. The amenity kit is supplied by Bliss and included the regular soap, shampoo, and conditioner, along with some lotions.

The walk-in shower would have been a ten in my book had it not come with only partially opaque glass walls facing into the room, making privacy for parents when traveling with kids a bit awkward.

The Family-Friendly W Hollywood Hotel shower

Safety

The TV set is safely encased in the wall, and can’t be pulled off. There is no grab bar or anti slip mat provided for the bathroom.

The Family-Friendly W Hollywood Hotel toilet paper

Breakfast

Though the hotel does not have an executive lounge, you can get breakfast at the cafe downstairs. For more budget-friendly alternatives, you should check out the various food venues on Hollywood Boulevard that offer discounts and kids eat free coupons.

The Family-Friendly W Hollywood Hotel roof

Amenities

 

The rooftop swimming pool is one of the property’s best assets boasting private cabanas complete with lounge beds and  TVs. You should be advised that, like most properties, there are no lifeguards so you should not leave your kids unsupervised especially if they are not experienced swimmers.

The Family-Friendly W Hollywood Hotel garden
Service

The staff went out of their way to be of help anywhere from calling to see how we liked the room to restaurant reservations.Also, I wanted to mention their excellent concierge service who took the time to print out recommendations for us.

The Family-Friendly W Hollywood Hotel disco

For additional fun

Even if you are not interested in spending time there, you have to sneak a peek at the disco nightclub near the pool area to admire the decor and city views.

Traveling moms who wish to pamper themselves should book a treatment at the  Bliss spa at the entrance of the hotel, especially if they liked the amenity kit products in the room.

The Family-Friendly W Hollywood Hotel pool

Autism travel tips

We stayed on a weekday when it was very quiet, and the noise was not an issue, but we were told that the hotel can get very noisy during the weekends when the nightclub is open, as well as summer holidays when the younger partygoers arrive.

The Family-Friendly W Hollywood Hotel cabana

The room temperature is individually controlled so you can adjust the air conditioning or heat according to your particular needs.

 

The Family-Friendly W Hollywood Hotel gym
Surprisingly the hotel has no handheld showerheads, so this might be a problem for parents if they might need to help their kids with their showers.

 

The Frankfurt Sheraton Towers Hotel

 

Travelers at the Sheraton  Towers Frankfurt Airport can choose from 1008 beautiful rooms and suites. This high-rise hotel is conveniently located across the street from the airport, and it is within walking distance of the nearest train station. Staying at this location is an ideal solution for those that have long layovers, or that want to rest before heading on to their next destination. The Sheraton also makes a good stopping point in Europe for families with special needs children who may require breaks between lengthy flights.

 

What Makes It Family Worthy

The hotel offers convenient access to both the airport and the city. with plenty of stores and fast food eateries nearby. In addition, the Sheraton Frankfurt Towers’s quad rooms have a layout which can comfortably accommodate a  four-person family.

perfect for a layover the sheraton airport frankfurt entrance

Special Requests

We emailed the hotel letting them know we needed a quiet, feather free room for our autistic son and it was ready even though we arrived in the early afternoon before official check in time.

Biggest Surprise

Not many properties manage to comprehend the need for a feather free room. However, the  Frankfurt Sheraton Towers has a very attentive housekeeping team that made sure our requests were followed to the letter. We were pleasantly surprised by the beautiful cake and dessert platter that awaited for us as a gift from the management.

Welcome

Our arrival was incredibly stress-free, and we were quickly checked into the hotel by the efficient front desk staff.

Décor

The public areas were decorated in a 1980’s minimalistic style which felt a bit personal though the lobby was vast with multiple areas to sit comfortable, and regroup if needed.

 Fellow Travelers

The hotel is a favorite with business people and layover travelers who need a comfortable place to stay.

The Room

Rooms at this location were decorated in a lovely uncluttered Scandinavian style that makes the place feel even more spacious than usual.

Our room was outfitted with maple wood furnishings, and the carpets had geometric patterns on them. As is typical of airport hotels, the property featured ample soundproofing and double-paned windows which helped prevent any noise from disturbing our sleep.

Perfect for a Layover- the Frankfurt Sheraton Towers Hotel room

We booked a family quad room and were assigned one on the 7th floor. It came with a queen sized bed and two single beds for the children. The bedding was comfortable, and each of the beds came with its own nightlight. Out of all the hotel rooms we have thus far encountered on our travels, this one holds the record for having the most power outlets.

Our family of four found the two ottomans and two armchairs to be ample seating for either lounging about or watching television. The separate entrance hall included with our suite provided us with excellent closet storage space. The bar area was equipped with a mini-fridge, a coffee maker, and free bottled water. The only problem we noticed during our stay was that the Wi-Fi signal oscillated from weak to non-existent in our room, and this could stand to be improved.

Bathroom

The sizeable bathroom facilities include a large vanity with a double sink, a glass-enclosed shower, and a separate tub with both fixed and handheld showerheads. The elevated shower area prevents accidental bathroom flooding which we found to be a smart idea. Generous toiletries and the additional towels that we requested were provided by the housekeeping staff, as were bathrobes and slippers.

Executive  Lounge

The exceptionally large lounge area had abundant seating and strong Wi-Fi signal. It was, therefore, an excellent spot to check email or surf the web. A variety of provisions were served at this location, so upgrading your stay to include lounge privileges is highly recommended.

For breakfast, the staff supplied a nice spread of cheeses, jams, baked goods, fruits, and mouth-watering cold cuts. There was an omelet station as well.
During the evening, happy hour, salads and hot food items were served in the lounge.
Our personal favorite offering was the hotel’s afternoon dessert display which included mini cakes, fruit tarts, and scrumptious mousse choices.

 Other Facilities

A pool, gym, and spa facilities can be found at this hotel. The Frankfurt Sheraton Towers also contains several bars, and two sit-down restaurants.
For dinner, we paid a visit to the Restaurant Taverne for some onsite fine dining. We were incredibly impressed by the quality of food and the attentive service. Our son enjoyed the complimentary mini ice creams that the maître d had graciously sent to our table.
Perfect for a Layover- the Frankfurt Sheraton Towers Hotel lounge

Autism Travel Tips

The air conditioning unit in the room has a narrow range of options and keeps the temperature at around 73 degrees. However, the hotel staff will provide fans upon request.
Bring your own bath mat to prevent slips in the shower.

 

The Family Friendly Sheraton Lisbon, Portugal

The Family Friendly Sheraton Lisbon, Portugal, is a high-rise located in the Saldana area on Rua Latina Coelho, just about a 10-minute cab ride from the airport.
The location is perfect for families away from the hustle of old town, but still near sites such as Edward the Seventh park, multiple restaurants, and the impressive El Cortez Ingles department store where you can replenish anything you forgot to pack!

The Family friendly Sheraton Lisbon Portugal entrance

 

Booking

We booked the rooms on Starwood Preferred Guest’s website with points but did contact the hotel by phone to ask for a quiet, high floor room and feather-free bedding.

The Family friendly Sheraton Lisbon Portugal lobby

Decor

The Sheraton Lisbon features 369 fully renovated rooms, including 10 Junior Suites and a Presidential Suite.The hotel’s public places are decorated with a modern minimalist flair with sophisticated use of dark woods, velvet mirrors and glass sheer curtains in metallic browns to complete the trendy picture.

The Family friendly Sheraton Lisbon Portugal

Idea to steal for home

The motorized room-darkening roller shades that allow guests to sleep undisturbed at any hour of the day were a wonderful touch we wished to have at home too.

The Family friendly Sheraton Lisbon Portugal bathroom

Unique Feature

The glass-walled bathrooms are a unique feature of the property with motorized shades that overlook the room but be pulled down for appropriate privacy.

The Family friendly Sheraton Lisbon Portugal glass wall

Our welcome

We were checked in quickly upon our arrival at 6 am and helped with our carry-on luggage to our rooms.

The Family friendly Sheraton Lisbon Portugal bar

Our Rooms 

Our clubrooms on the 22nd floor were connecting with two single beds and one king, with impressive views of the city. The Sweet Sleeper beds and the room darkening roller shades provided us with the best sleep we’ve experienced in a hotel in the past year.

The Family friendly Sheraton Lisbon Portugal desk

Each room at the Sheraton Lisbon had two-night stands, a functional desk, comfortable office chair, chest of drawers, wall hung TV, and a lounge chair to relax in. Though the décor is rather dark in the room lighting is available for the different areas of the room, and several types of light from track mood lighting to standing lamps.The hardwood flooring is a bonus for asthma and allergy sufferers like us.

The Family friendly Sheraton Lisbon Portugal chair

The desk area had several outlets to recharge our electronics and as SPG gold members, we were treated to free Wi-Fi for the duration of our stay for three devices per room in addition to the free Wi-Fi in their public areas.
The room also features a designated area for the mini bar, as well as a single serve coffee maker, and free water bottles.
You will find plush slippers and room bathrobes to use in the same area.

The Family friendly Sheraton Lisbon Portugal coffee

The nice surprise

The small port wine bottle with the Portuguese bakery was a wonderful surprise to return to after a full day of sightseeing.

The Family friendly Sheraton Lisbon Portugal ammenities

Bathrooms

The shower/tub combination boasts a high-ended showerhead while the sink provides ample countertop space to hold medicines and cosmetics.
We loved the commode/bidet glass separation with an other door for extra privacy. The extensive personal kit included the traditional shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, a shower cap, a shaving kit, a sewing kit, and even a body sponge.

The Family friendly Sheraton Lisbon Portugal vanity

Safety features

The Sheraton Lisbon room window cracks open to let fresh air in but not enough for anyone to lean or fall through, the door latch is placed at an optimum height to prevent younger kids from opening the room door and darting out, and the TV is hung on the wall.

The Family friendly Sheraton Lisbon Portugal amenity kit

The bathrooms features include grab bars to hold onto when you enter and exit the shower and an SOS rope in case a patron requires emergency assistance.

The Family friendly Sheraton Lisbon Portugallounge

Executive Lounge

The lounge had exquisite views of the city (including Lisbon’s version of Christ the Redeemer) and served light breakfast and different snacks throughout the day. We enjoyed the freshly squeezed citrus and carrot juices offered in the morning, as well as the olive oil sampler at lunch, and the many choices of assorted teas.

The Family friendly Sheraton Lisbon Portugal lounge decor

The Family friendly Sheraton Lisbon Portugal lounge fruit

The Family friendly Sheraton Lisbon Portugal drinks
Restaurants

The property has two different restaurants on the property- a one casual downstairs near the lobby called The Lobby Bistro, and one on the roof appropriately named The Panorama Restaurant.

The Family friendly Sheraton Lisbon Portugal breakfast

The Sheraton Lisbon’s  downstairs restaurant serves an elaborate breakfast buffet, which includes pastries and baked goods (even some gluten free), and an impressive selection of cold cuts, white and yellow cheeses on a daily basis. The hot foods include eggs, sausages, pancakes, mushrooms, tomatoes, potatoes, and beans.
For those who like fish, there is a smoked salmon and black caviar eggs. Multiple yogurts and cereals, as well as fruits and vegetables, are also offered.

The Family friendly Sheraton Lisbon Portugal fish

The buffet offered several juices and even champagne, and a cappuccino maker so you can make your hot beverage. The restaurant offers a salads-dessert fixed price buffet spread as well as soups, sandwiches, and pasta for dinner.

The Family friendly Sheraton Lisbon Portugal fruit

After a tiring day of sightseeing, check out The Panorama Bar offering a happy hour with drink and sushi specials, or try the a la carte Portuguese cuisine dinner at the elegant Panorama Restaurant.

The Family friendly Sheraton Lisbon Portugal salads

Service

We enjoyed top of the line housekeeping service that catered to our different requests every morning in ten minutes or less from the time of the call.
The front desk staff especially Mr. Pimenta was incredibly careful about cleaning my pants for free after I slipped and fell into a puddle of wood gloss at a neighboring hotel.
Special thanks to Ms. Vanda C.  guest relations manager who helped us with our questions and advice.

 The Family friendly Sheraton Lisbon Portugal pastries

Autism  Travel Tips

The room might present some challenges to a person that is technologically challenged (like me), so ask the front desk staff to accompany you to the room and explain the different buttons for the shower and shades.

The Family friendly Sheraton Lisbon Portugal top bar

The bathroom makeup mirror works as a perfect nightlight that won’t disturb your child’s sleep, especially if they are light sensitive.
The Family friendly Sheraton Lisbon Portugal restaurant

If your child is temperature sensitive and you need to keep the room at a constant temperature bring a magnetic strip card with you to leave inserted at all times in the electrical entrance slot since the room has one of those mechanisms that requires a card inserted at all times or everything shuts off.

The Family friendly Sheraton Lisbon Portugal piano

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Review of the Westin Palace Madrid Spain

 

 

Over the years, the Westin Palace in Madrid has established itself as one of the city’s top hotels, receiving of numerous travel awards and accolades. Located on the prestigious boulevard Paseo del Prado in front of the world-renowned Prado Museum and across from the Thyssen Museum, the Hotel could not have been any more conveniently situated for sightseeing.

Needless to say, we were excited to be able to stay there and had high expectations for the establishment and the level of service offered. I had requested two feather free connecting rooms–a king-size bed and two singles–on a high floor to minimize our exposure to city traffic and noise and received an e-mail confirmation to that effect from the hotel reservation desk.

Review of the Westin Palace Madrid Spain coppola

Our rooms

Our connecting rooms, 5451 and 5453, on the fifth executive floor, were ready when we checked in, but we had to call housekeeping and remind them about the feather free request that was mishandled.
The rooms were designed in neutral colors and faced a side street away from the city’s noisy traffic.
Both rooms were beautifully furnished with a mahogany dresser, end tables, and chairs, not to mention Westin’s famously heavenly beds. The closet, which boasted multiple drawers and hanging areas, was encased in a mirror façade, as was the short and narrow corridor that led to each room.
The walls were mostly wallpapered, but they also had several areas upholstered in fabric, which was not only aesthetically pleasing but served as somewhat of a noise buffer between the rooms. The sand-colored bathroom, covered in marble tiles, featured ample countertop space and a state-of-the-art dual showerhead.

Review of the Westin Palace Madrid Spain beds

 

Public areas

The hotel’s public areas—from the magnificent staircase to the soft blue velvet sofas in the lobby, shining marble floors to the opulent cupola in the main restaurant—were quite impressive.

Built in over a century ago, the property had its own mini-museum, right by the restaurant, with souvenirs from famous people who have stayed there over the years.
The main restaurant features an elaborate but pricey breakfast buffet (approx. $35) and an opera Sunday brunch (approx. $85).

For budget conscious guests; there is a VIPS (an upscaled AM/PM ) fast food restaurant/mini mart that offers breakfast items for about $3, as well as the quintessential Starbucks.

Review of the Westin Palace Madrid Spain buffet

How the hotel accommodates autistic travelers

When I sat down for a brief chat with a hotel PR person, he told me that his hotel motto is flexibility; they try to accommodate all special needs and take an interest in the growing autistic community in particular.

Furthermore, he mentioned that the hotel staff is very involved in many community-based charities like ALADINA, a children’s cancer hospital, to which they donate a portion of the brunch opera proceeds.

The hotel offers quiet, allergen-free, comfortably large rooms as well as casein/gluten-free foods in their dining room upon request. They even treat man’s best friend kindly: they offer a dog version of their heavenly bed.

Review of the Westin Palace Madrid Spain restaurant

How we liked it

We did encounter several snags during our week-long stay–some were language misunderstandings while others could be attributed to cultural nuances in matters of time and customer service.All in all, we would stay again at the property and recommend the hotel because of the central location and amenities it offers.

 

 

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