5 signs of a baby-friendly hotel

Congratulations, new parents, on your bundle of joy. Your life has completely changed, you’ve never been as tired in your life—and you definitely could use some R & R. What might surprise you is that these first few months before your baby starts to crawl is a magical window for your first family vacation together.

Infants typically take regular naps and don't need a lot of bells and whistles to keep them occupied, so rookie parents don't need a roster of family-friendly activities or a slew of recreational amenities to ensure a great first trip. Even so, it’s important to choose a hotel that provides what you need to be comfortable and relaxed. Here are five signs of a baby-friendly hotel.

Cribs on demand. If your hotel can lend you a crib and set it up in your room for your baby, it means it’s accustomed to hosting families with babies and toddlers. Even if you co-sleep or plan to bring your own travel crib, it’s still a good idea to ask if cribs are available. Another good idea: Learn how to childproof your hotel room.

Wheelchair accessibility. If a resort is fully wheelchair-friendly, it’s also stroller-friendly. Easy navigation without having to dodge obstacles and staircases can make all the difference when it comes to fully enjoying a property. Got a reluctant napper? A long stroll around a large, sprawling property can be just the ticket for scoring some quiet time.

In-room fridge and microwave. Dozens of all-suite hotel chains offer full kitchens and floor plans with separate living and sleeping areas, which make them the ultimate in baby-friendly accommodations. Still, all you really need is a fridge for cold storage and a microwave to heat baby food and sterilize bottles and utensils. In a pinch, an electric travel kettle is a handy take-along.

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Kid-friendly dining. Your baby might be too young for PB&J sandwiches and chicken fingers, but ask if there’s a kid’s menu anyway; it’s a tell-tale sign that the hotel’s restaurant caters to children. Babies need a safe and comfortable place to sit during family mealtimes, so inquire whether high chairs are available at all of the on-property dining options. Arriving for an early dinner seating ensures that you’ll get a table and be served promptly, before the wait staff and kitchen get busy.

Low-key evening entertainment. A resort with an on-property nightclub may remind you that it’s been a while since you painted the town red. Still, chances are you won't appreciate loud music pulsing below your hotel room after a certain hour. At many an island resort, the pool area is transformed into a music venue at night, so request a room away from the action if your baby is a light sleeper.

Corinne McDermott of HaveBabyWillTravel.com contributed this to MiniTime.com.

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