Luxury Hotels With Kids

Travel lifestyle certainly changes after you have kids.  You exchange late nights out for early evenings; long fancy meals for quick and easy, and you trade out your fancy shoes for diapers in your suitcase.  It is all so different.  I admit, we've become very creative to make vacation enjoyable for us while still accommodating our kids.
The sleeping situation is definitely different after you have kids.  If you are anything like us around 8:30pm back at the hotel, you will try to put your kids to bed; hide out in the bathroom until they are asleep (or sometimes, you just put them in the bathroom to sleep).  I can see why families would want to book an Airbnb apartment when traveling with their kids because the separate rooms and full functioning kitchen are so nice.  However we LOVE the feel of treating ourselves and staying at a luxury hotel so that we can enjoy the services they provide and really feel like we are on vacation and not needing to cook, wash dishes, etc.

St. James of Knysna is luxury at it's finest.  Our room was supplied with a complimentary fruit plate and little extras, such as turn down service, hot breakfast menu (including fresh haddock entree or eggs benedict), making our beds while we were at breakfast and even WASHING OUR CAR before we checked out in the morning.  It was all so fancy.

So what do you do with your kids in a place like this!?

Before I had kids, I always imagined that I would have the most perfect children.  They would sit quietly and follow my every direction.  When introduced to a newcomer, they would hold out their hand and say "nice to meet you" with the most adorable smile.  Always minding their manners saying "please" and "thank you", and never throwing a tantrum.  Yes, I was the best parent before I had kids. ;-)

So these are the types of things that freak me out when we stay at a luxury hotel like St. James of Knysna:  Noise levels escalating, spills, getting up at the table, breaking fine china, meltdowns, no sleep, climbing on furniture... or worse, an ACCIDENT on the furniture, touching white walls... the list goes on.

Let me tell you what worked for us, using our experience at St. James of Knysna.  However, please note that we are by no means expert parents.  We are still figuring out this whole parent thing, and accidents/meltdowns still happen. Every. Day.

We promised Dylan ice cream alllll day.  Of course, by the time we made it to the town, the ice cream shop was closed and the only places still open were sit down restaurants.  We really don't visit a lot of sit down restaurants when we travel because A. they are more expensive, and B. the kids generally sit a lot either in their stroller or the car that we don't really want to make them sit again at a restaurant.  However, we were able to find one that served ice cream sundays and we were all a little hungry.  This particular restaurant had tables and chairs, but also a lounge area with couches overlooking the harbor.  So we sat in the couch area and let the boys walk/crawl between the couches while we waited.  The restaurant was pretty loud, so I don't think we bothered anyone and the boys certainly sat still as soon as the ice cream came. ;-)

Hotel Rooms
Our room at St. James was absolutely fantastic, probably one of the largest open rooms in which we ever stayed.  The boys LOVED running laps back and forth across the room and fortunately all the breakable decorations were high enough.  They really NEEDED to run a little because it was rainy that day and the drive took much longer than we thought it would- we all had a bit of pent up energy we needed to let out.  Of course, when it was time to leave our room and go out for the night, Dylan had a HUGE meltdown because he didn't want to use the bathroom even though we knew he needed to... when reasoning failed, we finally bribed him with some candy and were on our way.  (Anyone relate?... please comment below if you do... strength in numbers.. or is it misery loves company? lol!)
At night, we put the boys to bed early and LITERALLY camped out in the bathroom until both boys fell asleep.  We don't always do this; sometimes we'll pretend to go to sleep with the boys and once we know they are out, we'll pull out our laptop and phones and hang out until our bedtime.  This bathroom was huge and they had a Jacuzzi bathtub, so I didn't mind relaxing in there.  And Matt brought his laptop in to do work on the floor... I know... doesn't sound too luxurious (which is why we brought a bottle of wine in there as well while we waited). Lol!

Luxury Breakfasts
The next morning at breakfast, I was sooo nervous the boys would disrupt the other guests, because it was soooo fancy.  We sometimes luck out and the boys are super hungry in the morning and they can sit for a while eating everything, but most mornings, they aren't really interested in food and then start to get antsy if sitting too long.  I can't really blame them... I eat breakfast in 5 minutes at home, but these breakfasts can last over an hour with wait time and everything!  We brought our tablet as a backup plan in case Dylan (age 3) was too fidgety, but he actually did great... although he did get up a few times to come see me, and wanted to go with either Matt or me every ten minutes to visit the buffet and bring something back.  We kept Christopher (15 months) contained in his stroller for the meal.  He is such a little wiggle worm that he will weasel himself out of any high chair; so it just makes sense to keep him contained in that.  Of course everything was served in china and I gave him some dry cereal in a bowl, which he dropped and it broke everywhere.  :(  I was embarrassed, but we tried not to make a scene of it.
Kids and Luxury
Obviously, kids are kids.  Moooost people are extremely understanding that they will not always be perfect, especially when they see that we, the parents, are training and redirecting when needed.  One thing I find that really helps is to dress the boys in nicer clothes when we visit these types of hotels; so we trade in t-shirts and sporty shorts for polo shirts and khakis.  We wash their faces and when we head out of our room, we remind the boys about proper behavior.  "This is a fancy place"..."make sure to keep your hands behind your back and ask us if you want to touch something"..."remember to you use your inside voice" ..."don't forget to say please and thank you" ..."ask for permission to get out of your seat" ...etc.

Of course we can say all these things and still deal with problems.  Which is why we also ALWAYS carry around "emergency snacks" and a tablet with games, just in case.  And when all else fails, we know when it's time to head back to our room because "this is not happening"! lol!  By the way- our kids are SOO much better away than they are at home.  They are distracted with so many new things that keeps their interest and we deal with a lot less behavior problems when we are away!  You never know unless you try.  Always try.  You may be pleasantly surprised!! :)


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