What we look for in hotels

Let’s kick 2018 off with a confession: I’m a hotel geek with a soft spot for family-friendly luxury hotels. Researching hotels is one of my favorite hobbies. My former career in hospitality might have something to do with that. It gets so bad that I sometimes pick a destination solely based on the hotel instead of the other way around. Then again, I’ve never been a mainstream kind of person (and that might just be an understatement). Instead, I’m a sucker for service. My former colleagues will agree that I made it a priority to offer the highest level of service during my hospitality career. Therefore, it comes natural to expect nothing less when I travel myself.

My home is where my family is

The result of my extensive hotel research is a loooooooong bucket list of family-friendly luxury hotels I hope to stay at one day. Some have been checked off, others haven’t and some might never. But that can’t keep me from dreaming about and planning future vacations. And with one of my girls being an aspiring hotel architect, the list will pretty much guaranteed be kept up to date for many years to come. 🙂

Two sisters laughing and having fun in the outdoor jacuzzi

My ultimate dream would be to hop from one luxury hotel to the other, indefinitely. My home is where my family is, anyway. But then reality kicks in, with school and work to take into account. And budget, off course. So, I have to settle for school holidays and extended week-ends. But that doesn’t mean I’m giving up on the dream, it just means that I find a more realistic strategy to maximize our family travel experiences.

Two sisters in a fancy dress, one making silly faces, on the porch of the Curio by Hilton Madison Beach Resort, a family-friendly luxury hotel in Connecticut

What we look for in family-friendly luxury hotels

We’re no fans of massive all-inclusive resorts and dinner buffets. So, we seek out the somewhat smaller and intimate, preferably boutique-style properties because that’s where we feel most at home. Hotels that kept a certain authentic flair so we actually get a feel of the destination. Oh, and let’s not forget: a mouth-watering sumptuous breakfast and à la carte dinner.

Of course the kids should feel at home as much as we do. After all, family vacations are meant to be enjoyed together. We really prefer to spend every minute together. Though I have to admit that, now they’re getting a bit older, the girls do like to participate in an occasional kids club activity too. We don’t necessarily look for that in a hotel although the presence of such a club can give you an idea as to how family-friendly a hotel really is. That being said, a dedicated kids’ pool or a beach do the trick just as well. Some hotels go the extra mile by offering academies where kids can learn a sport, cooking lessonsmovie nights on the beach or spa treatments just for them, mini-bathrobes and slippers included. Those are the hotels we aim for.A little girl wearing a bathrobe at the spa of the Palazzo di Varignana Resort & Spa, one of Italy's prime family-friendly luxury hotels

Luxury has its price

Hotels with this kind of service don’t come cheap. So, don’t assume that we stay in this kind of prestigious hotels during all of our travels. A combination of flexibility in dates, a time-consuming strategy of leveraging various loyalty programs and the right balance between standard and luxury accommodations allow us to splurge from time to time. When it comes to city breaks for example, the destination is what it’s all about so we happily compromise on accommodation. (Just a bit since the germ-freak in me couldn’t handle too big of a difference.) For the occasional relaxing holiday, we do value the above-and-beyond kind of service of a family-friendly luxury hotel.

Another reason why that balance is important, is to teach our kids that they can’t always have it all. Recently, we were staying at an accommodation that did not live up to Alegra’s expectations and she had a small crisis. An excellent opportunity to show her that the travel experience is what matters the most, regardless of the accommodation.

A girl laughing out loud in a fancy restaurant at the Palazzo di Varignana Resort & Spa, one of out favorite family-friendly luxury hotels

How you can benefit from our love for family-friendly luxury hotels

Choosing the perfect hotel for your next family holiday can be time-consuming, even if you know where to look. So, what if I could save you the trouble by sharing my favorite family-friendly luxury resorts as well as my ever-growing bucket list with you? Not all at once, of course, because that would make your head spin. I’ll split it up in easily digestible articles centred around certain hotels or destinations.

  • Bucket list hotels

Europe has been our vacation playground ever since we were kids. It therefore seems like the logical place to start. Here’s an overview of the luxury hotels you’ll find in out bucket list hotels section:

Ready to discover some of the gems we’ve stayed at in detail? You’ll find reviews of the following hotels in our hotel reviews category:

Check out our Pinterest page for luxury hotel reviews from other bloggers. Oh, and thanks for following us there while you’re at it.

What about your family travel balance?

Do you share our love for family-friendly luxury hotels? What do you look for in a hotel? What is your ultimate travel dream? Is it any bit as unrealistic as mine? 🙂 And do you have some kind of travel strategy in place allowing you to maximize your family travel time? Care to share it?

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