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Bring one pair of comfortable walking shoes as well as a pair of sandals or Tevas. Before you leave home, break in your new shoes so you're not uncomfortable on the road.

All-Suite Hotels - an introduction

Travel Tips

ALL-SUITE HOTELS

For parents thinking about getting away from it all, a vacation with the kids is not necessarily the first idea that comes to mind.

But in these money-conscious times, when work hours are long and vacation hours are few, sometimes two different trips is outside the realm of possibility. According to the U.S. Travel Data Center, more than 75 percent of all vacations taken each year include children. This is where all-suite hotels can make a difference and, according to Lanier Publishing's All-Suite Hotel Guide, travelers now have more than 1,200 all-suite hotels to choose from in the United States and abroad.

All-suite hotels entered the hospitality market with the business traveler in mind, providing home-away-from-home comforts for long business trips and separate living and sleeping rooms to better accommodate in-room business meetings. It wasn't long, however, before the benefits to traveling families became equally apparent. Private sleeping areas for parents or for children's nap time and kitchen facilities to save money on meals as well as to accommodate children's eating patterns are among the benefits of all-suite travel for families with children.

This kind of sensitivity to the special needs of parents and kids away from home extends to the services that many all-suites offer, including babysitting referrals and on-site convenience stores that rent children's videos. Facilities can include extra-large closets for storing strollers and other baby equipment, and play pens are often available at no extra cost.

Some all-suites offer packages specifically for families with kids. Manhattan East Suite Hotels, a group of nine hotels located in midtown and the upper east side of Manhattan, offers a Family Weekend Package at eight of their nine hotels. The package includes a one- or two-bedroom suite, free parking, discount admission to the Children's Museum, a kid's fun-time kit with coloring books and crayons, free cribs, access to babysitting referral services and two helpful publications, the New York Public Library Guide to Children's Activities and their own Manhattan East Suite Hotel Guide to Family Restaurants. Each of the Manhattan Suite Hotels offers slightly different amenities, from kitchen items like automatic dishwashers and microwaves to full-service facilities like health clubs.

Embassy Suites is another leader in attending to the needs of families with kids. Embassy initiated a family sensitivity training program to train employees to deal with kids as guests, then began offering FamilyFriendly suites and kids programming. The suites are designed with corner guards on furniture, cover guards on electrical outlets, locks on microwaves and protective covers on bathtub faucets. All drinking glasses have been removed and replaced with plastic tumblers. In addition, many of these hotels offer an emergency diaper delivery, free use of playpens and other baby supplies, and kid-style delivery service of everything from peanut butter and jelly to apple juice. At some of the more popular family destinations, Embassy offers an on-site supervised play center for children ages 3 to 13. The Cool Cat Kids Club features indoor play areas, video games and arts and crafts. Meals and evening activities are also available through the Kids Clubs.

Like Embassy Suites, CrownSterling Suites offers many benefits to guests with children. Crown Sterling encourages business travelers to bring the family, who can sight-see or use the swimming pool while Mom or Dad works. All Crown Sterling hotels are enclosed around atriums, providing a high degree of security, and the full hotel is visible from almost anywhere inside, making it easy to keep track of children on the run. Three of Crown Sterling's hotels offer supervised kids' programs--Krown Kids in Phoenix, Beach Buddies at Mandalay Beach and Cabana, Kids Klub at DeerField Beach--all of which offer both day and evening activities. Crown also offers specials to paying guests at selected locations such as a free extra room--with TV--for the kids.

Summerfield Suites Hotels have a particular appear for families as well. The two-bedroom suites which make up half of Summerfield's suites provide maximum privacy for adults and kids. Each suite features two bedrooms, each with a private bath and television, joined by a living room and kitchen. The living room includes an additional television and a video cassette player. A complimentary breakfast buffet offers favorite kids' cereals along with fruit, juice, coffee and muffins. Sports equipment and board games are available for use. The two-bedroom Summerfield Suites are uniform among the different properties, allowing families to plan well and avoid unhappy surprises.

As most parents are well aware, it's not just facilities but a child-friendly atmosphere that can make a difference on a family vacation. Providing a crib alone is not enough to make a family feel welcome. In addition to making financial sense for today's working families, all-suite hotels are making the effort to attract family travelers, and that effort is most appreciated.

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13193 Mountain Dr.
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