Between the skyscrapers, the taxis whizzing by, the outrageous array of interesting people and brand-new things to do, the city is endless entertainment for kids. But many of New York’s most fabulous hotels also offer special kids programs, activities and extras that will keep the little ones happy and pampered all day— making a family visit to New York that much easier on parents. Your little Eloise might not have the run of the Plaza, but she’ll love the hotel’s glamorous kid-friendly gift bags and unique itineraries. Here are a few of our favorite hotels for making the big family trip extra special for tots.
This Midtown East hotel knows what eight-year-olds around the world want: American Girl dolls. The Affinia 50‘s American Girl package includes a free gift bag with a doll-sized bed for your Julie or Caroline, access to a personal shopper at the Fifth Avenue flagship store and continental breakfast for two (which makes a lovely mother-daughter treat). The Affinia’s comfortable, spacious rooms can also be booked through the Kid Tested, Parent Approved package, where kids under 12 stay free of charge and breakfast for four is included.
New York Palace
The legendary Madison Avenue property lists several attractive offers for families, including a get-the-fourth-night-free deal in the spacious suites. Little girls will jump at the chance to join the Cinderella promotion that’s in the works (the Broadway show is due to open February), or they can participate in the American Girl Place package, which includes a tiny crib for your girls’ dolls. Extras like child-sized robes and slippers and New York-themed cookies and sweets make the New York Palace an especially appealing choice for the child who deserves everything. Built in 1882, the McKim, Mead & White building is conveniently situated near Central Park, Fifth Avenue shopping and tourist attractions like St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
The Loews Regency
The Loews Regency kids’ program is called Loews Loves Kids — and it appears they do, with a variety of special extras to help keep your offspring entertained. The under-10 set will receive a gift bag upon arrival, and the “Kids Closet” is available anytime, featuring access to toys, books, DVD players and other fun stuff. Parents can rest assured that any logistical needs will be met: the hotel provides strollers, car seats, baby bathtubs, cribs and clever kits to baby-proof your room. Concierges are on call to plan a kid-centric itinerary, as well as help arrange babysitting so that parents can go out on the town. The hotel extends its hospitality to older kids too, with a Loews Loves Teens program that offers music downloads and special lists of activities perfect for tweens and teens.
The Plaza Hotel
Little girls the world over share the Eloise fantasy, a dream to follow in the frolicking footsteps of the famous Plaza-dwelling heroine of Kay Thompson’s charming children’s books. The extraordinary hotel offers several Eloise-themed opportunities, allowing kids the chance to turn literature into reality. Accommodations in the Eloise Suite, which was designed by the famed, funky designer Betsey Johnson, include so much more than just pink, frilly decor (chandelier included): guests can attend high tea at the Palm Court, wear a kid-sized Eloise bathrobe, stage a photoshoot with the provided Eloise-branded camera, go shopping at the Plaza’s Eloise boutique (with a generous $100 gift certificate), and, of course, read the book again and again with a copy that’s already in the room. There’s even a dedicated Eloise Ambassador on staff. As Eloise herself says, “Getting bored is not allowed.”
Boys who might not go for the books will love the Knights of the Plaza package. The Plaza’s Tower Suite is transformed into a comfortable lair, and the young medievalists experience a specially arranged picnic at Central Park’s Belvedere Castle, thematic books and DVDs, a $100 gift certificate to FAO Schwartz and a closetful of Knight-themed costumes and toys.
The SoHo Grand
Even though it’s the kind of place you might spot a movie star in the lobby bar, the SoHo Grand actually caters to kids with enthusiasm. Its kid-friendly welcome package features a unique itinerary geared toward children. Maclaren strollers are ready and waiting for a spin around the Soho streets (the hotel is located right near Chinatown, Little Italy, Canal Street, the West Village and other fun places to wander). Request necessary items like diaper pails and cribs and the hotel will take care of it. They’ll even deliver a goldfish to your room (Pets with four feet are also welcome at the property). Babysitting services are available and should be taken advantage of — dining and nightlife options in the area are great.
70 Park Avenue
Because 70 Park Avenue is a Kimpton Group hotel, it offers the Kids Rule program, in which kids are given a welcome bag of toys and games, and the rooms boast large-screen TVs with Nintendo and a killer sound system. Getting around NYC with cranky kids is hard, and the hotel happily provides strollers (cribs and other kid accoutrements are available upon request). A wide selection of connecting and double-bedded rooms make it a particularly wise choice for families.
At the zenith of luxury sits the Four Seasons, a place not immediately associated with the pitter-patter of overactive toddlers. But the 57th Street hotel, located amidst designer shops, and a short walk from Central Park, is more than welcoming to the young ones, asking guests to provide the names and ages of kids ahead of time so that it can tailor activities just for them. Kid-size bathrobes are provided, plus children’s menus (in-room and in the hotel’s renowned restaurants), coloring books, games and a DVD library.
The Omni Berkshire starts things off right: through its ongoing Omni Sensational Kids Program, boys and girls are presented with cookies and milk upon arrival, as well as backpacks filled with treats, toys and activity books. Several family-oriented deals are available through the hotel’s booking services, but the property’s most unique program might be Teen Connection, where a recent high-school graduate is retained to give visiting teens recommendations and tips on navigating the city. The hotel’s Teen Concierge can be contacted through Twitter, text or email — obvs.
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