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What makes a hotel truly family-friendly? It’s easy to squeeze a cot in a bedroom and say you’re all up for kids staying, but I find that true family-friendliness is something totally different than just the sleeping arrangements.
It’s about whether the children feel happy being there, and the grown-ups, too: how often have you been made to feel uncomfortable for having your children in a hotel’s common areas, or a restaurant? I know I have, probably completely unintentionally, but having my children feel welcome when they’re with me is one of my main enjoyment factors when it comes to staying away.
Stratford Manor Hotel
This weekend, myself and my two monkeys found ourselves at the Stratford Manor hotel, spending the day and night in William Shakespeare country before a trip to Warwick Castle the next day. I’d spent some time looking at the hotel’s website – it is part of the small Qhotels chain – and to be honest I expected it to be more of a corporate hotel rather than a family friendly one. I was pleasantly proven wrong!
We arrived at around 6.30pm on Sunday evening and the friendly receptionist handed the children welcome packs of games and activities – they were thrilled and couldn’t wait to get cracking. As we took a short walk to find our newly refurbished room on the first floor I was happy to see the hotel was dog-friendly; in my opinion, a hotel that’s dog friendly is generally pretty good to children, too. After all, kids are just like dogs but on two legs, am I right?
The room was sizeable with a larger than king-size bed and a pop-up bed in the corner. Of course all three of us ended up sleeping in the big bed, which was more than big enough for this arrangement ;) We found all the usual four star amenities such as a kettle, fridge, safe and room service. There was no air conditioning but a fan was provided and this was enough to keep us cool in the evening (plus a total luxury for Hux who had never seen one before, the poor deprived child). The room was spotlessly clean – something I’m completely anal about – and the bathroom large and lovely.
We headed down to the bar with our kids packs for a nightcap: a nice glass of Merlot for me and two babycinnos for the kids. There were other children (and dogs!) happily playing with their own packs in the bar, which made us feel comfortable and happy that kids were welcome here. I checked in on my emails – wifi was fast and free.
Come sleep time we snuggled into the big bed and watched a film on the big TV before drifting off.
Ever since the amazing breakfast spread at Lakitira, we can’t get enough of a breakfast buffet. This one was pretty good – all your full english options as well as a cereal bar, toast and great yoghurts with toppings, and specials to order like porridge and eggs benedict/royale. It was a bit unfortunate that we seemed to arrive just as many of the hot items had been depleted by the other guests (about 8.50am) but they were quickly replenished.
One of the great things about breakfast was there was a treasure hunt for gold coins based around the buffet. The kids were given sheets to record the locations of the gold coins and once they’d found them all they got a prize. Which meant mummy got to have a cup of tea and full english in peace – genius!
Check-out was a breeze, with every single member of staff we came across being absolutely lovely. It makes such a difference when they speak directly to the children rather than through me, which they always appreciate.
All in all, we really enjoyed our stay here. It’s not five-star luxury, but Stratford Manor’s attitude towards the kids made this a stay that was better for us than a fancier hotel with more luxurious amenities. We were sad we didn’t get a chance to try out the pool – it looked great!
If you’re looking for a family hotel in the Stratford/Warwick area, you can’t go wrong here – we’d return without hesitation.
Stratford Manor Hotel, Warwick Road, Stratford-Upon-Avon, CV37 0PY