As an elbow spears my stomach for a third time, I have an epiphany. Sleeping in the same bed as your kids is wrong: especially on holidays.
Our family of four is in a hotel room, with two double beds, for a week. Let’s face it: hotels are terrible at accommodating families. There are historical reasons for this; they were designed for business travel.
But with 92 per cent of travellers saying they plan to take their family on their next trip, according to research by TripAdvisor, hotels are chasing this lucrative market.
“While the hotel industry does cater for families in some respects, there is still a way to go,” says the regional director from Hotels.com, Katherine Cole. She describes her organisation as ” an advocate for more stress-free family holidays.”
Here are some hotels trying to help.
SWISSOTEL, SYDNEY The kids’ rooms are decorated with age-appropriate toys, games and movies. There’s even a tent in the corner, as a cubby house. The rooms are interconnecting, so parents have their own space.
HOLIDAY INN RESORT PHUKET MAI KHAO BEACH The Kid’s Suite has a colourful alcove, with bunk beds, flat screen TV, DVD player and games console. In our family cooking class, the kids made pizza, while I created a Thai feast.
SHERATON NEW CALEDONIA DEVA RESORT & SPA The huge, ultra-modern two-bedroom suites have a serviced kitchenette and three TVs, so no fighting for the remote. Most watersports, and bike hire, are free.
NANUKU, FIJI One nanny per child. Need I say more? They entertain the kids with coconut painting, village visits, or snorkelling, while you relax by the pool.
RENDEZVOUS HOTEL, PERTH The newly renovated rooms are enormous, with two king beds. Across the road is a surf beach, bike track, and circus classes, courtesy of Twilight Flyers.
THE LANGHAM MELBOURNE The highlight of a stay here is the character high tea, which includes themed treats, book reading, and glasses of champagne (for you, of course, not the kids).
YHA Most properties have a communal kitchen, free Wi-Fi, and plenty of books and board games: perfect for a family on a budget.
HILTON HAWAIIAN VILLAGE WAIKIKI BEACH RESORT Sure, it’s loud. But that’s because there’s so much to do, pool and beachside, including surfing, paddle boarding, and pedal-boating.
DISNEYLAND HOTEL Pool waterslides, Disney character breakfasts, and musical bed-heads: this hotel has it all. On the Concierge level, cast members do magic tracks for the kids.
NOVOTEL TWIN WATERS, SUNSHINE COAST The two-bedroom self-contained rooms are ideal for large families. Kids can bounce on the water trampoline, learn circus skills, or feed kangaroos.
So, here’s a challenge for hoteliers: Bring your own family — kids, grandchildren, nephews or nieces — to stay at the property and then ask them for an honest assessment. Anyone who thinks a double-double is suitable for a family of four has never had an elbow in the guts at four o’clock in the morning.