Ten tips for booking a family-friendly hotel

“A satisfied customer. We should have him stuffed.” Basil Fawlty, circa 1975. Although written almost 40 years ago, Fawlty Towers still stands tall as an example of the hotel horror story.

Like many travellers, we’ve had our fair share of #epicfails including:

*Booking a room with no bath, so we had to wash the baby in the sink.

*Spending a small fortune on Wi-Fi, which we (stupidly) thought was free.

*Staying in a hotel next door to a construction site, for two weeks.

This is why I’ve compiled a list of the top 10 ways to avoid hotel horror.

1. Entertainment packs If you have young children, choose a hotel that has toy boxes in the room. Yes, they do exist. That way, if little Harriet forgets to bring Barbie, no one will drown in a tsunami of tears. Adina Apartment Hotels provide toy boxes, upon request.

2. Laundry Doing washing on holidays is rather boring. But it beats soaking your teenager’s smelly socks in the bathroom sink. Each Medina Serviced Apartment has a washer and dryer.

3. Flexibility No, this has nothing to do with yoga. Kids can be unpredictable. So, if there’s a last-minute illness/injury/sporting fixture, you don’t want to pay a cancellation fee. If you book direct with TFE Hotels, you can cancel or amend by 2pm on the day before check-in, without a fee.

4. Free Wi-Fi This is the holy grail for tweens and teens. Then, if they’re all “wah wah” about leaving their friends behind, they can FaceTime/Skype/instant message them without destroying your holiday budget. Most hotels have free connectivity in the foyer, but check which ones include it in the room as well.

5. Peace and quiet Is there anything worse than checking into a hotel, to a symphony of jackhammers next door? Or a disco? Perhaps an all-night party? All Vibe hotels have double-glazed windows.

6. Breakfast Not just any breakfast – free breakfast. Especially if it’s a buffet. Call me tight, but I love shovelling food down the kids’ throats then grabbing some fruit from the buffet for lunch on the run.

7. Package deals Increasingly, hotels are offering accommodation plus tickets to local attractions as part of a “staycation”. Medina Serviced Apartments Canberra has a 3inFun pack, while Novotels boast the Family Staycation brand.

8. Play centre Gone are the days of the weathered ping-pong table in the corner. Modern hotels are more likely to have a bowling alley, high-tech video games, and carnival rides. Fairmont Resort in the Blue Mountains has just opened a Mirror Maze Arcade in its KidsZone.

9. Doggone A lot of kids fret without their pets. Many of the BIG4 Holiday Parks are dog friendly, so your furry friends don’t miss out on all the fun.

10. The beach  Is there anything better than staying right on the beach? That way, you can tell the kids to go and play in the traffic – er, I mean, waves – while you’re close by. Check out the Seabreeze Beach Hotel in South West Rocks, on the NSW mid-north coast, overlooking the calm waters of Horseshoe Bay.

Follow these rules and you, too, could be stuffed. Like the happy customer in Fawlty Towers, I mean.

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