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At the Chester Residence in Edinburgh, teddy bears who are accidentally left behind are given a Facebook photo-shoot around the hotel before they are reunited with their distraught young owners. Sweet.
The hotel also offers a range of cuddly toys, games, DVDs and books (including the complete Harry Potter series) to keep kids occupied, as well as practicalities like child-sized bathrobes, cots and high chairs, and in its self-catering suites offers extra milk and fruit and a food shopping service, so guests can arrive to find the fridge already stocked with family favourites.That's unusual, and commendable. Boutique-style city hotels sometimes seem like a child-free zone, with parents and kids relegated to destinations that offer a 21st-century take on the old-school bucket-and-spade holiday.But it doesn't have to be that way. Families like cities too – and let's not forget that we're not all metropolitans.
Kids growing up next to a miles-long beach may (as I once did) find urban life fascinating. But the key to a happy family holiday in the city is a homely refuge that you can retreat to before a fab day out ends in tears. There's a lot more to creating such a family-friendly cocoon than providing cots for tots and sofa-beds for sub-teens. Kids who take high-speed internet access for granted at home and at school will lose the plot if they can't get online instantly in their hotel room. Cue tantrums. A 'stock-it-yourself' mini fridge that can be filled with family favourites is a boon, while a minibar full of over-priced fizzy drinks and sweets is a pain.
A secure outside space, like your room's own walled-in garden area, can be a sanity-saving haven for parents and tots. Interconnecting rooms can give older children some space to themselves with cutting them completely off from mum and dad. In short, your hotel room needs to be much more than just a place to sleep: it needs to be a base of operations for all the family.