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Children and Hotel Rooms - Cancel the Champagne

By Bianca Wordley - 23rd May 2011

There was a time in my past when a visit to a hotel was all about fluffy robes, long luxurious baths, champagne and room service. It was decadence, lazy afternoons, sleep-ins and in-house movies. Quite often there was a meal, which went late into the evening, wine and maybe even cocktails in a little bar, before walking hand-in-hand back to our room.

Now a visit to a hotel room involves much luggage and in our case, two adjoining rooms, a bag of snacks and colouring-in books to keep the kids occupied. Gone are the bottles of champagne and lazy mornings. The hotel room is now an adventure for the children.

As we sit with a glass of wine in hand, our kids, brimming with excitement, run into the bathroom squealing: “There’s a toilet AND a bath!” They jump on the couch and fly through the air onto the bed. They hide under the covers and open the bar fridge looking longingly at the chocolate bars. They plead for a packet of chips and channel-surf, looking for kids' programmes. It's exhausting.

And there is always this moment - when my husband and I look longingly at each other, willing the quiet of hotel rooms past. It quickly passes as we dive to save a table from the toddler who is armed with hotel logo-emblazoned stationery.We wipe the little pool of vomit from the carpet the baby is sitting on, and clean the four-year-old’s chocolate handprints off the television screen.

Last New Year's Eve, we stayed at a hotel. It was an extreme fire danger day, and living in the hills we thought it would be safer and easier to pack up and go away for the night. At first, both of us looked shell-shocked as the kids went through their hotel routine, bursting with energy. Finally, when it was clear the kids wouldn't be going to bed, we piled everyone into our two prams and went wandering through the busy streets. We bought ice creams and watched people piling in and out of restaurants.

We stopped in a park across the road from our hotel, the kids ran around squealing and we held each other’s hand and watched them creating their own memories. We watched their joy and happiness, and in turn, we felt the same. There was that feeling of magic in the air: of staying up late and being allowed to share in a slice of 'adult time'.

As we crept back into our hotel room with three sleeping children and tucked them into their crisp white sheets, we smiled at each other.

Asleep before midnight, I awoke to the sounds of fireworks. I nudged my husband awake and we stood looking out over the coast at the colours shooting into the sky. We kissed. We thought about the year gone and the year ahead. We thought about how hotel rooms have changed for us now. One day we’ll get to revisit our old ways, but for now I'm content. For now I have a renewed excitement for hotel rooms, one built on watching the delight of our kids as we burst through the doors. We're off on a holiday soon and this is one of the moments I am most looking forward to.

Image freedigitalphotos.net ahmet guler

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