Ask most seasoned family travelers what makes a hotel family-friendly, and the answer is almost unanimous. "The staff is welcoming and understanding of our needs as a family," said frequent traveler Johanna Dunn, mother of two kids now in their teens. "It's not about just having a pool. It's about being accommodating as well as providing a comfortable environment for us all to relax."
In New Orleans, a city more associated with romantic getaways and adult playtime than pintsized adventures, there are solid options for hotels that manage both well. Attention to detail is a hallmark of each of these properties.The best kid-friendly sleeps have thought through the whole experience of staying together as a family. The rooms are spacious enough to accommodate extra gear and there are loads of little touches that make your stay easy, keep your kids safe, and maintain your peace of mind. This can be anything from black-out curtains to sturdy high chairs and fridges for storing milk. Add in a staff that won’t balk at the occasional tantrum, and you’ve picked a winner.
Although each of these hotels has solid amenties, the emphasis is less on boutique style than easy comfort. And while mom and dad may try to sneak in a little me time, these properties aren’t as much about romance as about location. With good proximity to plenty of attractions, these New Orleans hotels manage to both keep the kids occupied and the grown-ups impressed.
If it's tranquility and an uptown address you seek, this lovely guest house is ideal. Welcoming of "well behaved children," (older kids are perfect), Park View is a circa 1881 mansion with a prime location at the edge of Audubon Park. If you're driving anyway or taking the St. Charles Avenue Streetcar, the oasis-like setting of the park is a treat. Furnished with period pieces and Oriental rugs, all of the 21 rooms feature private baths. The property attracts many Europeans and is popular with parents visiting students at Tulane and Loyola Universities, both of which are about two blocks away. You're close to the zoo, and the joy of just stepping outside to let the kids run off some steam is terrific.
New Orleans' Harrah's Hotel is great for families who want access to gaming without having to walk through the casino every time they head to the room. Walking distance to French Quarter attractions, this gem has more than 400 rooms outfitted with high-def flat screens, Simmons Beautyrest mattresses and complimentary Wifi. The higher floors offer great views of the Mississippi River and sunset. The concierge service here will go out of their way to make recommendations and to make sure you get adequate directions to your adventure dujour. The hotel is right at Fulton Street, with its restaurants (try Manning's) and newly opened Fulton Alley which offers daytime bowling for the kids.
Although it's synonymous with luxury, this well located Canal Street lovely doesn't skimp on the VIP treatment for the kiddos. The POLO (Protect Our Little Ones) Kits available to parents include outlet covers, infant/toddler bath amenities, and (if needed) a forehead thermometer strip. As part of Ritz Kids – Infants Program, the youngest guests are surprised with fun bits like an activity/coloring book at check-in, as well as an age-appropriate gift (ie, rubber duck, stuffed animal or sweet treat). Cribs, pack & plays, infant bath tubs, humidifiers, diaper pail and diapers, microwave and mini-refrigerators are all available. There are 38 connecting and adjoining room setups good for extended families, with multiple bedroom arrangements connected by one master door. Add in the fine M. Bistro adjacent to the Davenport Lounge, where kids can catch live music without worrying about sitting at the bar, and this property is top shelf.
Although most often associated with convention groups, this towering Marriott on Canal Street has plenty to offer families interested in the full service treatment. Situated on the business district side of the French Quarter, the hotel is close to all French Quarter attractions, from the aquarium and river walk to Royal Street buskers and the Canal Streetcar line. The low-ceilinged, ground-floor lobby is a haven of gift shops, lounges and the Café du Marché coffee shop. The 1,290 rooms and 54 suites add up to every possible room option, with accommodations on the top floors delivering river and cityscape views. The Riverview Restaurant and Steakhouse dishes views along with a children's menu. Standard amenities includes 24-hour room service, self-service laundry facilities and complimentary in-room coffee.
A cut above the average chain hotel, this Crowne Plaza by the airport dishes value and a central location for visiting the city and other nearby attractions. Bragging rights include a courtyard salt water pool, popular for travelers with children. Newly renovated, the spacious lobby pops with primary colors, and is home to The Landing Restaurant, open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with a kids' menu available upon request. The Esplanade shopping mall is just a few blocks away. Connecting rooms are a boon to travelers wanting the kids close, but not in the same room. Stay in a suite for access to the nightly welcome reception in the Club Lounge Monday to Friday.
For a comfortable family home away from home, Homewood Suites fills the bill. Spacious one and two-bedroom suites offer fully equipped kitchens, free WiFi and plenty of room to spread out and relax after a day of sightseeing. Hot breakfast is complimentary, as are dinner and drinks Monday-Thursday. Each suite offers a full sized refrigerator, stove, dishwasher, and microwave, as well as features to keep little travelers comfortable too. The staff will be more than happy to do your grocery shopping so your kitchen can be stocked with goodies. A fitness center and pool are available so guests can unwind after busy day at the park with the kids. The hotel is right on Poydras, an easy walk to anything in the downtown area.
Located just a half-block off of many of the Mardi Gras parade routes, this charming property delivers terrific value in an historically restored setting. Rooms, many with Magazine Street views, come with two double beds, queens or a single king. Extras include free Wi-Fi for all the family devices, a complimentary hot continental breakfast, in-room fridge and more. This is a pet friendly hotel in case you've brought Fido along. The CBD location is close to the CHildren's Museum, the French Quarter, Streetcar line to the Garden District and the Insectarium, Aquarium and IMAX theater. Ask about special offers that include tickets to family attractions.
If you want your kid-friendly getaway to have scads of extras in a full service setting, this Riverside property fills the bill. Head off the lobby directly to the Riverwalk shopping mall, or visit the Aquarium of the Americas, just steps away. The 1,616 spacious rooms have plenty of amenities, with cribs available upon request. You're within an easy walk to to the French Quarter and Jackson Square. Let the kids work off some energy at playing tennis on the rooftop or swimming in the pool. Drago's Seafood Restaurant, locals' fave, offers a kids' menu and high chairs for the little ones.
This Embassy Suites Hotel is a great pre or post-cruise option, located steps away from the Cruise Ship Terminal at the Port of New Orleans. Hungry little ones will appreciate complimentary made-to-order breakfast and an evening reception with snacks, soft drinks and of course cocktails for the grownups. A children's menu, playpens and cribs are available upon request. There is an outdoor swimming pool, whirlpool spa and complete fitness center. The 100 percent non-smoking hotel is all-suites, with a bedroom and living room area, each equipped with a flat screen TV. A 24-hour Pavilion Pantry Market is helpful for last minute bites.
This former office building in the heart of downtown has been reimagined into one of the best sleeps in town. From its West Indies--style lobby to its well appointed spacious guest rooms enriched with local artwork, the Loews makes a body feel right at home. Café Adelaide and the Swizzle Stick Bar, both on the lobby level, are run by the same Brennans that own Commander's Palace Restaurant. Accessible to everything that counts downtown, Loews is just .8 miles from the arena and close to Harrah's and the river. little farther out, is farther from Bourbon and Royal than others on this list, but still within walking distance. A full service spa, ballroom and lap pool round out the amenities of this great hotel.