10 Family Friendly Hotels in Five Global Business Hubs
They call it “bleisure” travel, and it’s on the rise. With connectivity making it easier to work while on the go, and work-life balance becoming increasingly important, more travelers are blending the trips they have to do for business with the ones they want to do for leisure. And they’re often bringing their families along for the journeys.
Here, we spotlight family friendly hotels in five business hubs around the world, plus nearby retreats that are ideal for post-work relaxation and quality bonding time.
City Base: Mandarin Oriental, Paris
Mini teddy bears, pint-sized robes, children’s menus (paired with smaller cutlery), a family focused weekend brunch and more amenities help ensure that even the littlest guests are cared for at this standout near the Louvre and Tuileries Gardens. Opened eight years ago in what were once offices for the Ministry of Justice, the hotel has seen a 30 to 40 percent increase in family travel over the last few years. Though its chic design, Michelin-starred restaurant and buzzy bar scene make it a hit with adults, the comfortable vibe and personable service make the Mandarin accommodating for multigenerational guests. Also helpful are the wide array of junior and full suites, some of which are spread out over two levels, and most of which can be combined with additional bedrooms. In summer 2019, partly in response to the increased number of families, the hotel launched the top-level Parisian Apartment, a floor-through, residential-style, four-bedroom suite with two living rooms, an office, a chef’s kitchen and an expansive garden terrace with lounging and dining spaces.
Rates start at $1,130, mandarinoriental.com/paris
Country Retreat: Hotel Château
Hop the train at Paris’ Gare Montparnasse for a one-hour ride to the edges of the Loire Valley to find one of the more unique chateau hotels in the region. Built in 1764 for Baron Jacques Pineau de Viennay, this neoclassical-style estate is situated in the heart of the village of Le Grand-Lucé and was spared during the French Revolution, thanks to the good relationship between the baron’s family and the townspeople. Set on 80 rolling acres, the estate was meticulously restored, renovated and restocked with period-appropriate furnishings (plus all the modern conveniences) before opening in summer 2019 as a 17-room, two-apartment hotel owned and run by the team behind Washington School House in Park City, Utah. The private-home atmosphere rules here—there’s no formal reception desk, breakfast and afternoon snacks are included, and the chefs are happy to tailor menus to your liking—so it’s easy to feel like you have the run of the place. Though the Loire setting lends itself to vineyard visits for the grown-ups, there’s lots for families to enjoy as well, including on-site fun like an outdoor pool, scavenger hunts and e-bike rides and other activities such as horseback riding at a nearby ranch and go-karting in the town of Le Mans (famous for its sport car races). You can also take off in a hot-air balloon right from the estate grounds—something the baron’s friend, King Louis XV, would have surely loved.
Rates start at $520, chateaugrandluce.com
City Base: One Aldwych
Centrally located in Covent Garden, close to the business of the city and the fun of the West End, this independent hotel reopened in June 2019 following a total renovation of everything inside the triangle-shaped Edwardian building. The new highlights include a collection of over 350 contemporary paintings and sculptures displayed throughout the hotel, reimagined dining concepts (including a Basque restaurant from a three-Michelin-starred chef and a lobby bar with entirely gluten- and dairy-free menus), and refreshed decor in the 102 rooms—which include four newly created one-bedroom suites.
To help encourage family time, the hotel offers a complimentary second room for kids with the booking of one of the refurbished suites, and will stock the room with child-friendly amenities. Guests of all ages will enjoy afternoon tea service inspired by Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory—think Wonka-worthy cakes, scones with snozzberry jam and Fizzy Lifting Drinks. An indoor swimming pool complete with underwater music rounds out the on-property perks, and the hotel can arrange for entertaining excursions, such as a trip to the Roald Dahl Museum just outside of town.
Rates start at $475 for a one-bedroom suite, onealdwych.com
Country Retreat: The Langley, A Luxury Collection Hotel
About half an hour outside of London, in a part of Buckinghamshire not far from Heathrow Airport, sits one of England’s newest Downton Abbey-esque retreats. Once the hunting estate of the third Duke of Marlborough, the Langley, a Luxury Collection Hotel, opened in summer 2019 following a several-years-long renovation of the Palladian-style manor house, heritage-listed Brew House and 18th-century gardens.
Surrounded by 150 acres of formal gardens and lush parkland, the 41-room hotel is an idyllic spot to relax with lawn games, horseback rides, dips in the indoor and outdoor pools, and trail walks (all sizes of rubber Wellingtons are available for muddier days.) Classic country house pursuits such as clay shooting, falconry, river cruises and polo classes can be arranged via the hotel, as can trips to nearby attractions like Windsor Castle, Pinewood Studios, Legoland and the popular Harry Potter studio tour. Back at the manor, little ones can don their kid-sized bathrobes and enjoy a family movie night, complete with snacks, in the on-site screening room—one of the few things (along with the spectacular spa) that doesn’t date back to the duke’s time.
Rates start at $530, thelangley.com
City Base: Fairmont San Francisco
Perched atop Nob Hill, the only point in the city where all the cable car lines meet, this castle-like grand dame has delighted generations of guests with signature offerings like the decadent afternoon tea (a staple since 1907) and panoramic views out to the bay (best enjoyed from the rooftop lounge). The 606 comfortable accommodations include king and double queen rooms with sofa beds, junior family suites that can accommodate up to six guests in an open-plan layout and the Napoleon Suite, which has two bedrooms and a living area. The hotel’s story comes alive in a kid-centric scavenger hunt that takes little ones around the property—and ends with a prize—while a specially commissioned children’s book, Phoebe the Honeybee, highlights the rooftop bee project and culinary garden. Dining at the hotel is family friendly, too: Kids under 5 eat for free from the children’s menu (which features healthy takes on favorites like pizza and chicken strips), kids aged 6 to 11 get half-off discounts on dishes from the regular menu and the show at the legendary Tonga Room & Hurricane Bar features music, dancing and a “rainstorm” to keep all ages entertained.
Rates start at $299, fairmont.com/san-francisco
Country Retreat: Meadowood
When it comes to wine country retreats, few are as family friendly as this idyllic resort set on 250 private acres near the town of St. Helena, Calif. Sure, the place is home to decidedly grown-up amenities like a three-Michelin-starred restaurant and luxurious spa and wellness center, but the summer-camp-like vibe also makes it a natural for group getaways. Book a two-, three- or four-bedroom Family Suite or Lodge (each with furnished indoor/outdoor living space and many with fireplaces and kitchens), then ask the team to stock it with amenities like baby blankets, plush toys, board games and personalized mini-bathrobes (all available for an additional charge). Enjoy Napa Valley’s typically mild weather with a hike to a picnic spot (which the hotel team will set up), an afternoon of croquet or a family tennis or golf lesson. Cuisine is a big part of a Napa experience, of course, and younger Meadowood guests can enjoy a taste of that during a two-hour cooking class (complimentary for those under 12) or the one-hour Wine & Juice Tasting, where those not of drinking age will learn about tasting notes while sipping the pre-fermented stuff.
Rates start at $1,125, meadowood.com
City Base: Raffles Singapore
Sleek skyscrapers continue to sprout up all over buzzing Singapore, but the heart of the island city will always be this serene urban resort, whose one-square-block grounds have provided sanctuary since 1887 for everyone from Rudyard Kipling to the cast of Crazy Rich Asians. Following a two-year closure and complete renovation, the legendary hotel reopened in August 2019 with a beautiful design, new restaurants from international chefs such as Alain Ducasse and Anne-Sophie Pic, and an expanded program in which a dedicated butler (one gets assigned to each of the 115 suites) serves as your go-to for everything from checking in and coordinating reservations to setting up custom itineraries and activities in the city. After exploring sites like Gardens by the Bay or taking a ride on the Singapore Flyer observation wheel, come back to the hotel for bocce on the lawn, dips in the rooftop pool and scavenger hunts inspired by children’s stories in the tropical gardens. Among the various suite categories, the State Rooms—located in the Bras Basah wing, one of the most historic parts of the property—are particularly great for families, as they feature separate entrances to the living room and bedrooms and can interconnect to create larger suites.
Rates start at $650, rafflessingapore.com
Country Retreat: The Sanchaya
“Day trips” have a different meaning in Singapore, given that within a few hours’ time you could be in Malaysia or Indonesia. But to avoid a flight, your best option is Bintan, an Indonesian island that’s just a 50-minute catamaran ride away. There, among the powdery beaches and crystal waters of the South China Sea, sits the Sanchaya, a nature-inspired spa and gourmet dining and drinking (the latter handpicked by the estate sommelier). While the setting calls for maximum lounging time, there’s also plenty here to keep families engaged, from activities such as archery, beach volleyball, croquet and kite-flying to family cooking and mocktail/cocktail classes. Kid-sized bikes, coloring books, rubber duckies and other amenities make the younger set feel welcome, while babysitting is available for parents who want to enjoy a date-night dinner. The Sanchaya comprises 29 villas and suites; if you’re checking in with a larger crew, book the Vanda Villa, a four-bedroom option with its own infinity pool and tropical gardens, in which the staff can set up a treasure hunt and other outdoor fun.
Rates start at $609, thesanchaya.com
City Base: Four Seasons Sydney
Whether you’re down under for business or pleasure, you’ll find the location of this Four Seasons outpost ideal—it is situated at the apex of the Central Business District and close to the Rocks neighborhood, Circular Quay (a hub for scenic boat rides), the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge (which adventurers aged 8 and older can climb). Following a multimillion-dollar enhancement project, the 531 rooms and suites feature a bright, contemporary decor and upgraded tech amenities, and many boast panoramic views of the harbor or Sydney skyline. Book a club-level accommodation for access to the lounge, which serves drinks and snacks all day, including breakfast and an evening appetizer bar—a particularly convenient perk when traveling with kids. The hotel is also home to the largest outdoor pool in town, as well as a spa and multiple dining options. Ask the concierge to help set up special family excursions in the city, too, such as a picnic in the Royal Botanic Gardens or a day out at the Taronga Zoo.
Rates start at $355, fourseasons.com/sydney
Country Retreat: Emirates One & Only Wolgan Valley
While you’d need weeks to get a feel for Australia’s diverse natural wonders, enjoying a taste of the famed outback can be done with just a few extra vacation days, thanks to this resort, which is set about a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Sydney—the last portion involves being ferried across a creek in one of the resort’s 4x4s. (Helicopter transfers are also available, though they aren’t a favorite of the resident birdlife.) Located on just 1 percent of a 7,000-acre protected nature conservancy, the carbon-neutral resort is ringed by a dramatic landscape of rocky outcrops and deep gorges, a winding creek and—in the distance—the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Greater Blue Mountains. Along with providing a home for kangaroos, wombats, wallabies and more, the pristine land is a playground for guests, who can enjoy it from atop a mountain bike or horse, on a guided hike or a nocturnal wildlife-spotting trek, or during a campfire stargazing experience. A dedicated Wolgan Rangers kids program offers more thrills via activities like fossil hunts, stable visits, “glowworm” walks and bush survival lessons, while off-property cultural and heritage tours that highlight the histories of the indigenous people and early settlers can be arranged for the whole family. Back on-site, relax in the generous one- to-three-bedroom freestanding villas (which come with private verandas and plunge pools), holistic spa, main swimming pool and two gourmet restaurants, where you can indulge in seasonal, farm-fresh fare (all meals and some wines and beers are included). Note that while there’s no cell service at the resort, WiFi connectivity is strong—though you may want to keep that a secret to maximize screen-free quality time.
Rates start at $1,350, oneandonlyresorts.com