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We are parents, too. We think traveling well and traveling with children shouldn’t be mutually exclusive. We have limited vacation time, and we’re not spending our few days of freedom in lousy hotels eating bad food. We know the world is full of wonderful resorts, cool urban escapes and far-flung lodges that can make our time with our kids count. We want it all, and we don’t think it should be so hard to find. So we’re going to share it with you.

 

Checking in: The Connaught for a Birthday Weekend

Travel Journal

Travel Journal

Dispatches from around the world

Checking in: The Connaught for a Birthday Weekend

Henley Vazquez

Birthdays are big, especially when it's your preschool BFF turning ten. My daughter and I recently joined friends for a whirlwind weekend in London to mark a not-so-little girl's big arrival to double digits. We were short on time and long on ambition, with a wish list from the kids that included the London Eye, a visit to the Harry Potter studios and climbing every tree they could find. How much can you do in 48 hours with two jet lagged kids? Turns out a lot, but we wouldn't have survived a minute without a good night's sleep. Here's everything we loved about the Connaught, a classic Mayfair hotel that had been on mom's bucket list for a long, long time. 


Basics

  • This venerable grand dame in the heart of posh Mayfair has 121 rooms and suites, a Michelin-starred restaurant plus casual brasserie, Europe's first Aman spa, and an indoor swimming pool (with family-friendly hours) and a sitter-worthy bar scene.
  • The central setting puts families a short walk from Hyde Park playgrounds, Bond Street shopping and plenty of touring, yet the 'hood's hushed residential vibe means that you won't feel overwhelmed by big crowds.
  • The Aman spa is a quiet space for massage therapies, body treatments and daily meditation classes; under-16s are permitted with an adult, but this is really a place to enjoy sans kids.

Bests

  • The service. The seriously connected concierge team give you the keys to the city, or in my case, find tickets to a sold out Harry Potter tour and avert total disaster for a disorganized mom (that's me!).
  • The two-Michelin-star Hélène Darroze at the Connaught is a date-night pick for decadent French classics from foie gras to pigeon, or there’s the more casual Espelette for brasserie favorites and a fun afternoon tea.
  • Maybe it's the friendly staff, maybe it's the cozy ambiance, but despite the Connaught's grand decor, the hotel feels like a home away from home, where even younger kids might trot back up to a room on their own to grab a forgotten stuffed animal or parents can pop down to reception without worrying about the kids. 

Bedtime

  • A family of four should opt for two connecting superior king/twin rooms or splurge on the opulent two-bedroom Carlos Suite.
  • There are no sofa beds, but rollaway beds can be added to suites for an extra £75 per night plus tax.
  • Most rooms have a rich, gilded style, but design aficionados should consider the contemporary rooms in the hotel's new wing (these also have bigger closets although lack the quaint Carlos Place views).

Buts

  • Children are permitted in the indoor swimming pool from 9 - 11 a.m. and 3 - 5 p.m. only.
  • Book well in advance for both a table at Hélène Darroze at the Connaught and a hotel-organized babysitter.
  • Hyde Park is just a five-minute walk away, but you have to cross busy Park Lane.

Passported Perks: Full English breakfast daily for two people per room, £60 food, beverage or spa credit, room upgrade and early check-in based on availability at arrival.


The Connaught
Carlos Place
Mayfair, London W1K 2AL
(44) 207-499-7070