Holidays change when you have children. To enjoy a vacation, you need your offspring to be happy – and that means different priorities. Luckily, the Marylebone Hotel has taken all this on board with their latest “luxury family package”. What child wouldn’t be content with a huge room, complimentary toys (including a very cute teddy bear), cookies and milk for a midnight feast, a choice of DVDs to watch on a huge screen, and (best of all) a tepee to sleep in? Yes, that’s right, a tepee – and it has its own indoor camping lamp!
The hotel must be used to children squealing with excitement when they enter the rooms, but I have to say that their parents will be very happy too. The interconnecting rooms which we slept in were extremely clever – there is a little private lobby in-between, so you can keep the doors open or closed at night. Plus, the bedrooms were a perfect size (one was a suite and one was a deluxe), the bathrooms were huge, and even the little extras were appealing – including the macarons and Aromatherapy Associates toiletries.
The hotel is also in an excellent location, in the heart of Marylebone, near lots of shops and cafes, but also only a short walk from the bustle of Oxford Street and Bond Street. It has its own juice bar, gym and pool (with special times when kids are allowed) and two choices of eateries. We tried the 108 Brasserie (which has a separate vegetarian menu) and enjoyed a delicious supper (the warm chocolate fondant and peanut butter ice cream went down a treat) and also the Pantry (which served us a terrific breakfast, complete with boiled eggs and soldiers for my son and poached eggs for me).
The clientele at the hotel were, unsurprisingly, well-heeled, and it was remarkably busy. Reservations at the buzzy restaurant are a must, and all the staff were helpful and very child-friendly, without being patronising.
But that’s not all. As part of the package, guests are also able to book an escorted tour of one of the most famous toyshops in the world – Hamleys – and this was very special indeed.
My son and I were both entranced as we were led around the seven floors by a charming Irish woman called Leah. She began by giving us some of the history of the store, and quickly picked up on the kind of things my son enjoyed – the virtual reality roller-coaster, magic tricks and floating football – and led us where she thought he would have the most fun.
Leah made sure that we jumped any queues of children waiting to try out toys – all with great charm - and showed us the shop’s treasures, from the Harry Potter section to the remote controlled cars. We skipped past the pink and toddlers’ sections, as they weren’t relevant to my son, but Leah was definitely correct in letting us have a bit of time in the pick and mix section.
The tour ended in a roped off area with juice and chocolate cake. My son was overwhelmed, and so, to be honest was I. It was, all in all, a most memorable stay – particularly for those who want to do something special in the capital.
The ‘Luxury Family Package’ at The Marylebone is available from £890 per night and includes a Hamleys’ Tour for family of four. It includes an interconnected luxury suite and deluxe room, teepee or beds (up to age 12), turndown of milk and cookies, surprise gift, Children’s Concierge, complimentary meals for children under five when eating with an adult before 7pm, children’s toiletries and DVD player upon request. The Hamleys’ Tour lasts approximately an hour and a half and has a party minimum restriction of four people. It is subject to availability at the time of booking.