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7 March 2020, 08:00 | Updated: 7 March 2020, 08:01
“I’m bored” are two annoyingly familiar words to every parent, but never so grating as when you hear them on holiday.
As part of a multi-million-pound refurbishment, and inspired in part by research that found 40 percent of children are bored on holiday, Park Plaza London Riverbank has launched a hotel suite designed by families for families.
While the grown-ups’ room has a modern yet relaxed vibe, with a stunning view of the River Thames and Westminster, it’s the children’s room that delighted all of us, including the adults.
Child-approved design features include chalk-board walls, neon lights and bean bag chairs.
And with furniture by Room To Grow and bedding options like superhero or enchanted forest, it really didn’t feel like we were in a hotel. We heard “I wish we could live here” several times during our stay.
In fact judging by how quickly they abandoned their shoes, jackets and bags in the middle of the entryway of the suite, they clearly felt quite at home.
Thankfully both rooms and the entry area are spacious, and there were several cupboards for stashing away their strewn accessories. Likewise, the bathroom provided ample space for some the silliest teeth brushing behaviour, as well as room for both a shower stall and a generous-sized tub, complete with rubber ducky toys.
Eager to test out the bunk beds, both children asked to put themselves to bed suspiciously early.
Though top and bottom bunk had been claimed days before we arrived there was quite a bit of swapping. And with a wall shelf full of Diary of a Wimpy Kid books, a perennial favourite, the time seemed to fly right past their usual bedtime.
Eventually they decided to share the top bunk, or perhaps they fell asleep during further negotiations. We didn’t ask questions.
For our family the difficulty with hotel rooms is being, obviously, all in the same room. After bedtime we parents sit in dark silence on our phones. Then come morning once a kid’s up, we’re all up.
With our own space in the family suite we could actually sit and talk in the evening and enjoy a glass of Prosecco, while taking in views of Parliament.
And, with their own telly and a bookcase full of games in the kids' room, we were able to sneak an extra hour of sleep, until the late (for us) hour of 7:30.
The kids rated the bunkbeds and spa pool the best bits of the hotel. But what we (the parents) really appreciated is that not only the suite but the entire hotel experience had clearly been thought out with families in mind.
Breakfast featured a kids’ corner with their own food options. The spa had a stash of pool noodles and other inflatables. And, while all hotel staff were incredibly friendly, we noticed immediately and appreciated that every person we encountered greeted and acknowledged the children just the same as they did the adult guests.
The suite is available from £179 per night and can accommodate up to two adults and three children. The master bedroom has a double bed and the children's room has a bunk bed and a single bed.