When I had kids, I was told my longstanding relationship with hotels was over. So long, lavender-scented cold towels! Bye-bye, crisp sheets! See ya, infinity pool! Arrivederci, lobby bar of my dreams! It was nice knowing you. Based on the advice of many parents I know, vacation homes seemed to be the only option in the 2.0 version of my life. "When you have a family, it's just easier with a kitchen, you'll see," they told me.
Yet, having experienced both lodging types with kids, I don't "see." Seriously, why do I "need" a kitchen on vacation? So I can grocery shop? So I can cook? So I can wash dishes? So I can clean countertops? Just, no.
While I do like the immersive local experience and neighborhood feel that vacation homes offer, I'm not sold on them unless I'm going to stay awhile (as in, longer than a month). Re-enter hotels. I heart them — even with young kids in tow — and here's why.
3 Reasons Hotels Are Better than Vacation Homes
1. Hotels don't (usually) have kitchens.
I know, I know — kitchens are the reason most mamas prefer vacation homes, but if I'm going to pack up my life and hop on a plane, I want a hint of catered. I don't need five stars or white-glove service, but I still enjoy a pampered experience, a fizzy welcome bevvie, and someone to offer me snacks at the pool — especially if I'm traveling with kids.
For this reason I choose hotels in all their plush, non-kitchen glory. Even if I don't use the rental kitchen, it's there, reminding me of home (and cooking and cleaning). And isn't that what I'm trying to escape?
(Plus, I can always stock my mini-bar with a few of my favorite bites.)
2. Hotels encourage exploring.
Traveling gives us the opportunity to taste new foods and try new experiences. And while you can certainly do both of these things while staying in a vacation rental, I always feel lured by the kitchen (and guilty for not cooking). This takes away from time spent connecting with the culture at local shops and cafés.
What I like about the simple, bed-and-bath nature of hotel rooms is, without food or people or scenery, you want to leave your room. Hotels incentivize you to go exploring in search of those elusive "firsts" that brings so much joy and wonder to wandering.
3. Hotels are cool.
If I was Beyoncé I'm sure I'd have a "vibe engineer" on my payroll to create a cool mood in vacation homes around the globe. However, I'm not Queen B (nor do I require my hideaway to be kitted out with vibe-enhancing music, furniture, and personalized cooking).
That said, hotels (the good ones at least) offer something that vacation homes often don't. Due to their nature as people-centric gathering places created to meet our human need to roam, sleep, eat, and play, the best hotels offer a built-in entourage, design, and staff to curate a sense of place that reflects the local culture and cuisine.
What type of stay do you gravitate towards when traveling with small kids? Tell us in the comments below.