baby listening in hotels

(47 Posts)
ImpatientGriselda Thu 26-Mar-09 07:33:52

We're having a couple of days break over Easter in a child-friendly hotel. The hotel provides baby listening at reception, i.e. they come and get you in the restaurant if your child wakes up crying at night.

Or they would supply a babysitter from their creche to sit in the hotel room (at £8.50 an hour)

We've not been to a hotel with DD before; she is 14 months - what would you do? Any tips or thoughts?

Thanks smile

LibrasJusticeLeagueofBiscuits Thu 26-Mar-09 07:47:43

We took DS to a child-friendly hotel and used the listening service, he was 6months.

Which one are you going to?

ImpatientGriselda Thu 26-Mar-09 09:14:01

Calcot Manor in the Cotswolds - did the listening thing work well for you and DS?

DandyLioness Thu 26-Mar-09 09:28:23

I've got the same dilemma. We're off to (the Mumsnet approved and discounted) The Elmis in Worcestershire this April. It will be our wedding anniversary our second night there and we're thinking about going to their adult-only restaurant and using their baby listening service. DD will be 4. I've never used a baby listening service before and am very unsure about whether to do so.

ImpatientGriselda Thu 26-Mar-09 11:14:57

TBH not so keen on the whole babysitting thing either; the idea of poor DD waking up suddenly and seeing a strange woman sitting in her bedroom in the dark is also a bit weird...

DandyLioness Thu 26-Mar-09 11:23:29

Yes, I agree, the babysitting doesn't sound ideal either.

It's not an option for us at The Elms. I'm hoping because DD is 4 we'll be able to explain we're just downstairs and if she wakes and wants us, to call out and someone will hear. Still feel guilty and awful about it though.

shouldbeironing Thu 26-Mar-09 11:28:58

Well I think babysitting is "safer" than babylistening provided the sitter has been vetted by the hotel. Which presumably they would be if they worked in their creche.

I have used a listening service in the past at one of these hotels and come back to find my DS was not even in his bed. This was a couple of months before the McCann tragedy and I thought about it afterwards and decided it was something I wouldnt do again.

If they wake in the dark, better that someone helpful is there than no-one at all surely. They could be asked to buzz reception and get you if your DD woke up.

DrNortherner Thu 26-Mar-09 11:34:48

Having worked in hotels for many many years I have never, and would never use a baby listening service. NEVER.

I have been that receptionist responsible for baby listening, whilst checking in 180 guests, answering a switchbord, taking messages, dealing with complaints, posting bar and restaurant charges, balancing the books, cashing up at the end of shift, etc I know just how many staff have access to your bedroom, you can not lock teh door from teh inside so a toddler can let themselves out easily. And room break ins are rife in hotels.

DandyLioness Thu 26-Mar-09 11:35:56

True about babysitter at least being someone in the room. I have used a hotel sitter before to stay in the room with DD and it worked fine. I guess in your shoes OP I'd go with that option.

edam Thu 26-Mar-09 11:37:49

Interesting to hear from someone who has done babylistening how rubbish it is. Have never used it and DrNortherner has convinced me not to start!

shouldbeironing Thu 26-Mar-09 11:38:57

If you decide to go for the sitter, I would try and book it up now/in advance otherwise you might find there is no one available esp at Easter.

DrNortherner Thu 26-Mar-09 11:40:06

Plus, people seem to forget, hotels are a PUBLIC place. Anyone can wander in, anyone can walk the corridors. Porters, housekeeping, maintenance, reception, duty managers all have access to your bedroom.

Most folk would not leave a handbag/passport alone in a hotel room let alone a child.

ImpatientGriselda Thu 26-Mar-09 12:10:56

Am now worried following DrNorthener's scary posts...shock

I'll probably give the hotel a ring to find out the scoop; I'd expect an explicity child-friendly hotel maybe to have a dedicated listening person rather than a busy receptionist at the helm? (Although I'm probably being very optimistic)

Wimbleberry Thu 26-Mar-09 12:27:16

We used the baby listening service at the Sands resort in Cornwall and were very happy with it. There was a dedicated member of staff listening at all times. There were stair gates on the doors to stop any children who could open doors from escaping.

Also, in the event of a fire, they have a fire warden to get the children out to safety.

Another family needed to use the baby sitting service, but thought their DD might be scared having a stranger in the room, so the baby sitter also sat downstairs listening into the room via the monitor.

It was a very quiet period when we visited, so there were only about 5 families using the service.

DrNortherner Thu 26-Mar-09 12:30:05

Don't mean to scare you at all. You have to make an assessment based on teh facts. A small family run hotel in the lake district would be rather different to a 400 bedroom city centre hotel.

I am not even sugessting for a minute that kids will be stolen from hotel rooms, but many other items are - jewellry/laptops etc.

toobusytothink Thu 26-Mar-09 12:36:21

Yes - I think it completely depends a) on the hotel and b) on your particular child. We stayed at Woolley Grange last w/e and used the listening service but our 2 NEVER wake up once they are asleep and the hotel is private and small.

"you can not lock teh door from teh inside so a toddler can let themselves out easily" -only applies to the card style keys. You can lock from the outside with a chubb key and then they can NOT let themselves out.

DandyLioness Thu 26-Mar-09 12:38:02

Wimbleberry That's reassuring, thanks. I'll ask the hotel we're going to about fire wardens. But I do know that we'll be in the restaurant at the bottom of a staircase and DD will be at the top. This is a hotel that has had recommendations from several MNers who used the baby-listening service, I think, including JustineMumsnet. But I'm going to reserve judgment until I get there ...

OP Sorry for tagging onto your thread blush

DrNortherner Thu 26-Mar-09 12:45:33

How many hotels have chubb style keys?!!!

Plus if the hotel is using proper keys as opposed to plastic key cards this in itself throws a whole other security issue into the mix.

toobusytothink Thu 26-Mar-09 12:47:00

as I said - it depends on the hotel

scotlass Thu 26-Mar-09 12:52:02

We stayed in a lovely hotel in the Lakes when DD was 2yrs and went downstairs once she was asleep to their restaurant taking with us the listening device. Dh also nipped upstairs between courses to do a check. TBH I didn't relax throughout the meal and although was nice to have a grown up dinner we didn't do it again. My DD was a great sleeper so I wasn't worried about her waking but the security/fire issue really bothered me.

I think it does depend on the hotel set up and also if you think you can relax

shouldbeironing Thu 26-Mar-09 13:59:39

It was one of the places already mentioned above that I was at when we used the listening service. Yes they did have a dedicated "listener" and I saw how it was being done etc. - even changed shifts every so often so the listener could concentrate and not have to sit there for hours on end. BUT the system works (so I found out on our third night) so that the machine in Reception is NOT listening to every room all the time but sort of goes from one room to the next room and so on stopping for about 10 seconds in each room and if there are lots of rooms logged into the service then your room might only be listened to for 10 seconds every few minutes.
I only found this out when I returned to our room after one meal to find DS had got out of bed and been to the bathroom and fallen back to sleep on our bed instead of his own without any listener having been aware of anything. The response from reception was just "well we didnt hear anything".

DandyLioness Thu 26-Mar-09 14:12:52

shouldbeironing Which place was it that you were at? Please say.

shouldbeironing Thu 26-Mar-09 14:22:40

It was Sands. I should point out it was just over two years ago so it might have changed by now but that is how it worked then. I remember that the McCann tragedy happened a few months later and I thought about how I left my DC in a room with a balcony facing onto a main road and a listening service that turned out to be a bit unreliable (the balcony was locked)....anyway it is not something I will do again.

LadyPinkofPinkerton Thu 26-Mar-09 14:32:54

I have also been the receptionist to do baby listening, like Dr. Northerner. I did it in a hotel that was only 48 bedrooms, and had plenty time to do it properly. I have also never experienced things being stolen from rooms but maybe I was lucky in the places I worked.

I would choose whether to do it or not depending on the size of the hotel, and how far away from your room the restaurant would be.


newgirl Thu 26-Mar-09 14:34:15

i think if your child is a good sleeper then a babysitter is an excellent idea - check that they are registered before hand

and then relax and enjoy your break x

LadyPinkofPinkerton Thu 26-Mar-09 14:34:21

Just looked at the website for Calcot Manor and I think in a hotel like that baby listening would be fine tbh. I would do it with my children somewhere like that

LadyPinkofPinkerton Thu 26-Mar-09 14:37:06

I would also point out to you that any babysitter is unlikely to be registered and is more likely to be a member of housekeeping staff, not on shift. I've been that person babysitting too.

newgirl Thu 26-Mar-09 14:50:08

lady - the op said the babysitters are from the creche so i would think that in calcot manor they are registered childcare staff?

artichokes Thu 26-Mar-09 14:55:18

We have been to Calcot a couple of times and always used the listening service. That was when DD was young enough that there was no risk of her getting out of the cot. If there was a risk of her getting out I would use the babysitter.

The family block in Calcot is locked and not accessible to anyone but the five families with rooms there.

abraid Thu 26-Mar-09 14:58:54

I used the baby listening service at Moonfleet for a baby and a toddler. No problems at all. The only people staying were other parents and it's not that large a hotel.

LadyPinkofPinkerton Thu 26-Mar-09 17:06:23

Ah missed that Newgirl. That is fair enough, but £8.50 an hour is a lot of money

ImpatientGriselda Thu 26-Mar-09 17:28:42

Artichokes, is the family block at Calcot part of the same building as the restaurant? Or is it a distance away?

I am a bit of a worst-case scenario worry-wort, and the possibility of a fire freaks me out more than anything else, tbh...

artichokes Thu 26-Mar-09 17:37:20

If you are a worrier get the babysitter. I am the opposite and so was able to relax. There is no point in paying for a lovely break and top dinner if you won't relax.

The family block is seperate from where you eat etc. From the point of view of fires that is probably good as there are no kitchens etc. However it may make you worry more!

Calcot is lovely but in future you might also look at Cowley Manor. Nearby, child friendly, can use your own monitor at your table so like being at home. However it lacks a crèche and Calcot's fab outdoor hot tub.

ImpatientGriselda Thu 26-Mar-09 19:59:19

Thanks for the tip; I had often ogled Cowley in pre-DD days; how splendid to hear that it is child-friendly as well smile. Although I have to confess that the creche is one of the big draws for Calcot...the idea of a peaceful massage or sloping back to bed with the papers, and sans DD, is making me very excited ...grin

Onlyaphase Thu 26-Mar-09 20:09:53

I think it depends on the hotel - we recently stayed at a hotel in Padstow, and the (very helpful) receptionist said before we got there not to rely on our baby monitor if we were downstairs as they didn't always work due to the distance between rooms and restaurant.

We booked one of their babysitters and she was fab (and £8 an hour) and we could sit downstairs, have a delicious meal, and not worry about burglars or fires upstairs. And the point about the hotels is that they knew we were coming with a toddler and gave us a room with a separate sitting area, off the main bedroom, so the babysitter could sit and watch TV quietly, and DD wouldn't see a stranger if she woke up. Would highly recommend using a babysitter if possible.

MrsPickles Thu 26-Mar-09 20:22:44

This is what DH and I did at a hotel last weekend:
We have free calls to each other's mobiles.
So one of us rung the other, left one phone in the room by cot, took other phone with us, put it on mute so we didn't disturb DD and then on loud speaker so we can hear. Honestly, its GREAT, picks up everything in room. Obviously you need to test it out first to make sure you get reception from the hotel restaurant. I wouldn't like to rely on listening service tbh - much prefer using the mobile then I can listen every 30 seconds if I'm nervy, and also because DD likes to chat and then whinge before she goes to sleep and I know what is whingy going to sleep noise and what is come and get me crying. Also my friend told me a story where her DD was old enough to get out of cot, she used the baby listening service but they only came to get her when her DD was really crying - she'd got out of cot, fully dressed herself, had brushed her teeth and was crying because she couldn't open the door! Think if she'd been listening herself she would have heard something suspicious before then!

Also checked knew where fire exit stairs were etc so could go up quickly if needed.

Even if I didn't have free calls I think I would prefer to do it this way for peace of mind.

BoiledEggandToastSoldiers Thu 26-Mar-09 20:38:18

We got married at Calcot Manor and used both the baby listening and babysitters, and both worked really well as it's a very small hotel. We were in the coach house suite opposite the main building.

You will have a fab time! envy

DadInsteadofMum Thu 26-Mar-09 22:15:09

As soon as the kids were old enough (about 4) we have used walkie talkies. They can talk to you rather than just calling out and they know straight away that somebody has heard them.

ImpatientGriselda Fri 27-Mar-09 09:11:21

I like the phone and walkie talkies ideas (much mental note-taking going on here) smile

Frizbe Fri 27-Mar-09 09:19:03

Personally I did this once with dd1 and ss who was 6.5 at the time and it was a wedding, so the kids were up quite late anyway, but after the McCann thing wouldn't do it again, in my mind its not worth the risk. We were in a lovely large 4# hotel at the time, but as Northerner says things can and do happen, also thinking about the fire risk, we would never have made it back to them if somthing had happened.

I think you have to make a judgment - we all go downstairs in our own homes and have supper and leave children in beds alone - so while of course there is the balance of it being a strange bed / bed room and it being a public place, like so much of life it is a balance - thanks to Dr Northener and shouldbeironing I'll be making inquiries knowing what to think about though!

lucasnorth Fri 27-Mar-09 11:04:34

We stayed in a hotel in Italy when DD was about 18m. We asked the hotel in advance for a room in the main building, near the restaurant, and we took our baby monitor with us.
When we got there we tested out the monitor during the day, and confirmed that it did work fine in the restaurant.

It meant that when DD got bored of dinner (every night!) one of us could take her to bed, and then we could finish dinner together. It worked very well actually - she ate while we had our starter, and then the two of us had some time together once she was asleep. And the fact that we had the monitor on our table meant that we were confident we would hear her (or someone else, if someone went into the room).

But you have to go with your instincts - there's really no point in paying for a nice dinner if you're not going to be able to relax and enjoy it

ImpatientGriselda Fri 27-Mar-09 11:10:05

Think I'll talk to the hotel about where our room is likely to be, the quality of the listening service, and what the whole "sitting in the dark" situation is. (They must be used to neurotic parents with such questions)

Although if they can guarantee us a registered babysitter who could sit out of DD's sight, then I think I'll probably go down this route.

jujubean Fri 27-Mar-09 12:03:26

Have stayed at Calcot with our DD. We got a babysitter from the creche because I'm just not happy about leaving her unattended in the event of a fire.
At Calcot the family rooms are in a separate block which you need a key to get into before you can even get near your room. Also, most of the family rooms have a separate children's room so the babysitter can sit and watch tv without disturbing your child.
Personally I wouldn't have enjoyed my evening in the restaurant without a babysitter as I would have been twitchy about DD being alone.

Chiara123 Fri 29-Mar-13 19:38:15

Anyone recommend a luxury hotel in the south which offers a wireless device for baby monitoring ie you can roam around the hotel with the baby monitor device rather than trusting someone from reception to listen ? I know there are many hotels which offer the listening service but we would prefer to listen ourselves. Thanks

givemeaclue Fri 29-Mar-13 19:44:15

Why would you leave a baby in an unattended room? What if a fire .

givemeaclue Fri 29-Mar-13 19:44:50

Also this thread is 4. Years old

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