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 etc....plus 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.

HTH

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

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