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Hotels with baby listening

63 replies

janinlondon · 21/08/2003 11:17

I wondered if anyone would be interested in starting a list of hotels with baby listening? Every time we plan to go away I start the search all over again, and often find that when we get there the advertised listening service is in fact a monitor which doesn't actually work in the restaurant - or similar. Anyone with any recommendations/horror stories to share? I was thinking UK but I don't suppose it need be limited. We are looking for Windsor and Bath in the next few weeks, so any specific experience of hotels in these places would be much appreciated!

OP posts:
Northerner · 21/08/2003 11:23

Janinlondon, I think that not many hotels offer this service now. I used to work in Hotels as a Front of House Manager and remember that management were not comfortable offering baby listening in case something happenned. I'm not sure of the laws or anything, just that more and more hotels are withdrawing this service.

janinlondon · 21/08/2003 11:48

I think you're right Northerner - I know some of the big chains have stopped doing it. Which is why I was hoping for some real experiences here! I know all the Luxury Family Hotel Group do baby listening, but I am guessing there may be some more obscure ones out there that Mumsnetters could identify.

OP posts:
bettys · 21/08/2003 12:31

No baby listening I'm afraid, but two places where monitors work & which are very child-friendly are;
The Bell at Skenfrith ( - renovated pub in rolling Welsh countryside with gorgeous rooms and fab food.
Hell Bay Hotel, Bryher, Isles of Scilly (
Nowhere near Windsor or Bath I'm afraid...but we also could do with a list of places that do baby-listening/monitors.

ThomCat · 21/08/2003 12:59

I stayed in Bath a few moths ago at the Bath Spa Hotel and they had a baby listning service, or sorts! We had to phone reception and then leave our phone off the hook. Reception would then check in to see if DD was crying or not. Not what I thought baby listening service was like but she was fine and we had a lovely meal in the hotel's restaurant. We've stayed there twice for a weekend and so have used the service 4 times. We're lucky in that DD has only ever woken up twice in her 19months and cried and that was when she had a cold so we were quite relaxed. We did try our baby monitor there but it didn't work in the hotel.

SoupDragon · 21/08/2003 13:04

The Nutfield Priory in Surrey used to have baby listening.

CAM · 21/08/2003 13:51

Yes I've had that kind of baby listening Thomcat, I think there is only that kind. Mind you, I didn't do it till my "baby" was 5 YEARS old and even then I kept going to the room and checking her myself.

boyandgirl · 21/08/2003 14:19

The best baby-listening that I've come across is at Knoll House in Dorset. From about 7pm to about 11pm they have real live people sitting in the corridors listening. If your child is crying they will either go in to comfort them (if that's what you've requested) or come and fetch you. If you want baby-listening during the afternoon they will either lend you a monitor or send someone up to your room every 20 minutes or so.

ThomCat · 21/08/2003 14:50

Yeah we popped back about 4 times in between courses and stuff! Still it was great to have her there with us but also be able to have a nice meal in the hotel on our own. Did you ever see that fly on the wall programme about a young couple & their first child who went away and ate in the room, too scared to even wispher in case they woke the baby up!!!! Bless them, it was very funny, wasn't meant to be but was, they were asleep on the bed by about 8, not quite the ideal weekend away as far as I'm concerned.

Finbar · 22/08/2003 07:56

We stayed at that child friendly hotel near Teignmouth - I think it's called Cranfords (sorry about bad memeory -blame having children!) and they had an excellent service. everyone would hold their breath as the receptionist would walk in to the bar to retrieve the parent of the crying child!!

StripyMouse · 22/08/2003 08:34

Got to say that I agree with Northerner. Seems unfair to expect a busy receptionist dealing with bookings, payments, often complicated phone calls from abroad as well as all sorts of enquiries from guests to be responsible for listening in to babies. Even with the best will in the world, it sounds incredibly prone to hit and miss for my liking and personally would never leave my child in a room alone with this type of set up. Sorry if that sounds holier than thou - it really isn?t meant to be and I know that many of you have used this system and feel comfortable doing so which is up to you, of course. I too have worked front of house in a large hotel (albeit a while ago now and rather briefly) and feel very relieved that this extra task wasn?t on my shoulders.

For me to be even slghtly convinced, the hotel would need a specific person whose only responsibility for that shift was to listen in constantly with room keys and basic first aid knowledge. Sounds a bit OTT but what on earth happens if something did happen to go wrong and it was a different set up? Small hotels where it takes only seconds to locate the parents and for them to nip back to their rooms may be ok but the larger busier hotels don?t work like that. Even if they pick up something is wrong immediately, they have to leave their post, locate the parents, the parents then have to walk back to their room etc. etc. and in a larger hotel this could involve lifts, lengthy staircases and takes valuable time. Simple things like telling the desk you are in the restaurant is one thing but you may have popped to the loo, they can?t find you so try the bar instead etc. etc..... - I am amazed there hasn?t been a real tragedy already and that there has been a government ban placed on this practise. Oh and one last point, holidays are the very time when young children often come down with bugs etc. - sun stroke, dehydration, tummy bugs or upsets - they can look fine one minute and the next be vomiting in the cot which doesn?t take a genious to know that it could create a life threatening scenario that maybe only someone immediately to hand could prevent.
So, what is the alternative? I am not saying we all must stay at home - there are some lovely self catering places - often linked to hotels so you still have all the daytime and early eve. facilities and not sitting whispering all night as there are other rooms to sit in. You can hire hotel nannies in some places that actually sit in the room and are qualified in first aid etc. Or even camping is fun with small children.
Sorry to go, just the thought of this set up worries me. I know I sound a bit dramatic and worrying more than necessary but I think it is worth someone saying it.

StripyMouse · 22/08/2003 08:37

Oops - meant to say sorry to go on and on - not sorry to go (honest!)
Boyandgirl - I see how someone outside the room is a good idea but only checking every 20 mins?!! - Just not convinced.

Lindy · 22/08/2003 08:42

Feel a bit embarrassed saying this after Stripy Mouse's very informative post but we do leave our DS in the hotel room & check him every 20 minutes when we are away - I guess it depends on your child - DS is an excellent sleeper and rarely wakes up - in fact last weekend we were away and I decided to stay in the room with him the first night - it was a nightmare - he just wouldn't go to sleep & kept shouting the place down! The next night I left him as I do at home, firmly saying goodnight & shut the door ....... peace!!

StripyMouse · 22/08/2003 08:48

Lindy - my post was not meant to embarrass or belittle anyone?s own personal stance on this one. Sorry if it came across that way. All children are individual with individual needs and risks and as parents we all have the right to decide for ourselves. Just felt that it was worth pointing out the risks (sorry I go on a bit)..

marialuisa · 22/08/2003 10:29

The Hilton chain do baby-listening and can organise a baby-sitter to stay in the room as well. The same goes for the thistle chain as well. Used sitters/listeners at both with no probs.

Northerner · 22/08/2003 10:38

Stripymouse, I totally agree with your post. And I never leave my ds on his own in a hotel room. That's probably because I have worked in the hotel industry for the past 11 years and know just hom many staff members have acess to guest rooms keys, and also the number of guest bedrooms break in's I have witnessed are more than you will believe.

Personally I wouldn't leave my handbag in a hotel room let alone my child.

Angeliz · 22/08/2003 11:18

dont mean to be argumentitive and am thinking maybe i should keep my opinions to myself already...........but..........i have to say i would NEVER in a million years leave my dd in a hotel room alone. You dont know who has access and what if the child should wake and not know where she is. I am not trying to judge though as every parent is different and i am NOT perfect but just my opinion...sorry!!!!

Angeliz · 22/08/2003 11:38

just re-read my message and wanted to say sorry again and that i'm NOT judging anyone honest,just seems a risky buisness......

CAM · 22/08/2003 12:40

Usually once an older child is asleep that's it though isn't it and in any case how on earth often do you check your children at home. I look at mine once (she's 6 now) before I go to bed.

Northerner · 22/08/2003 12:46

Yeah but Cam, at home your child is not sleeping in a public building where any Tom, Dick and Harry could be roaming the corridors and where countless strangers have a key to your sleepping childs room. And at home you are always in ear shot.

Surely it's niave to think that if you only check on your child once at home this applies also to when child is unattended in a hotel room?

CAM · 22/08/2003 13:03

I'm actually not in earshot of my child, but she is more than capable of getting out of bed to call me or come downstairs if there's a problem. I still had the baby monitor on until 6 months ago but really felt that I was overstepping the mark when she turned 6 (!)She never woke up anyway. And I've said that when I used baby listening I checked on her very often. (And I've only used it once when she was 5 as normally I eat with her in a hotel but I wouldn't hesitate to use it again).

WedgiesMum · 22/08/2003 13:05

The one near Teignmouth is actually called Radfords (and is at Dawlish Warren) and is excellent IMO. With dedicated baby listening and no-one allowed to stay unless they have children. Food is good, as are entertainment and facilities.

There are lots of these family friendly places in Devon and Cornwall (Sands, Bedruthan Steps etc etc) and I bet there are more elsewhere. Have you tried the classified ads in parenting magazines - I know Junior had loads in the back.

rcm · 22/08/2003 13:28

Moonfleet Manor is Dorset is the most fantastic hotel I have ever stayed in with kids. The facilities are great and they do have a phone listening service or you can book a baby sitter to sit in your room. It is a very small hotel so some of the fears of larger places do not apply. It is not uncommon there to see the very young children in car seats or such like in the restuarant at night but older kids are tucked up in bed. They have a great special kids high tea and the adult meals are outstanding. The first time we went we used our own monitor and it worked no problem in the restuarant. Now we just use the listening service. Great place for a long weekend.

LIZS · 22/08/2003 13:32

We've used a variety of baby listening schemes, although not all that often. Even the most family friendly firms offer a fairly scant service - stayed with Esprit in the summer and it consisted of someone walking the corridors and listening every 20 mins unless you took your own monitor (cue interference). This was the same even on the babysitting night when you were expected to go out to eat (you could then leave your key so that at least they could comfort a crying child). I would have preferred to leave dd in the evening club with ds but she was deemed too young and hotel dinner was adults only, so what would you do otherwise ? Sands reception listens out and will phone through to restaurant or bar to let you know - sudden silence everytime the phones rings, sighs of relief when not yours. Another hotel enabled you to dial a phone no. direct to your room and listen in yourself.

It is really a matter of personal preference whether to use this or not, and it does not suit all kids at all ages - I'd be reluctant to leave dd now as she can climb out of her travel cot. But our kids do generally settle well and stay in bed. However I feel you could apply this to all sorts of dilemmas - choice of child minder/nursery, leaving kids in the car while paying at petrol station etc. Suspect many hotels have now stopped it out of concern for potential litigation, in the same way as Car Hire firms won't fit car seats for you.

Lindy · 22/08/2003 13:34

Out of interest - how does it work having a babysitter in your room in a hotel? Surely, unless you are in a suite, it will mean the babysitter has to sit in the dark whilst the child sleeps - or am I being totally stupid on this point?

newgirl · 22/08/2003 13:41

we booked to stay in a devere hotel that advertised baby listening in their brochure but when we got there, they said they couldn't do it anymore as new rules mean that the person listening in needs to be a registered childminder. they offered a babysitter to sit in the room, for £6 an hour but i wasn't sure about that one either, not knowing them. anyone else had a similar experience?

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