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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!

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Sheila · 22/08/2003 13:53

I've had similar concerns about leaving ds in a hotel room alone and until recently would take my own monitor and put it on the table at dinner etc so I felt sure he was OK. Stayed recently at the Ickworth Hotel (bliss, by the way!) where they have baby listening and I wasn't allowed to take my own monitor as it interfered with their listening system. In fact they have a machine that sounds an alarm if there's continuous noise in a room for 5 minutes - hard to ignore, even by the busiest/slackest receptionist. OK that may be quite a long time in an emergency but it could take you that long to get to your own kid at night (say if you were deeply asleep when they called).

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janinlondon · 22/08/2003 13:57

What a can of worms I've opened! I know all parents are different, and what one parent considers acceptable may be very different from another. Friends recently implied that I was overprotective towards my DD when I asked what baby listening was used in a hotel they stayed in on holiday and it emerged that there was none at all. They didn't lock the room, but left their two children asleep alone in there while they went to dinner. They thought I was a nutter for even asking. They also think I'm mad because I won't leave my daughter with a baby sitter as I don't know anyone well enough and have no family in the UK. Hence have not actually been out at night for four years (I'm not kidding here - she will be four in October and I've never left her at night). So although I don't mind sitting at a restaurant table with a baby monitor perched on view, I do mind leaving my child with a stranger. Maybe what's right for one is not necessarily what's right for another. Hope no one was offended by my post.

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marialuisa · 22/08/2003 15:02

Well, I guess it depends how light a sleeper your child is but when we've used sitters in hotels they usually have the tv on with a relatively low volume or a side light to read/work by.

No doubt it's a little bit more tedious than normal baby-sitting but they get relatively ok money. this w/e we'll pay #6.80 per hour before midnight, 8.80 ph after and 6 quid travel. this is in Cardiff so it'll be cheaper though. London prices can be painful.

Now I suppose there'll be outcry for letting a complete stranger in my child's room...

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Angeliz · 22/08/2003 15:43

Lots of people think i'm over protective too but i always think i err on the side of caution.(maybe too much but i dont think so yet as my dd is only 2&half.)I used to work with kids in care so maybe i'm a bit paranoid!!!!

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kmg1 · 22/08/2003 18:39

Phew what a relief to read the posts today. I read Thomcat's post this morning, and thought I must be so overprotective - but it seems others here agree with me. We had a fantastic holiday this summer in London, staying all in one room ... the boys are 4 and 6, and rarely wake in the evenings, but one of us always stayed with them, because I would hate the idea of them waking being confused and disoriented and wandering the corridors of a huge hotel in a distressed state.

It didn't spoil our holiday - it was brilliant to have a break with the kids. When we want meals out/breaks away for just us as a couple, we arrange babysitting and don't take the boys with us.

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maras · 22/08/2003 18:45

I can relate an awful experience....
I'd booked for us to stay for one night at the Sandbaks hotel in Dorset - it seemed very child friendly - but I hadn't read the small print on the baby listening facility...It's the type where you have to leave the phone in your room off the hook and then keep checking yourself from an internal hotel phone. It was a particularly stressful family time and we'd met up with my mother for dinner in the hotel - adding to the stress! (She can't understand why it takes longer than 2 minutes to put the children to bed in a strange place, and if we tell them to be quiet and go to sleep NOW - why they don't instantly obey!!!)
At the time ds was nearly 5 years old and dd nearly 3. When we checked in I was very shocked that there wasn't "proper" baby listening and felt uneasy about nobody listening across the room all the time. If it hadn't been for meeting my mother I don't think I would have left them.
Anyway duly put them to bed - explained where we were going etc and they seemed fairly settled and sleepy. Once in the dining room I kept running off to a phone to check the room ...all seemed very quiet... fantastic I though - they're asleep...I later found out that the reason the room sounded so quiet was that the children weren't in the room at all!! Half way through the main course a receptionist came to ask me my daughter's name - and to say she was in reception!! I was horrified. It is a large hotel with direct access to the beach - I still feel sick just thinking about it! Also our room was on an upper floor involving a lift then flight of stairs and turns in a corridor. She had managed to open the door from the inside and find her way downstairs where she'd met a bunch of older children who were looking after and playing with her - she was having a great time. When I took her back up to the room, I found ds (the older one) sobbibg his heart on the stairs as he'd tried to follow and got lost. Awful. We then took it turns to sit in the room - my mother thought we were mad! Always read the small print!! Also the children's high tea was absolutely disgusting!
We have also stayed once at the Moonfleet manor and the baby listening (and food) were fantastic.

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StripyMouse · 23/08/2003 10:05

maras - you poor thing, what an awful experience. That moment of horror when you realised she was in reception and wasn?t sure where your son was must just have been terrifying, esp. being near the sea. I must say that I am surprised at your mothers?s reaction after the incident thinking you were mad for wanting to stay in the room - what on earth did she think you would do (TBH I would have been so upset that I could well have insisted on packing up and leaving there and then in an emotional overreaction!)

I am surprised that so many people think it is down to how light sleepers their children are. The worry that they might wake up alone upset (and even leave the room) is just one aspect of this. There is so much more potential for things to go wrong than just waking up and being scared, particularly with younger babies - vomiting in the cot being just one of those. Let alone knowing that in any one medium sized hotel there will be several copies of your room key that all sorts of staff have easy access to. It might sound very unlikely but if there were any peodophiles (sp.?) working in the hotel (and how would you know one from another? - I doubt they are all properly police checked for cleaning jobs, maintenance etc.) would you really want to leave your child in a room in such a vulnerable position while you have your dinner and all sorts of people have access to room knowing you will be out of the way for at least 20 mins?....
sorry to post again on this - I really am not criticising anyone for their choices here, just feel really strongly that perhaps not all the risks are considered fully sometimes, particularly for the larger less personal hotels.

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calcium · 24/08/2003 10:19

Babington is near Bath in Somerset and welcomes babys/children they can get in babysitters and I think have a baby listening facility. Otherwise the Luxury Family Hotel group is wonderful we have stayed at Ickworth in Suffolk and although expensive worth every penny their baby listening service is wonderful and it allows you to have adult dinners with the comfort of knowing someone will get you if the baby is crying. The other hotel we have stayed at with baby listening is The Seattle in Brighton its on the marina overlooking the sea 15 minutes walk or a short bus ride into Brighton and very modern again with great food and cocktail lounge it is also quite reasonable. We have found that is the problem wonderful hotels which accept babies and children also seem to cost an arm and a leg but if it gives us parents a well earned break its worth saving up for!

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calcium · 24/08/2003 10:25

Babington is near Bath in Somerset and welcomes babys/children they can get in babysitters and I think have a baby listening facility. Otherwise the Luxury Family Hotel group is wonderful we have stayed at Ickworth in Suffolk and although expensive worth every penny their baby listening service is wonderful and it allows you to have adult dinners with the comfort of knowing someone will get you if the baby is crying. The other hotel we have stayed at with baby listening is The Seattle in Brighton its on the marina overlooking the sea 15 minutes walk or a short bus ride into Brighton and very modern again with great food and cocktail lounge it is also quite reasonable. We have found that is the problem wonderful hotels which accept babies and children also seem to cost an arm and a leg but if it gives us parents a well earned break its worth saving up for!

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boyandgirl · 26/08/2003 10:09

Stripeymouse, we would not have been comfortable leaving our ds sleeping in a hotel room with only 20m or so checkups if we hadn't been confident that he was contented and well. It was also our second stay in that hotel and we knew the staff. On that occasion also, the fire bell went off by accident (or a test, I foregt which), and before I could even get to the room, a member of the children's staff found me to tell me that she'd been into ds's room when the alarm went off and he was fine, not distressed at all.

I agree with oyour comments about receptionists, which is why I'm not keen on that form of 'babylistening'.

I too would be very uneasy about leaving my child alone in a hotel room in anything other than a very family-oriented hotel.

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ThomCat · 26/08/2003 11:00

Oh kmg1 - did I upset you? I didn't mean to. I was just saying this very young couple stayed in the room whispering and too scared to move and it didn't seem like much fun. I really didn't mean to offend you or anyone else. With regard to me leaving Lottie in the hotel room while her dad and I had a meal in the resturant - we're both very relaxed and DD went through the night from 8 days old and has only ever woken up twice during the night in 19 months and so we didn't have a problem with leaving her with a listening service and checking on her inbetween courses. She was well and happy at the time, has never been vomited and if she's woken up all she'd have seen was a ceiling and a dark room so don't think she's have been freaked out. If you don't feel happy doing that I don't think it makes you over-protective, just different to me that's all and I dodn't think I'm a bad mother for leaving her for an hour while I had a meal and checked on her in-betwen, with a baby listening service set up.

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Lindy · 26/08/2003 11:26

This is all very interesting and I do think there is a 'huge' difference between what one parent thinks is acceptable and what another does.

I do think it is our 'perception' of problems that is the main thing eg: I can't prove this scientifically but I am pretty certain that more children are injured (or worse) in car accidents than are involved in incidents in hotel rooms yet none of us would really think twice before driving a car with our child would we because it would 'seem' so much worse to leave your child unattended in a room?

I think, from reading other mumsnet posts over the last two years and comparing myself to other friends, I have a fairly 'laid back' parenting style - but obviously whats right for me is not right for someone else. Regarding babysitters, I too had no family or friends nearby by when I first had DS - but I couldn't bear the thought of not leaving my child for 4 years !! Of course the babysitter may be a 'stranger' the first time you meet but you soon get to know someone, and hopefully they will have been personally recommended.

I am not having a dig at anyone's attitudes but has anyone read 'Paranoid Parenting' bt Frank Fuerdi (sp?) - it makes some very good points.

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Lindy · 26/08/2003 11:35

Obviously I am trying to say 'proportionately more children are injured in car accidents'...

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Angeliz · 26/08/2003 12:58

Lindy, not trying to argue with you but surely isn't it better to then eliminate some of the risks rather than keep our fingers crossed and hope for the best?.........

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ThomCat · 26/08/2003 13:34

So do you think I was taking a risk, leaving my DD for an hour, maybe a bit longer, with a baby listening service and us checking on her as well in that time; just interested?
Could it be compared to having a bbq in the back garden while your baby was sleeping and therefore maybe not be able to hear them clearly on a monitor? What do people do then? Or going back to bed while your baby is having a morning nap and not hearing them on the monitor becasue you've gone into quite a deep sleep, what would happen if they were sick in their cot then?
I leave my DD while I go to work everyday and trust other people to look after her for me. I go out at the weekend sometimes and people (people I know) babysit for me.
Is leaving your child for an hour, with the listening service set up and the staff all knowing you're only in the restaurant, and checking on them, at least about 4 times, really that awful?? If people think I'm a bad mother for doing that maybe I'll think again before doing something like that, I really didn't see it being a big problem.

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Azure · 26/08/2003 13:50

Thomcat, I certainly don't think you're a bad mother, just as I don't believe I am. I have used a baby-listening service in an hotel (Fowey Hall - one of the Luxury Family Hotels) and would use one again. I have also used babysitters organised by hotels in Paris and the Algarve, and use a babysitting service in the UK. I found other people's views very interesting an informative, but am happy with my decisions.

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Angeliz · 26/08/2003 14:02

Thomcat i DONT think you're a bad mother at all. I think EVERY parent is different and this is a great place just to say how you actually feel about stuff! The only concern i'd have (in ref to a home bbq or a hotel ) is that at a BBQ i'd know everyone there! You could then come back and say what about when my dd starts nursery..........i'm TERRIFIED, but i have already said that i may be a bit over-protective in some eyes! Anyway i for one do not see you as a bad mother........

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MBB · 26/08/2003 14:11

I've also had problems finding a hotel with babylistening. We had hoped for a relaxing weekend away before baby no 2 arrives at the beginning of October, without having to travel too far. However, we had no luck whatsoever, the only place that had what we wanted (Ickworth Hall, I think it was) was SO EXPENSIVE. It was going to cost just as much for a weekend there as we paid for 10 days in France in June. I think there's a huge gap in the market for reasonably priced hotels that offer a quality childcare service.

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ThomCat · 26/08/2003 14:12

Thank you - it just seemed that every mother on here was saying what an awful thing it was, and very risky etc and I felt a bit shit about it. I'm so not a worrier and that's not always a good thing as I can be a bit too relaxed about things maybe. Thanks for saying you didn't think I was being a bad mum whilst keeping your own opinions, I really appreciate it.

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Angeliz · 26/08/2003 14:17

Thomcat glad i hadn't offended you in the first place I am VERY lucky i know in that i dont have to work and can stay at home.i do leave my dd with my mum the odd night though to escape with my dp.(otherwise we'd be together nearly all the time!)At the end of the day, we all do what we feel best and i'm sure alot of people would feel i wrap mine up in cotton wool......

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Angeliz · 26/08/2003 14:19

I'm sure they'll all be telling us where we went wrong when they're about 15 anyway........

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Lindy · 26/08/2003 14:43

Thomcat - goodness, don't worry, I'm very, very relaxed - just like you! (In fact I do some things that I wouldn't even dare mention on this thread!!!!!!).

I'm glad that there are some parents like me around too!

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homebird11 · 26/08/2003 19:23

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

tamum · 26/08/2003 19:42

Thomcat, no-one in the world could think you're a bad mother, you sound fab, and your reasoning for using babylistening seemed completely sound to me

The Seattle hotel in Brighton (mentioned by calcium) is actually owned by the same group as Luxury Family Hotels, which is presumably why they also do baby listening. So, even though the hotels are not targeted at families in particular, maybe they'd be worth investigating? I think they're cheaper than Woolley Grange et al, and there are quite a few of them (Alias Hotels, they're called)- I know there's one in Exeter, for example.

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Utka · 26/08/2003 19:48

We have also stayed at the Knoll House Hotel in Studland Bay, Dorset, and I really recommend them! I started going aged 8 with my parents and family, and we used to spend every Easter weekend there, because Mum and Dad got such a break too! They were pretty leading edge in terms of child friendliness 25 years ago, and still are in my opinion!

The children's meals (lunch and special high tea) are healthy and varied, the adult food good too (plenty of it!), and there is a wonderful adventure playground (enclosed) as well as the beach nearby. The bedrooms are perhaps on the old fashioned side, decor wise, but there's no danger of breaking fragile ornaments, and the baths are big enough for 3 children!

The baby listening works very well there, as they have lots of staff sat at regular intervals down the corridors. You can either give them the parent bit of your monitor (we labelled ours with our surname and room no.), or they simply listen out. In almost all cases I think they can actually hear the children crying from where they sit. On the rare occasion our daughter woke, we were informed immediately, and found she'd never been crying for more than 5 minutes, as someone rings through to reception to get you called from the restaurant.

The children's lunch is timed to be just before the adult one, and is followed by a supervised session in their indoor secure playroom (videos, colouring and toys), enabling you to go and have a peaceful adult lunch once you've helped them eat theirs. Our daughter actually napped during our lunch, and we simply took the monitor into the dining room with us, having requested a bedroom that was at that end of the hotel, to avoid too much interference.

Knoll House isn't the cheapest of UK hotels, but we think it's worth it in terms of getting the child bits just right.

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