Top 10 Getaway for Tiny Travelers - The Athenaeum Hotels and Apartments, London
Author: Fran FalkinTags : City Break, England, Europe, Family-Friendly Hotels, Luxury Options, Museums & Culture, Spa & Wellness
We are delighted that so many parents of newborns, and even many who are expecting, are anxious to know where to go, how to get there and what to bring along. In 1998 and 1999, FTF honored this hotel as a Top Ten Getaway for Tiny Travelers as a great spot for your first (or first with a baby) family vacation. Here's a look at The Athenaeum today.
The Athenaeum Hotel and Apartments
London, England W1J 7BJ
44 (0) 20 7499 3464; US Toll Free 800/335-3300
Located near Buckingham Palace, Green Park and the theatre district, this refurbished, privately-owned hotel is convenient, luxurious and wildly family-friendly. The staff of the Athenaeum, including 6'7" Jim Burns, the tallest doorman and official greeter in London, seeks to provide a comfortable atmosphere and warm, personal service in the traditional British style.
The Athenaeum became the first hotel in London with a dedicated Children's Concierge service team for young travelers. Knowing that children and teens have strong likes and dislikes, the Athenaeum’s concierge team have developed a special program designed to help them get to know your children before your family sets foot in the hotel’s exquisitely-appointed lobby. Your child’s favorite drink, snack, magazines and music will be awaiting their arrival. Special dietary requirements will also be noted.
The Athenaeum provides families with children from newborn to two years of age a “baby basics" packing with disposable diapers, bottle sterilizer and baby wipes, as well as organic baby food – which, to ensure freshness, can be bought on demand. To stimulate the little gray cells, Baby Einstein DVDs are available from the complimentary lending library.
Guests aged two through ten are welcome to borrow from the "Toy Shed" filled with age- and gender-appropriate children’s toys, games and London coloring books to play with while on-property. A complimentary DVD lending library is also available, featuring the latest in children’s titles. And, if they feel like flying a kite, riding a bike or feeding the pigeons in Green Park, directly across from the hotel, arrangements will be made. In the evenings, cookies and milk are included with turndown service, and children’s sized robes, slippers and hangers are provided. And, as always, all soft drinks and snacks from the mini-bar are complimentary. The freshly squeezed apple juice served at The Athenaeum comes from King Henry VII’s orchards and the honey comes from two bee hives used exclusively by the hotel located in Regent Park. Sweet!
We all know how important music, video games and internet access are to tweens and teens. That’s why The Athenaeum has iPod docking stations for their use, Wii and Xboxes for video game fanatics, and complimentary Wi-Fi access. Families with children aged 10 to 14 also receive priority entry to the Hard Rock Cafe©, located two blocks from The Athenaeum.
Fully-outfitted cribs are offered by the hotel, and high chairs, potties, and even a proper British pram can be requested. For the young ladies and gentlemen from age 5, a Nursery Tea is in the works, and it will offer finger-sized grilled cheese sandwiches, a pot of chamomile tea or hot chocolate and teatime sweets. Children 10 and under will receive breakfast 50% off at the hotel's stylish Restaurant.
A personalized itinerary, ensuring your family makes the most of their time in London, can be created on request. For mum and dad's night out, dinner reservations and theatre tickets can be acquired through the service of the concierge. Complete childcare services in your family apartment, including feeding and bathing of younger children and infants, is easily arranged on an hourly basis through the Housekeeping Department. Nannies come from Childminders, a London agency (44 020 7935 2049), whose caregivers are bonded and have CPR training. Most of their employees are either teachers or nurses with training in First Aid.
In addition to The Athenauem's spacious rooms, what's really perfect for families traveling in royal style are the Edwardian townhouses with 1 and 2BR apartments adjacent to the main hotel. Each has a plasma television, a fully-equipped kitchen, washing machine, and access to hotel and grocery shopping services. Use of the modern Health Spa with gym, sauna, steamroom, spa pool and treatment room is also included.
Internationally renowned French architectural botanist Patrick Blanc has created a Living Wall on the Athenauem, a first of its kind in the United Kingdom, with 260 different plants that climbs eight floors on the exterior of the property.
General Manager Jonathan Critchard and his staff welcome you warmly to London and "we love it when families stay with us. We are a family-run hotel, after all,” he says.