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Beth Payer

Saratoga Springs, New York

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Omni Parker House Hotel Boston

60 School Street, Boston, Massachusetts

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KID-FRIENDLY AMENITIES

  • Rollaway beds available
  • Smoke-free property
  • Pet friendly
  • Babysitting
  • Kids' club
  • On-site restaurant(s)
  • Refrigerator in room
  • Cribs (infant beds) available


Average user rating (20 Reviews)

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  • Tweens (9-12)
  • Teens (13+)

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Visited: December 2012 | Submitted: Feb 22, 2013 | I traveled with tweens (9-12) and teens (13+)

A piece of history in an ideal location

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We visited the Omni Parker House for a holiday overnight, and although the hotel itself was fine (showing signs of age) the best aspect of all is its location -- just a short walk to Quincy Market, with a city neighborhood feel. Plus, it really does have a sense of history, with lovely carved woodwork in the dining room and an historic Boston atmosphere. When we first arrived, we went to the bar lounge for Boston Cream Pie, as the Omni Parker House is the birthplace of this famous dessert. It was quite different from what we expected; more of a cake, but it was still fun to try anyway. We had booked a suite for $159/night through an online deal and it was surprisingly roomy for the city and the beds were very comfortable. Our view was of a brick wall, but we were out and about so much that it was fine. The Concierge was fantastic, helping us to take full advantage of the Parker House's location by emailing restaurant recommendations in advance for a birthday dinner, and suggesting that we buy Blue Man group tickets for half price at the Faneuil Hall kiosk rather than buy ahead (great tip!). The low point of our stay was the 2 am fire alarm, forcing our evacuation into the alley. Fortunately, we had the large and yummy buffet breakfast to revive us in the morning. A say at the Omni Parker House won't be perfect in every way, but we would certainly return to it as home base for enjoying a favorite city from a great location!

Tips for Families

As mentioned above, consider buying half price tickets for Blue Man group at the Faneuil Hall kiosk. I recall that it opens at 10 am. There might be certain times/days for which this is not wise, but it saved us a lot of money and there were plenty of seats even on the day of the show.

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Four Seasons Resort Hualalai Kailua Kona

72-100 Ka`upulehu Drive, Kailua-Kona/Keauhou, Hawaii

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KID-FRIENDLY AMENITIES

  • Rollaway beds available
  • Kids stay free
  • Smoke-free property
  • Babysitting
  • Kids' club
  • On-site restaurant(s)
  • Kids' menu in restaurant
  • Highchairs available
  • On-site convenience store
  • Cribs (infant beds) available


Average user rating (2 Reviews)

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My ratings by kids age

  • Tweens (9-12)
  • Teens (13+)

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$469

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Visited: April 2012 | Submitted: Feb 22, 2013 | I traveled with tweens (9-12) and teens (13+)

Bliss! The perfect combination of luxury and family fun

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We can't say enough good things about the Four Seasons Hualalai! The entire place has a friendly and happy aura, and it's fancy without being stuffy. Pure heaven! The highlights included the warm and welcoming staff, and the beautiful grounds with several different pools and the beach -- including "King's Pond" where guests can snorkel alongside 3,000 tropical fish (including a spotted eagle ray). The pond is a bit chilly, but there are lounge chairs surrounding it for warming up in the sun. The kids loved it! As for the beach, it is important to note that with the jagged lava rock and surf, it is not OK to swim just anywhere. Instead, guests swim in the ocean "pool" which is a segmented area of the ocean with a sandy bottom and a low wall to calm down the tide. It's very large, and was never crowded when we were there. In addition, there are adult pools and family pools -- truly, something for everyone! Not to be missed is lunch delivered to the beach -- gigantic onion rings under a canopied chaise lounge for two. We also loved the gigantic sea turtles sunning on the rocks. For adults, the spa is fantastic, and the outdoor lounging area available after an appointment is lovely. The only improvement I would make is that our room had two full beds, and we were told that two queens is a room configuration at the resort. When traveling with bigger kids (and for us parents), we would have appreciated larger beds. I can see however, that the modestly sized rooms may not accommodate two queens. This really was minor, but I would say that our room (although lovely) was not the highlight of our trip. But we didn't care, because everything else was so wonderful! Besides, our focus was on the beautiful view off of the balcony. This was the trip of a lifetime, and we would go back in a heartbeat if we had the opportunity!

Tips for Families

Getting to Hawaii is no small feat for many -- and we were coming from the Northeast. We were greeted after 17 hours of travel in the wee hours of the night with chilled face towels, fancy drinks, and leis. Tell the kids that they have this to look forward to and the marathon travel may not seem quite so challenging! A more extensive review of our trip (including a helicopter ride, zip line tour, and surfing) is captured through the three blog posts I wrote during our stay, below. My husband and children also immensely enjoyed swimming with manta rays! http://www.olliebop.com/2012/04/aloha-from-hawaii/ http://www.olliebop.com/2012/04/surfing-hawaii-and-the-inside-of-our-fridge/ http://www.olliebop.com/2012/05/last-hurrah-hawaiian-adventures/

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City Museum

701 N 15th St, Saint Louis, Missouri

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Average user rating (3 Reviews)

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My ratings by kids age

  • Little kids (3-5)
  • Big kids (6-8)
  • Tweens (9-12)
  • Teens (13+)
Visited: October 2011 | Submitted: Jan 3, 2013 | I traveled with little kids (3-5), big kids (6-8), tweens (9-12) and teens (13+)

A Wonderful, Weird Surprise for the Whole Famil

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We loved the City Museum in St. Louis so much that we went twice in one weekend, along with younger cousins and grandparents. It's hard to describe this place; it's loaded with creativity and ingenuity, inside and out. Around every corner of this former factory building is another surreal spectacle -- mostly made from salvaged materials, and even two abandoned airplanes as part of an outdoor climbing structure. Even the roof is part of the experience, with its four story ferris wheel, gigantic praying mantis overlooking St. Louis. We all -- ages 5 to 65 -- enjoyed ourselves. Even Grandma and Grandpa ventured down the nine story slide. It was a true Alice in Wonderland experience! The Museum's tagline, "where the imagination runs wild!" is spot on. This museum was the highlight of our family trip to St. Louis.

Tips for Families

The City Museum is a place for people who enjoy out-of-the box play and ideas. Every now and then, we would ask ourselves, "how is this allowed under the building code?" With that mindset, the place seems kind of crazy. That said, it could be a challenge to supervise very small or timid children here (although there are some contained areas -- like a ball pit). There are many caves and tunnels and mazes to discover (but also to potentially become separated). Dress comfortably and plan for some athletic type of exploration, even for adults (otherwise, you will lose track of the kids). There are also some "artsy" activities and a very cool vintage clothing store (the Bale-Out Shop) on one of the levels, where I bought a bought a gorgeous wool skirt for $3. We did eat one meal at the cafe, which was enjoyable. At its worst, this place could seem chaotic and odd; at its best -- like nothing else you've experienced!

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