Hotels Vs Vacation Homes --> The Clear Winner

hotels vs vacation homes with little kids

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When I had kids I was told my longstanding relationship with hotels was over. So long lavender-scented cold towels, byeeee crisp sheets, see ya infinity pool, arrivederci lobby bar of my dreams; it was nice knowing you. Based on the advice of many parents I know, vacation homes seemed to be the only option in the "with kids" version of my life. “When you have a family, it’s just easier with a kitchen, you’ll see,” they told me.

Except, when it's just the four of us, it's not. At all. {At this point.}

Now that I've experienced both lodging types with littles, I don’t “see.” Seriously, though, why do I “need” a kitchen on vacation? So I can grocery shop? So I can cook? So I can wash dishes? So I can clean countertops? Just, NO.

While I do like the immersive local experience and neighborhoody-ness vacation homes offer, I’m not sold on them unless I’m going to stay awhile {as in, longer than a month}. Mostly because of the kitchen-factor. Even if I don’t use it, it’s there, reminding me of home...and cooking and food prep and clean-up. Isn't the point of a holiday to escape the everyday and chillax?

So, hotels. I heart them—especially with young kids in tow. Here’s why:

Because, Catered
If I’m going to pack up my life and hop on a plane, I want a hint of catered. I don’t need five stars or white-glove service, but I still enjoy a pampered experience, a fizzy welcome bev, and someone to offer me canapés at the pool. E-s-p-e-c-i-a-l-l-y if I’m traveling with kids. For this reason I choose hotels in all their plushy, non-kitcheny glory. And if I want a snack, I can always stock my mini-bar with a few of my favorite bites.
---> Hotels that inspired this: Four Seasons Resort Lanai and the Fairmont Orchid

Because, Firsts
Traveling gives us the opportunity to taste new foods and try new experiences. But here’s the ruse: Any time I’ve stayed in a vacation rental, I feel lured by the kitchen {and a pang of money-saving guilt for not cooking}, which takes away from time spent connecting with the culture at a variety of local shops and cafés. What I like about the simple, bed-and-bath nature of hotel rooms {or adjoining hotels rooms, because toddlers!} is you're forced outward in search of that elusive “first” that brings so much joy and wonder to wandering.
--> Hotel that inspired this: Terme Manzi Hotel + Spa in Ischia, Italy

Because, Vibe
If I was Beyoncé I’m sure I’d have a “vibe engineer” on my payroll to create the mood in the vacation homes I visit around the globe. However, I’m not Queen B, nor do I require my hideaway to be kitted out with a sense-of-place playlist, fancy-pantsy furniture, or personalized cooking. Due to the nature of hotels as people-centric gathering places created to meet our human need to roam, sleep, eat, and play, good hotels offer a built-in entourage, design, and staff to curate a feel that reflects the local culture and cuisine.
--> Hotel that inspired this: Grand Velas Riviera Maya

The Exception
Unique farm-to-table stays such as Puakea Ranch where there's a garden to pick fruits and veggies for your meal, animals around every corner, a rumpus room with vintage toys, and the environs is so gorgeous you decide you'll return every year {for the rest of your life}.

One day, I'll appreciate vacation rentals again. Like, when the little stylers are out of diapers. But, for now, in my two-toddler reality, unless I'm going on a long trip, hotels win. Big time.

This article hints at an original piece I penned for The Kitchn.

[Photos by @tripstyler]