Family travel: 26 kid-friendly city hotels

With more urban hotels catering to kids, taking a big-city family vacation is now totally doable. Check out our list of family-friendly city hotels from coast to coast.

By Jody Robbins

family-friendly city hotels The Holman Grand Hotel

Chock full of family-friendly amenities, these big city hotels are great spots to explore or rest your weary bones after a busy day sightseeing.

British Columbia

family-friendly city hotels Photo: The Hotel Grand Pacific

Hotel Zed This totally rad Victoria hotel is ideal for families looking for lots of amenities without sacrificing style. With everything from comic books in guest rooms to a Ping-Pong lounge and a Zedinator (that’s the pool’s bright pink waterslide), kids of all ages are easily entertained. Even the lobby is cool, with turntables for vinyl, typewriters to compose postcards and a coffee bar for parents. It’s not right downtown, but that doesn’t matter when you can catch a ride on their shuttle (a retrofitted 1967 VW bus) or take the complimentary bikes along the breathtaking Galloping Goose regional trail.

3110 Douglas St., Victoria; 800-997-6797

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Hotel Grand Pacific Everything is just ducky at this hotel located near Victoria’s inner harbour. You’ll find wild ducks splashing around in the pond, and all guests between the ages of three and eight receive duck-inspired VIP treatment, including complimentary rubber duckies, colouring pages and a chance to assist the groundskeeper as he feeds the birds! Family packages that include candy baskets, kid-sized robes and in-room movies ensure you can duck out of disciplining for the night.

463 Belleville St., Victoria. 800-663-7550

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Times Square Suites Just because these apartment-style suites are equipped with full kitchens and a washer and dryer doesn’t mean parents aren’t going to get a break. A rooftop patio outfitted with picnic tables and barbecues adds some fun to dinner duty. There are also more than 40 restaurants and cafés located within a four-block radius of this west end Vancouver hotel, not to mention Stanley Park and the Vancouver Aquarium right at your doorstep. And don’t forget your gym gear! Guests ages 18 and older receive free admission to Denman Fitness, where specialty classes, a pool and hot tub await.

1821 Robson St., Vancouver. 877-684-2223

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The Rosedale on Robson Suite Hotel Sometimes you just want to be in the heart of the action, and this all-suite hotel on trendy Robson Street certainly fits the bill. Two-bedroom family suites boast floor-to-ceiling windows, a living room and a kitchenette. A large toy chest in the lobby tempts tots, as does the thrill of sleeping in beds with matching linens, and, depending on the room, even bunk beds!

838 Hamilton St., Vancouver. 800-661-8870

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Pan Pacific Vancouver Hotel If you feel your brood could use a little luxury, this downtown Vancouver property is definitely splurge-worthy. It certainly doesn’t feel like you’re in the middle of the city when soaking up the coastal mountain views in the rooftop hot tub or plunging into the outdoor, heated saltwater pool. Family Getaway packages include breakfast and late checkout, plus little treats like milk and cookies. You can also enjoy board games, video games, an in-room movie with popcorn and a rousing treasure hunt.

999 Canada Place, Vancouver. 800-663-1515

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Manteo Resort With an entertainment theatre set up just for families—complete with a DVD library and snack basket—you know movie nights here are something special. And when it’s time to burn off some energy, there’s plenty to do. Hit the outdoor children’s playground (located next to the tennis courts), take a dip in the indoor swimming pool, or challenge the family to a game of Ping-Pong or foosball in the clubhouse. Kids love the special service received at their very own check-in desk, while parents will appreciate not getting gouged for little extras; WiFi, local calls, newspapers and parking are all complimentary.

3762 Lakeshore Rd., Kelowna. 800-445-5255

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family-friendly city hotels Photo: Fantasyland Hotel

Delta Edmonton South To please young travellers, KidZone rooms are kitted out to the max. You’ll find a separate area for twin bunk beds, themed linens (which you request when booking) and a TV and DVD player for each bed. Fret not, parents: This hotel has thought of everything—including headphones. The pet-friendly property also boasts an indoor pool for tons of swimmingly good fun.

4404 Gateway Blvd. NW, Edmonton. 780-434-6415

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Hyatt Calgary When you find a hotel that makes mealtimes easy, it’s tempting to never checkout. The chefs at Thomsons Restaurant love taking tykes on tours of the kitchen, which somehow always end up with a stop at the candy room, where they can fill a little goodie bag. Chef’s hats are handed out to decorate during dinner in the restaurant, and a new, healthy children’s menu offers several build-your-own options, so everyone is happy. Bonus: At an added cost, milk and cookies can be brought up to the rooms when you request them. Inquire about the Babies Travel Lite program that allows you to pre-order baby supplies and baby equipment rentals so that they are ready for you when you arrive—no need to schlep everything along with you on your travels.

700 Centre St. SE, Calgary. 403-717-1234

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Fantasyland Hotel Sleep in an igloo, bed down in the back of a truck or spend the night in jail: It’s tough to decide which will guarantee the best night’s sleep at West Edmonton Mall’s hotel. Talk about being spoiled for choice: An ice rink, amusement park and the world’s largest indoor water park are all located under the same roof. Family adventure packages allow active families the opportunity to visit either Galaxyland or World Waterpark, plus enjoy minigolf, a visit to Sea Life Caverns and breakfast.

17700 87 Ave., Edmonton.800-737-3783

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family-friendly city hotels Photo: Sheraton Cavalier Saskatoon Hotel

Travelodge Hotel & Conference Centre Pretty much everything families need for a successful break can be found at this spacious Regina hotel. Kids 10 years old and younger eat free at the Southside Café, with the purchase of an adult meal, and amenities like cribs and high chairs are at the ready. At the pool—home to the city’s longest waterslide—life jackets and an attendant ensure parents feel at ease when little ones dive in. For landlubbers, the hotel sports an indoor play area and a sweet Sleepy Bear’s Cave for the younger set to explore.

4177 Albert St., Regina. 306-586-3443

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Sheraton Cavalier Saskatoon Hotel This newly renovated property overlooks Saskatoon’s stunning South Saskatchewan River, allowing families to score serious nature time along the Meewasin Valley Trail. Plunge into the indoor water park, which features a massive waterslide, a large main pool, separate children’s pool and two hot tubs. There’s also a spacious indoor patio and outdoor deck, ideal for catching rays on sunny days while the kids get wet.

612 Spadina Cres., Saskatoon. 888-627-8184

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family-friendly city hotels Photo: Canad Inns Destination Centres

CanadInns Seven locations in Winnipeg make it easy for families to rest their heads in fun theme rooms that offer a kids’ sleeping area with divider wall so you can all have a bit of privacy. Despite the bunk beds and special lighting and decor in the kids’ area, it’s the Xbox and PlayStation that will really wow them. Looking for some me-time? Encourage the troops to join the Adventure Kids’ Club—members receive a kit brimming with goodies (like a decoder ring used for unlocking secret messages) to make the time fly by.

CanadInn Destination Centre Garden City. 2100 McPhillips St., Winnipeg. 204-633-0024


family-friendly city hotels Photo: Yorkville Four Seasons

Eaton Chelsea You’ll find every reason to stay at this comfy downtown Toronto hotel that caters to families. After receiving their age-specific welcome gift at the kids’ check-in desk, your crew will want to make a beeline to the Family Fun Zone. The older set can hang in Club 33 Teen Lounge, while youngsters up to age 12 dive into toys, arts and craft supplies and video games at the Kid Centre, where babysitting services are offered. Two-bedroom Family Fun Suites come equipped with a creative corner, DVD player and Xbox. Pack your swimsuit so you can barrel down the 130-foot corkscrew waterslide, but leave the stroller at home—they’re offered free of charge.

33 Gerrard St. W, Toronto. 416-595-1975

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Marriott Downtown Eaton Centre With your own floating toys allowed in the pool and a treasure chest overflowing with surprises at the front desk, this Toronto hotel knows the way to our hearts. With the city’s largest mall steps away, you may be lugging a few extra shopping bags back home, but don’t bother hauling your baby gear when you come. All the necessary equipment, from high chairs in the restaurants to cribs in the rooms, are available.

525 Bay St., Toronto. 416-597-9200

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The Westin Harbour Castle City breaks are made so much easier when you’re situated in a prime location. Tumble out of bed and explore the waterfront or downtown Toronto from this landmark hotel. You may find it hard to get any exploring done, however, as The Westin Kids Club room is equipped with a Wii, board games, and karaoke machine, plus a play area chock full of toys and activities for kids ages four to 16. And finicky eaters are well taken care of. The hotel’s new Eat Well menu provides several options that encourage kids to play with their food!

1 Harbour Square, Toronto. 416-869-1600

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Aloft Vaughan Mills If the close proximity to Canada’s Wonderland and Legoland Discovery Centre weren’t enough, this hotel just north of Toronto doles out endless kid-friendly perks. Like the indoor pool that operates 6am-11pm . The best part? The Re:Fuel lobby café/bar is well stocked with snacks and drinks to ensure tiny travellers don’t get “hangry” after a day of adventure.

151 Bass Pro Mills Dr., Vaughan. 866-716-8143

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Four Seasons At this posh property in downtown Toronto they know how hard it is to keep kids well behaved after a day of travel. That’s why they roll out a candy machine to surprise young guests while parents check in. You’ll find child-size robes, slippers and a Four Seasons’ plush toy waiting for you in your room. Plus kids can choose a complimentary snack to have in their room, like popcorn or cookies. Cribs are available, too. The restaurants and room service offer a children’s menu, but the chicken fingers and fries are so good that’s all you might end up craving. You can take advantage of the contracted babysitting services (at an hourly fee) to take a kid-free dip in the serene indoor pool.

60 Yorkville Ave., Toronto. 416-964-0411

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Ottawa Marriott With a free welcome gift for kids, plus popcorn and candy stations in the lobby on special occasions, this hotel, situated steps away from Parliament Hill, will win you over immediately. On top of the awesome location, there’s an indoor pool and two playrooms. The Teen Games Room sports old-school board games and electronic games, while the Kids’ Zone features a tree fort your little monkeys can climb as well as stacks of toys and puzzles. Check out Ottawa Tourism’s Family Discovery package for deals that include accommodation and family admission to some of the capital’s best museums and attractions.

100 Kent St., Ottawa. 613-238-1122

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family-friendly city hotels Photo: Claude Bouchard

Hilton Lac-Leamy Besides playpens, high chairs and a massive indoor-outdoor pool, this Gatineau hotel boasts a Bath Butler at your beck and call to run your kids (or you!) a bath and offer specialty products, food and drinks. There are several luxurious options for sudsy soaks in the tub, but the Tutti Frutti bath ($20 for a child; $3 for each additional child) is tops for tuckered out tykes needing a fresh start. Recharge with a frothy family soak complete with bath accessories, plus milk and a giant Smarties cookie for each kid once everyone is squeaky clean.

3 Boulevard du Casino, Gatineau-Ottawa. 819-790-6444

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Fairmont Le Château Frontenac Who wouldn’t want to stay in a legendary castle-like hotel, especially one that treats tots like royalty? They’ll feel like kings and queens at this Quebec City landmark when they receive their gifts from a treasure chest upon arrival, and the special treatment will continue with afternoon tea for children. An indoor swimming pool and separate wading pool ensures they get their exercise in, but if you really want to burn off some energy, look to Texon, the Canine Ambassador. Families can greet this handsome hound as he roams the property or, if you’ve brought along your pooch, call the concierge to schedule a session so they can pal around.

1 Rue des Carrières, Quebec City. 866-540-4460

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Hotel Place d’Armes Little ones feel so important at this boutique hotel, especially when they discover the personal notes waiting for them in their rooms. It’s one of the many perks you’ll discover when you book the Travel with Kids package. Families also receive a gift (such as a board game), complimentary continental breakfast and free WiFi. Situated smack-dab in old Montreal, there are plenty of cafés and an IMAX theatre nearby.

55, rue Saint-Jacques W, Old Montreal. 888-450-1887

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New Brunswick

family-friendly city hotels Photo: Delta Beauséjour

Best Western Plus Fredericton Hotel & Suites This pet-friendly property is awesome for families who’d rather save their pennies for local attractions, thanks to a free hot breakfast. And the close proximity to the Fredericton Boyce Farmers’ Market guarantees you’ll put the in-room refrigerator and microwave to good use. There’s also free WiFi, a heated indoor saltwater pool and Blu-ray set up in every room.

333 Bishop Dr., Fredericton. 877-455-8448

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Delta Beauséjour Nothing makes children feel more grown-up than being asked to complete their own check-in cards. Once that business is sorted, they’ll receive age-appropriate Kid’s Essentials kits chock full of little goodies like slinkies and handheld games to make their visit at this Moncton hotel more fun. There is also a large indoor waterslide plunges into a mineral-water pool.

750 Main St., Moncton. 888-890-3222

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family-friendly city hotels Photo: The Holman Grand Hotel

The Holman Grand Hotel Can’t decide between a city or seaside break? You don’t have to choose at this Charlottetown institution, located a couple blocks away from the sea. Travellers can enjoy watching betta or goldfish at check-in pods.The pool area gives this property a spa-like feel, but babysitting services and the Kinder Surprise turndown service (suite rooms only) ensures families feel more than welcome.

123 Grafton St., Charlottetown. 877-455-4726

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Nova Scotia

family-friendly city hotels Photo: Atlantica Hotel Halifax

Atlantica Hotel Halifax Keen to get exploring? The hotel’s complimentary limousine shuttle motors guests to certain locations within the downtown area. Cribs and high chairs are available, and in some rooms, bunk beds for kids are set up in an alcove off the main guest room. The pool includes a wading area for tots, and kids younger than 12 eat for free.

1980 Robie St., Halifax.1-888-810-7288

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family-friendly city hotels Photo: Delta St. John’s

Delta St. John’s Kid safety kits including socket protectors, bandages and night lights are readily available at this hotel, which also offers welcome kits for children younger than seven. The mini-fridge in each room is handy for keeping snacks fresh, but you probably won’t be storing meals when kids younger than six eat for free, and the seven- to 12-year-old set dines for half price. If you’re up for a game of squash, there are two courts here, but the heated pool, hot tub and sauna are the biggest draw after a day of sightseeing.

120 New Gower St., St. John’s. 888-793-3582

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A version of this article appeared in our January 2015 issue with the headline "Family-friendly city hotels," p. 82-6.

This article was originally published on Dec 16, 2014

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