Holiday Inn: where the kids AND parents leave smiling!

This article is sponsored by the Holiday Inn® brand, known for family-friendly hotels. The following is from my viewpoint!

One of our favorite parts of family travel blogging is checking out accommodations and sharing our finds with our community. We were honoured to visit the Holiday Inn Toronto International Airport Hotel to check out the service and amenities.
Airport hotels are actually a big part of family travel because many people use them over night prior to flights, on lay-overs with young children, or during travel delays. No matter how short the stay (one night, one day, or half day) parents are always thinking about their children, first and foremost. The Holiday Inn brand really delivers an impeccable family experience no matter where you’re staying (we honestly felt like we were on a vacation even though we were in quite an industrial area).

Highlights of the Holiday Inn Hotel chain:
(1) Kids Eat Free™
It’s no secret that Holiday Inn hotels offer free meals for kids 12 and under. It’s been part of their mandate for decades. But, I learned of this at a time when I didn’t have kids and then completely forgot about it. Now that we’ve got three hungry boys, finding hotels with perks like free meals for children, is a huge bonus.

Portions are absolutely reasonable for young children (a small pizza has four slices, mac and cheese arrived in a medium-sized bowl, grilled cheese is a standard size etc.), and each meal comes with a side and drink. The food selection for adults also has a great variety. We were pleasantly surprised at the flavours in the firecracker shrimp and quesadilla. The club sandwich actually had rotisserie chicken (not deli slices), fresh toppings and came with a gourmet side salad (complete with goat cheese, nuts, field greens and fruit).

(2) Spacious, airy and bright pool
Hotel pools are sometimes the only “attraction” around for families, which is why we always make a point of reviewing them for the traveling community. Many Holiday Inn hotels recently underwent renovations meaning a lot of the pools now have bright skylights, windows leading to the outdoors, lounger chairs and fresh new floor tiling. Our kids couldn’t get enough of the pool (we were so grateful there were stairs and not just a ladder) so the little guys could play.

Traveler tip: bring life jackets and swim gear. Check if the hotel offers towels before arrival.

(3) Large suite options with room separation
If you’re traveling with an extended family or with young kids, room separation is often a must. We always book suites (it’s a non-negotiable for us) so the younger kids can nap and the rest of the family can still function in a separate space – playing a board game, watching a movie etc. Many Holiday Inn hotel renovations included a total overhaul to guest suites transforming them into a modern, family-friendly space with lots of areas to spread out.

(4) In-suite kitchenettes and dining table options
Depending on your length of stay, having the option to prepare and serve your own meals is crucial for many traveling families. With a three-year-old and one-year-old, it’s often easier for us to eat in our room (and rent or book high chairs) than it is to visit restaurants. Hotels that offer kitchenettes always make our short list and the Holiday Inn surpassed our expectations with an actual dining table.

(5) Gear for young children available & included
Have you ever checked into a hotel only to find out that they don’t actually offer cribs? We have (we were told it’s for insurance reasons…whatever that means). The Holiday Inn chain caters to all sorts of travel, which means high chairs and cribs are readily available. Just let staff know before arrival so they know to have one ready for you.

Traveler tip: If you book online, we recommend calling the hotel once you have a confirmation number. Let them know you want the crib in the room upon arrival so you don’t end up waiting around for it.

(6) Resort like options for kids (water slides, kids suites with bunk beds, slot machines etc.)
Whether you’re staying overnight or for an extended stay, amenities are key when it comes to traveling families. Imagine having access to water slides, slot machines, restaurants, shopping and kids’ suites? Well, those dreams can come true with the right research. Depending on the Holiday Inn offerings, you can often find really cool attractions for kids. From actual waterslides to pimped out kids’ suites (complete with video games and bunk beds), you can find something for everyone in the family.

(7) On-site convenience stores
Packing for a family with kids means things are often forgotten at home. Or, you simply need a top-up of snacks and bandages. Either way, we love the offering of a fully stocked, kid-approved convenience store in the lobby area of some Holiday Inn hotels.

(8) Clean and safe hotels
New renovations and a large corporate team backing their mandate (International Hotel Group – IHG) means your family is being taken care of from multiple levels. From exceptional service upon check-in to thoroughly cleaned rooms, the Holiday Inn we visited was extremely well maintained, clean and occupied by many young families. Our kids made new friends with other guests in the lobby and restaurant alike, which made the overall experience that much more warm and inviting.

About the Holiday Inn® brand
The Holiday Inn® brand, which offers more than 1,150 hotels and resorts worldwide, has helped millions of travelers discover the joy of travel since its inception in 1952. For more information about the Holiday Inn brand, visit call 1-888-HOLIDAY.

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