During our last road trip to the Eastern Cape, South Africa, I got to learn the difference between truly kidsfriendly and ‘we don’t mind kids’. We were really looking forward to a bit of a relaxing holiday but next time we will ask a whole lot more questions before we book a ‘family unit’ in a lodge. We ended up having to cook almost each night or drive to another hotel to enjoy an early dinner there.

Here’s a list for hotels who would like to be truly kidsfriendly:

1. have flexible meal times (set dinner at 7h30pm and serving breakfast at 9am will not get ANY kids in your dining room)
2. have high chairs and PLEASE, CLEAN THEM!! The state of high chairs is really shocking in most places we went to. Is it in no one’s job description to clean these things after use? I mean REALLY!
3. plastic plates and cups so we don’t need to stress about breaking your beautiful porcelain.
4. staff who like children (or at least can fake it without us parents noticing). In South Africa there’s no lack of friendly staff towards kids which is really great.
5. have a play area or toys in the room; even better is a kids’ club with nannies (whoop whoop!!).
6. offer babysitting services that fit with the schedule of the activities (to offer a babysitter at 7am while safaris leave at 5h30am is not very helpful).
7. have family rooms that are situated close to all facilities so that parents don’t need to carry their toddlers up and down hills, up staircases or all the way to the other side of the property. This is also useful in case parents would like to have dinner later and wish to use a Babyphone (yes please!)

This is ‘my list of 7’ so accommodation suppliers, please take note and don’t tell us you’re kidsfriendly when in reality ‘you don’t mind kids’ but you have no facilities or kids’ arrangements at all.