The best hotel for a family visiting Washington, DC and Northern Virginia? A hotel that is focused on making both parents and children feel welcome and entertained, such as Hotel Monaco in Old Town Alexandria.
Kid-Friendly Hotel Monaco Alexandria
Our family loves staying at hotels. Even before becoming a blogging family we have been hotel reviewers, comparing and contrasting pools and pillows and continental breakfasts and window views at the places we have stayed.
However, 99 percent of our reviews happen inside our home or car, and the children are the most vocal in their pros and cons. Charlie and Eve can be a tough crowd, but they give the Hotel Monaco in Alexandria four hearty thumbs-up.
As a mother, the family-friendly touches made me feel welcome and relaxed. Although the boutique hotel is beautiful and luxe, knowing that the youngest guests are celebrated made the luxury more enjoyable.
We were treated like celebrities, but it was not because I have a blog:
ALL families at Hotel Monaco and Kimpton Hotels receive the royal treatment, it is standard!
When you book a room at Hotel Monaco and many Kimpton boutique hotels, let them know you are bringing children and the staff will organize balloons, snacks, refreshments and other kid-friendly tokens of appreciation, at no extra charge! These features are part of Kimpton Kids — a program that makes me likely to target Kimpton properties for future trips.
From goodie bags to treats like gummy bears, pretzels, balloons, art easels and supplies waiting to greet you when you open the door of your room, every guest family receives a special experience, tailored to the ages of your children and even the activities of your stay.
A non-blogging family was staying at the hotel for a family wedding, and they received special goodies related to their children’s roles as flower girl and ring bearer. Posh Brood‘s Elizabeth Thorp and her gorgeous family were also staying at the Hotel Monaco when we were there, and her three girls received sunglasses and other trinkets geared towards their upcoming trip to a water park.
(Seriously, I started looking for Hector Elizondo’s Barney a la Pretty Woman. I should have told the concierge I needed a dress and etiquette lessons because that was the type of service we received…all at a hotel within our price range.)
Every night at the Hotel Monaco there is a special “happy hour” just for families from 4 – 5 p.m.. From an Xbox Kinect for interactive games, to those giant Connect Four, checkers and Jenga games, to a never-ending lemonade bar and snack table, this party was our kind of happy hour.
Of course, there’s a real happy hour with wine and appetizers from 5 – 6 p.m. for adult guests, and the staff was very accommodating in letting all of the young guests keep playing the games while parents grabbed that essential glass of free vino.
After the free parties for guests, we headed into the on-site restaurant Jackson 20 where the luxe-but-super-kid-friendly vibe continued. The upscale Southern/tavern food was amazingly delicious, the kid menu equally hand-crafted and not frozen, and even when Alice almost took out Chef Jeff Armstrong with a flying fork (whoops!), the staff only laughed and brought us more crayons to keep her busy.
I could eat the fried green tomatoes and shrimp and grits every night and be happy and my husband Chris also swooned over his house-made kielbasa with pierogies and sauerkraut. My extra spicy Bloody Mary was the best I have had in the DC area, hands down. Also the bar plates are all $6 or under so Chris and I will be heading there for late night bites on our next Old Town Alexandria date night.
Then we headed back to the Hotel Monaco to get ready for the Dive-In Movie shown at the indoor pool! There the kids kicked back on pool raft loungers in the water to watch Transformers projected on a big screen, only getting out for another free snack. (Our family did not eat much the next day, so well-fed were we during our stay.)
Kid Reviewers Chime In
Eight-year-old Charlie’s favorites:
- The proximity to the sites in Old Town Alexandria such as the Apothecary Museum, waterfront with “weird looking ducks and big fish that fight with the ducks for popcorn”, and ice cream stores.
- That gummi bears and snacks that were waiting for us in the room after checking-in.
- “The pull-out bed was really comfortable. Sometimes they are not as comfy as the Mom and Dad bed, but this one was just as fluffy. Too bad I had to share it with Eve. I tried putting pillows between us to pretend she wasn’t there.”
Six-year-old Eve’s favs were very quotable:
- “The fish! He had his own apartment. We should get those for Rainbow and Sharky [our betta fish] because their bowls are so boring.”
- “I liked going to that art place [the Torpedo Factory Art Center] and then coming outside for a balloon animal from the nice man and he pulled a lollipop out of my ear.” [There are very kid-friendly street performers at the Alexandria Waterfront.]
- “The goodie bags from the lady were good and then she invited us to her party.” [The very generous gift bags at check-in were full of Oriental Trading Co.-esque toys, and the staff made a special point to speak to the children, not just the parents with the Visa card.]
Alice seemed to really like the lobby’s Moroccan decor. She was also obsessed with the helium Mylar balloons, especially the Elmo one.
I highly recommend the Hotel Monaco Alexandria, and all members of my family do as well.
Disclosure: We received a night’s stay for review, as well as nearly all of our meal at Jackson 20 (although we appreciated the waitstaff so much that we tipped what would have been our balance). No further compensation was received, and posting about the experience was not a condition of the gratis experience but due to my sincere recommendation of this family-friendly business. All opinions are my own.