[AD: This post is sponsored by Novotel]
Last week, Terry, Max and I headed into Edinburgh for the night, to sample the family package at the city’s beautiful Novotel Hotel.
With Max newly recovered from his Hand, Foot and Mouth ordeal, and Terry and I… er, not quite so recovered from Max’s Hand, Foot and Mouth ordeal… a night away seemed like the perfect end to a pretty horrible week, so we were very excited as we checked in: yes, even Max:
(Yes, we are wearing matching camel coats. Well, would you seriously expect any less of me?)
Located right in the city centre, the hotel is just a short walk from attractions like Greyfriars Bobby and The National Museum of Scotland, and it’s an area that’s very familiar to me from my university days, so I really enjoyed being close to my old stomping grounds, and think it would make an excellent base for someone new to the city, too. With the Novotel family offer, accommodation and breakfast are free for up to two children under the age of 16, and there’s also a ton of other family-friendly features, like play areas in the lobby (I really wanted to steal the tiny Eames chairs from this one…), balanced children’s menus, and late checkouts on Sundays. Max loved the little soft toy he was given on arrival, and there were more surprises waiting in our room, so it felt like a real treat for all of us.
Our suite was on the top floor of the 6th-storey building, and I loved everything about it, from the giant murals on the walls (Which made me mentally start redecorating my house as soon as I saw them…) to the panoramic views of the city from the balcony. Had we been staying here in summer, I’d probably have spent all of my time out on the balcony, taking in the view: unfortunately for me, the weather in January is just a little bit too cold for that, but luckily the room itself was nice enough to more than make up for it:
Once we’d finished checking in and exploring the suite, we decided to head down to the hotel bar for a late lunch/early dinner. There’s also a restaurant on site, but we figured the decor of The Tap bar was probably going to make it the most appealing option for a two-year old, and yes, we were right about that: in fact, we ALL loved the giant egg chairs and other little touches that made it a really fun place to eat, with lots of choice for Max and for us.
As part of our collaboration with Novotel, Max was also gifted with a selection of Wonderbly personalised books, which were waiting for him when we checked in. Wonderbly recently partnered with Novotel on a study which revealed that a quarter of parents rarely read to their kids before bed and 4 in 10 read to their children at bedtime less than three times a week. I was a little surprised by that: bedtime stories have been part of Max’s bedtime routine since he was a baby, and they’re something we both really look forward to – although, in his case, I suspect part of that enjoyment revolves around his attempts to delay bedtime with just one more book…
This time, though, he was actually looking forward to bedtime, because, well, just look at where he was sleeping:
We made the transition from cot to toddler bed back in December (When we happened to look at the video monitor during naptime one day, just in time to catch Max straddling the top bar of his cot, in the process of climbing out of it…), so this wasn’t his first night in a ‘big boy’ bed, but it WAS a particularly special big boy bed, so we were pretty sure he was going to be waaaay too excited to sleep. Thankfully, though, the promise of some new “bookies” to read was enough to calm him down a little (Our favourite: ‘Bedtime for Max‘, which I’ve been reading to him every night before bed. Not only was this personalised with his name, I was also able to personalise the illustrations, by choosing hair and skin colour, so the little Max in the book looks just like our own little Max: so cute!): never fails! (OK, it does sometimes fail, tbh. Not this time, though, luckily…)
Even more amazingly, once he was asleep, he did actually stay in bed until morning, albeit with a fair bit of middle-of-the-night rambling from him. We were absolutely convinced he’d get up and have a good rummage around the room (So much so that we put everything movable out of reach before we tucked him in…), but, much to our amazement, he stayed in bed until just before breakfast arrived next morning:
Speaking of breakfast, as I mentioned, it’s free for children aged 16 and under, and obviously be eaten in the hotel restaurant, if you prefer. While Max’s behaviour in restaurants has definitely started to improve over the last few weeks, though, we figured breakfast in our room might make for a slightly more relaxing start to the day, so we filled out our menus card before we went to bed, hung it on the front of door, along with our preferred delivery time, et voila: not quite breakfast in bed (That would be a little ambitious with a two-year-old in tow…), but lovely all the same.
After that, though, it was time to check out, and head home to look at giant wall murals and funky chairs on the internet. Watch this space, people.