If you are planning a family vacation in Las Vegas, some aspects of your trip can be arranged once you get there, but one matter that needs to be addressed well beforehand is childcare. Realistically, you are not going to be able to be with your kids every minute of every day. Therefore, providing alternative age-appropriate supervision and activities that you can feel comfortable about is a must, both for your children's safety and your own peace of mind.
The ideal childcare arrangement is to stay in a hotel that offers its own childcare services on the premises, but unfortunately, very few hotels do this and their location might not be convenient for other activities you have in mind. However, most better hotels, including those on or near the Las Vegas Strip have a concierge who can contact a licensed nanny or babysitting service on your behalf and arrange for a qualified individual to attend to your children's needs. The hotels could be held liable if they were to refer you to a service that was incompetent or unreliable, so you can be reasonably certain your children will be in good hands. Of course, given a choice of many hotels, we feel your best bet would be one that, in addition, offers special amenities and services that specifically cater to children. Some babysitters and nannies go out of their way to make sure the kids in their care are actually having a good time, while others might do little beyond providing adequate custodial care. Choosing a hotel that actually caters to kids will ensure that your kids will be actively engaged in activities they enjoy instead of just moping around the room complaining about having nothing to do. Those are the hotels that are the focus of this article.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Hotel Arranged Outside Childcare Services
A big advantage of hotel arranged outside childcare services is its convenience to you in every respect. Since the babysitter or nanny will be coming to your hotel, you can choose a place whose location best fits your own needs. You don't even have to take the time to look for a suitable childcare service since the hotel will make all of the arrangements for you. Then, unlike at the hotels that provide their own in-house childcare facilities, if you wish, you can leave the premises. On the other hand, you don't have to travel out of your way to drop off and pick up your children since they will remain at the hotel. Your only responsibilities are to provide the necessary information about each child and a means of contacting you in case of emergency, and to return at the agreed upon time.
Another advantage to hotel arranged outside childcare services is that you can be reasonably certain your children will receive excellent care because the hotel's reputation is at stake. The last thing the management would want is the risk of anything seriously going wrong on the hotel premises.
One important disadvantage to hotel arranged outside childcare services vs. on site facilities for childcare is that an individual rather than a staff of people will be providing the service. The range of feasible activities will be much more limited and will not include the opportunity for active play and group interaction with other children that the childcare centers afford. Also, if cost is important to you, hotel arranged individual childcare services are considerably more expensive than group childcare whether it be in the hotel itself or at a drop off facility.
Which Hotels Arrange for Outside Childcare Services and also Offer their Own Special Amenities and Services specifically for Children?
All of the hotels described in this section arrange for an outside babysitter rather than having their own personnel provide childcare. However, the quickness with which the service can be arranged and the numerous things the management does otherwise to make sure its youngest guests are made to feel appreciated are the reasons these places deserve special mention. Many other hotels will also help you secure babysitting or nanny services on request, and some offer wonderful family friendly attractions (which are open to non-hotel guests as well), but otherwise really don't do anything special specifically for children staying at the hotel.
Would you like to find a place to stay in Las Vegas that will not only arrange for a babysitter or nanny to take care of your children, but also specifically caters to children as shown by its own special amenities and services? If so, these are a few hotels you might consider.
The Four Seasons Hotel is a non-gaming property that is part of the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino complex on the southern end of the Strip. Besides arranging for babysitting services on just two hours advance notice, what makes this hotel a standout choice for families is that this is one place that really caters to children. The downside to this hotel is that it is very expensive.
On the other hand, it might be well worth the extra cost to find a hotel like this one that will gladly go the extra mile to make sure your children are comfortable and happy. When you make your reservation, simply let the clerk know your children's names and ages. Then give yourself a pat on the back when you see the look of delight on your kids' faces when they see all of the special surprises waiting for them, like these.1. A kids' welcome amenity
2. Child-size bathrobes
3. Complimentary baby and children's toiletries
4. Complimentary welcome milk and cookies
5. Popcorn and soda on arrival for teenagers
6. Play Station availability on the TV in the room
But wait, there's more. Upon request and subject to availability, the Four Seasons can also provide all of the following:7. Basket of essentials for infants
8. Items to childproof guest rooms
9. Complimentary use of high chairs and playpens
10. Use of strollers (fee may apply)
11. Cribs and/or roll away bed(s) at no extra charge (subject to maximum occupancy)
12. Complimentary on-site activities
13. Board games
14. DVD and video library
Last, but certainly not least, all guests of the Four Seasons Hotel have complimentary access to several pools and the wave pool beach and lazy river at the adjoining Mandalay Bay Resort. Mandalay Bay is also home to the outstanding family friendly attraction Shark Reef. Nearby, you will find lots of other fun activities for kids. For example, you can take them to M&Ms World at the MGM Grand or Hershey's Chocolate World at New York-New York. At the Excalibur, Fun Dungeons, an arcade filled with 150 games, and the long-running Tournament of Kings dinner show are perfect for families.
Trump International Hotel is a relatively new 5-star luxury 64-story hotel that is very popular both with conventioneers and families vacationing in Las Vegas. Every room contains floor-to-ceiling windows with a sweeping panoramic view and for added convenience, a state-of-the-art complete kitchen. Children won't feel confined, like they might at a casino hotel, since they are allowed throughout the premises, as this is a non-gambling, nonsmoking facility.
Trump International Hotel is relatively new, and while not on the Strip proper, it is within walking distance of several Strip casino attractions. Trump International Hotel is located across the street from the Fashion Show Mall, one of the premier shopping malls in Las Vegas. This mall is a hit with kids and teens, as well as moms and dads, for the combination of world class shopping (kids can get a complete back to school wardrobe there) and fast and tasty food. Anything and everything your kids and teens might be in the mood to eat is available at the mall--from pizza to pasta, or a burger to barbecued chicken or, for more adventurous palates, foreign cuisine.
Another amenity, not to be taken lightly because very few hotels offer it anymore, but this one does, is a full breakfast included with your room. So you and your kids can start the day fully energized and you never have to worry about your kids skipping or skimping on the most important meal of the day. With a full slate of activities ahead of you and youngsters in tow, things are bound to get hectic, but breakfast doesn't have to be. It is hard to imagine a better choice for a sensible, nutritious breakfast and early day family togetherness than the comfortable and accommodating, yet very family friendly DJT Restaurant.
Trump International Hotel Las Vegas also features an outdoor heated, kid-friendly pool that is perfect for the whole family. The pool has a nice view of the North end of the Strip.
This hotel isn't cheap (no surprise there), but special reduced rates may be available. Also, up to two children under age 12 can stay for free when using existing beds.
If your kids are disappointed that your next trip as a family is going to be Las Vegas and not the Big Apple, no problem if you will be staying at New York-New York. Replicas of some of the most famous NYC attractions are right there. Young kids might even think they are seeing the real Empire State Building and Statue of Liberty. Also, be sure to stop by the I Love NYNY Store so your kids can go home with their own I Love NYNY tee shirt and other Big Apple mementoes.
What kid (or kid at heart) doesn't love chocolate? New York-New York will more than satisfy the sweet tooth in all of you because it is home to Hershey's Chocolate World! Your children will love the interactive experiences like learning all about the history of chocolate and making their own personalized chocolate bar wrappers.
Another family-friendly must-stop at New York-New York is the Big Apple Coaster and Arcade. You are the best judge about whether your children can handle the twists, loops, and dives of the roller coaster, but in any case, the varied arcade games will keep them happily entertained.
If you are a gambler, be sure to sign up for your MGM-Mirage Player's Card if you don't already have one, so you can get credit for all of your play, not only at New-York, but at any other participating Las Vegas casinos you might visit during the course of your stay. New York-New York also offers a special 3 for $57 package--your choice of three exciting attractions for $57 per person. As you might expect, all of the attractions are at MGM-Mirage properties. The website doesn't state whether there is a discount for children so you will need to inquire. It might actually be cheaper to use discount coupons and pay for each attraction individually.
Of course, one big advantage of the package is you are all set to go with no waiting on long lines to purchase your tickets. If you should decide on the package, in addition to the Roller Coaster at New York-New York, at least three of the attractions at other hotels are perfect for children of all ages: The Adventuredome at Circus-Circus, Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay, the Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat at the Mirage. Older children and teenagers might like the other options: CSI at the MGM Grand and Bodies: the Exhibition and Titanic: the Artifact Exhibition at the Luxor.
Of course, your kids have to be well-fed, too, and that they will be if you stay at New York-New York because the hotel is packed with family friendly eateries. America is not only a full scale restaurant, but educational as well because your kids can look at the gigantic map of the United States highlighting many famous landmarks. Or if you only have time for a quick bite, hamburgers, pizza, deli sandwiches, and ice cream are some of your options in the New York-New York replica of Greenwich Village on the mezzanine level.
Speaking of fast food, we are certainly not recommending a steady diet of it, but during your Las Vegas vacation, a couple of such meals, in moderation, should not hurt your kids while you save a lot of money on food costs. Besides, no trip to New York, NY, or its Las Vegas representation, New York-New York, would be complete without a Nathan's Famous Hot Dog!
Between Nathan's Hot Dogs, the roller coaster, and arcade games, the only thing Coney Island has to offer that New York-New York doesn't is the ocean, but no big loss because New York-New York has a huge outdoor swimming pool!
If you are on a budget and are willing to forego more luxurious accommodations in exchange for bargain rates (i.e., as low as $25 per night during the summer), your best bet among the kid-friendly hotels in Las Vegas is probably Circus-Circus Hotel and Casino. This casino hotel, located in the Northern part of the Strip, is one of the few older ones on the Strip that are still remaining. See the separate coverage on this website for detailed descriptions of both the hotel itself and its primary attraction, the Adventuredome Theme Park. Circus-Circus is mentioned briefly in this section, not because the hotel itself specifically goes out of its way to provide special amenities and services for children, but because the place is so popular with families. Circus-Circus is probably the first Las Vegas hotel most people would think of if asked to name a Las Vegas hotel that children would like.
Some guests have complained on sites like TripAdvisor.com that the property is showing "wear and tear." So be forewarned if you are accustomed to luxurious accommodations. Also be prepared to do a lot of walking. The Adventuredome Theme Park, with its scary rides, free clown shows, and carnival atmosphere, and the family-friendly arcade games and world-class circus acts not to be found anywhere else in Las Vegas are what makes Circus-Circus fantastic for children of all ages. There is a McDonald's conveniently situated right outside the hotel, too.
Question: What are the advantages to staying at this type of hotel as compared to staying at a hotel which provides its own childcare facilities on the premises?
Answer: One advantage is that all of the hotels recommended in this section, unlike those that provide their own childcare facilities, are located either on the Las Vegas Strip or very close to it. That makes their location much more convenient if you plan to participate in activities outside the hotel. Also, if you would like to go elsewhere while the babysitter or nanny whom the hotel arranges for you is watching your kids, you are free to do so, as long as you provide adequate instructions and return at the agreed upon time. You are not required to remain on the premises while your child is with the caretaker. When you leave your children with a hotel-run childcare service, you must remain at the hotel the entire time.
Lastly, not all children are candidates for care in a group setting. While there are caretaking facilities that are suitable for special needs children (those options will be discussed in a separate article), the extra individualized attention necessary might be beyond the capability of a hotel-based facility. If you have a special needs child and prefer for care to be provided at the hotel, individualized care rather than group care might be a better option.
Question: What are the disadvantages to staying at this type of hotel as compared to staying at a hotel which provides its own childcare facilities on the premises?
Answer: There are several disadvantages. The first is that obviously, the single person whom the babysitting or nanny service sends to take care of your children, as qualified as she may be, is much more limited. She does not have the wherewithal to provide the same comprehensive range of activities as a facility provided childcare service. The caretaker's task will be even more challenging if there are several children varying considerably in age. This is not a problem at a childcare facility because they provide a wide variety of age-appropriate activities for children of different age groups and each child is grouped with other children who are of a similar age.
This opportunity to play and interact with other children and improve social skills is another advantage that the childcare facilities provide that a private caretaker cannot. A third disadvantage associated with private care that the hotel concierge arranges for your children is that it will undoubtedly be much more costly than group care.
Question: What are the advantages to having the hotel arrange childcare compared to making your own arrangements?
Answer: Many other guests arrive with similar needs, so it is imperative for the hotel to adhere to the highest standards in its choice of caretaking services. You can be sure that your children will be safe and well cared for because no respectable hotel will risk its reputation by recommending any service that has not been thoroughly checked out and demonstrated to be top quality. Not only are you spared all the time and trouble of trying to find equally good arrangements on your own; if you are inexperienced at this type of task, you might not know what to look for and make a poor choice.
Question: What are the disadvantages to having the hotel arrange childcare compared to making your own arrangements?
Answer: One disadvantage is that you will have to go along with whatever service the hotel chooses even if it is not completely to your liking. Obviously, if you make your own arrangements, you have much more control about what you want the caretaker to do or not do. You also might be able to negotiate a better rate if you make your own arrangements.