My older daughter always will remember her first visit to a Four Seasons Resort. It’s not because we spotted Bruce Willis in the elevator. It’s not because she got a personal tour of the spring collection at Badgely Mischka. It’s not even because a thoughtful housekeeper had written her name in stickers on the door to the glass shower.
It’s because she got a stuffed giraffe upon check-in. And she got to select it from a red wagon full of stuffed animals—a wagon full of gifts specifically to make younger guests feel like princes and princesses when they arrive.
For many of us grown-ups, this kind of thing is nothing more than a nice touch, a cute amenity about which we might tell our friends over Manhattans at the next neighborhood barbecue.
But for our little ones, it’s HUGE. Because it’s something they don’t experience at other resorts.
L and R got another taste of the Four Seasons treatment this weekend; on assignment for the company’s “Have Family Will Travel” blog, I dragged my family to the Four Seasons Hotel Silicon Valley at East Palo Alto. We spent the weekend there, reacquainting ourselves with Palo Alto (Powerwoman got her Ph.D. from Stanford) and bumming around the hotel.
In between, our experience was an all-star showing of kid-friendly tricks and treats—bonus treatment that the hotel extends to all of its younger guests (not just the kids of visiting journalists on assignment for the parent company).
Some of the family-oriented amenities the girls liked best:
- A personalized welcome. When we got up to our room after check-in, housekeepers had written my daughters’ names in sponge letters on the side of the bathtub. Later in the stay, the same housekeepers set out two pairs of kid-sized slippers with sponges representing the girls’ first initials (see photo).
- A special kid-oriented room-service menu with items such as fresh fruit, house-made rigatoni with butter (or marinara), and pancakes.
- A DVD movie library with an extensive kid-friendly selection. For our movie time on Saturday, L selected “Tangled” and Rango” (yes, it was a chameleon kind of day). About five minutes after we started the movie (ultimately, she chose “Rango”), room service brought up complimentary buttered popcorn.
- A cache of floaty noodles and kickboards at the pool.
(Of course perhaps my girls’ favorite “amenity” at the resort was the giant fountain in front of the property, which now is home to at least 75 of our pennies.)
The bottom line: On-site, kid-friendly touches go a long way with the next generation of luxury travelers. When we pulled into the driveway tonight, my Big Girl told her mother: “I’m happy to be home, but I miss the Four Seasons.” I’m not sure I could have said it better myself.