Thursday, 25 August 2011

Mr and Mrs Smith

A few days ago, my husband and I celebrated our wedding anniversary. Since we were driving back from Belgium to Italy at around the same time, we decided to make a stop in France to celebrate in style.

As most of you surely know, staying at upscale hotels with kids maybe challenging, to say the least. In his quest for a child-friendly place, my husband stumbled upon a great resource, that I would highly recommend: Mr and Mrs Smith, a concierge service for boutique hotels all around the world. Their website allows users to filter hotels by different categories, including the one my husband was looking for: child-friendly. In addition, their website has great specials, one of which permitted us to book two nights at a wonderful French chateau that we would have otherwise not been able to afford. Finally, being used to reserve through anonymous travel websites, my husband found refreshing the possibility to speak with an informed and helpful agent, who did her best (and succeeded) to accommodate the needs of our family.

Even though our stay looked highly promising, we were obviously a bit nervous when we arrived at our destination, the Chateau de Bagnols in the Beaujolais region -- fearing it too good to be true. Yet reality exceeded our expectations. In our room, a child robe was waiting in the closet next to two adult ones, together with welcome snacks and drinks (wine for us, grape juice for my son). But it was the attitude of the staff and the other guests towards our little one that impressed us. At the pool, where we spent most of our time, floaters and toys were waiting and no one got upset because we were splashing around, certainly disturbing their peace and quiet. My son was encouraged to play and bike around the impeccable gardens. The chef always had snacks ready in the kitchen for him and happily accommodated his food requests.As much as we feared the final bill, we were once again pleasantly surprised. For instance, we had not been charged for my son's breakfast, even though he had always eaten pastries and enjoyed freshly made hot chocolate and juices.

Needless to say, I hope Mr and Mrs Smith have the same special next year... Meanwhile my husband and I have used their services again for our upcoming trip to Copenhagen!

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