Family Travel Times

Family Travel Times: February 2004

Sunday, 1 February 2004

The Ickworth - a luxury family hotel...

A long, long time ago we had one baby and my dream was to go to a luxury family hotel and have some rest. It didn't quite work out the way I had hoped - but that was her fault, not the hotels! Luckily, she is now 11 and far easier to travel with...

"It was almost 8pm - time for dinner - but our daughter, Jessica, was not yet asleep. There was nothing for it, but to creep, slowly out of the room. So my husband and I got down on our hands and knees, crawled past Jessica's cot and safely out through the door.

We stood, waiting for a scream or indignant complaint, but none was forthcoming. Instead we quietly tiptoed down the corridor and to the restaurant.

There's something strange about holidaying with a small child. Hotels which previously sounded fantastic are suddenly less appealing.

It may be because they don't have any facilities for your child, because children aren't welcomed in their restaurants, or simply because they don't offer baby listening in the evenings.

Without a simple intercom, eating in the downstairs restaurant becomes impossible.

The child-friendly facilities were the main reason I was so keen to visit The Ickworth Hotel. As the latest addition to the upmarket and fast-growing Luxury Hotels group, it promises that odd sounding combination - luxury and a warm welcome for your children.

If you have a baby, for example, your room is automatically equipped with travel cot, nappy bucket and changing mat. Steam sterilisers and bottle warmers are also on offer, as is that priceless delight - baby listening.

The rooms are also very quiet. Despite being next door to two toddlers, we didn't hear a peep from them all night long.

Ickworth House was created by the Earl Bishop of Bristol in the late 18th Century, and was home to the Hervey family for over 200 years.

In Suffolk, a few miles from Bury St Edmunds, the hotel is in a wing of the old house, while the rotunda is still open to tourists.