If you're planning a kids' sleepover party at a hotel, don’t simply book a room and show up with a group of youngsters ready to party. There may be rules and limits to what the hotel will allow you to do, and you'll want to know all of its guest policies before you send out invitations or plan the party events. Start by searching for reasonably priced, kid-friendly hotels (with pools, of course), then ask some key questions to identify the best fit.
Setting a Budget
The idea of reserving hotel rooms might sound like an expensive option, but as far as kids party venues go, hotel rooms can cost no more than many other options. A two-hour event at a bounce facility or indoor jungle gym can easily cost as much or more than a hotel room for an entire night. If you choose a hotel with a swimming pool, you can combine a pool party with a slumber party, all for the same price. Many hotels also offer free breakfast, so you might need to cover only the cost of an evening meal or snacks and a birthday cake.
Take advantage of online travel sites to locate an affordable hotel within a reasonable distance from your home, and check the customer reviews for the inside scoop. When you've made a selection, it's a good idea to visit the hotel before booking, so you can be sure you’ve found a place that not only suits your wallet but is clean, well-appointed, and safe for your party guests.
Questions to Ask the Hotel
While many hotels welcome small parties and may even have options for party packages, some venues are not suitable for this kind of event. Asking questions up front will help prevent unpleasant surprises, both for you and the hotel staff (and other guests).
How many kids can stay in one room?
There may be limitations on the number of guests allowed to stay in a each room. It is best to know this number before sending out your invitations. You may need to pay more for extra guests, upgrade to a larger room, or reserve two rooms (adjoining rooms can be a lot of fun!).
What about kids who don't stay overnight?
There may be kids who want to come just for the party activities but will not spend the night. Ask about rules for guests who will enjoy the pool or any other hotel amenities as visitors during the day or evening only.
What time does the pool close?
If you are planning to use the pool as the main activity for your hotel slumber party, you will want to know the pool’s hours of operation. You might even be able to negotiate a later closing time for the night of your stay.
What are the rules for using the pool?
Learn about the pool rules in advance so you can be prepared to enforce them with your guests. It's also a good idea to print out the rules and include them with your invitations so kids and their parents can review them ahead of time.
What hotel amenities are available?
Ask whether your party guests are welcome in the lobby lounge, self-serve beverage bar, and other common areas. While these public spaces are typically free for all guests to use during their stay, a group of excited kids can be frowned upon by other guests or hotel employees who have to clean up after them.
Is there a noise or quiet-time policy?
Many hotels have a quiet-time policy, so as not to disturb other guests during the nighttime hours. Find out when quiet hours begin so you can plan to be back in your room, keeping the noise level low.
How many can have free breakfast?
If the hotel offers free breakfast, make sure all of your party guests will be eligible. You might also ask about feeding kids who didn’t sleep over but want to come back in the morning to join their friends for breakfast.
Are there cheaper times to book?
You may be able to save money if you host your hotel party during weekdays or other times when the hotel is less busy.
Can we make special arrangements?
Maybe a conference room is free on the night of your stay, and the hotel would be willing to show a movie as a complimentary add-on or for a small fee. Maybe they can offer a room service deal that is better than the local pizza delivery or throw in a birthday cake prepared by the kitchen staff. You could also ask for extra soaps, shampoos, and lotions to use as party favors. (You never know what you might be able to negotiate until you ask.)
Sending Hotel Slumber Party Invitations
Invitations are always important not just for asking guests to attend but also for providing any necessary information. For a hotel slumber party, parents are likely to have more questions than for an in-home party.
One way to provide information is to include an insert that outlines all of the details. Another way is to set up a social media event that includes all of your information, and add a note that provides parents a link where they can find answers and ask questions. For large parties, you may want to ask parents to volunteer as chaperones.
Make sure your invitations include a list of items that guests should bring, such as:
- Sleeping bags, pillows, or blankets
- Swimsuits, goggles, and other pool gear
- Pool towels
- Pajamas and toothbrush
- Bathrobe, slippers, or cozy hangout clothes
Feeding Hotel Party Guests
Decide ahead of time whether you will order room service, dine in the hotel restaurant, or have pizza delivered to the room. If your room has a fridge and microwave or some kind of kitchenette, you can come up with other options; perhaps some tea sandwiches that can wait in the fridge while the kids swim, or a pasta dish made at home that can be reheated in the microwave. Another option is to cook something in a slow cooker and let it sit on a warm setting in the room.
Remember to pack everything you need for meals, like paper plates, bowls, utensils, napkins, snacks, and beverages.
If the hotel has a swimming pool, think of some fun pool party games (provided they comply with the rules of the hotel). In addition, there are plenty of activities that will keep the kids happy during their special night away from home:
- Hotel scavenger hunt: In the spirit of a mall scavenger hunt, challenge the kids to find hidden items throughout the hotel.
- Karaoke: These days, you can karaoke with a portable karaoke machine, a laptop computer, or a gaming system.
- Board games: Board games are ideal for late-night quiet-hour activities.
- Watch a movie: Movies are also good for quiet hours. Find out what the hotel channels are offering, or use the free wi-fi to stream movies on your laptop.
- Party favors: Whether you're giving tiny toiletries from the hotel or more standard favors, they're way more fun when they're wrapped up in favor bags and tied with a ribbon. Handing out favors can be the last activity before checkout.