Most party plans start with a budget. The idea of reserving hotel rooms might sound like an expensive option, but as far as venues go, hotel rooms can cost just the same – sometimes even less – than other birthday party places. Consider, for example, the cost of renting a bounce facility or indoor jungle gym. The cost for a two-hour event is likely the same as the price of renting a hotel room for an entire night. Choose a hotel with a swimming pool, and you have a pool party combined with a slumber party, all for the same price. Many hotels also offer free breakfast, which leaves you with only having to cover the cost of the evening meal or snacks and a birthday cake.
Of course, we aren’t talking about the price of a suite at the Ritz Carlton. If you live in a major city, you may have to travel to the outskirts to find a budget-friendly location. Take advantage of online travel sites to locate an affordable hotel within a reasonable distance. These sites also offer customer reviews to help you narrow down your choices. Consider making an in-person visit 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.
Don’t simply book a room and show up with a group of kids ready to party. There may be rules and limits to what the hotel will allow you to do. Some questions to ask before booking:
How Many Kids Can I Have in One Room?
There may be limitations as to the number of kids allowed to stay in one room. It is best to know this number before sending out your invitations. You may need to pay a fee for kids who exceed the price per person rate, upgrade to a larger room or reserve two rooms (adjoining can be so much fun!).
What About Guests Who Don’t Stay Overnight?
Maybe there will be kids who come just for the party activities, but not to spend the night. Check to see if there are any rules about inviting these types of additional guests to enjoy the pool or any other hotel amenities during your stay.
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 Pool Rules?
Find out the pool rules in advance so you can be prepared to enforce them with your guests. The good idea is to print them and include them with your invitations so kids can review them ahead of time.
Can We Use Other Amenities?
Will our party guests be welcome in the lobby lounge and self-serve beverage bar? How about the gym? 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. Work out any details/rules about usage of common areas ahead of time.
Do You Have a Policy on Noise?
Many hotels have a quiet time policy, so guests who need to sleep will not be disturbed. Find out the time that policy goes into effect so you can plan to be back in your room, keeping the noise level low.
What Are the Safety Measures?
You will be responsible for your overnight guests. Make sure the hotel has safety measures in place, such as good lighting, security cameras, backdoors that lock after a certain time and employees on duty overnight.
How Many Can Have Free Breakfast?
It will likely be discussed as part of the room occupancy question, but don’t forget to make sure that if the hotel offers free breakfast, all of your party guests will be eligible. You might also want to see if you can invite any kids who came for the pool but didn’t sleep over can come back in the morning to join their friends for breakfast.
Is There a Best Time to Book?
Check if there is a time that is more advantageous to host your hotel party, as some discounts or extra amenities may apply during less busy nights.
Are There Other Things You Can Offer?
Maybe a conference room is free on the night of your stay, and the hotel would be willing to show a movie in as a complementary add-on, or for a small fee. Maybe they can offer a room service deal that is better than the local pizza delivery or throws in a birthday cake prepared by the kitchen staff. Perhaps even you could ask them for extra soaps, shampoos, and lotions to use as party favors. You never know what you might be able to negotiate until you ask.
Once you have chosen the location, negotiated all of the details and made your reservation, you can move on to planning the fun stuff!
Hotel Slumber Party Invitations
Invitations are always important for not just asking guests to attend, but for providing any necessary information. For the hotel slumber party, parents are likely to have more questions than for an in-home party. So, while you might want to make your invites fun, colorful, snazzy or exciting, remember to incorporate a way to answer as many of those questions as possible and open the lines of communication.
One way to add all of the additional information needed 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 directs parents to the link where they can find answers and ask questions. It is a great way to keep the communication flowing and build up excitement for your upcoming event.
What Guests Should Bring
What your guests will need to bring will depend on the accommodations and activities you have arranged. Some possible suggestions.”
- Sleeping bags, pillows, and blankets.
- Swimsuits, along with goggles, nose plugs or other swimming needs.
- Flip flops or pool shoes.
- Pool towels (the hotel will likely provide these, but they may prefer their own).
- Hairstyling needs for after the pool (such as their favored brand of shampoo, their hairbrushes, blow dryers, etc.)
- Pajamas, bathrobes, and slippers.
- Toothbrushes (and any favored brand of toothpaste, mouthwash or other dental items).
What the Party Host Should Bring
As the party host, you should bring extras of some of the above-listed items just in case anyone forgets something. In addition to that, you will need to supply:
- Food: plan 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 you will need to also bring things like paper plates, bowls, utensils, napkins, snacks, and beverages. Since the party will be going late into the night, a late evening start time won’t limit the time for fun activities. Have guests come after dinnertime and provide plenty of snacks and a birthday cake, if you don’t want to serve a meal.
- Chaperones: in addition to the kids attending, you will need to provide enough adults to help chaperone the event. Parents will want to know their children are being accompanied in the hotel by a responsible person at all times.
- Items needed for activities: if you are planning to play games or make crafts, remember to pack and bring all necessary items. If you want to show a movie bring a laptop and DVD (or your streaming site password).
- Favors: Even if the hotel provides sample products for you to use as favors, you will still need to place them in favor bags or tie them with decorative ribbon and set them up to be easily handed out to each guest.
If the hotel has a swimming pool, you may want to engage guests in some fun pool party games. Choose only those games that comply with the rules of the hotel. In addition to the swimming pool, there are several activities to enjoy at a hotel slumber party. Ideas include:
- A hotel scavenger hunt: modify this mall scavenger hunt to take place in a hotel (plan ahead to create a fun scavenger hunt that ensures the safety of your party guests and respects the privacy of other hotel guests).
- Karaoke: Karaoke can be done with a machine, with software, a laptop, and microphone, or with a gaming system and karaoke disc. All of these choices will require you to bring the needed equipment.
- Board Games: to be respectful of other guests, follow the hotel’s quiet time policy (or instill one of your own). Because it is a slumber party, guests will likely want to stay up well past this time, so have them quietly play board games or make crafts.
- Watch a movie: this is another great choice for a quiet activity. See what the hotel channels are offering, or use the free wi-fi to stream something on your laptop.