From American Girl Doll sleepovers to up-close encounters with Shrek and Friends, hotels across the country are luring families this summer with all kinds of special packages for kids. Children will be delighted by fun treats like scavenger hunts, S'mores, pirate treasure, and super-duper ice-cream sundaes. And some packages include free breakfast for kids as well, along with a few special perks for parents, too!


1. American Girl Doll Sleepover

Perfect for little girls ages 5 to 10 enamored with Mattel's American Girl Dolls, an American Girl Place Package is offered this summer at select hotels near American Girl stores across the country. For example, the Omni Chicago Hotel is offering a package including a welcome card at check-in, an American Girl doll-size travel bed to take home, an American Girl pajama set for dolls including slippers for the guest to keep, an American Girl book to read at bedtime, a Sugar and Sweet All-American candy display on night of arrival, a $50 food and beverage credit for the Omni Chicago Hotel per day valid through room service or in 676 Restaurant, cookies and milk with turndown service on night of arrival, valet parking for one car per night, and entry into the quarterly drawing to win an American Girl Doll. The offer is valid through December 31, 2012 with rates from $279 per night. Affinia 50 in New York offers a similar package, with viewings of American Girl movies in the Club Room upon request.

2. Build-a-Bear Explorer

Most kids scream with glee over a trip to Build-a-Bear, even when they already have plenty of teddy bears crowding their bedroom at home. Perfect for summer, Embassy Suites hotels across the country are offering a special Build-a-Bear Explore Package including an explorer outfit with a bear-sized explorer hat, vest, pants, binoculars, canteen, butterfly catcher, passport, messenger bag, and a $5 off coupon valid at participating Build-a-Bear Workshop stores. Two packs are provided per room and additional packs may be purchased at time of check-in. Additionally, at Embassy Suites hotels, all rooms are spacious two-room suites and rates include a cooked-to-order breakfast and complimentary beverages at an evening reception. Other family-favorite hotels offering Build-a-Bear packages include Hampton Inn Times Square North and Hilton Garden Inn Times Square in New York where kids receive a Build-a-Bear Workshop Bear Trunk at check-in. The trunk holds everything a child's bear needs for an overnight stay including one Blanket and Pillow Set, one Dental Kit, and one bear-sized tee. The trunk also folds out, serving as a bed for bear.

3. Summer Camp Adventure

Take your little camper for an adventure this summer to Camp Omni! Select Omni hotels across the country are offering a "summer camp" package including a 15 percent discount on deluxe accommodations with a minimum two-night stay, complimentary breakfast for kids 12 and under from the buffet or children's menu, a $10 gift card for kids to use anywhere in the hotel, a camp newsletter including a scavenger hunt where kids receive a merit badge and "dirt & worms" dessert upon completion; and a welcome amenity with S'mores-flavored marshmallows, collapsible water bottle and a lanyard kit inside a cinch-up backpack. "Camp Counselors" call you in advance to help plan your adventure. Family-favorite Omni hotels include Omni San Franciso, Omni San Diego, Omni Chicago, Omni St. Louis, Omni Mt. Washington, and Omni Orlando. Rates from $155 per night and vary by location; valid through September 16.

4. Live Like Eloise

Let your sweet little girl create a memory of a lifetime this summer in New York with the Live Like Eloise package at New York's Plaza Hotel. The Eloise package includes a copy of "Eloise" by Kay Thompson; Eloise postcards, pen and postage; a $100 gift card to the new Eloise Shop; and a Super Duper Sundae from in-room dining. Rates are from $665 per night. Even better (but about twice the cost!), treat her to a spectacular night in the one-of-a-kind Eloise Suite designed by fashion designer Betsey Johnson and located on the 18th floor. With the Eloise Suite Experience Package your little girl will enjoy Eloise Tea at The Palm Court, an Eloise bathrobe, a $100 gift card to the Eloise shop, an Eloise camera, a framed photo of herself inside the suite, and an Eloise book. Rates start at a pricey $1,250 per night.

5. Shrek & Friends Meet-and-Greet

Kids dreams come true at Gaylord hotels this summer where on select weekends kids can meet their favorite characters from DreamWorks Animation films like "Shrek," "Madagascar," "How to Train Your Dragon" and "Kung Fu." The Summer Fun with Shrek & Friends package gets kids up close with the green ogre himself, his lady Princess Fiona, Alex the Lion, Po and others. Children receive a DreamWorks activity book and a pair of Shrek ears, special front-of-line access to DreamWorks character Meet and Greets and Puss in Boots Quest for the Magic Beans Scavenger Hunts, as well as priority reservation for the ShrekFeast interactive character meal one morning. Guests also enjoy a souvenir family photo and special wake-up calls by DreamWorks characters. Throughout the weekend, have a blast with a Splash 'N' Screen pool movie and endless DreamWorks-themed games, treats and surprises. The package is available on select weekends through September 2 for one- or two-night stays (rates vary by hotel and extra nights are available at prevailing rates). Gaylord hotels include Gaylord National in Washington, D.C.; Gaylord Opryland in Nashville, Tenn.; Gaylord Palms in the Orlando area; and Gaylord Texan in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area.

6. Pirate Tuck-In and Treasure

Take your little pirate to the Ritz-Carlton in Amelia Island this summer where kids are sure to have a swashbuckling good time with a special Pirate Tuck-In. With the Pirate Tuck-In package kids enjoy a nighttime delivery of milk and cookies, while Pirate Luis Aury, Princess Amelia and the hotel's "mascot," Amelia's Treasure (a three-year-old blue-and-gold macaw), read a pirate story and present a surprise keepsake treasure full of goodies. Tuck-Ins are $45 per child and must be reserved 24 hours in advance. And on Saturdays, the fun continues at Ritz Kids with special pirate-themed activities including coloring your own pirate flag and constructing a time capsule using new pirate names. Nightly summer rates from $249 per night.

7. Superhero Fun

Little superheroes will love this "super suite" deal offered this summer at Trump International Beach Resort in Miami. With the My Hero Package, kids receive a welcome bag of "Superpower Essentials," including two pairs of swimming goggles for underwater x-ray vision, two super "Hulk-sized" sand buckets and two Super Soakers; daily access to Planet Kids (ages 5 to 12), featuring a "Super People Powers" activity; and super cool amenities, including two complimentary poolside cocktails for mom and dad and one bottle of SPF 30, making kids invisible to harmful rays. A two-night minimum stay is required and offer is valid through December 19, 2012. Rates from $205 per night.

For more family vacation ideas, check out:

  • 10 Resorts for Little Chefs
  • 10 Best Hotel Amenities for Kids
  • Best Resorts Where Kids Stay-and-Eat Free

  • Written by Kimberly Liu



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