Christine Koh

Hello!

I'm Christine Koh, a music and brain neuroscientist turned multimedia creative. I'm the founder + editor of Boston Mamas, co-author of Minimalist Parenting, co-host of the Edit Your Life podcast, and creative director at Women Online. Drop me a line; I'd love to chat about how we can work together!

Traveling with Kids: The Hotel Viking

Over Mother's Day weekend I had the delightful opportunity to visit Newport, Rhode Island thanks to a kind media invite from The Hotel Viking. I haven’t been to Newport in 20 years (!) and after our visit, I was left wondering why on earth it's taken me so long to return! Today I'm sharing 10 things about our experience with The Hotel Viking as our launch point. I highly recommend you book a trip soon – it’s a truly wonderful family-friendly destination!

1. The benefit of big (but not crazy big). Over the years, we've stayed in a variety of accommodations with our kids, and one thing that struck us on this journey was how well suited The Hotel Viking's size is for families. Offering 208 well-appointed rooms + the space to accommodate events, the hotel has all the amenities (pool, restaurant, etc.) that make for an easy stay + plenty of corridors and spaces to explore while not being too massive and overwhelming. For example, one of Laurel and Violet’s games was figuring out the spatial map from the hotel entrance to our room. And we sent Laurel on a few short missions around the hotel, which she found very, very exciting!

2. The power of a good pool. The pool at The Hotel Viking is clean, well-stocked with towels, and bathrooms are in close proximity and you can even order food poolside. It was the perfect size for Laurel to do some laps and for Violet to splash around (the stair entry into the pool is good for small people). There’s also a hot tub if you want to get in a soak.

3. Everyone say ahhhh for spa. Though Jon made a generous offer for me to go get a spa treatment while we were there, I decided to opt for a run for my Mother’s Day self-care, mostly because I’m training for a half marathon this coming weekend and needed to stick to my plan! But next time, trust me, I will be heading in for a facial or massage. They have a full suite of services.

4. Excellent service. Service at The Hotel Viking is excellent from top to bottom. The hotel's central location means that you either need to find a nearby street spot or opt for valet (we used valet and only needed to access our car once during the weekend). At any rate, the valet/bell hop service team is who you likely will interact with most given that they are right at the entry and they were friendly and cheerful to our family at every turn.

5. The simple beauty of beverages. In the words of my beloved brother-in-law, I am very, very beverage oriented! So imagine my delight when I discovered that the hotel has a round the clock beverage station in their lobby. In the morning you can get coffee and tea (not sure what coffee brand they use but it was delicious!) and during the rest of the day they offer pretty infused waters. (Getting water was one of Laurel’s aforementioned solo hotel missions!)

6. Package deals. We enjoyed the We Are Family Package during our stay and the girls loved the complimentary treats and game (Connect 4 = nostalgia!), and the coloring book/crayons were perfect to stash in my bag since I forgot to bring activity books (for restaurant waits). The package also includes a disposable camera, 10% spa discount, and breakfast for kids.

7. Tasty food options. The Hotel Viking has a full service restaurant; we enjoyed breakfast there on our last morning (lobster omelette FTW!) and it was delicious and the pricing was reasonable. Otherwise, some of our favorite independent finds included Le Petit Gourmet (right across the street), Megs’ Aussie Milk Bar (a 5 or so minute walk down the street), and Perro Salado, which was a crazy accidental find right after I said, “Wouldn’t it be amazing if we stumbled upon a Mexican restaurant?”

8. Walkable adventures. I prefer to drive as little as possible when we’re on vacation, so the hotel’s central location was HUGE for us. We walked all over the downtown area, which offers a wide array of independent and national brand shops. 

9. Access to water. The water is my happy place so it's no wonder Newport was a great fit! At the Newport Harbor waterfront, Violet really wanted to ride the ferry; it was the perfect bite-sized adventure (about 20 minutes roundtrip) since we were sure if the kids would actually like it! Added bonus = it was awesome to see the Volvo Ocean Race boats docked at Fort Adams. We also did the Scenic Ocean Drive, which was gorgeous, and the farm landscapes were surprising and breathtaking. It was fun to hop out and scrabble around the rocks along this drive, and also play out at beach near the end of the Cliff Walk.

10. A learning adventure. Over 375 years old, Newport is positively steeped in history. From the historical properties around the downtown area to the Newport mansions to the oldest lending library in the U.S., there is no shortage of history to take in. It was especially fun for us to read plaques and put things into context given that Laurel recently finished a school unit on colonial times.

In a nutshell, it was a wonderful trip! I know there's so much more for us to see so I can’t wait to return -- and at 1.5 hours from Boston, it makes for a totally doable destination. Comically and fittingly, after all of our adventures, when I asked Violet what her favorite thing about the vacation weekend was, she said, “the pool and elevator in our hotel!” So there you have it, according to my 4-year-old, The Hotel Viking’s pool and elevator is THE BUSINESS.

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Disclosure: The Hotel Viking provided me with accommodations for two nights per my media visit; all opinions on the awesomeness of the property are, of course, my own!

Image credits: Christine Koh


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