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Wyndham London Chelsea Harbour

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What is it? That we could take advantage of the free babysitting service the Wyndham offers during their Sunday lunch buffet. Qualified childminders are on hand in a small playroom adjacent to the buffet tables. Stocked with crayons, tents, games and dress-up items, it can keep kids amused for hours whilst their naughty parents sip champagne and admire the Harbour view.

Where? If you want to completely relax during the Sunday Brunch, book the (free) childcare in advance. You can keep your eyes on Junior, Tristan and littel Arabella as you chow down on the sumptuous buffet, knowing that someone is in full charge of them – and their naughty antics.

Description: The fitness club was fab. The 17-foot swimming pool is open to people of all ages, and we all had a great time frolicking and splashing. Josie and I then spent another half-hour in the sauna and steamroom, fragranced with eucalyptus oil. The club itself is gleamingly well-equipped and a variety of treatments are on offer. Book in advance and have your chequebook ready!

You’re in central London – so go wild! We took a long walk along the Harbour promenade, then took a bus through the King’s Road to Hyde Park. After a nice walk we crossed over to the Grosvenor House London, the Park Lane Hotel that is currently undergoing a multi-million pound refurbishment progamme. Their new afternoon tea is all set to attract children, and our kids had lovely sandwiches, pastries and ice cream before being given cuddly dogs to take home. Points to the staff, who were unbelievably attentive, despite my little ones’ naughty behaviour (climbing on the chairs, running around and yelling).

“I liked the steamroom because it was nice and hot and helped my lungs and asthma,” says Josie, seven. “I liked the chocolate fountain in the dining room. I want one of them,” says Tilly, five. “I like swim pool,” adds Clementine, two.

Wyndham London Chelsea Harbour is located in – where else? – Chelsea Harbour, right in central London. The drive from Heathrow is about 45 minutes, depending on traffic, or if you are driving yourself the website has a map to help you get there easily. Valet parking is on-site. For more information visit www.wyndham.com or phone 020 7823-3000. Rates start at for L189 for a standard two-person suite low-season without breakfast (VAT not included), to L475 higher season or when the hotel forecasts they’ll be fully booked. Children can stay in the room at no extra charge.

Arguably the worst part of all holidays with children is getting there, and getting back again. So all five of us were looking forward to a few days’ respite in central London, just a short drive from our flat. With nary a sick bag in sight, we set off full of high hopes – confident of having a vomit-free holiday for the first time in years. And we were not disappointed. Despite a few wrong turns we arrived at the Wyndham London Chelsea Harbour completely unspattered within the hour, and were met by a valet who promptly whisked away our battered secondhand Vauxhall Safira and parked it next to rows of sparkling Mercedes, BMWs and Porsches. [wendy_and_clementine_at_brunch.jpg] Suitably embarrassed, we looked around the hotel lobby feeling just a bit out of our league. When a 6-foot tall anorexic blonde perma-tanned 50-year-old wearing a crop-top (boob job included) and leather trousers checked in before me, I knew I was not exactly in Kansas (or north London) anymore. Despite my feelings of mounting inadequacy (I furtively hid the carrier bags from Lidl I was clutching) we were promptly and politely were shown to our suite – one of 160 in the all-suite hotel. Josie, seven, and Tilly, five, had their own bath and were to share a double bed, which was cause for great excitement, while Clementine, almost three, was given a cot – also cause for excitement as she had outgrown hers six months ago. Duncan and I had an adjoining room with a beautiful balcony overlooking the Harbour below, where we could count probably as many yachts as I have grey hairs (a lot). Chelsea Harbour was built in the 1980s, and is a peaceful enclave of water, luxury housing developments, and big boats. Although it is, virtually, in the centre of London, it feels so far removed from the hustle and bustle of everyday life that it’s easy to shut your eyes – or keep them open – and feel you are in the Med. We were given a personal tour of the hotel, which has 160 suites, including six penthouses. My children loved the main penthouse, with wrap-around balconies and an enormous circular bathtub and sauna. Josie in particular was very disappointed that we were not staying there, but at upwards of L1,500 per night, it wasn’t our first choice. We could see why people would want to pay extra. The hotel service is excellent – even to the point of returning our battered vehicle without a snicker or snide remark – and the food was divine (the kids loved the chocolate fountain, with biscuits, fruit and marshmallows to dip into it). Best of all, although this is a luxury hotel, the management and staff genuinely welcome children and do all they can to make them feel special, from supplying kids’ videos to providing games and dress-up clothes to keep them entertained during Sunday Brunch.[park_lane_high.jpg] If the thought of another weekend in the country with nothing to do but count cows doesn’t appeal, this is definitely the place to go. The kids arrived home with smiles on their faces, and their buffet brunch still inside their bellies. Who could ask for anything more? (Wendy Sloane is the Travel Editor of entertainthekids.com. She divides her time between writing and taking care of her three daughters, Josie, Tilly and Clementine.)

 

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