Living in Germany there are so many different towns and countries that are easily accessible. We typically visit popular cities with a full itinerary, jam packed to not miss a thing! However, sometimes you just you need a trip that is a bit more spontaneous and relaxing, without all the stress that can accompany itineraries, sightseeing, and just being a tourist. A Stay-Away is essentially a trip where you leave your home and go to a place, not too far away, that is not common to tourism and spend most of your time in a loaded hotel. Not Barcelona. Not Rome. I’m talking middle of nowhere, seemingly secluded places.
Our first year here in Germany, we discovered the most fabulous thing for families with children. Europe is full of KinderHotels or Familotels which are known for accommodating children and families very well. Through my research I found a place about 4 hours from Stuttgart, Ulrischof Baby & Kinder Bio-Resort. This place was nothing short of amazing! It is an all-inclusive resort with all meals included, a spa and indoor pool, on-site childcare, Indoor water park for kids, indoor play park for kids, and a host of outdoor activities. We went in January of 2017, right in the thick of winter. So, it was snowing heavily and no activities going on outside. We didn’t even make it to the nearby small-town, because of the snow. However, with all that there was to offer inside the hotel, we literally never left the building, except to take a walk through the snow covered woods and another time to let Makenzie play in the snow. During the day we spent our time in the pool, play areas, eating, and literally just hanging out. At night we would put Makenzie to bed (I was Prego with Brayden) and go hang out in the spa area; going for a swim, lounging, or spending time in the sauna. For those concerned about safety for kids, this hotel had baby phones in the room. This is basically a phone in the kids’ room that you take off the hook when you need to leave the room. Throughout the entire hotel there were monitors with each room number listed and a certain symbol would appear next to your room number if your child was making any noise. Genius, right?! This feature allowed us to relax and enjoy our time without worry. Check out some pictures from our stay in the Ulrischof Baby & Kinder Bio-Resort.
This past weekend we found another hotel where we had another Stay-Away with some family friends of ours. This one wasn’t the typical Kinderhotel or Familotel, but we discovered that you can have a very similar experience, even without all the kid-centered services. Vital-Hotel Meiser, a 1.5-hour drive from Stuttgart, was pretty much in the middle of nowhere. We approached the hotel as we drove through back roads and wooded areas. It was a 12-minute drive to the nearest town, Dinkelsbühl. We spent the weekend exploring Dinkelsbühl a bit, playing in the snow, eating and again, we spent the evening in the spa/pool areas just hanging out, while the kids were asleep. In the mornings we indulged in a huge breakfast buffet, which included fresh waffles and an omelet station. This breakfast alone made the trip worth it. As I write this I am realizing how anti-climactic our time really was, but that is the point of a Stay-Away. It should be filled with down-time, naps, relaxation, eating and a bunch of guiltless time doing nothing! Check out some pictures from the Spa Hotel and a special video of our Kaiser Suite.
We have such a great time during our Stay-Aways and we don’t come back needing a vacation from our vacation. I also look at Stay-Aways as a method to get in a couple of date nights, without having to hire a sitter or spend extra money. I highly recommend a Stay-Away to every family! Of course, I live in Germany so finding these hotels is not as hard as it might be in the States. However, as you can see, you do not always need an actual KinderHotel or Familotel. You just need to find a hotel that has a restaurant and on-site activities, such as a spa or kids play area. It is nice if you can get at least Breakfast and dinner included in your rate, as this makes the mornings slow and the evenings easier with children. During the summer, most hotels have more activities available, such as horse-back riding, petting zoos, sports, etc. However, winter is still a good time for a Stay-Away, because you don’t feel like you’re missing out on all the happenings in other cities that you would experience during warmer months.
If you can’t tell, I am all about a Stay-Away in a fabulous hotel. I am already researching to find another hotel to book our Stay-Away for 2019! You might be wondering how I find these places. I can tell you it is not easy. There is a ton of internet searching, reading reviews and mapping directions. However, all the work has been worth it each time. If you are in Germany, you can open google maps and do a search for all spa hotels or all-inclusive hotels. I have also included a couple of links below that are essentially portals for KinderHotels, BioHotels or Familotels. These have been very helpful as well. Feel free to message me for questions or to get info on joining us next February 2019 for our Stay Away!
An extra tip: I recommend downloading a baby camera app, since baby phones are not in every hotel. This past weekend we used Baby Monitor 3G and it was great to be able to keep an eye on the kids while they slept. The Baby Monitor 3G app has unlimited range, if both phones are connected to the internet (data or wifi). Also note, it is worth it to pay for the app, because then you are not limited to a certain amount of monitoring time, as with the free apps.