Thursday, September 9, 2010
When the Hotel is the Best Part
I ignore all claims of a hotel being “family friendly”. I am no longer lured by offers of a “family sized” room. I’ve been to enough hotels. Those hotel marketing people cannot be trusted.
I am not a seasoned traveler any longer, I am a jaded traveler. I have to be: I am a mother of three small children.
Every so often, though, I do get it right.
Normandy, France is known for a World War II invasion and a certain Tapestry in Bayeux. But in the hearts of my children, it will be known forever as the location of the Manoir d’Herouville.
http://www.tripadvisor.com/, my travel bible. There were 67 reviews about the Manoir, each of them giving five out of five stars. Could this be possible? No, I thought. These must be honeymooners, or maybe traveling retirees. But, there were reviews by families, claiming to have small children, using phrases like “beyond all expectations” and “everything we wished for.” High praise. This I had to see.
Of course the kids don’t care at all about the impressive history or the fact that the Pigeonnier ceiling had 15th century timbers (so cool!). Ask them what they liked about Normandy and they will tell you about fishing in the pond, exploring the Manoir gardens, and a certain chicken named Reggie.
I loved this place because it offered us space to be a family, to make a little noise, to cook dinner in a kitchen, to put tired, happy, and sunkissed kids to bed on a separate floor, and at night to go out and see the stars of the Milky Way.
Sue and Dave, our hosts, were so accommodating. Sue told me up front, “We just love having children here.” And she meant it. Imagine, someone who was thrilled to see my kids each day. Someone who offered them treats from the kitchen. Someone who gave my son and husband a tour of the Nazi anti-aircraft artillery that just happened to be hiding in the barns.
This place was like home. Actually, it was better than home, it was a real vacation.