Parenting  |  Travel

9 Fantastic Kid-Friendly Hotels in the DC Area

They're perfect for visitors, or when parents and their little ones need a getaway but don't want to leave town.

Photo courtesy of the Four Seasons.

The Darcy

1515 Rhode Island Ave., NW; 202-232-7000

Kids score a chocolate chip cookie and Oreo ice cream sandwich when they check-in, while adults can enjoy a boozy one featuring Jameson ice cream between snickerdoodles. If you book a suite, the staff can bring up an ice cream truck tent, so the little ones can do some sweet role-playing with their treats. To keep the tykes occupied while sightseeing, guests can check out complimentary backpacks filled with thematic activities related to popular DC attractions, including the dining scene, historical landmarks, art museums, and the zoo.

The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner 

1700 Tysons Blvd., McLean; 703-506-4300

Your little prince or princess can sleep like royalty in a charming castle tent. The regal lodging is stocked with a lantern, a copy of the children’s book Good Night Virginia, milk and cookies at turndown, a coloring kit, and a stuffed animal. Pricing for the Royal Camping Experience package starts at $234 per night.

Salamander Resort & Spa

500 N. Pendleton St., Middleburg; 540-687-3600

There is so much for children and their parents to do at this sprawling getaway. For a more active day, there’s ziplining, mountain bike rentals, and fishing lessons (additional costs apply). If you want to be more leisurely, there are complimentary family games–such as giant Jenga, corn hole, and bingo–every afternoon at 4 PM or you can hang at the indoor pool. During the summer months, parents can have a date night by leaving the kids with camp counselors from 5:30-8:30 pm on Fridays and Saturdays to play lawn games, make s’mores, and sing songs around the fire ($60 per child).

Mandarin Oriental 

1330 Maryland Ave., SW, 202-554-8588

So kids feel like they’re in pamper mode like they’re parents, there are pint-sized bathrobes and slippers on hand. The in-room dining menu has robust options for young’uns, and, if you want to arrange for a special treat, milk and cookies, hot chocolate, or a Kid’s bento box packed with sweets can be sent up to the room. A video game console, movies, and board games can also be requested. One more bonus: every child goes home with a plush panda.

Omni Shoreham Hotel 

2500 Calvert St., NW; 202-234-0700

Upon checking in, kids receive a free backpack filled with an activity book with stickers, crayons, binoculars, and a small game. On their first night, complimentary milk and cookies are delivered to the room.

Four Seasons

2800 Pennsylvania Ave., NW; 202-342-0444

Those traveling with an infant can have their room baby-proofed and outfitted with a crib and highchair, plus have it stocked with bath time accessories, diapers and diaper pail, and onesie. Children age 3 and up can request a bed tent or Wii, and take home a DC or Washington Nationals hat. Plus, room service has all sorts of goodies available, such as a tic-tac-toe game with edible exes and ohs, and a brownie shaped like a PlayStation (gluten-free versions available by request).

Marriott Wardman Park

2660 Woodley Rd., NW; 202-328-2000

It’s just a quick stroll to the National Zoo, so the hotel offers a tailored package for budding zoologists. Get two carousel rides, a panda mascot, and zoo map, plus self-parking, breakfast for two daily, and wi-fi. Pricing for the Zoo Experience package starts at $139 per night.

The Ritz-Carlton, Georgetown 

3100 South St., NW; 202-912-4100

If your kid loves animals, this may be the best staycation in town for you. Children receive backpacks filled with zoo and “Wizard of Oz”-themed activities and souvenirs, plus a lion stuffed animal. The hotel has created a scavenger hunt for the National Zoo to keep them engaged while they’re walking around. When they return, they get to gobble down lion, tiger, and panda-themed cupcakes, while watching a free in-room movie. The Lions, Tigers and Bears…Oh My! package starts at $439 per night.

Gaylord National 

201 Waterfront St., Oxon Hill; 301-965-4000

Located in the National Harbor, this epic hotel has easy access to a variety of kid-friendly activities, from taking a ride on a the Capital Wheel or the carousel to overdosing on sugar at the Peeps store and getting in touch with your inner Jack Sparrow on the Urban Pirates cruise.



Parenting writer

Nevin Martell is a parenting, food, and travel writer whose work has appeared in the Washington Post, New York Times, Saveur, Men’s Journal, Fortune, Travel + Leisure, Runner’s World, and many other publications. He is author of eight books, including It’s So Good: 100 Real Food Recipes for Kids, Red Truck Bakery Cookbook: Gold-Standard Recipes from America’s Favorite Rural Bakery, and the small-press smash Looking for Calvin and Hobbes: The Unconventional Story of Bill Watterson and His Revolutionary Comic Strip. When he isn’t working, he loves spending time with his wife and their six-year-old son, who already runs faster than he does.