More than a quarter of a million British parents - a staggering one in every 25 families - have cut short a hotel stay early because they felt so unwelcome or believed the accommodation was ill-equipped for their needs.
The findings were revealed by new research into the difficulties parents face when staying with children in hotels, with one in eight adults admitting having suffered frustrations in service or facilities.
It’s about time UK hotels sat up and took notice as the industry as a whole clearly still has a long way to go to prove that young guests are as welcome as their parents and recognise how important...
Overall, the research, commissioned on behalf of Luxury Family Hotels, painted a picture of parents struggling to enjoy special time away with their families because of infuriating but common complaints about hotels.
Specific examples of behaviour that prompted parents to pack their bags included; “My child was called a brat”; Nothing to eat except junk food for the kids; refused entry to hotel restaurant; No baby-changing facilities; and hotel rules saying “Under fives not allowed”.
A quarter of parents complained about a lack of things to do in the evening, closely followed by 23 per cent who had experienced unfriendliness and even scowling towards their children by other guests during their hotel stay.
Another 22 per cent of those surveyed complained of feeling their children were not welcome, with one in five citing unsuitable menus and 13 per cent complaining about no children’s cutlery or tableware.
Nigel Chapman, Luxury Family Hotels founder, said: “It’s very sad to hear how many families have experienced below-par service or facilities specifically because they have had their children with them.
“We pride ourselves on being very much family-focussed and believe happy children equal happy adults. So not only do our country house hotels offer great breaks for adults, but for children and babies too. All are welcome on equal terms.
“Just because you have children this should not mean that you aren’t able to enjoy an amazing family break that caters to all your needs.”
Luxury Family Hotels, which offers affordable escapes in some of England’s finest country house hotels, also quizzed parents on the difference in attitudes towards children between domestic and foreign hotels.
Unsuitable bedding, lack of kids’ clubs or nanny services and restrictive pool opening hours for kids also featured among the most common complaints regarding children and hotel stays. Other frustrations included concerns over room size and safety, lack of privacy and late night or disco noise.
Despite familiar food, safe water and no need to take the plane or ferry, almost one in three parents said domestic hotels came up short compared to their foreign counterparts when kids were involved.
Dads were more likely than mums to favour foreign hotels over their UK equivalent. And older parents, especially those with older children, were firmly of the opinion that hotels abroad were better than British accommodations.
Just one in five of those with nine to ten-year-olds believed the UK was better.
Nigel added: “It’s about time UK hotels sat up and took notice as the industry as a whole clearly still has a long way to go to prove that young guests are as welcome as their parents and recognise how important that is.”