The Suite Life: Family-Friendly NYC Hotels

Erin O’Hara

While most vacations require an extra suitcase of toys to entertain the tots, you can safely leave the iPods and PSPs at home this spring break. Electronic distractions will not be needed in NYC, where youngster-friendly hotels provide plenty of activities to keep the kids occupied, both inside the facilities and just around the corner. Since you'll be bringing the whole gang, you can save money by taking advantage of numerous special offers and package deals specifically geared to families.

The Hotel Belleclaire, located near Central Park and the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH), has been tailored with kids in mind. The hotel's Sweet Treats program arranges for balloons and candy to be waiting in guest rooms upon arrival. (Those seeking a wholesome or more elegant option can choose from an array of fine cheeses, champagne and roses, cupcakes or healthy snacks.) Visitors can save a bundle with the Belleclaire's AMNH Super Saver special, a package that includes two adult tickets for the museum and discounts on additional passes.

The Doubletree Guest Suites Times Square is the perfect place for kids to stay and play, with a variety of family discounts ranging up to 20% off standard prices. Doubletree also offers a "sports fanatic" package and other deals that include a visit to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and goodies from American Girl Place and Build-A-Bear Workshop. Another hotel in the heart of the City, the Sheraton Manhattan at Times Square, has a special rate for families that features a welcome snack for the kids and a complimentary in-room movie every night. The young ones won't just want to watch movies, though. After taking a dip in the hotel pool, check out Times Square attractions like Madame Tussauds wax museum, MTV Studios, ESPN Zone and the famous Toys "R" Us location with an indoor Ferris wheel, a two-story Barbie dollhouse and an animatronic dinosaur. Nearby Broadway shows such as The Lion King, Mary Poppins, The Little Mermaid and Shrek are also sure to get the children itching to go out.

Over on Tenth Avenue, the Skyline Hotel offers affordable family accommodations par excellence. The rates are extraordinarily reasonable, and the location is within walking distance of the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum as well as Circle Line sightseeing boat tours, based at Pier 83. Times Square and other destinations are to the east, including Central Park, which is northeast of the hotel. Kids and parents alike can wind down post-sightseeing in the hotel's pool, open until 10pm daily.

Across town on the east side, The Alex hotel offers a variety of specials, including seasonal deals, birthday and anniversary packages, the AAA Four Diamond Package for members and more. Enjoy the special Easter package through April 30, which includes an Easter basket from 5th Avenue Chocolatiere and breakfast for two in the hotel's restaurant, Riingo. In addition to being located close to the United Nations and several New York Public Library locations in Midtown, The Alex is right near Grand Central Terminal—a main attraction itself, with its gilded ceiling and dozens of restaurants and stores, but also a convenient transit hub where you and the kids can branch out to other fun locations all over NYC.

For visitors who prefer the view from the other side of the East River, the New York Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge provides an ideal family stomping ground. Its location offers easy access to Manhattan and is also close to Downtown Brooklyn and other neighborhoods awash in uniquely Brooklyn culture, museums, restaurants, parks and shopping. The Marriott offers extra savings with deals like Super Value Dates, Sunday specials and discounts for AAA members. The hotel's Find Your New York package includes a travel guide, a subway pop-up map, a Disney on Broadway gift pin and savings on a future stay. And with the Passport to New York package, the Marriott even throws in a free empty suitcase for international guests to lug back all those souvenirs—and new toys—picked up during their NYC tour.