Staying at this Hollywood hotel gains you access to the legendary (and invitation only) Magic Castle. How’s that for a spellbinding experience? Just make sure to book a room during the weekend, so the hotel can make a reservation at the exclusive club's family-friendly brunch show (kids are only allowed inside the club for Saturday and Sunday brunch). The Magic Castle Hotel itself offers some features that little Houdinis will find otherworldly: a free snack bar stocked with snacks, candy, cookies, crackers, and chips; free ice cream (every day at 2:30pm); and a free popsicle delivered poolside by calling the red "Popsicle Hotline." This budget-friendly hotel will also have a pint-sized bathrobe ready in the room and a slice of cake if you happen to stay during a birthday. That's pretty magical!
The Hilton Los Angeles/Universal City offers views of Hogwarts at Universal Studios. Photo courtesy of Tripadvisor
If your little warlocks can't get enough of magic, it doesn't get any better than The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios, where kids have the chance to interact with magicians, test different magic wands, buy Harry's robe and matching scarf, and explore Hogwarts Castle. There's no Hogwarts Castle Hotel, but the Hilton Los Angeles/Universal City is close enough to Universal Studios and offers perks like a 30-minute early admission to select attractions or $20 off the studios' admission ticket. The hotel also features amenities like a pool, a gym, an on-site restaurant and café with a children's menu. If Fido needs a vacation, he can come along, too.
Everyone is welcome at The Garland, which is a quick hop from Universal Studios. Photo courtesy of The Garland
If you're visiting Universal Studios and looking for something a little smaller and laid back than the Hilton, The Garland is your best bet. This kid-friendly, locally-owned hotel has a shuttle to the theme park. When you're not at the park, be sure to grab a bite to eat at The Front Yard, a great outdoor restaurant right next door. The hotel has rooms that are specifically designed for guests with children, and some even have bunk beds—and even more important, two TVs so everyone can watch what they want!
Located in the heart of Downtown LA, the Omni Los Angeles Hotel is the ideal spot to combine leisure time by the pool and cultural visits to the nearby Disney Concert Hall, Museum of Contemporary Art, and The Broad. Little art buffs will enjoy exploring the museums and using their Omni's welcoming gift, consisting of a backpack with maps, binoculars, activity book, crayons, and snacks. The Omni Kids Crew program also includes free cribs and rollaway beds; free room service delivery of milk and cookies on the first night; children's menus at the on-site restaurants; and a bag with books, games, and toys that kids can borrow during the duration of their stay. The sweetest part of it all, though, is the hotel's rates, which are below those of other luxury hotels.
Tea for two and me and you at the Langham. Photo courtesy of the hotel
Has your princess or prince ever wished to attend a real tea party? Langham’s Chocolate Afternoon Tea is a Sunday ritual fit for royalty (seriously, sweet treats and a giant chocolate fountain?) When booking a room at this elegant Pasadena hotel, remember to sign up for the Langham Huntington Kids Program ($30), which allows tea lovers to redeem crayons and a coloring book, a complimentary kids' dinner at The Terrace restaurant, and a Langham chocolate bar. Upon arrival, children can also pick up a Kids Passport. If they complete four activities, they earn stickers and receive a special gift. The hotel's Kids Library is designed by Little Junebugs and offers a vast collection of children's books, and there are many lawn games (bocce ball, badminton, croquet, mini-golf, and corn hole) that the whole family can enjoy. Grown-ups can get traditional Chinese-influenced treatments at the Chuan Spa, take pilates and tai chi classes at the fitness center, or do some yoga in the Japanese garden.
With posh pampering and top-notch services, everyone at the Beverly Hills Four Seasons can feel like a star, even your little one. This high-end luxury hotel provides many amenities: a variety of treats, an ice cream cart, and water toys await your brood poolside.
Nothing screams glamour more than the Beverly Hills Hotel, and even with kids in tow, this Hollywood stars' legendary playground delivers. The sprawling 12-acre property, featuring a tennis court and a large pool with underwater music, is a mini-resort with a tropical vibe. While staying here you can completely forget you're in the city. Upon arrival, you can pose for a family photo on the fancy red carpet in front of the hotel's celebrity step. At the check-in desk, traveling tots get a personal V-VIP credit card they can use to redeem complimentary juices and sodas at The Fountain Coffee Room and The Cabana Cafe (both of which have great menus just for kids). Parents can enjoy a bottle of house champagne, get a breakfast credit of $150, and book a babysitter on request.
There aren't many areas of Southern California more glamorous than the Golden Triangle of Beverly Hills. The Maybourne Beverly Hills' Happy Families offer makes it even more luxurious for visiting families, with a $95 daily breakfast credit, welcome smoothies and cookies, and a 50% discount on a second room occupied by a family member under 16. After a day of exploring, shopping, and seeing the sites, enjoy the warm LA weather at the hotel's rooftop saltwater pool. The Terrace restaurant has a kids' menu for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, including French toast with whipped cream, spaghetti, chicken tenders, and more.
During the summer months, there's nothing more fun than a beach vacation—kiddos can be busy for hours on end building sandcastles, splashing, and swimming—while parents sit nearby and relax. Santa Monica’s Fairmont Miramar Hotel bends over backwards to enhance the good times. At check-in, kids get a stuffed animal, bath sponges, and child-sized robes. In the room, they'll find a sand pail and shovel loaded with gummy treats and a mini bar filled with healthy, kid-friendly snacks. The hotel's private Miramar Beach Club provides water and sand toys for the little ones, and lounge chairs, parasols, and towels for grown-ups. Soft drinks and snacks from Perry's Café are served directly to lounge chairs, so you can blissfully enjoy some refreshments with your feet in the sand. For easy access to the beach and back, the hotel offers complimentary Jeep Wrangler rides or BMW beach cruiser rentals. If you wish to enjoy a kid-free dinner at the elegant FIG Restaurant and drinks at The Bungalow, childcare services are available at $25 per hour for two children ($30 for three or four).
Play on the beach with toys provided by the hotel. Photo courtesy of Loews Santa Monica Beach
At just one minute away from the beach and five minutes from the hustle and bustle of the Santa Monica Pier, the panoramic Ferris wheel, and the arcade, Loews is super close to fun central. Parents can always count on the hotel's pool and café (featuring a kids' menu with healthy options) with stunning ocean views for a chance to unwind, and on the Loews Loves Kids program for some peace of mind. Childcare services are available upon request. Staying with tweens or teens? The hotel has educational activities to keep them busy, and they can get free music download cards and access to a lending library of board games, DVDs, and Gameboys. Even cooler, kids under 18 stay free.
If boats are your little one's thing, consider the Ritz Carlton in Marina del Rey overlooking the harbor and the moorings of yachts and other boats. This waterfront luxury hotel boasts a farm-to-table restaurant (with a great kids' menu), two tennis courts, a heated saltwater pool, a 7,000-square-foot spa, bicycle rentals, shuttle rides to the beach, and sailing opportunities aboard a 42-foot yacht. With the Ritz Kids program, little sailors get a bucket with a shovel, a beach ball, a color-changing cup, and a map for a scavenger hunt. Children are encouraged to search and discover clues throughout the hotel. Once they finish the scavenger hunt, they receive a special gift.
S'mores at the fire pits by oceanside cliffs make for a perfect end to any day. Photo courtesy of Terranea Resort
Perched on an oceanside bluff in Rancho Palos Verdes, the secluded Terranea has a nine-hole golf course, four pools (including the Resort Pool with a 140-foot water slide and a Splash Zone), a spa, and eight restaurants. There are year-round activities like kayaking, paddleboarding, snorkeling, horseback riding, nature activities, and family fun nights with s'mores by the fire. If the adults need some time alone, kids (4 to 10 years old) can join seasonal camps such as the Kids Club Workshops, Kids Night Out Camp, and Daytime Adventure Camp. Each camp program is about $85 per child, includes a meal, and features arts and crafts, science experiments, stories, and indoor and outdoor games. Gorgeous hikes along the cliffs and down to tide pool laden beaches start at the resort, and the cliffside dining is one of the prettiest sunset spots in town.
What tot doesn't love a gigantic indoor water park? Located in close proximity to Disneyland and other major attractions, the Great Wolf Lodge is a theme park in its own right. The list of things to do here is nearly endless—kids may even forget about Mickey and Minnie. Besides the indoor water park with 14 slides and four pools, there's a craft station, a bowling alley, an arcade, glow-in-the-dark mini-golf, and fun activities like a magical interactive treasure hunt game, storytime, and nightly PJ dance parties. The hotel boasts several dining and shopping options, a kids' spa, and a fitness center. What's in it for the parents? Endless smiles and a sweet deal: if you stay for two nights, you get one-day tickets to Disneyland Resort and three days of free water park passes.
The big daddy of all the family-friendly hotels in Southern California is the Disneyland Resort Hotel. This hotel is (essentially) designed for children, so there's plenty for them to see and do during your stay—and, of course, Disneyland is right next door. There's the iconic original hotel, as well as newer hotels like the Grand Californian and Paradise Pier, which each offer unique kid-friendly activities and entertainment.
Who even needs nearby Disneyland? (Kidding!) Photo courtesy of the Howard Johnson Hotel in Anaheim
This hotel is located right next to Disneyland and makes for a great family stay at a more budget-friendly rate than the Disneyland Hotel. The big draw at the Howard Johnson is Castaway Cove, its large Pirate-themed outdoor water playground. While the kids splash around and ride the water slide, parents can relax in the hot tub. Plus, you'll save on parking at Disneyland because the hotel is just a short walk from the park's entrance.