Ciao Bambino's Family-Focused Hotel “Snapshots”

by  Paul Eisenberg | Feb 23, 2010
Family packing for vacation
Family packing for vacation / Halfpoint/iStock

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We all like to have snapshots of hotels before we book them, and by that I don’t mean photos but rather, quick takes, either of the overall lodging experience or different aspects of that experience. gives each hotel on this site a Sherman Meter rating, so if you need snapshots of which Orlando hotels get the best overall buzz, you can get that quickly.

If you’re traveling with kids in tow, you probably want a few specialized snapshots. In my case I want to know how many kids I can get away with cramming into a standard room as well as precisely how a property is kid friendly. Ciao Bambino, featuring hotel reviews by the Web site’s staff as well as community reviews by traveling parents, presents those snapshots clearly.

I often end up having to call a hotel to find out if its standard room fits a crib or cot and whether I’m going to get nailed with extra-person charges. Within each of Ciao Bambino’s hotel reviews the “accommodation options” tab usually tells you at a glance how many people will fit into each type of room available at the property. And without having to click further, you can often see from the tab’s footnotes if a standard double will fit a crib, or if it’ll take a crib but not an extra bed, or whether that bed will set you back an extra 50 Euro per night.

Ciao Bambino tags each of its reviews with age-range icons representing babies (0-1), toddlers (1-4), school-age kids (4-13), and teens (13-18). To their credit, whenever the reviewers attach an icon to a review, they back it up with a reason.

So when I went looking for a London hotel that might tolerate my active three-year-old, I zeroed in on the reviews with the toddler icon and then saw that three of those reviews gave proximity to Hyde Park as the sole toddler-friendly selling point — fair enough, but I was looking for something more. And then I found a place where the hotel grounds had “safe areas for running around,” better for my purposes. This exercise took less than a minute, in part because there are only a few London reviews — the site is more selective than comprehensive in terms of review quantity — and in part because I got what I needed at a glance.

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