WOODSTOCK, Vt. — Would someone please make toddler playrooms the next hot hotel trend?
Last month we loaded our son, 1, and daughter, 6, into the car and headed to Woodstock for a night. There was a restaurant we wanted to try (Worthy Kitchen, so excellent and oh-so family-friendly), and we turned that into an excuse to change up the scenery, which we do less often now that the little guy is always up to — and getting into — something. With that in mind, we couldn’t have picked a better place to stay: 506 on the River, which opened earlier this year. We saw “toddler playroom” listed as an amenity and made reservations immediately. The playroom was the first thing we checked out after checking in: a small, clean room with gender-neutral colors and toys. The owners of 506 had gone to IKEA and loaded up on the best kid things: a tunnel to crawl through, a castle tent to hide in, a kitchen to cook at (with felt food), a table to pretend-eat at (or, in our case, to stage a performance on), pots and pans to bang, a barn, animals, a wooden train set, a stuffed dragon, a baby doll, a doll bed, playmats, an easel. We made a mess in a hurry, but the room was so well organized, it was just as quick to clean up. There was a bin for everything.
We stayed for a while, walked around town, had a drink, went to dinner, came back, and played some more. It happened that we had the playroom to ourselves for the most part, and were happy for it. (I should note that while the hotel calls it a “toddler playroom,” our savvy 6-year-old was thoroughly entertained.)
In the morning, while one of us showered, the other was in the toddler playroom. It was a perfect diversion, and sure beat having to use our room TV to keep them occupied.
As for the rest of 506 on the River, we were impressed. There’s a separate game lounge for older kids and adults, with foosball, board games, and a flat-screen TV. We didn’t eat dinner at the inn, but it has a gorgeous restaurant, the 506 Bistro & Bar, with a promising menu. The indoor pool wasn’t ready when we were there, but should be finished this summer, we were told. And the landscaping hasn’t quite filled in, but is well on its way. Our room was lovely, clean, and stylish, and the hotel had set up a pullout for my daughter ahead of time, a personal touch that made her feel special. She loved having her own place to crash, no little brothers allowed.
The grounds — the river — were serene. We put the rocking chairs on the balcony to use when the kids fell asleep. Red wine in plastic cups pairs well with the sound of chirping and a firefly show.
The decor at the inn is beautiful, kind of modern rustic, and the country breakfast buffet, which is included, was very good, not to mention kid-friendly. There were fruit, eggs, sausage, bacon, home fries, cereal, pastries, yogurt, toast, juice, and coffee. No one from the kitchen seemed to mind that my daughter kept going back for more bacon. It was delicious, and she’d worked up quite an appetite with all that playing.
506 ON THE RIVER 1653 Route 4/West Woodstock Road, Woodstock, Vt. 802-457-5000, www.ontheriverwoodstock.com.