Travel // A Boutique Hotel with a Baby, High Road House Chiswick & Kew Gardens

July 17, 2020

Last weekend was an extra special one... we packed a couple of bags and slept somewhere other than our own bed for the first time in months! We had booked a night away at High Road House - a Soho House property in Chiswick for my Birthday at the start of the year and then Covid hit and lockdown happened. The hotel couldn't refund us but we could move our stay so once we heard that things were allowed to open up again, we emailed to get booked in. We then realised that it would be the first time we'd stayed in a hotel since we'd had Freya - our other trips had all been Airbnb's, and whilst I was SO excited to escape our house, and cooking/cleaning up for a night ha, I suddenly wondered if it would actually be very relaxing taking a one year old with us. But it was so much fun and it really was our best weekend in so long. Summer came back and the change of scene for just one night felt more like we'd had a week away somewhere, that lockdown realllly does make you appreciate everything so much more these days. Some notes below on a few things we did to make our stay with a 1 year old a bit easier, and photos from that dreamy weekend if you'd like to see.

Some notes on staying in a hotel with a baby {Freya just turned 1}
- Freya's on 2 naps a day right now, a short one in the morning {that we typically do in her buggy or the car if we're out} and then a longer one in the afternoon for a couple of hours which is normally in her cot. I phoned the hotel to see if there was any chance we could get in early so she could sleep in the room and because of Covid, they have to leave a couple of days in between stays so it worked out that we could indeed get in before her naptime - I don't think I ever realised before becoming a mama at just how much parenthood revolves around naps and timings! - which was perfect. We took a travel cot with us {it was one we bought from an Aldi special buy last year} and set it up in the bathroom {there was a perfect space just by the shower} as it was a dark room which meant we didn't have to sit in darkness for the whole time she was sleeping. 
- I wondered how she'd be after only really napping in her cot at home for months, but she fell asleep instantly, so tired from a busy morning around Kew I think! I just took her regular sleeping bag, her favourite comforters and her white noise so to her I guess it was no different. 
- I prepared and took food for her in a cool bag with ice blocks. We can eat out wherever but because of her age, anything you buy out tends to have too much salt in and we wouldn't have a kitchen to make anything. So I made some bits in advance and took them with us, she still had a little bit of our pizza but at least I knew she had a proper dinner too. Then she just had some of our breakfast the next day.
- I packed some toys and bath toys for her to remind her of home and her favourite books for a bedtime story.
- Baby wipes. Always more wipes than you think you might need, so useful for everything.

Freya LOVED being somewhere new and was almost hyper at a new bed to bounce around on and room to explore. Although why does she always make a beeline for anything dangerous?! 

In the end, it was so much more restorative than I ever imagined it would be though. I think by having the bath in the bedroom and the fact we could use the bathroom as a kind of separate room for her, it meant we could relax, watch TV and take a bath whilst she was asleep. At times it felt like the pre Freya us, with the bonus of having her just next door - it's not really possible for us to go away without her right now for a few reasons, mainly as I'm still breastfeeding and also I'm not sure I'd want to? I don't think I ever thought I'd be this attached to her! But I'm so glad we didn't have to miss her or worry. It was the best of both. Although one day we will I guess and that will be heavenly too and we might get to sleep in for longer on Sunday morning and read the papers in bed/not have to rush breakfast ha. But no, it was so lovely to take her with us and she really loved it all too.

Three gowns <3

This was the Playroom at High Road House

Just love these colours together

Bunny came too!

A friend had recommended Napoli on the road for great neapolitan pizza whilst in Chiswick and this was just across the road to the hotel but Chiswick has SO many great restaurants! We were spoilt for choice and would love to go back.

Dinner picnic for three.
The only thing we should have done is taken our travel high chair {this one ad/affiliate link} with us to the room as she was a bit distracted and trying to crawl off everywhere. We had it in the car but didn't think/were too laden down with other bags/the travel cot to carry it with us.

Happy girly

Can't beat a freshly bathed baby in a sleepsuit. A new bath to splash around in, stories in a big comfy bed to snuggle and then bedtime.

I've got a photo of her standing like this naked which I LOVE with her little peachy bum and standing on tippy toes, but thought it's probably one to keep in our private album!

Once she was in bed, we could take a bath and watch TV in peace {we started The Secret She Keeps which was so addictive!}

Breakfast the next morning, we just made her a little plate of a mix of our food but she mainly just stole mama's berries!


Our weekend;

I just adore Kew, Chiswick and Richmond and all the dreamy houses around there. Look at this hydrangea front garden!

We had booked tickets for Kew Gardens around a week before our trip once we knew that the weather looked ok and that the indoor palm houses had reopened. I was SO happy to hear that they were allowed to reopen just in time for our trip as these were a big part of why we wanted to visit. We hadn't been to Kew for years, we used to go semi regularly when Ben and I were first together as a picnic/date location through the seasons. But going back now, now that we're really into gardening and all things growing made us appreciate it all so much more. The palm house in particular with all the tropical palms and Banana plants which we've just bought for our deck.

Freya was asleep in the buggy at this point for her first nap which meant we could enjoy the palm house all the more, if you're booking Kew then go first thing as the queue was down the street by the time we left. You have to queue for the indoor houses and it's a one way route through the greenhouses but it was really well managed.

Plant heaven.

The only part which isn't open, which I loved on previous visits is going up the stairways to the viewing platforms above but I guess it's too much for people to hold/have contact with.

Hi bananas!

The palm house was more impressive than we remembered but then the waterlily house totally blew our minds. The photo doesn't really show just how huge and impressive the lily pads, and lotus flowers, were. It reminded us of our trips to South East Asia and Bali!

A summer of picnics

And a baby who never wants to stay still anymore! She loved chasing some older children around the rose gardens, it was so cute to watch.

Borders of dreams at Kew. So much inspiration, I'm particularly loving the echinacea right now

Freya sniffing the roses

After dinner, we went for a walk along the river in Chiswick which was so pretty, and buzzy on a sunny warm July weekend evening. We gave Freya her first mini gelato cone with yogurt, which she wolfed down immediately - that's our girl!

So many gorgeous houses and lots of boats on the river.

The next morning, we drove down the road to Richmond, it was so warm early on that it felt like we were on holiday somewhere in Europe!

Richmond is an old favourite day trip of ours but it was lovely to have it just a ten minute drive away. We got there for Freya's first nap and walked along the river, up to our favourite view point watching the paddleboarders and rowers.

Before picking up lunch supplies and a Venchi to eat on the green before we came home.

And it wouldn't be a trip to Richmond without a stop at Petersham Nurseries, we were looking for a present for my Grandma but it's also heaven just to browse around! So much inspiration, and they have great food there too in the teahouse, or the more formal restaurant Cafe all in such a pretty greenhouse setting.

What a lovely treat of a weekend! Wishing we could do it all again already.

Have you stayed in a hotel with your littles? Would love to hear any tips! 

R <3 xx 

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