Usually I prefer to bring my own play yard when traveling for the utmost in safety. Why is it safest? Because I know that my play yard is not recalled and works properly. That is not to say that I have never used hotel cribs. I have. Many times. I just make sure that the play yard or travel crib that the hotel provides me with is NOT recalled by checking recalls.gov on my iPhone when I arrive. I suggest you do the same. But crib and play yard recalls aren’t the purpose of this story.
We went on a little family getaway this weekend that reminded me another reason why I prefer to bring my own play yard for my baby to sleep in. This weekend was our annual weekend trip to Wisconsin Dells to meet other family members. We were staying at one of the very popular indoor waterpark resorts in the area, Chula Vista Resort. Like always, I had my play yard with us for the baby.
When we arrived, I realized that we only brought one play yard. That could pose a problem for us. The baby is 6 months old and he would sleep in the play yard no problem. But I forgot that my three year old (well, he turned 3 today) still sleeps in a crib every…single…night! That’s right…my 3 year old has never slept in a regular bed! Not on vacation. Not at home. Not at grandma’s house. No where! He loves sleeping in his crib and has no problem sleeping in a play yard when we are away from home. And if he is content in his crib that keeps him confined and safe in the morning (he doesn’t climb out – just yells and waits for us to get him) – why on earth would I mess with that? I wouldn’t! Maybe he’ll go to kindergarten still sleeping in a crib? And you know what? I’d be perfectly happy with that.
Okay, so he still sleeps in a crib and, of course, so does the 6 month old. Yet, I have ONE play yard. So, I call the front desk and ask for a crib to be delivered to the room. Easy, right? The front desk lady answers the phone and says:
“Yes, ma’am, we’ll be happy to send a crib to your room. Just to let you know there will be a $20 per night charge for that.”
What?!?! Excuse me? Come again?
“Yes, ma’am…there will be a $20 per night charge for the crib”.
TWENTY DOLLARS?!?!?! PER NIGHT?!?!
Now we have used this resort’s cribs before and I consider them more a baby jail than really a crib. They aren’t the play yards that I’m used to seeing in a hotel. The “cribs” at Chula Vista are actual white metal cribs that look like little jails for babies. They are the kind you would expect to see in orphanages and crowded daycares etc.
So, I calmly explain to the lady that we had visited the resort in October and there was no such fee.
“I’m sorry ma’am but policies change. There is a $20 per night charge for the crib. Would you like to think about that and call me back?”
Would I like to THINK about it and call her back? Seriously, did she just ask me that? What was there to think about? I was already there. If I am asking for a crib, I clearly need one because I have a child with me that needs a place to sleep.
Yes, I should have called ahead of time to make sure they had enough cribs and maybe I would have found out the price but the problem wasn’t that they didn’t have enough cribs. The problem was the fee! Plus, I just was there 3 months ago and there was no fee.
So, let me get this straight. The economy isn’t doing so well so they probably don’t have the business that they usually have. So what do they do? Stick it to the parents that need a crib with an outrageous fee because they know that they have no choice but to pay it because they need a place for their baby to sleep. All to make more money with cribs that are probably recalled anyway! Thanks Chula Vista! I’m sure all other visiting parents thank you as well!
So, what did I do? I paid the lousy fee. Yes, $20 shouldn’t be a big deal! But $20 per night is! It is the point of the matter. I only stayed there 2 nights but imagine all the people that stayed there for the week. (This is one of those places with condo rentals for the week!) A week with a lousy jail crib would cost you $140 at the Chula Vista. And that is just for the crib!
So, my advice is to always bring your own play yard! If that is not possible, make sure you call ahead to see if the hotel is going to add some crazy crib rental fee to your bill. You might be better off heading to the store and buying a new play yard when you get there. It might be cheaper if you are staying the week at the Chula Vista Resort in the Wisconsin Dells.