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Get A Room! Baby Hotel Offers Respite
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You and your mate feeling a little frisky? Get a room.
For the kids, that is.
Parents in South Africa can do just that. Finding a sitter willing to stay overnight is difficult. But for roughly the equivalent of $68 per night, the Baby Hotel in the upscale Johannesburg suburb of Morningside takes in children up to age 3 and is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Amenities include a dinner, bath and even a little potty training for children. Each child's name is taped to his or her bed to avoid confusion.
"Nurseries are not flexible," hotel director Esme Zwennis told the international news agency Agence French-Presse. "They have very specific hours. You have to be enrolled full time to use them. They just don't do an hour or two at a time."
Zwennis opened the hotel five years ago in response to her own frustration as a single mother of three. There is definitely a need for a place that parents can use on occasion, not necessarily on a full-time basis, she told the news agency.
The Baby Hotel isn't just for parents who want uninterrupted romance. South African single mother Sherrie Galjaard told Agence French-Presse that the Baby Hotel enables her to do such simple tasks as shopping without worrying about her 8-month-old daughter.
"Saturday morning, I wanted to go to Pick and Pay to do my monthly shopping," she said. "To take a little baby ... to Pick and Pay on Saturday morning is not a good idea. That's why I dropped her at the Baby Hotel. I needed a haircut. I couldn't take her there, either."
Tasleem Sayed found the Baby Hotel invaluable when trying to juggle moving and 21-month-old twins.
"I dropped them off the whole day and picked them up in the evening. It's so convenient," she told the news agency.
A second Baby Hotel is opening this year in Port Elizabeth in the southeast of the country.
The idea behind the Baby Hotel is the next step in hotel child care. The European Web site KinderHotels offers a network of family-friendly hotels where new parents can find amenities including baby baths and bottle warmers. However, the parents generally stay with the children.