Every traveling parent faces the challenge of helping little ones sleep in strange, loud, bright places, including airports. What if there were a peaceful, serene place for you to take your baby during an airport layover? If your next international trip takes you through Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, you won’t believe the luxury that awaits you.
Unfortunately for us, our layover in Amsterdam earlier this week was less than two hours, so not enough time to take advantage of the incredible Schiphol Babycare Lounge. I had to check it out though, so I hoofed it for about 15 minutes with Grace on my back in the Ergo just to change her diaper and have a quick peek. I discovered a tranquil dimly lit room filled with 7 individual pods, each containing a crib and two comfy seats for parents with individual lighting. Each pod is enclosed in sheer drapery for privacy. The room is open free of charge to parents and children ages 0-3. Besides the seven sleeping pods, the room also houses a microwave, large changing area and a bath large enough to bathe a baby in.
The Baby Lounge is in a central location in the airport and near a number of interesting attractions, making it a great spot for traveling families. One parent can stay behind with the sleeping baby and the other parent can go grab some food, pop into the free Rijksmuseum next door, or take older kids to the nearby play area or to see the Lego model of the airport.
When Grace and I popped in the Baby Lounge a few days ago, most of the pods were in use and I was so envious of those parents whose little ones were peacefully sleeping, in a real bed, during a layover. One pod was free and I so wanted to zip in and put Grace down for a rest before we boarded our plane to Istanbul. Time didn’t allow that but on our return trip I hope to make use of the lounge. Even if we don’t get to, just knowing it’s there somehow makes the flight through Amsterdam a little more peaceful. Thanks Holland for caring so much about little ones and their tired parents.
Update: May 12, 2009 We had a two-hour morning layover in Amsterdam on our way home from Istanbul. I had high hopes for the baby lounge since we’d woken Grace up at 4am but alas, the rambunctious toddlers in the pod next to ours made sure that no sleep happened for us. Still Grace was excited to lay for a few (very few) minutes in a crib with her blankie and Gerald the giraffe.
Even more exciting than the crib was our discovery of the kids’ playground next door to the nursery. That room houses four climbing jungle gyms, playhouse types if you will. Two are equipped with slides and so Grace was in heaven. I can’t think of a better way for a toddler to pass an hour just before boarding a 10-hour flight. To the mom sleeping soundly on the floor of the playground while her 5-year old boy played unsupervised, I would like to offer my sympathy (I understand utter travel exhaustion) but also my frustration. Her little boy was the one downside to the playground as he raced up and down on everything with no regard for the smaller kids (like mine!) underfoot. And really, what exactly is safe about letting a preschooler play unwatched in one of the world’s largest airports?