Traveling to Seattle doesn’t have to mean staying in the busy city. Why not stay across Lake Washington in picturesque Bellevue? That’s what we did, with a toddler to boot!

We stayed at the Hyatt Regency Bellevue, on Seattle’s Eastside. I can’t count the number of times I’ve visited Seattle — including Bellevue — but never stayed in a hotel in the Seattle suburb, which is a city in its own right with a busy downtown core and many amenities to satisfy any traveller, even those with young children along for the trip.

A clean, green and sophisticated city, Bellevue lies between Lake Washington and the Cascade Mountain range, yet is close to all popular Seattle attractions, from the Space Needle, the Science Center and Pike Place Market. But Bellevue is a great location to stay because there is a lot to do in Bellevue aside from Seattle.

The Hyatt Regency in Bellevue is a child-friendly hotel. It provided our active one-year old son with a comfortable child-friendly bed, complete with a kit full of baby necessities like baby shampoo, baby lotion, baby powder and even a little rubber duckie. Unlike most other hotel playpens, the Hyatt thoughtfully provides a custom-made, appropriately-sized mattress protector for the playpen mattress, so you don’t need to worry about germs from previous children who may have used it. Also, because the mattress protector is fitted to the playpen’s mattress, you don’t need to worry about your child suffocating in bedding that is loose because it is made for adult beds.

The hotel is easily accessible for a stroller with many ramps and elevators to reach your room and to ensure mobility throughout the hotel and the busy mall. There is a convenient skybridge that connects the hotel to the Bellevue Collection of more than 250 stores and 45 restaurants, including Bellevue Place, Lincoln Square, and Bellevue Square. It’s so convenient!

The Mall itself has a children’s play area that kids will love and want to spend most of their time. There is also a Gymboree Play and Music that has open gym times, and a reciprocity agreement with all the other Gymborees, so you don’t have to be a Bellevue member to play if you are a member elsewhere. But don’t forget to do some store browsing as well.

A short stroll down Bellevue Way leads to Bellevue’s Downtown Park, which offers a 20-acre oasis within the city, with plenty of grassy areas for kids to play, paths for walking or pushing strollers around the park, a waterfall and formal gardens. Bellevue also has a beach. Great to visit during the summer months.

There’s a nearby Barnes & Noble Bookstore that has a very large children’s section with toys, games and books for all ages, from infant through early adolescent. It’s definitely walking distance from the Hyatt Regency and is well worth the visit.

While at the Hyatt, sample the food. There is a children’s menu, but we enjoyed mostly adult-fare, including an egg-white omelette, toast, oatmeal, fruit and juice.