Last year, 3 million people visited American Girl Place shops in Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles, to look at new model dolls—which typically cost $87 each—and their accessories, which include such miniature details as braces for teeth. The stores offer girls places to dine with their dolls and have their portraits taken with the dolls, too. On a smaller level, American Girl Boutique and Bistro in Atlanta and Dallas offer similar experiences. More than 13 million American Girl dolls have been sold. They are made by Mattel and resemble girls between the ages of 6 and 10, unlike Mattel's better-known Barbie doll, which resembles a full-grown woman.
Boston, which does not have an American Girl Place store yet, will host an American Girl Fashion Show, on March 8, 2008, at the Renaissance Waterfront Hotel, which will have just opened on a few weeks earlier. The newest American Girl clothes and accessories will be on display. Tea and crumpets will be available for guests and their dolls, along with a souvenir goodie bag and a chance to have a photograph taken with actress Maya Ritter, star of the movie "Molly: An American Girl on the Home Front". Tickets are $58 a person. Nearby attractions include the Institute of Contemporary Art, the Boston Children's Museum, the New England Aquarium, and the Harpoon Brewery. Click here for event details.
Below are a few packages with an American Girl theme. For more details on the stores, visit the official American Girl Place Web site or its hotline 877/247-5223.
The fine print: Booking by availability. No minimum night stay. Packages generally do not include reservations for events, such as brunch, at the stores; you'll need to call a store directly to make a reservation. Parking fees at your hotel may be additional. Ask your hotel if the fees could be waived because you've bought one of these packages. Also, if you plan to drive to the store, ask whether there are any parking discounts at the lot used by the store. Read these guidelines before you book any Real Deal.
Boston: Omni Parker House Hotel, $399 per room per night
The American Girl Fashion Show package is a discount on a one-night stay at the Omni Parker House Hotel. The package includes a buffet breakfast for one adult and one child, two tickets to the fashion show (a $116 value), a reservation for a photo with the actress Maya Ritter, a visit backstage to meet the models and collect autographs, and 10 tickets for a raffle for a series of prizes. The hotel has a fitness center, a pool, and a restaurant.
When: Mar. 8, 2008; by availability.
Details: Hotel taxes are an additional 12.45 percent. The discount in reflected in the listed rate.
Contact: 617/227-8600, omnihotels.com.
Chicago: Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers, from $179 per room per night
The American Girl Getaway package includes a one-night stay at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers, use of an American Girl doll travel bed, a free American Girl-themed dessert for a girl (and one for her doll) at a hotel restaurant, complimentary health club access, and valet parking. (A similar American Girl package is available at the Four Points Sheraton Hotel for between $165 and $315 a night, depending on the day of the week and the season; learn more at 888/627-7088.)
When: Throughout 2008; by availability.
Details: Use promo code AMERGIRL.
Contact: 312/464-1000, sheratonchicago.com/americangirl.
Dallas: Westin Galleria, from $258 per room per night
The American Girl Boutique and Bistro opened last year in Dallas. If you visit from out of town, you might want to consider booking the American Girl Texas Package. which includes a one-night stay at the Westin Galleria Dallas, complimentary Texas pralines on arrival, milk and cookies in the evening, an American Girl travel doll bed that you can keep and that is not sold in stores, and American Girl cowboy hats for your little girl and her doll.
When: Weekend stays only. Ongoing; by availability.
Details: Rates based on one child and one adult per room. There may be an additional fee for additional guests. Taxes are additional. Breakfast is not included.
Contact: 866/912-1192, westin.com.
Los Angeles: Le Parc Suite Hotel, $299 per room per night
The American Girl Experience Package offers a one-night stay at West Hollywood's Le Parc Suite Hotel, use of an American Girl travel doll bed, cookies and milk delivered to your room after check-in, a copy of an "American Girl Minute Mysteries"book, and a free ride in a town car to the American Girl Place located at the Grove at Farmers Market.
When: Ongoing, but subject to change; by availability.
Details: Based on one adult and one child per room. Each additional parent may incur an additional cost per night. Ride back from the event is not included. Taxes are an additional 14 percent. Upgrade to a one-bedroom suite for an additional $100 per night.
Contact: 310/855-8888, leparcsuites.com.
New York City: Marriott Courtyard Manhattan Midtown East, from $179 per room per night
The American Girl Place New York package includes a one-night stay at the Marriott Courtyard Manhattan Midtown East at a 10 percent discount, an exclusive American Girl travel doll bed to take home and use, and a snack for you and your child to enjoy in your room.
When: Through Dec. 31, 2008; by availability.
Details: Use promo code Z74. Taxes on New York City hotel rooms are 13.375 percent plus $3.50 per room per night.
Contact: 800/228-9290, marriott.com.