Vacation can seem like even more of one if there’s a place or activities for the little ones and tweens when Mom and Dad need a timeout of their own. The upside to booking a hotel versus Air BnB? Some of them have great kids clubs with destination-specific activities.
Families can choose from a selection of activities to experience together while exploring individual destinations. Many properties also include a Children’s Club with staff trained to entertain and watch kids of different ages. The St. Regis Sea Turtle Club at Bal Harbour Resort for ages 4 to 12 incorporates everything from art adventures, pool play and beach exploration to cooperative games and team building, sports and indoor activities. Day camps are available seven days a week in half- or full-day installments.
Ritz Kids prides itself on offering programs with engaging and immersive activities to inspire future travel adventures. Ritz Kids ages 4-12 in Puerto Rico experience a program based on four pillars: water, land, culture and environmental responsibility. All the way from mid-morning to late afternoon, children explore coral reefs and forests, learn about recycling and sustainability on an island and enjoy storytelling, art and even local foods. At the Ritz-Carlton Reynolds in Lake Oconee, Ga., kids ages 5-12 can enjoy full- or half-day camps seven days a week as well as Kids Night Out on Friday and Saturday. Programs include Ships and Sailors, Craft Corner, Ninja and Paint the Piggy.
With separate on-site spaces for ages 3-12 and open seven days starting in the early morning and all the way until 10 p.m., Westin offers fun with programs open to younger guests than most other hotels (kids must be potty-trained). A camp-like atmosphere includes arts and crafts, indoor/outdoor games, pool fun, movies, stories and more. Parents can enjoy serenity during the day or sign up for Parent’s Night Out with supervised activities for young ones. At the Westin St. John, parents can sign kids ages 3-9 up for week-long summer camps for enhanced programming like daily craft activities, such as cardboard boat building, the art of tie dye, outdoor sports and a Kids in the Kitchen tutorial.
Beirut may not be the average family holiday choice for Americans, but with Four Seasons’ Kids for All Seasons programs around the world, each of the hotel brand’s destinations offer something for all ages that’s recreational and educational. In Beirut, enjoy biking along the Mediterranean, visits to two waterparks and a ceramics studio; in Lanai, there’s cookie decorating for ages 5-12, toy-building parties, meet-the-chef nights and outdoor fun via the resort’s Adventure Center.
The Barcy Club at Barcelo Karmina in Mazanillo, Mexico, offers up crafts, make-up lessons, mask making and sponge water fights. For more fun, the game room features family-friendly movies playing from 9 a.m. all the way until 11 p.m., in case parents want to keep the TVs inside in the all-suite, all-inclusive resort quiet for some relaxation. At Barcelo Maya Grand Resort in Riviera Maya, also an all-inclusive with lots of family-friendly meal options, there are daily programs with safe supervised activities, and even Mom and Dad are welcome to make a splash or two at the resort’s Pirate Island Water Park, filled with slides and other aquatic attractions. Don’t forget a new mini golf course, on-site bowling alley and kids spa!
Each Kimpton has free reign to decide what’s most appealing about the destination for kids, which means in Cambridge, Mass., there are mini animal-print robes, complimentary kayaks for paddling the Charles River just outside, a magician during hotel wine hours who makes balloon animals and a treasure chest chock-full of toys like Play-Doh and tiaras that are souvenirs for young guests. At the Hotel Van Zandt in Austin, Texas, youth are welcomed with a dip-dyed denim teepee in the guestroom, a hotel-themed tote bag of goodies like a Texas puzzle and the book Goodnight Austin. At RiverPlace in Portland, Ore., a Bedtime Butler makes the rounds to guestrooms with tea and nightcaps for parents and bedtime books, cookies and cocoa for their kiddos.
Looking for tear-free shampoo or kid-friendly menus (including free dining for 5 and under and half-price for 6–12)? Fairmont keeps kids’ best interests at heart. At the Falcon Kids Club at the Palm, a separate play space for ages 18 months to 16 years, adult “playmakers” facilitate activities like arts and crafts and a climbing wall. Older kids get a chill-out zone with video games. At the Scottsdale Princess in Arizona, soak up those rays and enjoy solar-powered smores-making sessions, wildlife walks and ice cream socials. Caneel Bay’s Turtle Town, for ages 3–11, teaches kids about the Caribbean island’s flora and fauna while they draw treasure maps and dance to the beat of steel-pan drums.