While it’s no secret I’m a fan of little, ultra-luxe boutique hotels, especially for family travel, there are a couple caveats: not always and not only! There are situations when staying at a top-of-the-line chain hotel with a reputation you can trust and a location near a multitude of activities on your itinerary that only big corporate money can afford sometimes outweighs the charm factor. Those attributes more than justify Melville Marriott Long Island, a well-located, newly and nicely renovated property.
The redesigned 358-room, four-story hotel has an atrium entry, an indoor swimming pool and fitness center, and a Great Room Restaurant and Lounge. Accommodations have a mini fridge for easy snacking and lots of in-room entertainment options, including flat-panel TVs and cable channels such as CNN, ESPN and HBO. As part of the renovation, bedding was upgraded with pillow-top mattresses, custom duvets, down comforters, foam pillows and cotton “linens.” Of course, there’s a corporate clientele and rooms have desks, business amenities and super-speedy WiFi. Rooms with two queen beds or a suite with a living room work best for families and cribs are available.
The Melville location is immediately off the major artery through the central core of Long Island, the Long Island Expressway; and it’s close to another, far lovelier, east-west artery, Northern State Parkway. More to the point, it’s just 36 miles from Manhattan, less than 30 miles from JFK and LGA and fewer than 20 miles from ISP airports.
It’s within a short drive of one really good restaurant, Jewel by Tom Schaudel, where I’ve had a few terrific meals, and close to many others. And it’s within a three-mile drive to venues that will delight kids: Adventureland Amusement Park (2.5), Old Bethpage Village Restoration (2.6) and Walt Whitman Mall (2.5). Add a few minutes to reach either of two Long Island Railroad stations (Farmingdale, South Huntington) to spend a day in the city, to golf at Bethpage State Park (4), concerts at Westbury Music Fair (8) and games and concerts at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum (16).
Some folks who visit Long Island never get to see the North Shore’s grand estate area on the Gold Coast, in the villages touching the Long Island Sound. Some former estates are now public venues, where your family will delight in a visit: Vanderbilt Museum & Planetarium (10 miles), Old Westbury Gardens (10.9) and Planting Field Arboretum (14).
On the South Shore, which borders Great South Bay, you can walk the grounds of a former bay-front estate, Bayard Cutting Arboretum; at Jones Beach, you can walk the boardwalk and attend a concert at Jones Beach Theater (23). Drive further east to access Fire Island via Robert Moses Causeway and walk the beach at Captree State Park.
Family travels don’t necessarily need to be in theme parks or resorts with massive kids’ clubs. In fact, more upscale properties across the world cater to both adults and kids, and wellbeing brand Sensei joins the growing trend of family wellness travel. Sensei’s Wellness Science team, led by Dr. Vishal Patel, emphasizes the importance of family travels and exposing young travelers to wellness pursuits. Developing healthy habits at a young age can have long-lasting effects on an individual’s life, and bonding via family trips alleviates some of the main drivers of loneliness and isolation.
Making travel plans can be exciting; did you know planning on how to spend time at the airport the right way can enrich the overall trip experience? As a transfer hub, traveling through Doha's Hamad International Airport is a unique experience, as waiting never feels like waiting at one of the best airports in the world.
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Ever dreamed of being a mermaid? Well, your dreams could come true on your next family trip. With March 29 National Mermaid Day, these two resorts offer experiences for guests of all ages to enjoy.
As the only major U.S. airline to own a flight school, United Airlines already hit a major milestone, and now the carrier celebrates another important — and historic — step as the inaugural class of United Aviate Academy pilots graduates, leading the next generation of aviators. The 51 students in the graduating class were majority, at 80 percent, women and people of color — another stride toward United’s goal of training 5,000 new pilots by 2030 with half women or POC.
Make Best Western your hotel of choice during spring family travels for a sweet reward. This spring, BWH Hotels offers members of its Best Western Rewards loyalty program the opportunity to earn a free night stay.