When you’re a parent, especially with young children, the real luxury isn’t a hotel room, it’s finding a moment to yourself. The thought of going on a vacation can go from fab to drab once you realize you have to bring your energetic toddler, moody teen and significant other along (hey, they can be just as bad as kids sometimes!). However, just because you’re traveling with children doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice luxury, for you or the kids. These five amazing resorts have something for everyone, and will keep the kids busy enough for you to enjoy all the luxury you deserve.
It’s known as the happiest place on Earth, so as far as entertaining children goes, what more do you need? Since you won’t be spending every single day at Disney World, making sure your hotel has activities for your kids is definitely a priority. The Four Seasons Orlando, set on Lake Buena Vista, is a 443-room, 17-story resort playground, and their Kids for All Seasons program is a complimentary camp for children ages 4 to 12. Since parents can drop kids off and pick them up at their leisure, kids can enjoy a couple of hours of fun, or the whole day. There’s Explorer Island, surrounded by a man-made, snaking river complete with spray cannons, a cascading waterfall and rapids, all navigable in giant plastic inner tubes. There’s also a stonking great family pool, a gelateria, the Splash Zone and more.
So what do you do while your kids are off on their all day adventure? You indulge in a soothing massage at the spa, lounge by the adults only pool or simply catch up on some much needed rest in your room’s heavenly bed.
Planning vacations around a school schedule can be tough, so if you’re looking for a luxurious international getaway minus the 10 hour flight, then a stay at the One&Only Ocean Club is perfect. While you’re getting your zen on with complimentary daily yoga on the beach or snorkeling the spectacular reefs in Great Bahama Bank, send your little ones to the Kids Only Club, a complimentary club house equipped with everything from a dedicated arts and craft center, game and book corner, to computer center and entertainment area. Got teens? Scheduled activities under the watchful eyes of teen counselors allow teens to mix and mingle with kids their own age. Still tending to a tiny person? Professional baby sitting services can be arranged, for infants as young as six weeks old, with CPR certified caregivers so that parents can have adult time with peace of mind.
Travel should be more than just an escape, it should be an experience. And when you’re traveling with children, it should be an opportunity to show them a whole new world. Located on the northern Musandam Peninsula in the Sultanate of Oman, Six Senses Zighy Bay is a Middle Eastern wonderland with grazing goats, fig and lemon trees lining sandy paths that you can wander barefoot or by bicycle and mysterious mountains. Chaica’s Club for children 4 to 10 keeps the kiddies occupied with watersports, sand castles, treasure hunts, and learning about Arabian history and local culture. The Teen Club offers adventure hikes, wadi swimming, canyoning or just learning new skills like archery, raft building and abseiling.
While the kids are away, the adults can play. Enjoy paragliding, rock climbing, diving and romantic meals at one of the resorts six dining options. Reconvene at the end of the day to watch a movie together as a family at Cinema Paradiso with movies on the beach under a blanket of stars while ushers serve five flavors of popcorn, 40 ice cream flavors and refreshing soft drinks.
At Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort & Spa, Kota Kinabalu, the goal is to ensure a relaxing, worry-free vacation for your entire family. No matter what your children are into, there is something to keep them amazed for hours. For their inner artist there’s hand-puppet crafting, batik painting, coconut-leaf weaving and traditional instrument making; for athletes: dance lessons, traditional rounders, coconut-shell races, horseback riding, kayaking and paddle-boarding; and for little people with a love for nature, a gardener program called ‘tiny green thumb’ and ‘Flora the explorer’. They can even be a Ranger For The Day, helping the adult specialists feed deer, monkeys, slow loris and orangutan while learning about the specific habitat and rainforest of Borneo.
Head to Dalit Bay Golf & Country club for 18 rounds on a championship course, horseback ride along the beach, then find tranquility, harmony and healing at the spa before heading to Pantai Dalit beach and enjoying the breathtaking sunset on private expanses of soft, white sand.
Beach resorts aren’t the only places that know how to cater to luxury family travel. Head to Kenya and straight to AndBeyond Kichwa Tembo. The animal-spotting starts before the plane has even touched down in the Maasai Mara, as the pilots swoop in low over the airstrip to warn off herds of fat-bellied zebra and lone giraffes. Once settled and checked into one of the safari camp’s 40 stylish and luxurious tents, kids can romp around safely with the WILDChild program fishing, animal tracking, learning the craft of African beading or how to make a bow and arrow with a Maasai warrior. They can also help to plant vegetables and fruit trees in the kitchen garden.
Adventurous parents can go on morning hot air balloon or photographic safaris, track hippos on foot, lounge by the pool in the company of friendly wildlife or enjoy a stunning sundowner from the comfort of their tent.