Idyllic family vacations mean different things to different clients. For some, that could mean a top-notch kids’ club and activities that allow parents time to unwind and for children to make new friends; for others it’s a plethora of entertaining activities that the whole family can enjoy together; and for others it’s as simple as beach access or proximity to a theme park. Whichever your client’s choice, it’s all about those memorable moments you can help them design.
“My clients are asking for kid-friendly activities, like waterparks, at their hotels,” says travel advisor Laurie Johnsrud of Travel Leaders. “Some like to use the children’s activity centers, but most families, I find, prefer that the children stay with them since it’s a family vacation.” Regina Bryant, a travel advisor with Travel Leaders, adds that “Millennials with younger children prefer family-friendly resorts that offer kids clubs and activities that challenge their minds.”
Let’s dive into some options that both parents and kids will be happy with, because as we’ve reported in the pages of this publication, children have a huge influence in choosing a vacation spot.
A new upscale beachfront property is opening in Key Largo this fall: The 200-room Baker’s Cay Resort, a Curio Collection by Hilton property, located on a former pineapple plantation. It will feature two pools separated by a cascading waterfall grotto; an Aveda salon; four dining venues including a beachside tequila and taco eatery featuring an expansive collection of homemade hot sauces for those who like things a little spicy; a library filled with vintage paperbacks; a winding nature trail; a boating dock; and pet-welcoming amenities including doggie tikis, curated bone menus and more.
“At Baker’s Cay Resort we not only offer the comforts of expansive 1- and 2-bedroom suites with panoramic bay vistas, but we have developed organic programming with our Cay–1 team that caters to each family in a unique way,” says Joy Boyd, general manager of Baker’s Cay Resort. “Each of our Cay–1 experts are readily available to curate activities…. Whether it’s a sea plane ride to Key West for the day or taking part in restoring the only live coral reef alongside Coral Restoration Foundation, each experience offers something special and engages the entire family.”
Boyd adds, “Our kids camp goes beyond the typical beach and pool games. We have curated interactive experiences focused on nature, snorkeling with the Coral Restoration Foundation, trashion arts & crafts [term for art, jewelry, and fashion created from used, thrown-out, and repurposed elements], scavenger hunts identifying Baker’s Cay natural elements, culinary classes [including some for kids], and more.
“Agents working with Baker’s Cay are an extension of our team,” says Boyd.
Margaritaville Resort Orlando will be opening in early 2019, and hotel reservations are currently open for stays starting Jan. 15, 2019.
“Who said children get to have all the fun in Orlando? Margaritaville Resort Orlando will offer experiences for the young, and young at heart,” says Alyssa Bushey, head of marketing for Margaritaville Resort Orlando. “When staying at Margaritaville Resort Orlando, a relaxing stay and entertainment for all ages are available within walking distance across the resort. Guests have the choice of booking either a stay at The Hotel, a 186-room resort with high-end amenities and balconies in every room, or a stay in The Cottages, private residences with the comforts of home, ranging from one to six bedrooms.”
Guests and their families can unwind while enjoying 35 dining, retail, and entertainment options including a dine-in movie theater and a 14-acre waterpark (opening late-spring 2019). There’s also complimentary transportation to the theme parks for resort guests.
“Margaritaville Resort Orlando will welcome travel agents with discounted rates and FAM opportunities. We look forward to working together as we move into our grand opening,” adds Bushey.
Paradise Point Resort & Spa, A Destination Hotel, completed an extensive renovation this past May that touched its 462 bungalow-style guestrooms and 73 suites.
“Paradise Point’s location on the waters of San Diego’s Mission Bay is the perfect place for families as they can choose from a selection of activities that all ages can enjoy together,” says a spokesperson for the property.
During their stay, guests can enjoy five pools, 14 bonfire pits on the beach, s’mores kits, an island-themed spa, 18-hole putting golf course, NBA-size basketball court, four tennis courts, a croquet course, and a marina with sailboats, speed boats, kayaks, paddleboards, and jet skis, plus six dining options. Guests can also rent a beach cruiser and explore the 14 miles of bike paths nearby. It is also located near attractions such as SeaWorld and Balboa Park.
“The Paradise Surf Academy is an experiential offering and the perfect place to learn to shred the waves. Every 3-hour class starts with a quick boat ride to Paradise Surf Academy headquarters where the staff teaches everything guests need to learn to surf. All participants are provided with surfboards, wetsuits, leashes, transportation from the marina to the Mission Bay Aquatic Center, use of locker rooms and showers, and a year-long membership to the Surfrider Foundation, Paradise Point’s official partner in protecting our oceans and beaches,” adds the property spokesperson.
The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort, part of Prince Resorts Hawaii, Inc., located along the Kohala Coast on the Big Island, reopened this July after undergoing a renovation. The multimillion dollar upgrade revamped its 232 guestrooms, added 17 new suites, and introduced four new culinary concepts, as well as a new adults-only pool with private cabanas and enhanced the family pool area.
The Westin Family Kid’s Club offers kiddos indoor activities, as well as outdoor fun such as beach exploration, Hawaiian crafts, and cultural fun. Half- and full-day sessions are available for children 5 to 12. And while the kids are enjoying the fun, parents can escape to the Hapuna Spa by Mandara for body treatments, or head out for a guided run with the hotel’s “Run Concierge” via the RunWESTIN program, or for a sweat session indoors, the WestinWORKOUT Fitness Studio offers guests a Crossfit workout area and Peloton bikes.
Baker’s Cay Resort Key Largo: curiocollection3.hilton.com
Margaritaville Resort Orlando: margaritavilleresortorlando.com
Paradise Point Resort & Spa: destinationhotels.com/paradise-point
The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort: westinhapunabeach.com