Lazy Fun in Florida
The Pick: Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort & Spa in Bonita Springs.
Family Fun: A new, 1,095-ft. heated lazy river and three 3-story waterslides are the must-have ingredients for a water wonderland. These new water perks are an extension to the existing Waterfall Pool with water cascades, a heated Adventure Pool for little ones and an adults-only heated pool and hot tub. For clients who’d rather reach for the sky, the resort’s rock-climbing wall will entice, and for those who’d rather keep their feet squarely on land, there’s a life-size Jenga game on the lawn, golf lessons, volleyball, tennis, and a nature preserve to explore. Plus, Camp Coconut for kids ages 3-12 will have them participating in relay races, scavenger hunts, arts and crafts, kickball, putt-putt, waterslide races and more.
Adult Time: Relaxing on the property’s private island beach, aiming golf balls at the floating target on the onsite pond, and enjoying cocktails at the renovated Corkscrew Pool Bar featuring five big-screen TVs, plus boating, kayaking, parasailing, jet ski tours, fishing, golfing, and exploring the Everglades National Park provide mom and dad plenty of adult fun options. Oh, and there’s the Stillwater Spa, too, of course.
Book It: Rates start at $259 per night dbl.
The Pick: TradeWinds Island Grand Resort in St. Pete Beach.
Family Fun: Four aquariums allow guests to explore the area’s marine life on site, and those looking for a bit of an adventure, can sign up to snorkel in the 33,500-gallon tank built by Animal Planet’s hit show, “TANKED.” The Swim with the Fishes snorkeling adventure and behind-the-scenes tour of the aquarium allows guests to swim among 200 fish from 31 species including a green moray eel. The cost for this adventure? $35. Plus, the complimentary Guy’s Great Touch Experience allows guests to hold sea urchins and other critters—during two 1-hour sessions, guests can touch marine life and learn various marine trivia. And for early risers, there’s a one-on-one with Captain Tim, who during a 7 a.m. beach walk will share plenty of fish stories with guests, or they can chat with him before a Swim with the Fishes experience. Beyond its marine-focused offerings, the High Tide Slide (free for unlimited rides) is an inflatable slide with three chutes and three stories high located on the beach. Three other inflatable slides are located at the Floating Water Park ($16 per hour), a water playground of trampolines and chill-out loungers floating offshore behind TradeWinds. For families traveling with special needs children, the Center for Autism and Related Disabilities marked TradeWinds an Autism Friendly resort, as employees are trained in how to meet the needs of guests who have autism. The property also has a Safety Kit for families with teeny ones that includes outlet covers, corner cushions for tables, and a hanging door alarm.
Adult Time: Adventurous types can head straight to the JETLEV Flight Center, where they’ll be able to strap on a water jet pack and go for a flight over the water. For those who’d rather relax on land, thank you very much, there’s The Body Works Salon and Spa at Island Grand, as well as hammocks and private beach and poolside cabanas.
Book It: The Family Adventure package, valid May 1-Sept. 5, includes a 4-night stay with discounted room accommodations, a FUNVenture card valued at $250, a TradeWinds beach tote with two souvenir cups that can be used for unlimited $1.50 soda refills, and nightly resort amenity fee. Package rates start at $1,164.
The Pick: Honua Kai Resort & Spa, located on Maui’s Kaanapali North Beach.
Family Fun: Here, keiki, or kids, can feed fish in the koi pond daily at 8:30 a.m., or they can hang out in their swimsuit all day enjoying the lazy river, the shallow pool with a sandy beach or the dedicated children’s area outfitted with fountains. The beach activities desk provides floaties, water toys, snorkel gear, and boogie boards for rent or purchase. And if guests are real lucky, they might even spot a whale from the shoreline.
Adult Time: For utter relaxation, mom and dad will want to have their toes in the sand at one of the sunny spots along the hotel’s 38 acres of beachfront, or their face in a mask at the Ho’ola Spa. Offsite activities and tours can be booked through the property, including a rainforest hike, a helicopter tour, a rappel down a waterfall, ziplining, snorkeling, sunrise views atop a volcano followed by a bike ride, or surfing lessons.
Book It: Kids under the age of 17 stay free. The Whale Adoption Adventure package, available now through April 15, 2017, allows guests to choose between a traditional catamaran sail or a rafting power boat tour during whale season. With this package, one whale will be adopted in the guest’s honor through the Pacific Whale Foundation. Guests receive a whale adoption kit that includes a certificate, the story of their individual whale, maps and sightings of their whale, a keepsake tote, and a plush humpback whale. Rates for the package start at $300 per night.
The Pick: Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, an Autograph Collection property on the Kohala Coast on the Big Island.
Family Fun: The Keiki Adventure program offered at the Mauna Kea Discovery Center for kids 5-12, allows kids to take part in water adventures, arts and crafts, music entertainment, story time, and outdoor games and experiences such as shell hunting, hiking ancient Hawaiian trails, exploring caves, and visiting landmarks. There’s also plenty of Hawaiian culture to take in on-property, including ukulele lessons, hula dancing, lei making, and coconut weaving.
Adult Time: Parents can have their own play time with a round of golf, a tennis match, yoga, a twilight or sunset paddle on an illuminated outrigger canoe, a moonlight manta swim, Hawaiian culture experiences, spa treatments at the Mauna Kea Spa by Mandara, or an on-property art tour to view the 1,600 pieces of Pacific and Asian art on display. There are also helicopter tours, stargazing sessions, and volcano tours that can be arranged via the property.
Book It: From May 1-Sept. 30, The Family Promotion offers guests a second guestroom at 50 percent off when booked with a special Room and Breakfast rate (starting at $690 for a Beachfront Wing), which includes buffet breakfast for two at Manta.
The Pick: Beverly Hills Hotel, part of the Dorchester Collection.
Family Fun: There’s a kids program, the V-VIP, which allows little ones to enjoy swimming, and a special credit card for complimentary sodas in The Fountain Coffee Room and The Cabana Café. Kids are also gifted chocolate chip cookies and a teddy bear upon arrival.
Adult Time: Babysitting services are available through the V-VIP program to allow mom and dad a little alone time. They can enjoy that time at the Luxury Spa by La Prairie, which offers more than 40 treatments and two Couples Suites. Five elegant restaurants and bars provide the perfect setting for a meal and a nightcap.
Book It: The Family Time package includes daily breakfast credit of $150 per family, a second connecting room at 50 percent off, a complimentary bottle of house champagne, a kids V-VIP Beverly Hills Hotel card, a waived pet fee for up to two dogs so Fido can come along, and a family photo in front of the hotel’s celebrity step. Rates start at $753.
The Pick: Hotel Bel-Air, a Dorchester Collection property located in Los Angeles.
Family Fun: Children can explore the outdoors on-property, which is home to over 200 species of plants and flowers. Little ones can also learn about the various types of birds sighted in the area, and check out the four resident swans on the property’s Swan Lake. Kiddos also receive plush children’s bathrobes and take part in Afternoon Tea with the hotel’s Little Royals Tea menu.
Adult Time: For a bit of luxury book the Presidential Suite, which features its own private courtyard, infinity pool, and a bar. Onsite amenities include the Hotel Bel-Air Spa by La Prairie, which features a couples’ enclave with a soaking tub, private patio, and a waterfall. And do recommend dinner at Wolfgang Puck, whose menu features dishes with locally sourced ingredients.
Book It: Room rates start at $795 and $875 for a suite per night. The Family Time package includes daily breakfast credit of $150 per family, a second connecting room at 50 percent off, a complimentary bottle of champagne, and a welcome amenity for the kids, plus a waived pet fee for up to two dogs so that the family mascot can join.
Beverly Hills Hotel:
Disney’s Animal Kingdom:
Honua Kai Resort & Spa: honuakai.com
Hotel Bel-Air: dorchestercollection.com/en/los-angeles/hotel-bel-air
Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort & Spa:
Mauna Kea Beach Hotel: princeresortshawaii.com/mauna-kea-beach-hotel
TradeWinds Island Grand Resort: tradewindsresort.com
Theme Parks & Attractions
This summer, there’ll be a new wooden rollercoaster debuting at Fun Spot America (fun-spot.com) in Kissimmee; with a speed of about 48.5mph, it’s the only wooden coaster in the Southeast U.S. Over at Gatorland (gatorland.com), Screamin’ Gator Zipline has opened and is zipping guests along 1,200 ft. of line seven stories in the air. Just in time for summer, Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom (disneyworld.disney.go.com/destinations/animal-kingdom) will welcome Pandora, The World of Avatar, and Universal (universalorlando.com/web/en/us/theme-parks/volcano-bay/index.html) will debut Volcano Bay, a new water theme park.
In California this summer, Disney California Adventure Park (disneyland.disney.go.com/destinations/disney-california-adventure) will welcome a new attraction, the Guardians of the Galaxy—Mission: Breakout!, and super heroes will be the focal point from May 27-Sept. 10 during the Summer of Heroes event, the
jump-start to an expanding universe of Super Hero stories that will grow with time.