Kid-friendly amenities and perks are aplenty at these hotels and resorts — Photo courtesy of Nadezhda1906 / Getty Images
Kiss the day goodbye when a coloring book and crayons constituted a kid-friendly hotel. Luxury family travel is trending, and hotels and resorts are reframing the narrative, offering their younger guests perks fit for royalty.
From a designated baby concierge to princess-themed tea times, these 10 hotels and resorts take family vacations to the next level, by pampering pint-size guests with hotel amenities that go way beyond a typical kid’s club or program.
Mary Poppins’ vibes at The Athenaeum, London
A picnic in the park is just one of the kid-friendly amenities at The Athenaeum — Photo courtesy of The Athenaeum Hotel and Residences, London
Located in London’s posh Mayfair neighborhood, The Athenaeum is a family-run hotel with a dedicated children’s concierge that provides everything from toys for playtime to milk and biscuits at bedtime.
The Athenaeum specializes in organizing activities that lean local, such as picnics in Royal Green Park, complete with kite-flying and wicker hampers, filled with ripe strawberries and fresh cream. Nannies are on call to complete the Mary Poppins-like experience.
Next-level marine biology at Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort, Fiji
In the kids’ program at Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort, kids learn to be good stewards of the environment — Photo courtesy of Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort
At Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort, the children’s program has a distinct conservation message, fitting in a place of such pristine natural beauty. The resort’s full-time naturalist is Fijian marine biologist Johnny Singh, who takes youngsters on deep-dive aquatic adventures, like rock pool explorations and glass-bottom boat excursions.
On dry land, kids may harvest produce in the organic garden and get a firsthand look at the farm-to-plate concept.
As part of the resort’s complimentary Bula Club for Kids, every child under age 6 is assigned a private nanny for their entire stay at no extra charge. That’s quite a perk for parents!
Falconry and magicians at St. Regis Deer Valley, Utah
Get up close with a bird of prey at St. Regis Deer Valley — Photo courtesy of Allison Tibaldi
The St. Regis Deer Valley is an exclusive mountain resort with its own ski area. A ski valet tends to St. Regis’ youngest guests, helping the kiddos put on their boots and step into their skis before a day on the slopes.
Year-round, the resort offers numerous diversions. After a day of skiing, hiking, or mountain biking, kids can tap into their creativity and attend workshops on candle-dipping and cookie decorating. To add to the resort’s sense of wonder, roaming magicians perform tricks on the lawn, and a falconer will perch a bird of prey on a gloved hand, as children learn to handle these regal creatures.
All the family traditions at Skytop Lodge, Pennsylvania
Sip tea with a princess at Skytop for a royal hotel perk — Photo courtesy of Skytop
Nestled in the Pocono Mountains on more than 5,500 acres of woods and manicured gardens, Skytop is a throwback to when guests dressed for dinner, lawn bowling was a competitive sport, ice cream socials drew a crowd, and tea and cookies were served by uniformed waitstaff each afternoon.
The dignified main building is a stone manor house with a circular porch, decked with cozy rocking chairs that are perfect for relaxing after a swim in the lake, a round of golf, or a visit to the butterfly house.
Skytop offers plenty of occasion for family quality time, from ice skating and snowtubing in the winter to a water park and lawn games in the summer. For something magical, book the periodic princess-themed tea time, hosted by a costumed princess who would make Walt Disney proud.
Spoiled like a little royal at Grand Velas Los Cabos, Mexico
This Mayan Riviera resort has all the pint-sized perks — Photo courtesy of Grand Velas Resorts
Grand Velas Los Cabos is situated along a stunning stretch of beach between San José del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas. A baby concierge treats tiny visitors like miniature VIPs, tempting their toothless appetites with homemade baby food and providing petite plush bathrobes after a soak in the baby-size tub.
For something out of the box, a floating breakfast tray served in a private plunge pool should wow even the most jaded teenager.
So many kids’ clubs at Martinhal Sagres, Portugal
Relax in a coconut-shaped bed at the beach — Photo courtesy of Martinhal Family Hotels and Resorts
Martinhal Sagres Beach Family Resort is a family-owned resort on Portugal’s Algarve Coast that offers top-notch, age-appropriate amenities.
Babies and toddlers are catered to in age-specific clubs, where their senses are engaged with art-making, puppet shows, and story time. School-age kids can enjoy music classes and archery, among many other activities. The resort also offers sports academies, where children can receive quality instruction in soccer, paddle tennis, regular tennis, and swimming.
The hotel also takes pride in its culinary offerings, including a children’s menu with easy-to-eat favorites and freshly made baby food. Once the kids have finished their meals, they may head to the playground, where supervised entertainment assures that parents may savor a leisurely dinner.
Little history buffs at Willard Intercontinental, Washington, D.C.
Kids learn fascinating history at Willard Intercontinental — Photo courtesy of Willard Intercontinental
A visit to Washington D.C. is an excellent way for kids to soak in some history, but the stately Willard Intercontinental itself is the site of many historic moments. Abraham Lincoln spent several nights at the hotel before his inauguration, and Martin Luther King Jr. finished writing his “I Have A Dream” speech there.
Willard intercontinental employs a kid’s concierge, who hosts history-infused tours of the hotel for young guests, who receive Willard library cards so they can check out books from the lending library.
The concierge aims to provide families with whatever they need for a seamless stay, from strollers to microwave ovens!
Nature-immersive programs at Kenoza Hall, New York
Kids capture sweet memories at Kenoza Hall — Photo courtesy of Clay Banks
For some families, immersion in nature is the ultimate luxury. The Catskill Mountains have been a playground for generations of East Coast city folk seeking a bucolic escape.
Kenoza Hall is an intimate retreat with chic guest rooms and design-forward bungalows, with private porches tucked away under swaying trees. A saltwater pool, family yoga, a delectable restaurant, and three levels of kid-friendly packages round out the luxurious offerings.
In one Little Camper program, kids are outfitted with Polaroid cameras and taken on a nature walk, so they can photograph the lake, acres of rambling meadows, and delicate wildflowers. The littlest of animal lovers will delight in a private tour of a nearby alpaca farm.
La dolce vita at Castello di Reschio, Italy
Kids can ride a Spanish purebred horse in the Italian countryside — Photo courtesy of Castello di Reschio
In Umbria’s rolling hills, Castello di Reschio is a castle situated on a palatial country estate. This is Italy, where bambini are welcome everywhere, even at the opera.
At Castello di Reschio, children are fussed over from dawn until dusk. They may learn to prepare Umbrian cuisine with the chef, explore the estate with the resident gamekeeper as they look for wildlife, or ride Spanish purebred horses at the equestrian center.
In the evening, kid-friendly movies screen at the Castello di Reschio’s open-air cinema, where movie-goers can snack on wood-fired pizza and freshly popped popcorn.
Professional nannies at Beaches Negril, Jamaica
Nannies at Beaches Negril receive specialized training — Photo courtesy of Beaches Resorts
Beaches Negril is located on Jamaica’s Seven Mile Beach, one of the finest in the Caribbean. The resort has robust children’s programming, including scuba diving, waterskiing, reggae jam sessions, and even bedtime tuck-ins by Sesame Street characters! At the spa, children can be buffed, puffed, and pampered with a fizzy foot soak or a children’s manicure.
According to the resort, all nannies are members of the International Nanny Association and have completed at least 40 hours of autism sensitivity training, in addition to their training in safety, nutrition, and child development. Nannies who work with babies and toddlers have an associate’s degree in early childhood education.