Top 10 Family Resorts 2013
The results are in and the Holidays with Kids team is thrilled to announce the winners in our ‘2013 Readers’ Choice Survey’!
Covering both Australia and the most popular family holiday destinations overseas, the Top 10 Resort Awards are the culmination of a year’s work and over 4000 reader surveys. It is, quite simply, the most comprehensive family travel award system in the country.
Whether you are looking for a five-star resort for a luxury getaway with action-packed kids’ clubs and opportunities for some serious indulgence, or apartment-style accommodation for a home away from home with plenty to do for the kids, this year’s finalists offer all that and more.
As in the past, Asia and the Pacific Islands were by the far the most visited in the international travel category with Bali, Fiji, Thailand and Malaysia all earning their own top 10 list for the third year in a row, with the USA once more garnering enough support to have its own category. We received too few votes, however, to warrant a category for Europe; it seems Australian families prefer tropical holidays in the sun. Australia has once again been broken into two categories due to the huge number of votes received (more than two thirds of the total!): ‘over 4 stars’ and ‘4 stars and under’, with Queensland being by far the preferred destination for Aussie travellers.
All our finalists should be proud of the fact that so many happy holidaymakers had such a positive experience that they took the time to nominate them for excellence. These hotels and resorts have managed to exceed the expectations of their guests in just about every area. Whether for outstanding customer service, facilities that are a cut above, the high standard of accommodation or the range of family friendly activities on offer, each resort stands out from the pack and offers an experience families love enough to rave about. In our book, that makes them all winners! Which one will make the shortlist for your next holiday?
Top 10 Family Resorts - Australia - Over 4 stars
|1. Sea World Resort, Gold Coast, Qld (4.5 stars)
Topping this category for the fourth year in a row, it is clear that HWK readers love Sea World Resort & Water Park. Is it because of its fabulous Gold Coast location? Or perhaps it’s because of its water park, kid-friendly facilities and great value for money? Either way, there’s a package for every family at Sea World Resort that makes it an ideal holiday destination in itself. With a kids’ club, character meet-and-greets and short monorail ride to Sea World’s attractions, and the chance to indulge in massages for mum and dad, there’s plenty to keep everyone happy.
|2. Turtle Beach Resort, Gold Coast, Qld (4.5 stars)
Making our readers’ second place preference for the second year in a row is all-round family-friendly Turtle Beach Resort. Another Gold Coast favourite, Turtle Beach provides apartment accommodation for your very own home away from home, complete with full kitchen facilities. But for kids aged four to 12 years, Club Turtle is the place to hang out. While mum and dad relax at the Chelonia adults-only retreat, children can make new friends while having fun with Wii and Xbox games, arts and crafts, and special movie screenings. With four pools on-site too, there’s plenty of space for the whole family to create long-lasting memories.
3. Hayman, Whitsundays (5 Stars)
Discover the best Australia has to offer at Hayman, the Whitsundays’ most famous private island. Families looking for peace and tranquillity or action and adventure will find it at this seaside haven. Offering an array of rooms, suites and villas, there is an accommodation option for every family, either by the beach, the pool or the lagoon. Hayman is a kids’ paradise, with everything from junior scuba diving lessons to tours of the popular chocolate room on offer. The kids’ club is the perfect place to meet new friends, right from the age of six weeks to 12 years, and take home some unforgettable holiday memories.
|4. Daydream Island Resort & Spa, Whitsundays (4.5 stars)
The gem that is Daydream Island Resort & Spa is the perfect base for families wanting to explore the Whitsundays and the wonder of the Great Barrier Reef. Daydream offers affordable luxury with 296 tastefully appointed rooms and suites with stunning ocean or rainforest views, so there’s plenty of space for the whole family. Kids from six weeks to 12 years can be entertained at the Skippers Kids Club, or they can join mum and dad with activities including snorkelling, rainforest walks, outdoor movies and an Australian icons-themed minigolf course, among so many others. A family favourite is the Living Reef – one of world’s largest man-made living coral reef lagoons where guests have the opportunity to get up close and personal by hand feeding resident stingrays, sharks and barramundi.
5. Sheraton Mirage Resort & Spa Gold Coast (5 stars)
The Gold Coast’s only five-star beachfront resort has had a makeover, with a recent $26 million refurbishment upgrading all 295 rooms and suites, Pearls Bar, Terraces Restaurant and even its oasis pool area. This new contemporary styling is perfect for families looking for a little indulgence with their Gold Coast holiday; from pampering at The Golden Door Spa & Health Club to endless hours of family fun on the beach or nearby theme parks, Sheraton Mirage Gold Coast has it all. For easy meals, the resort offers all-inclusive kids’ dining options with the SPG Kids Pass program. More ice-cream at the swim-up bar please!
6. Palazzo Versace, Gold Coast (5 Stars)
Australia’s first fashion-branded hotel may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of family-friendly, but Palazzo Versace’s central Gold Coast location – on Sea World Drive – makes it ideal for kids of all ages. All the top theme parks and attractions are just a short limo ride away, as well as all the fun of the beach and Broadwater estuary. As well as the main lagoon-style pool, complete with Medusa water feature and cabana service, opt for a two- or three-bedroom condominium with plunge pool for watery fun on your doorstep. Marina Mirage is also next door, a shopping mecca no mini fashionista can resist!
7. Peppers Salt Resort & Spa, Kingscliff (4.5 stars)
If you want all the theme-park fun of the Gold Coast without the crowds, you may want the calm retreat offered by Peppers Salt Resort & Spa. Almost halfway between Byron Bay and the Gold Coast, this resort is ideal for visiting all the region’s attractions, from Wet ‘n’ Wild and Dreamworld, to the natural beauty of the World Heritage-listed national parks. But with a lagoon-style pool fringed with sand and luxurious spa, as well as Kingscliff Beach just a stroll away, there’s plenty for the family to do without even leaving the resort.
8. Palmer Coolum Resort, Sunshine Coast (5 stars)
Formerly the Hyatt Regency Coolum, the recently rebranded Palmer Coolum Resort has been a long-time favourite with Aussie families heading to the Sunshine Coast. Spreading over 150 hectares of prime Queensland real estate, the resort offers everything a family could want, from lazing at the beach club or one of nine pools, to sports including tennis, archery and golf on a championship course. The kids’ club makes sure the youngest kids can get in on the action, with arts and crafts, storytelling and games all available, but they can also visit Palmer Coolum Resort’s most unique feature, the dinosaur park.
9. Q1 Resort & Spa, Gold Coast (4.5 stars)
Australia’s tallest residential tower – at an astonishing 78 storeys in height – is also the country’s tallest resort. Featuring one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments (all including spas), Q1 is a home away from home with a panoramic difference. Located in the very heart of Surfers Paradise, this skyscraper resort places your family in the centre of the action, from the bustle of Surfers’ main strip to the sandy fun of Main Beach. All the ‘worlds’ are just a drive away, and monthly discounts mean there are always savings to be head on the area’s top attractions.
10. Hilton Cairns Hotel, Cairns (5 stars)
Discover Queensland in style with Hilton Cairns Hotel. A destination known for its balmy tropical climes and relaxed lifestyle, Cairns is your gateway to Australia’s far north, and the Hilton Cairns Hotel, with its waterfront location, is the place to stay. Just 10 minutes from Cairns International Airport, the hotel features fabulous views of both water and mountains, making the most of this unique location. Surrounded by lush gardens, Hilton Cairns Hotel has plenty of activities for the kids – including a heated pool – but if you’re looking to go further afield, you’re in the perfect spot to enjoy two of Earth’s natural wonders: the Great Barrier Reef and World Heritage rainforests.
Top 10 Family Resorts - Australia - 4 stars and under
1. Zagame’s Paradise Resort, Gold Coast, Qld (4 stars)
Zagame’s Paradise Resort is your favourite resort for the third year in a row (and five years out of six) in the 4 stars and under category – and it’s no surprise why. Paradise Resort on the Gold Coast knows what families want from a holiday, and it includes ice-skating at Planet Chill, supervised fun at Zone for Kids Club, a brand-new Z4K Waterpark and a Zone 4 Adults outdoor spa. With such a wide range of facilities, Zagame’s Paradise Resort caters for everyone. Ongoing refurbishments are also creating bright accommodation options with plenty of space for the whole family, with 100 new rooms revealed in July 2013.
2. Novotel Twin Waters Resort, Sunshine Coast, Qld (4 stars)
Reclaiming its number two spot after a brief tumble last year is a gem on the Sunshine Coast that offers families so much to do there’ll never know where to start. Novotel Twin Waters Resort attracts guests year after year with unique offerings such as the All Terrain Segway Xperience experience, Kidz Cove kids’ club, sailing and windsurfing, and – of course – the Cirque Espace. This circus school will have the family juggling, trampolining, walking the tight wire and even flying through the air on the trapeze. Novotel Twin Waters Resort is definitely not your average family-friendly destination.
3. The Towers of Chevron Renaissance, Gold Coast (4 stars)
Jumping into the top three for the first time, The Towers of Chevron Renaissance provides families with the perfect home-style accommodation. Their apartments in the sky are suitable for up to six people in a relaxed environment, with a host of Gold Coast amenities right on the doorstep, from boutique shopping to grocery necessities. Perfectly located to access the nearby theme parks, Chevron Renaissance also features a bell-shaped outdoor pool on Level 5, complete with sand beaches, and a mini movie theatre for days when you just want to stay home with a DVD.
4. The Islander Noosa Resort, Sunshine Coast, QLD (3.5 stars)
The Sunshine Coast is a great family destination, with all the adventure of the beach combined with that of the river and lakes. The Islander Noosa Resort is the perfect accommodation for families wanting to make the most of a stay in Noosa, offering self-contained villas and a friendly resort atmosphere for the ultimate beachside holiday. With a central location in Noosaville, just across from the river esplanade, guests from the Islander Noosa Resort are just a bus or ferry ride from the beach, and a stroll from restaurants and shops for easy convenience. It’s also a resort the kids will love, with three pools, spas, tennis courts and a games room to keep them busy for the whole stay.
5. Kingfisher Bay Resort, Fraser Island (4 stars)
World Heritage-listed Fraser Island is one of Australia’s unique destinations, a carefully preserved island adventure playground and retreat from the everyday. Kingfisher Bay Resort, on the island’s Hervey Bay side, is the perfect blend of eco-friendly and family-friendly. The resort is home to one of Australia’s best kids’ clubs, the Junior Eco Rangers, a program that runs daily during school holidays, and on Fridays and Saturdays during the school term. Qualified guides teach youngsters all about the island’s history and its ecosystems, from stories of the Dreamtime to mangroves, wildlife spotlighting and sand sculptures. Fraser Island is a 4WD paradise, with a maze of sandy tracks, but the ultimate must-see is inland Lake Mackenzie, the best place for an island swim.
6. BreakFree Aanuka Beach Resort, Coffs Harbour (4 stars)
Beachfront BreakFree Aanuka Beach Resort is popular with HWK readers for good reason. Its central location near Diggers Beach at Coffs Harbour makes it an ideal choice for a stay on New South Wales’ north coast, and that’s not to say anything of its facilities. With all the essentials for a holiday that makes the kids happy – from children’s pool and playground to waterslides and cave spas to tennis courts and minigolf – you can’t possibly go wrong. With a range of accommodation types, including rooms and villas, BreakFree Aanuka Beach Resort is perfect for every kind of family holiday.
7. Mercure Capricorn Resort, Yeppoon (3.5 Stars)
North of Rockhampton, Mercure Capricorn Resort in Yeppoon is a tropical paradise where the whole family is welcome. Spread over 8900 hectares, this is a resort that contains the lot, from two championship golf courses to sunset horse rides on the beach. Little ones will love the Kids Kapers Club for days full of activities and maybe even trying a camel ride. Plenty of facilities are dedicated to younger guests, with a children’s wading pool, waterslide, playground and games room all on site. It’s also the perfect place to explore Keppel Island and the beauty of the Capricorn Coast.
8. Shoal Bay Resort & Spa, Port Stephens (4 Stars)
If you’re looking for a short break from the Sydney crowds, Shoal Bay Resort & Spa is just what you need. With stunning natural surrounds, it’s a great place for the whole family. The Occies Kids Club runs in the holidays, with an array of activities including noodle art, face painting, circus workshops and the ever-popular pirates and fairies disco. What more could a kid ask for? Accommodation ranges from studios to three-bedroom apartments and villas, so whether you’re escaping for the Aqua Spa or family expeditions to the nearby national parks, Shoal Bay Resort & Spa has you covered.
9. Wyndham Resort Torquay, Torquay (4 Stars)
This resort at the gateway to the Great Ocean Road is the perfect place to explore Victoria’s Surf Coast. This stretch of sea and sand attracts those who like to surf, hike (the Great Ocean Walk starts at Apollo Bay), discover the countryside, skydive, kayak, mountain bike, horse ride and even enjoy fine dining. There is a water park, scenic flights over the Twelve Apostles and Tiger Moth kids’ adventure park, and Werribee Open Range Zoo, all within an hour of Wyndham Resort. With fantastic views over the sea, the beach on your doorstep and two pools, Wyndham Resort Torquay is the ideal place for a Victorian retreat.
10. BreakFree Alexandra Beach Resort, Sunshine Coast (3.5 Stars)
Blending beachside location with plenty of kids’ facilities, Alexandra Beach Resort is a great family-friendly destination on the Sunshine Coast. Practise your surfing skills at the patrolled beach on your doorstep or fry up the day’s catch on the barbecue. Offering apartment-style accommodation, with room for up to seven people, there’s plenty of space for the whole family and even more to keep them busy. You’ll have trouble pulling the kids away from the playground and waterslide, but that just leaves more time for you to enjoy the poolside spa.
Top 10 Family Resorts - Fiji
1. Shangri-La's Fijian Resort & Spa, Yanuca Island (4.5 stars)
Seven years and Shangri-La’s Fijian Resort & Spa is still HWK readers’ favourite holiday destination in Fiji. Evidently the Shangri-La team is doing something right, from providing families with a luxurious getaway on private Yanuca Island to making sure everyone is entertained right from the moment they arrive. Get a cultural fix under the thatched roofs of Marau Village and experience the resort’s famed fire walking. Kids from four to 12 will be in heaven at the Little Chief’s Club, where a full program includes one-of-a-kind activities like coconut boat races, Fijian dance lessons and a crab hunt.
2. Plantation Island Resort, Malolo LaiLai Island (3.5 stars)
With so much to do – for adults and kids alike – at Plantation Island Resort, it’s easy to see how this tropical paradise has kept its second-place spot for another year. Its idyllic location (50 minutes from Nadi International Airport by boat, or just 10 minutes by air) makes it an ideal location for the family wanting to try something new on their holiday. From parasailing to scuba diving (kids aged eight and older can get qualified), there’s something for everyone. Or you could relax in your Fijian-style bure or room and book a massage. It’s the best of both worlds.
TIED 3. The Naviti Resort, Coral Coast (4 stars)
Among the resorts of the picturesque Coral Coast is HWK favourite, The Naviti Resort. With its beachside location and family-friendly ‘kids stay and eat free’ policy, it’s a great accommodation option on Fiji’s main island, Viti Levu. As well as a range of on-site activities such as kayaking and two swimming pools, Naviti is also perfectly located for a bit of adventure, with tours of the nearby caves and waterfalls on offer, and daily trips into the town of Sigatoka. For kids who just can’t leave the pool, there are plenty of activities at the kids’ club, for youngsters aged five to 12.
TIED 3. Sheraton Denarau Villas (4 stars)
Moving up from fifth place to tie with Naviti is the contemporary styling of Sheraton Denarau Villas. Families looking for a luxe edge have a choice of two-bedroom villa suites or three-bedroom seafront villas. With all the comforts of home, these villas are perfect for the longer, more relaxed stay, complete with full kitchen. The ‘Kids Stay, Play and Dine’ program makes family travel easy, with kids aged four to 12 invited over to join the Lai Lai Kids Club at nearby Sheraton Fiji Resort. That leaves mum and dad with plenty of time to enjoy a massage or two at The Westin Denarau Island Resort & Spa.
4. Outrigger on the Lagoon Fiji, Coral Coast (4.5 Stars)
This beachfront resort knows how to keep everyone happy. The Vahavu pool and bistro area caters exclusively to mum and dad, while kids from three years old through to teens are entertained with the Little Riggers, Beach Riggers and Teen Activity programs and the special Meimei nanny service. Games including water polo and Fijian-inspired shenanigans are designed for kids to make the most of their South Pacific holidays. Teenagers are given more than a chill-out room; Outrigger on the Lagoon actively encourages teens to get involved in the community with trips to a local Fijian school, hikes to Bebe Hill and Enchanted Pool, tours of Tavuni Hill Fort and other cultural activities.
TIED 5. Radisson BLU Resort Fiji, Denarau Island (5 stars)
Offering beachside bliss as well as island adventure, the whole family will find something to love at this premier property on Denarau Island. Along with the popular kids’ club for four- to 12-year-olds, Radisson’s youngest guests will while away hours riding Fiji’s only white water tunnel slide and taking a turn in the outdoor whirlpool tubs. It’s all about the water with a selection of four pools, although one is reserved for the adults, complete with swim-up bar. Activities from Adrenalin Water Sports cater to those with more adventurous tastes, with scuba diving, parasailing, water skiing, paddle boarding and jet ski safaris all on the menu.
TIED 5. Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa, Denarau Island (5 stars)
Experience the South Pacific with a French twist at the luxury Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa. Catering to families as well as couples, this resort is the ideal destination for a rejuvenating, vibrant Fijian holiday. In addition to the attentive service guests expect from the Sofitel brand, you will find an atmosphere that welcomes kids, with family rooms featuring PlayStations and a close proximity to all the children’s amenities. The kids’ club features three programs, catering from babies to 12-year-olds, to keep even the youngest entertained. Playgrounds inside and out make sure the kids can run free whenever they wish – and mum and dad can relax by the pool.
6. Warwick Fiji Resort & Spa, Coral Coast (5 star)
Jumping out two places from last year’s survey is the luxury Warwick Fiji Resort & Spa. Stretched along the white sand beaches of the Coral Coast, the resort features 250 rooms and suites with views of either the ocean or mountains. There’s plenty for the whole family to enjoy with activities from bicycle tours and archery to paddle boating and scuba diving. Two pools, fringed with tropical greenery, are perfect for lazier afternoons, with the kids enjoying their own specially designed pool next to the Nadi Wing. Children aged three to 11 can also spend their days at the Warwick KARE Club where ‘kids are everything’; here they can hunt for crabs, collect seashells and get involved with handicrafts.
7. Castaway Island Fiji, Castaway Island (4 star)
Castaway Island is home to sandy beaches, tropical rainforests, coral reefs and crystalline waters – and one very family-friendly resort. Castaway Island has been entertaining guests with the Fijian way of life for over 40 years, so they evidently know what they’re doing. The resort features 66 thatched roof bungalow-style bures, decorated in relaxed South Pacific style. The complimentary kids’ club for young guests three years and over is designed to engage children with all the wonders of Fiji through adventures and educational games. It’s the best place on the island to make new friends and long-lasting memories.
8. Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort Fiji, Savusavu (5 stars)
This secluded resort on a private peninsula features just 25 bures for the ultimate Fijian retreat. Ideally located to enjoy the best of water activities, inland excursions and village visits, Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort invites its guests to get involved and discover its unspoilt marine environment. The Bula Club entertains kids up to the age of 12 with two separate programs designed for educating children about the delicate world around them. After all, Jean-Michel Cousteau is the son of the world’s most famous marine explorer and conservationist, and no stay at the resort would be complete without a dive at one of his world-famous sites.
9. Mana Island Resort & Spa - Fiji, Mana Island (4 stars)
Mana: an Austronesian word conveying ideas of ‘magic’ and ‘power’. A fitting name for a Fijian paradise that enchants its guests the moment they set foot on this 120-hectare tropical gem. Just 32 kilometres from Nadi, in the heart of the Mamanuca island group, Mana Island Resort & Spa is fringed with sandy beaches and dotted with traditionally-styled bures. Join in one of the cultural activities, such as weaving with palm leaves or making grass skirts, or get out onto the water with an excursion to an uninhabited isle. The Tu Vonu kids’ club gets children from three to 12 involved with games and coral regeneration programs.
TIED 10. Malolo Island Resort, Malolo Island (4 stars)
Malolo Island Resort is all about a refined South Pacific experience. Guests stay in recently renovated plantation-style bures, harking back to the colonial era. Relax with a treatment at Leilani’s Spa or take advantage of the water to go dolphin spotting or island hopping. The kids will be entertained for their whole stay at Tia’s Treehouse. Youngsters from four to 12 can take advantage of this play paradise beneath a giant mango tree, or they can try something different with the new Yanu Yanu program. Focusing on the environment, history and culture of Malolo Island and Fiji, this seven-day program follows a different theme each day, including coconut trees, tradition and Fijian food.
TIED 10. Treasure Island Resort, Treasure Island (3.5 stars)
All six hectares of Treasure Island is devoted to this tropical resort – and its guests. Three pools invite families and couples alike to linger by the water, soaking up the island’s panoramic ocean views, and the resort’s 66 bures are the perfect retreat from the everyday world. Whether you choose to get out on the water, or be entertained on land, there are plenty of activities to keep the whole family busy. The kids’ club teaches young guests about the island environment and Fijian culture, with activities such as helping to care for and feed Hawksbill turtles, rare crested iguanas, and making a traditional Lovo feast, complete with Meke song and dance performance.
Top 10 Family Resorts - Bali
1. Bali Dynasty Resort, Kuta (4 stars)
For a family-friendly dose of tropical paradise, head to Bali Dynasty Resort, which topped the list as our readers’ favourite Balinese resort for the second year in a row. Considering its blend of Balinese hospitality and fabulous facilities, however, this probably comes as little surprise. Located by the famous beaches of South Kuta, this resort features plenty to keep the kids busy. From a dedicated kids’ pool (as well as a dedicated adults-only pool) complete with water park and 56m waterslide to the Kupu-Kupu Kiddies’ Club and its ‘Enchanted Garden’ club house. Those over 12 are not forgotten though – as they so often are – with a special teens’ club, The Den. Here they can retreat to socialise with other teens and join in activities such as white water rafting, scuba diving and cooking lessons.
|2. Club Med Bali, Nusa Dua (4 tridents)|
There’s a certain allure in Club Med resorts that has kept the Bali property in the Top 3 for another year. All-inclusive packages, even including transport and transfers, means there are no surprises upon check-out but it’s the family prioritisation that has our readers casting their votes for Club Med Bali. Right from the age of two youngsters can join in the Club Med fun at Petit Club Med, while those aged four to 10 will have a ball with games and activities – including circus skills at the Flying Trapeze Academy – at Mini Club Med. Teens can relax or get involved, with everything on offer from golf to windsurfing.
3. AYANA Resort and Spa, Jimbaran (5 stars)
One of Bali’s most luxurious resorts, AYANA Resort and Spa, is increasingly becoming a favourite with HWK readers, climbing into third place for the first time. Blessed with a cliff-top location above Jimbaran Bay, AYANA boasts family-friendly luxury, including a private beach and five pools – one of which is designed for kids with two waterslides for endless hours of fun. Enjoy a game of golf or a day at the spa complex knowing that the kids will be entertained at the recently renovated kids’ club, where they can enjoy everything from arts and crafts to cultural activities to video games. They’ll especially love the Saturday surprise: a petting zoo!
TIED 4. The Westin Resort Nusa Dua, Bali, Nusa Dua (5 stars)
With a newly renovated kids’ club, there’s no better luxury choice in Bali than the Westin Resort Nusa Dua. The refurbishment has seen the Westin Kids Club brighten up with fun new areas for toddlers, children and teens. Little ones under the age of four will spend their days enjoying the shaded playground, while kids from four to 12 can take advantage of the climbing wall, trampoline and PlayStation. The Teens Zone is where older kids can meet and mingle, enjoying Nintendo Wii and movies in beanbag comfort. All ages, however, can take advantage of an activity program with a focus on healthy outdoor pursuits and cultural pastimes, as well as the soon-to-open Westin Kids Spa for holiday pampering.
TIED 4. InterContinental Bali Resort, Jimbaran Bay (5 stars)
With a professional nanny service for children under the age of four, and
the popular ‘Planet Trekkers’ program, which allows kids to have fun while
experiencing the Balinese culture with traditional crafts such as kite
making and Balinese dancing, the Intercontinental Bali continues to be one
of the favourite resort for families Situated on 14 hectares of beautifully
landscaped gardens with direct beach access, it is one of the top resorts
in the Asia Pacific Region.
5. Sentosa Seminyak, Seminyak (5 stars)
Each of the 43 luxury villas at Sentosa Seminyak is designed to offer guests the ultimate in exclusivity. Featuring private pools surrounded by sun loungers amid tropical gardens and sunken baths that are neither indoors nor outdoors, the villas are made for relaxing with the family. An additional 35-metre natural rock pool is available in Club Sentosa, along with one of Bali’s best day spas, komangARNAWA fitness and Luke Mangan’s latest restaurant, Salt tapas, opening in September 2013. It’s also the perfect location for a family visit to the Elephant Safari Park at Ubud where kids can meet the rare and endangered Sumatran elephants.
6. Discovery Kartika Plaza Hotel, Kuta (4.5 stars)
Indonesia’s leading beach resort, Discovery Kartika Plaza Hotel is all about the waterfront location. A private beach stretches across the coast of Kuta, one of Bali’s most popular tourist destinations, offering guests the opportunity to indulge their every beach whim, whether they wish to try snorkelling or parasailing. Kids will be entertained with a dedicated children’s pool, outdoors activities including beach volleyball, and of course Kido Ria. This playground-cum-day care facility has everything kids need enjoy their Balinese stay, with board games and activities, as well as especially designed children’s menus.
7. Semara Resort & Spa, Seminyak (4 stars)
Taking advantage of Seminyak’s cosmopolitan selection of bars, shops, galleries and restaurants, Semara Resort & Spa is perfectly located for both beachside fun and exploring the best that Bali has to offer. Spacious suites – perfect for families – with sleek, contemporary styling invite guests to linger in the tranquil surrounds. Just beyond is the pool, with adjoining kids’ pool, and the Cubby House Kids Club. Children from two to 12 can enjoy all the colour this area has to offer, with a great range of toys and activities, as well as themed parties and movie showings. The kids’ club also organises healthy, small-portion meals the little ones will love.
8. Hard Rock Hotel Bali, Kuta (4 stars)
For those who like a little more rock ‘n’ roll style with their holidays, Hard Rock Hotel Bali is the perfect destination. In the heart of Kuta and across the road from that famed beach, the resort features the largest free-form swimming pool in Bali, including a Sand Island, as well as kids’ pool with waterslide the little ones will love. They’ll also be entertained all day long with supervised fun at Lil’ Rock Kids Club, from dance lessons to treasure hunts. Everyone – yes, even the children – can enjoy treatments at the Rock Spa or in-room jamming with a complimentary Fender guitar, amp and headphones (and TV lessons for beginners), so you can make like your musical idols for your whole stay.
9. Grand Nikko Bali, Nusa Dua (5 stars)
Admire the vastness of the Indian Ocean from this luxury retreat atop a cliff in Nusa Dua. Offering specially designed family rooms and suites, Grand Nikko Bali is one resort where the whole family is truly welcome. Standard facilities include a range of children’s books and movies, toys and a PlayStation, as well as kiddy keepsakes. As well as children’s lagoon and pool with 30-metre waterslide, the resort also features the Jungle Camp kids’ club for youngsters from six to 12 years. With trampolines, obstacles and climbing walls, the kids will never want to leave.
TIED 10. Pan Pacific Nirwana Bali Resort, Tabanan (4.5 stars)
The whole family can indulge at Pan Pacific Nirwana with a range of award-winning facilities on your doorstep. There’s an 18-hole golf course for dad, a luxe East-West fusion spa for mum, and four crystalline pools with one 54-metre waterslide for the kids. The Kokokan kids’ club caters for four- to 12-year-olds with a range of outdoor and cultural activities. They can learn Balinese handicrafts, have language lessons in Bahasa Indonesia, paint masks, create with coconut leaves, fold paper flowers, tour the resort temple and even stretch out with kids’ yoga. And that’s just a sample.
TIED 10. Holiday Inn Resort Baruna Bali, Tuban (4 stars)
Tied with Pan Pacific Nirwana is the fun-loving Holiday Inn Resort Baruna Bali near Kuta, just 10 minutes from Denpasar International Airport. With themed family suites available – featuring ship’s wheels at the end of the bed – Holiday Inn Resort is a destination the whole family will love. The resort’s Balinese style and lush tropical gardens will have you feeling relaxed while the kids can run free at the Rascals Kids’ Club (ages four to 12) while teens can chill in the Resort Hub area. With an outdoor pool and cultural activities like ceramic painting, henna temporary tattoos and Balinese costumes, there’s so much on offer the kids won’t know where to start.
Top 10 Family Resorts - Thailand
1. Outrigger Laguna Phuket Beach Resort, Phuket (5 stars)
Lapping up the luxury of Bangtao Beach and the Andaman Sea is easy with 2013’s Thai favourite, the new Outrigger Laguna Phuket Beach Resort. This gem is the latest property to be added to the mega-destination that is Laguna Phuket, and this definitely has its advantages. Enjoy a game of golf or an Ayurvedic spa treatment at Banyan Tree Resort while the kids are entertained with special programs at Koh Kids. They’ll also love the extensive water park, featuring waterfalls and a waterslide, for watery family fun. Outrigger’s stylish new rooms combine the best of contemporary décor with Thai accents for a truly unique beachside holiday.
2. JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa, Phuket (5 stars)
Whether you’re dreaming of poolside luxury, or planning a wilderness trek with elephants, JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa is the perfect destination. Our readers love this chic retreat for its range of activities, especially for the kids. As well as providing kids menus, and milk and cookies with the turndown service, kids can get crafty at the Kids Pavilion with batik painting and face painting or try their hand at some local recipes with a family cooking course. Little ones can even join mum at the spa with special treatments – could there be anything more indulgent? www.marriott.com.au
TIED 3. Mövenpick Resort & Spa Karon Beach, Phuket (5 stars)
Mövenpick’s Karon Beach resort continues to entice HWK readers with its fabulous beachside location, great dining options from Asia and around the world, and – of course – the Play Zone. Whether your kids love their video games or running amok outside, the Play Zone is the ideal place for them to have a ball. Surrounded by lush gardens, it may be hard to leave the Mövenpick’s four pools, but there is plenty of adventure the resort can organize, from island hopping to cultural visits.
TIED 3. The Westin Siray Bay Resort & Spa, Phuket (5 stars)
This is one resort that believes kids should be seen, heard, and part of the fun. While kids are engrossed in locally-inspired arts and crafts, beach games and the three swimming pools, parents can relax in indulgent style. With breathtaking views from every angle, a stay at this tranquil island paradise is sure to leave you refreshed and rejuvenated.
4. Centara Grand Beach Resort Phuket, Phuket (5 stars)
Centara Grand knows that when the kids are happy, the parents are happy. So among the Sino-Portuguese splendour of their resort in the heart of Karon Beach, Centara Grand features four swimming pools – including one each for children and adults exclusively – as well as a water park, ‘lazy’ river, waterslides and waterfalls. While mum and dad take advantage of the range of facilities and spa treatments, littlies from the age of four are entertained at Camp Safari. Here they will earn rewards for participating in activities, and they can earn points at any Centara properties. It will be a challenge to pull them away!
5. Dusit Thani Laguna Phuket, Phuket (5 stars)
This luxury resort is another in our Top 10 to be a part of the Laguna Phuket complex and also benefits from the shared facilities, such as the 18-hole golf course (currently being upgraded), a shopping village and the Quest Family Fun Zone. Dusit Thani itself also features a palm-fringed swimming pool, a range of water sports and games room, as well as Thai cooking classes with the resort’s sous chef. The kids’ club is decked out with games, books and a playground, so you know the little ones will love it. Dusit Thani can also organise a special kids’ turn down service, complete with milk and cookies. Yum.
6. Le Méridien Phuket Beach Resort, Phuket (4.5 stars)
The distinctive green roofs of this beachfront resort are a welcome sign for guests looking for fun in the sun. Including a secluded beach, Le Méridien’s appeal lies in its wide range of facilities, such as 10 restaurants and bars, two swimming pools, Le Spa (for mum and dad), and discovery centre (for the kids). Explore the Andaman Sea and Phuket with a picnic in hand, or challenge your family to a competition on the minigolf course. The Penguin Club will entertain the kids with ice-cream making and Batik painting, while teens can get active with Thai boxing, archery, beach volleyball and sand castle art.
7. Angsana Laguna Phuket, Phuket (4.5 stars)
Angsana Laguna Phuket loves kids, and for good reason. As one of the resorts making up Bangtao Bay’s prestigious Laguna Phuket complex, Angsana features a central location and a list of facilities and activities that never seems to end. At the multi-level Tree House Kids Club, young travellers can while away the day among games, activities and playground. The Tree House is also one of two places they can encounter Lucky, the resort’s friendly baby elephant. He visits the kids’ club twice a day, as well wandering down to the beach for an in-demand meet-and-greet with his adoring mini fans.
8. Sunwing Resort Kamala Beach, Phuket (4 stars)
Sunwing Resort Kamala Beach has everything families need for a fun-filled stay by the beach. With 289 generous family suites available – as well as ground-floor childproofed ‘Happy Baby Studios’ – Sunwing Resort is a fun-filled choice for a Phuket holiday. Kids can meet mascots Lollo the Giraffe and Bernie the Bear at MiniLand, the resort’s playground and kids’ club. Children can also get active with a program of music and games in the Health/Fitness Club or sliding down one of two waterslides into one of seven large pools. Sunwing also boasts a location close to Kamala village, as well as being a short drive from Patong and Laguna Phuket. www.sunwingkamala.com
TIED 9. Avista Hideaway Resort & Spa, Phuket (5 stars)
High in the hills above Patong Beach, the lofty Avista Hideway Resort & Spa features a modern, inspired take on Thai architecture. Unlike usual family-friendly beachside resorts, Avista Hideaway is avant-garde in its styling, providing its guests with an entirely unique Phuket experience. The Family Vista room features all the mod cons you need for luxurious stay, while all three swimming pools boast swim-up bars. The kids’ club is a bright place where children from three up to the age of 15 can indulge in games and activities. www.hideaway.avistahotelsandresorts.com
TIED 9. Katathani Phuket Beach Resort, Phuket (4.5 stars)
Set along beautiful Kata Noi Beach, a golden stretch of 850 metres, Katathani Phuket Beach Resort is just as suited to doing everything as it is to doing nothing. Choose from rooms, suites and villas spread across two wings, recently renovated with a touch of signature Thai style. Sit back and relax beside one of six full-sized pools while the kids enjoy themselves at any of the four designated kiddie pools. They can also fun free at the Chang Noi kids’ club, with activities such as doll and balloon painting, clay sculpting, and Thai kite making.
10. Holiday Inn Resort Phuket Mai Khao Beach, Phuket (4 stars)
Located on the tranquil northwest coast of Phuket. With unique Thai hospitality and dedicated kids' suites for the perfect family holiday. Holiday Inn Resort Phuket Mai Khao Beach offers beachfront lifestyle and recreational activities such as yoga, cooking classes, bike riding and more.
Top 5 Family Resorts - Malaysia
1. Golden Sands Resort Penang by Shangri-La, Penang (4 stars)
It’s hard to imagine a better way to relax than on the palm-fringed beach of Gold Sands Resort while the kids are having the time of their lives at the amazing Adventure Zone. With giant slides, climbing structures, and fun activities tailored to every age that change every day of the week, your kids will be begging to go back again next year. www.shangri-la.com
2. Shangri-La's Rasa Ria Resort, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah (5 stars)
Nestled in a tranquil 400-acre nature reserve fronting Pantai Dalit Beach, Rasa Ria is known not only for being a fabulous destination for a fun-filled tropical family holiday, but guests also return home with heartfelt memories of the on-site Orangutan Education Centre where children can help look after the orphaned orangutans. www.shangri-la.com
3. Sunway Resort Hotel & Spa, Kuala Lumpur (4.5 stars)
Malaysia’s Sunway Resort Hotel & Spa is all about getting guests closer to the Sunway Lagoon theme park and Sunway Pyramid shopping centre. Stay-and-play deals are a great way to experience all the fun Kuala Lumpur has to offer, with Sunway Lagoon featuring the world’s largest manmade surf beach, Asia’s favourite water park, thrills at Scream Park and non-stop adrenalin. Five theme parks in the one giant attraction? It’s enough to make the head spin, so lay it down in one of Sunway Resort’s chic rooms and suites.
4. Club Med Cherating Beach (4 tridents)
Experience all-inclusive Malaysian magic at Club Med Cherating Beach. Set between the jungle and the eastern coast of Malaysia, this 80-hectare resort revels in the slow life. Massages on the beach and serene yoga sessions are de rigueur at this tropical Club Med, but if you want to try something faster paced, there are plenty of activities on offer. Learn circus tricks with the flying trapeze or take to the seas with the sailing school. Kids are a top priority with four age-divided kids’ clubs: Baby Club Med, Petit Club Med, Mini Club Med and Club Med Passworld for teens.
5. Shangri-La's Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa, Kota Kinabalu (5 Stars)
Discover Sabah with a stay at the luxurious Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa. When meeting the local wildlife and encountering the world’s largest flower, the Rafflesia, have you exhausted, retreat to Shangri-La’s vision of paradise. The resort’s STAR Marina provides guests with a menu of water sports, while the massive 2000-square metre pool incorporates a kiddies’ beach, Jacuzzi and infinity adult section. A packed kids’ club program, including the likes of biscuit making and treasure hunts, combined with water play area of slides and water balloon launchers, makes for an unforgettable family holiday.
6. Sutera Harbour Resort, Kota Kinabalu (4.5 Stars)
Combining two luxury hotels and golf club, among other features, the 155-hectare Sutera Harbour Resort is equipped with everything you could possible need to make brilliant family memories. Between the sea and the majesty of Borneo’s Mount Kinabalu, this resort complex represents a balance between luxury and the ecological, with a range of eco-lodges available within Kinabalu Park. Guests from either of the hotels can use the facilities of other Sutera Harbour Resort properties, including a 100-seat movie theatre, white sand beaches, the Mandara Spa and a range of swimming pools.
7. Hard Rock Hotel Penang, Batu Ferringhi (4.5 Stars)
If music is the lifeblood of your existence, it may be fair to say Hard Rock is more your style than Shangri-La. Located in vibrant Penang, the Hard Rock Hotel offers a unique experience for families and couples alike. Keeping it real with a fun-filled kids’ club with Lil’ Rock and a dedicated teens’ club, there’s plenty to keep younger guests busy while you relax by the pool, or jam with one of Fender guitars available for loan from the front desk. Now how many hotels can claim that?
8. Sea Gypsy Village Resort & Dive Base, Pulau Sibu (4 Stars)
This family-run island resort is all about providing a safe and relaxing environment for families and their children. Promoting local traditions is important to the Wills family, so at Sea Gypsy you will find truly authentic accommodation in a setting of natural simplicity. Home-cooked food and a let-off-steam policy for kids before nightfall means everyone stays chilled. A children’s lounge and a range of supervised activities, from arts and crafts to snorkelling courses, is bound to create the most memorable family holiday yet.
9. Nexus Resort & Spa Karambunai, Kota Kinabalu (4.5 Stars)
Just 28 kilometres from the capital of Sabah, Nexus Resort is set on nearly 1350 hectares of picturesque beachfront land. An award-winning golf course and luxury spa are the main attractions for mum and dad, but for kids it’s all about the Nexie Club, open daily for little ones aged four to 11. Children can join the fun with activities such as colouring-in competitions, storytelling and origami. As well as three large free-form swimming pools, the resort features the Lagoon Park – the central place for waters sports junkies to get their fix.
10. Holiday Inn Resort Penang, Batu Ferringhi (4 Stars)
Loaded with all the family-friendly necessities you expect from a Holiday Inn Resort, this Penang hotel has everything you could want for an easy, relaxing holiday. With a central location at Batu Ferringhi, you are just steps from a mix of white sand beaches and bustling night markets. Kids will love the specially designed KidSuites, featuring in-room PlayStation games, and the range of outdoor activities on offer. They can also get crafty with T-shirt painting and colouring sets, but mum and dad will love the ‘kids stay and eat free’ policy.
Top 10 Family Resorts - Rest of South Pacific
1. Warwick Le Lagon Resort and Spa, Vanuatu (4.5 star)
This Vanuatu resort is a favourite among Holidays with Kids readers, taking out top gong again this year. Set on 75 gorgeous acres of tropical gardens at the edge of Erakor Lagoon in Port Vila, Warwick Le Lagon is a paradise for families and combines fun in the sun with exciting activities that showcase all the culture, colour and spirit of Vanuatu.
2. Iririki Island Resort, Vanuatu (4 stars)
With an action-packed complimentary kids’ club and for kids 3-12 years old and the Spa Frangipani offering exquisite treatments to rejuvenate tired parents, Iririki strikes the perfect balance for a special family getaway. The resort is set on its own 69-acre island, and with all there is to do here, there is simply no need to go anywhere else.
3. Rarotongan Beach Resort and Spa, Cook Islands (4 stars)
Back in the Top 10 again this year, The Rarotongan is obviously family-friendly perfection. Kids of all ages are catered for by the Moko’s Kids Club, Banana Beach Playland Creche or Teen Zone areas, and as a family you can ride a glass-bottom boat, go star-gazing, try 4WDing, snorkel through their beautiful corals or simply sit back and enjoy the bright blue oceans and white sandy beaches the Cook Islands are famous for. Bliss.
4. Aggie Grey's Lagoon Beach Resort & Spa, Samoa (3.5 stars)
Family favourite, Aggie Grey’s is one resort that knows how to bring the hospitable charm and warmth that you’re looking for when in the Pacific. Service with a smile, combined with a bounty of water sports, a super fun Dolphin Kids Club and a location right beside a tropical beach and sparkling lagoon – what could be more idyllic?
5. The Edgewater Resort & Spa, Cook Islands (3 stars)
At Edgewater Resort guests really do get it all – and at an affordable price too! They ensure guests are treated to spacious rooms, spa facilities, family fun, a selection of activities to rival even the most exclusive of resorts, cultural insights and a stunning location. Whether you choose to recline under a palm, or venture 10 minutes away into the local markets and cafes in Avarua, you can’t go wrong!
6. Holiday Inn Resort Vanuatu, Vanuatu (4 stars)
Located in Port Vila beside the picturesque Erakor Lagoon, this is a property that proudly upholds the quality you’d expect of a Holiday Inn Resort. With an aquatic fun zone, complimentary Totel Kids Club, beautiful outdoor pool and everything from sailing to tennis and volleyball, Holidays with Kids readers have found that this is certainly one destination that is easy to make yourself at home in.
7. Poppy's on the Lagoon, Vanuatu (3.5 stars)
This beautiful, laid-back resort offers families the key ingredients to build a tropical island holiday of their dreams. Choose between 2 bedroom suites or 3 bedroom villas, and then make yourself at home. You’ll find pools, kayaks, snorkels and even traditional outrigger canoes to keep you occupied, not to mention family fishing options and kids’ activities that encourage cultural awareness through crafts like sarong painting and basket weaving. For those staying a while, make sure you don’t miss out on doing a Tanna Volcano Safari.
8. Hideaway Island Resort, Vanuatu (3 stars)
This resort and marine sanctuary in Port Villa Vanuatu will let every day be as busy or as lazy as you wish it to be. This small, relaxed resort is nestled beside breathtaking Mele Bay, you’ll be in prime position for all things snorkel and dive related – they also have the world’s only Underwater Post Office! They offer plenty for non-divers too, with numerous complimentary in water, on land and cultural activities available.
9. Moana Sands Beachfront Hotel & Villas, Cook Islands (3 stars)
Featuring just 17 studios and six villas, Moana Sands Beachfront Hotel & Villas offers each of its guests an absolute beachfront location. With views of the iridescent waters of the lagoon, self-contained facilities and spacious planning, Moana Sands’ studios and villas are perfect for longer family stays. Get active and make some fishy friends with plenty of water sports available, or organise a tour to really get to know the beauty of Rarotonga.
10. Le Méridien Bora Bora, Tahiti (5 stars)
This luxurious pearl of the Pacific has got iconic island luxury stamped all over it. Families love the over-water bungalows, the beautiful blues of the water and the astonishing views from every window. Discover the island with Jeep and quad safaris, or cycle around Vaitape, the main town. Also be sure to give traditional Polynesian ‘pirogue’ sailing a try with a guided lagoon tour and simply drift through paradise.
Top 10 Family Resorts - USA
1. Disneyland Hotel, Anaheim CA (4 stars)
Every kid dreams of visiting Disneyland at least once in their lives, and staying in the world’s most famous theme park is definitely the way to go. Dine with some of Disney’s best-loved characters, including Goofy as he whips up his famous pancakes! The resort’s classic Disney theme is evident in every room, as well as the Pinocchio’s Workshop kids’ club nearby, and makes for a treasure trove for curious kids. Recent refurbishments have seen all rooms upgraded – and the addition of the very luxurious Signature Suites – as well as the two pools and five dining locations, and it’s all located near Downtown Disney District.
2. Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort, Honolulu HI (4 stars)
Hawaii holds a special place in childhood imagination as a magical land of surfing, ukuleles and lei-encircled hospitality. A stay at Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort delivers on all fronts, with a superb beachfront location and a great range of cultural activities on offer. Kids from five to 12 will learn about Hawaii’s rich culture and history at the Penguin Club, and all ages can get out on the water for surfing and even a submarine ride or catamaran sailing. There’s no better way to discover Hawaii.
3. Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, Orlando FL (4.5 stars)
It’s Disney meets Victoriana at the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, one of over 20 on-site accommodation options, overlooking the sandy shores of the Seven Seas Lagoon. Magic Kingdom Park is close by, and guests are in a prime position to see the nightly fireworks over Cinderella Castle. Kids will love meeting their cartoon heroes at family-friendly restaurants and racing down the 55-metre waterslide at the Beach Pool. Catch a movie under the stars at the Courtyard Pool outdoor cinema and discover hidden treasure with a Pirate Adventure Cruise. Arrgh! disneyworld.disney.go.com/resorts/grand-floridian-resort-and-spa
4. Turtle Bay Resort, Kahuku, Oahu HI (4 stars)
Away from the famed beaches of Waikiki, just an hour’s drive, you come to Oahu’s mythic North Shore. Turtle Bay Resort is the only resort that populates these shores, so if you’re going in search of ‘authentic’ Hawaii, this is where to find it. Renovations are currently underway, but already guests can stay in the new ‘Epic’ rooms, decorated in relaxed, beachside style. As for activities, you won’t know where to start. Relax in the new Nula Spa? Or take to the island? There’s surfing, paddle boarding, Segway tours, bike riding, horseback riding, kite boarding, ukulele and hula lessons with Tutu Janet, and so much more the kids won’t even care about the fact that the Disney Channel is standard for in-room TVs.
NB. All renovations will be complete by early 2014.
5. Nickelodeon Suites Resort, Orlando FL (3.5 stars)
From Dora the Explorer to SpongeBob SquarePants, kids (and parents too) love the vibrant characters of Nickelodeon’s onscreen world. Take breakfast with SpongeBob in Bikini Bottom or grab a complimentary eye-mask to join Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with a breakfast pizza, because at this resort, it’s all about family fun! Dive into one of the two water parks – yes, two – and beware the slime. The Lagoon pool features a four-storey water tower, mass daily sliming and seven waterslides, while the Oasis pool gets crafty with pop jets and splash zone. At the end of the day, the fun continues with the Nick After Dark program before retiring to one of the resort’s 777 suites – all decorated in colourful Nick style.
TIED 6. Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge, Orlando FL (4 stars)
Pack your safari suit and pith helmet because we’re heading to Africa – in America. The activities list for this unique resort reads like a Kenyan wilderness lodge: there are sunrise safaris, night safaris, the Jambo House campfire, African drumming and flamingo feedings. Kids can while away the hours at Simba’s Clubhouse, but considering the nearby Animal Kingdom theme park, they’re not limited to arts and crafts. The resort overlooks four savannas, home to over 200 exotic animals; visiting at any time of day is a must. Rooms are a blend of African colour and Disney quirk, and full of detail the kids will just love.
|TIED 6. Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, Kapolei, Oahu HI (4.5 stars)
Aulani brings a magical Disney touch to Hawaii with this luxury, family-friendly resort. A range of rooms, suites and spacious villas on offer, Aulani caters to every need. Dive into Rainbow Reef – the only private snorkelling lagoon on Oahu – to meet some fishy friends or let the kids explore the legend of the island’s mischievous ‘little people’ at the Menehune Bridge play area. Gather the ohana together to watch Disney movies on the lawn or join the Starlit Hui, an evening blend of Polynesian culture and Disney magic. There are characters at breakfast and a spa just for teens (although whole family treatments are offered too). Don’t miss the Menehune high-tech scavenger hunt; it’s a delight for all ages.
|7. Embassy Suites Waikiki Beach Walk, Honolulu, Oahu HI (3.5 stars)
Waikiki’s only all-suite hotel is a great option for the family that really wants to get to know Hawaii. The spacious suites – available with one or two bedrooms – give families the chance to spread out and really relax. With a central location close to Honolulu Zoo and Waikiki Aquarium, as well as Pearl Harbor, Embassy Suites on Waikiki Beach Walk is in the middle of all the action. The beach is just steps from the hotel, beckoning guests with an array of water sports. Closer to home, the Grand Lanai features a heated pool, whirlpool and a kiddies’ pool, all with the comfort of nearby Pakini bar.
8. Circus Circus Las Vegas Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas NV (3 stars)
Roll up! Roll up! Las Vegas is the place for families to be and Circus Circus is the place to stay. Among the neon legends rising out of Nevada’s desert dust is this Vegas icon, featuring Lucky the Clown and world’s largest permanent big top. Circus Circus invites all its guests to remember the magic of the carnival with free world-class circus acts and endless sideshow games. With accommodation from an RV Park to multi-level suites, there’s something to suit every family. As well as a pool, Circus Circus has its own theme park, Adventuredome, and for never-ending fun, head to the newly opened Wet ‘n’ Wild Las Vegas, with Cowabunga Bay Water Park set to debut next year.
|TIED 9. The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort, Honolulu, Oahu HI (5 stars)
Honolulu wouldn’t be the same without its distinctive ‘Pink Palace’. In a landscape of cookie-cutter tower hotels, the Royal Hawaiian stands out in colour and in style with an ultimate beachfront location. Although it opened its doors to the most glamorous of society’s darlings in 1927, the Pink Palace is by no means backward. A recent renovation has ensured that the Royal Hawaiian remains the pinnacle of island luxury and unparalleled service. Keiki get the five-star treatment with children’s menus, special amenities and use of the kids’ centre next door at Sheraton Waikiki. This sister property also shares the Helumoa Playground, a beachfront complex of pools, waterslide, spas, interactive fountain area, as well as plenty of water toys and cultural fun.
|TIED 9. The Fairmont Orchid Hawaii, Island of Hawaii HI (4.5 stars)
Located along the picturesque Kohala Coast of Hawaii, the Big Island, the Fairmont Orchid is a world apart from the buzz of Honolulu. Relax in one of 540 luxuriously appointed rooms and suites, all displaying a modern approach to Hawaiian style. While you enjoy the serenity of the Spa Without Walls, the kids will be entertained with a year-round Keiki Aloha Adventure program, featuring cultural activities – such as weaving and lei making – and ecological awareness, with hikes and tide pool exploration. Perfect for engaging the minds of kids from five to 12.
|10. The St. Regis Deer Valley, Park City UT (5 stars)
One of the best family-friendly ski resorts you’ll find in the US, the St. Regis Deer Valley is also one of its most luxurious. Boasting a prime position on the perfectly groomed slopes of Deer Valley, the resort is ski-in, ski-out for added convenience, and features a funicular to the base of the mountain. If the kids want a day off the slopes, there is plenty to do, starting with the heated split-level pool overlooking the ski run beyond. From photography and painting classes to museum excursions, there is plenty to keep little ones busy.