Since 1969, restaurant, hotel, travel & other witty reviews by a handpicked, worldwide team of discerning professionals—and your views, too.

Top 10 Family Resorts Worldwide 2007

Family travel is a lot more sophisticated than it used to be. The short-attention-span, text-messaging, iPod-playing generation has new holiday demands, as do their parents—who expect indulgent spa treatments, championship golf and Ducasse-worthy dining. From circus school and crocodile-spotting to falconry and four-by-fouring in the latest Land Rover, hotels and resorts are finding creative ways to satisfy savvy broods. Read on to find the best places for discovering ancient ruins, enjoying an African boma and hiding away on a tropical isle.

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UNITED STATES

Colorado
The Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch in Beaver Creek

Suite at The Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch in Beaver Creek

Situated on Colorado's Beaver Creek Mountain, The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch blends the pioneering spirit of the American West with Rocky Mountain luxury. This year-round destination resort has plenty of family activities—a sizeable spa for Mom (children ages 5-15 can enjoy mini-treatments), championship golfing for Dad and, for kids, a supervised program that offers nature hikes, scavenger hunts, rodeo field trips and more.  Families may opt to stay in a Residential Suite, a new style of accommodations created especially for nuclear groups.


Hawaii

Turtle Bay Resort

 

Kids playing at the beach near Turtle Bay Resort

Set on 880 oceanfront acres on Oahu’s North Shore, Turtle Bay Resort is a virtual family playground. While the ‘rents are busy golfing the Palmer or Fazio courses, kids will be indoctrinated into island culture as they tackle Hawaiiana crafts projects: lei making, hula instructions, explorations of tidal pools, kite flying and more. And as long as you’re in residence, the chips off the old block might as well hit the resort’s five miles of perfect beach and ocean trails—with boogie boarding, surfing, snorkeling and scuba instruction.

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AUSTRALIA

Lindeman Island
Club Med Lindeman
www.clubmed.com.au

Circus character at children's club in Club Med Lindeman

This village resort, set on World Heritage parklands on Australia’s northeast coast (in Queensland’s Whitsunday Island group), may be the kid-friendliest place ever.  Its Family Festival Program, offered at select times throughout the year, is wildly fun and ambitious. Activities include treasure hunts, cartooning instruction, a rock star contest with real instruments, a car rally of ride-on cars, circus school with flying trapeze lessons (under the tutelage of a professional), and even talent workshops held by Australia’s top children’s talent agency.

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BELIZE

Stann Creek District
Jaguar Reef Lodge
www.jaguarreef.com

Aerial view of Jaguar Reef Lodge

Wherever children under 18 can stay free, eat free and play hard is probably a good place. Here, surrounded by 600 wilderness acres and miles of white sand beach, you’ll be treated to beachside accommodations and unique outdoor adventures. Yes, you’ll be provided with bikes and kayaks, but where else can you hike in the world’s only jaguar preserve, take a river cruise to spot crocodiles, and explore a cave system used by the ancient Mayan civilization?

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ENGLAND

Devon
Bovey Castle
www.boveycastle.com

Horseback riding at Bovey Castle

Touting first-rate facilities for the entire family, Bovey Castle enjoys a spectacular countryside setting on Dartmoor in Devon.  Activities such as falconry and visits to historic homes will keep mom and dad occupied. Children will delight with pony trekking at the Miniature Pony Centre, a woodland adventure camp, a trampoline, a water slide, volleyball, and, on rainy days, Playstation 2, Scalextric, Lego, videos, movies and painting. The Castle's Equestrian Centre also offers riding lessons—and don’t forget that you’ll be staying in a real castle!

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FIJI

Treasure Island
Treasure Island Resort
www.treasureisland-fiji.com

Aerial view of Treasure Island Resort

The name of this eco-friendly resort says it all.  Here, on this self-contained tropical Fijian island, the whole family will enjoy an adventure similar to that which Captain Jack Sparrow might have experienced. Children will be endlessly entertained with a variety of activities such as crab hunting, story telling, snorkeling trips, coral viewing via a glass bottom boat, shell collecting and fish feeding—in addition to complimentary canoeing, wind surfing and Hobie Cat sailing. Plus every night you’ll be sleeping in a way cool bure.

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FRANCE

Terre Blanche
Terre Blanche

Pool at the Terre Blanche

Hidden in the hills of Provence and surrounded by picturesque medieval villages, this forested resort is ideal for sophisticated fams. Two golf courses and a spa villa should satisfy parents’ need for escape. Younger guests will gravitate towards woodsy outdoor activities like canoeing, hiking and horseback riding. Day trips can also be arranged to visit the Oceanographic Museum and Aquarium in Monaco or to the perfume factory in Grasse. And bathtime will be extra enjoyable with child-size bathrobes and children's toiletries.

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JAPAN

Tokyo
Tokyo Disney Resort
www.tokyodisneyresort.com

Dinner with Mickey at the Tokyo Disney Resort

Kids will definitely be mesmerized by everything on offer at the first Disney park opened outside the U.S. You’ll need at least a week to make your way through Critter Country, Fantasyland, Adventureland, Tomorrowland and more. Unique to this locale, the Tokyo Disney SeaPark is a water-themed dreamland for exploring—the Lost River Delta, Mermaid Lagoon and Mysterious Island (among others). Take a time out between rides at Ikspiari, the resort’s shopping, dining and entertainment complex. Just riding the monorail that circles the resort is a blast!

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MEXICO

Los Cabos
The Hilton Los Cabos Beach & Golf Resort

Playing with dolphins at The Hilton Los Cabos Resort

This resort hotel in Los Cabos, Mexico, beckons with adventure from the moment you arrive. It claims the only area beach that allows swimming, for starters. And then there’s whale watching, watching the sea turtles return each season, and swimming with dolphins. You can also hike the desert and nearby mountains—a favorite trek is to the Santiago waterfalls—or embark on remote ecological excursions across rugged terrain populated with unique plants and animals. Horseback riding on the beach rounds out the thrills.

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SOUTH AFRICA

Knysna, Garden Route
Conrad Pezula

 

Conrad Pezula

Hugging South Africa’s Southern Cape coastline, this private estate resort is a sanctuary of luxury and indulgence. Families will enjoy an authentic African experience along with gourmet cuisine, a superb spa, championship golfing, tennis and a range of children’s activities—sports-based obstacle courses, horse-drawn carriage rides, a petting zoo and professional riding instruction at the stables. And everyone will enjoy a scenic flight in the resort’s state-of-the-art helicopter, delivering gorgeous views of the surrounding Sinclair Nature Reserve, Knysna and the Indian Ocean.


PSF062607
(Updated: 09/03/13 CT)


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