There comes that moment when even dads need a break. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
You no doubt love your kids, but once in a while there comes that realization you just need some “couple time.” For an hour, a morning, or the length of a dinner date, even the best of us need to decompress, to clear the head, to focus some attention on a possibly slightly ignored husband.
Instead of letting a vacation be the exact same thing families do at home but with palm trees thrown in, several higher-end hotels and chains have “kids clubs” designed to keep their younger guests occupied while the grown-ups have a re-bonding experience at the spa. Here are a few that have both — and more:
Can’t get more “higher-end” here, and several properties across the country have kid’s activities exquisitely tied to their locales. No coloring-book klatch, this — through the hotel’s Ambassadors of the Environment youth initiative (see photo above, in the tide pool), the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua on Maui teamed up with Jean-Michel Cousteau (son of Jacques) for all things oceanic. With a little bit of aloha spirit thrown in for color.
“Guests can snorkel among Maui’s beautiful coral reefs and participate in underwater photography sessions while exploring nature’s relevance to the Hawaiian culture,” says Jay Heidenreich, the marketing mastermind behind many of the programs.
Also on tap: sea turtle nesting sites and stargazing the way ancient Polynesians did when stars were all they had to navigate the open Pacific. Papa and Dada may want to veg out for a two-hour massage, but Junior may end up knowing more about Hawaii than they do.
Literally one of the leading hotels of the world, Velas has hospitality down pat no matter what your age. At the Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit, outside the gay nexus of Puerto Vallarta, parents can head for a day on the town while the Under 21 Crowd goes full-throttle on-site with scuba diving lessons, kite flying, eco-friendly shows, and spa treatments designed just for kids and teens all at their fingertips. If you have a baby on board, a dedicated Baby Concierge stands at the ready.
The Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit’s Teen Club is also available daily from 7 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. daily and includes pool table, air hockey table, foosball, teen lounge, a mini nightclub, dance floor, and big screen for music videos. This is a place where being a vapid teen is a conscious effort.
If you thought Marriott was a poor man’s Hilton, then you have not been to the Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island Beach Resort & Spa, and you have not checked out their kids’ activity roster.
“The Kid’s Club offers a wide array of activities for boys and girls of all ages,” says Pool & Recreation Manager Brian Buckley, “not only allowing them to express their artistic ability, but also their interest in adventure.”
Adventure? Singer Island proudly revels in its we’re-not-Miami rustic ambience, and the activities reflect it. Take your pick: crafts, sports, sand art, hair braiding or water balloon games, treasure digs (!), and seashell expeditions. There are half- and full-day sessions, even a “Parent’s Night Out.” On Fridays, a Dive-In Movie (not a misspelling) is shown at the Lagoon Pool on the resort’s big screen.
Waldorf Astoria Resorts
Waldorf Astoria has been around since 1893. But by 2015, the new age of family travel had dawned, ushered in on some particularly small feet. Dun-dun-duuuun.
The El Conquistador Resort & Las Casitas Village on east coast Puerto Rico exemplifies how well one can change with the times. Parents wanting a little guilt-free alone-time have Camp Coqui, the hotel’s kids club, perched 300 feet over the Caribbean. Under the watchful eyes of certified profs, your kids can tie themselves up in knots in yoga, clamber through the grounds on a nature hunt, or get an introduction to golf, sand sculpting, or piragua making (a shaved-ice dessert). And all that is on top of an all-ages-welcome water park and Palomino Island, the resort’s own 100-acre private islet complete with an enclave of water sports and a bevy of other distractions set prettily along vanilla-white beaches.