Kid-Friendly

There’s something so cozy about watching a movie, both solo and with a crew. If you don’t want to hole up in your room with pay-per-view while on vacation, there are many hotels where you can still catch a flick without leaving the property. Some hotels offer movie nights for their guests – whether it’s curled up on a comfy couch indoors or outside lounging by the pool — giving vacationers a chance to unwind in front of a big screen. Many are geared toward little ones so that parents can enjoy some alone time, while others are a chance for travelers to meet and participate in activities together. No matter if you’re away on business or having a family vacation, grab some popcorn, sit back, relax, and watch the show. We definitely give the following 10 hotels two thumbs up!

Bitter End Yacht Club, British Virgin Islands

Bitter End Yacht Club

The Bitter End Yacht Club, snuggled into a steep hill on the scenic North Sound, is a relaxed, family-friendly resort. The tech-free rooms (no TVs or Wi-Fi here) feature stunning views from the balconies, and the sliding doors allows breezes to sweep through; some rooms do not have air-conditioning but most guests find they don’t miss it. While some rooms could use renovations, guests are here for the white-sand beaches that offer plenty of water sports and relatively calm waters. Although popular among couples, the hotel also caters toward families; each night two movies are screened at The Sand Palace, next to the lobby. The movies are all rated G, PG, or PG-13 and popcorn is provided. Adults may want to send their kids to watch the movie while they enjoy a meal at the Clubhouse Grille next door.

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Sure, Labor Day has come to be synonymous with the beach and end-of-summer parties, but it’s actually a holiday with more industrious beginnings. In 1882, the first Labor Day was held in New York City to create a holiday for workers, thanks to the efforts of the Central Labor Union; the group wanted a day to allow the public to appreciate and acknowledge the work of the trade and labor organizations. Made a federal holiday in 1894, Labor Day has become more and more celebratory throughout its 120 years and often features parades, music, food, and all-around festivities. Many of the biggest parades occur in smaller cities throughout the country, so if you’re still looking for something to do before we say farewell to summer, consider a trip to these locales! These eight parades are sure to make for an afternoon of family-friendly fun!

Charlotte, NC

Charlotte

Charlotte may be a bustling city these days, but it still retains its southern charm. Freedom Park, the Rosedale Plantation, and one of the country’s best symphony and operas can all be found in this lovely North Carolina destination. The historic city will be celebrating the three-day weekend by hosting a Labor Day Parade with the theme “An old-fashioned parade, union-made!” Next Monday, the parade will begin at 11:00 a.m. at the Hal Marshall Center. Expect to see local union floats, beauty queens, and political candidates.

Stay: Charlotte Marriott City Center

The Charlotte Marriott City Center hotel is a quick 13-minute walk to the parade starting point. The hotel boasts spacious rooms, the acclaimed Savannah Red Restaurant, and a cool cigar bar.

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Happy National S’mores Day! Yes, today is National S’mores Day and it’s one summer holiday we think everyone should celebrate! The first official s’mores recipe was published by the campfire-savvy Girl Scout Handbook in 1927, and it has remained a sweet favorite thanks to its chocolatey deliciousness that gets people asking for “some more.” Needing only three simple ingredients – graham crackers, toasted marshmallows, and chocolate bars – s’mores are the go-to dessert for fireside dwellers, both young and old. We found 12 hotels that love these sweet concoctions as much as we do and are great spots for roasting marshmallows over a fire pit. Grab your family, friends and neighbors and get cooking!

Carmel Valley Ranch, Monterey County

Carmel Valley Ranch

Carmel Valley Ranch is a 500-acre property offering modern luxury in a rustic, bucolic setting, with tall oak trees, organic gardens, and rolling vineyards. The ranch’s many features include two outdoor pools — the River Ranch Pool, featuring a splash zone for kids, and the Lodge Pool — as well as an 18-hole golf course designed by Pete Dye. Rooms have small private decks and travertine fireplaces, but we recommend heading out to one of the seven fire pits. Every night a (free) s’mores bar is set out at the Lodge Restaurant for guests to enjoy. That’s an amenity we wish every hotel had.

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Remember how exciting it was to go on school trips to the aquarium? Getting an up-close look at marine life – from tiger sharks to stingrays – was always an enchanting experience. Well it turns out aquariums are a fun sight at any age… and they certainly add a tropical, under-the-sea vibe to otherwise bland spaces. That’s why it’s no surprise that a good number of the hotels we have visited have installed fish tanks to add a cool oceanic feature for kids and adults to enjoy without having to suit up. Several of these hotels have gone above and beyond in bringing the awe factor to their aquariums. In typical grandeur Vegas fashion, three of its properties made our list, but you’ll want to visit all seven spots!

Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, Las Vegas

Mandalay

The giant, 3,215-room Mandalay Bay offers a wave pool and streaming lazy river pool for kids, as well as a quality spa, lively bar,s and premier cuisine for adults. But everyone can enjoy the 1.6-million-gallon Shark Reef Aquarium with about 2,000 sea creatures on display, including 15 different kinds of sharks. In one of the exhibits, visitors can experience an almost 360-degree view of the fish and sharks swimming about; another displays the bright jellyfish. If just looking isn’t good enough, there’s a popular Touch Pool, where guests can touch sharks, rays, and horseshoe crabs.

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Luxury resorts serve up more than just swanky guest rooms and exceptional customer service — they are also home to some of the best restaurants in the world. But with young kids in tow, chowing down white-tablecloth-style can be a challenge. While grownups attempt to enjoy fine wines and decadent fruits de mer platters, fidgety toddlers may clank silverware in protest. But with so many gourmet meals at your fingertips when staying at a posh spot, you hate to put the brakes on dinner plans just for fear of “making a scene” — I mean, we’ve all been there…right? Luckily, the restaurants at these family-friendly resorts manage to keep frazzled parents stress-free (and their kids content) with restaurant features such as kiddie menus and more.

JW Marriott Chicago

Don’t let the marble fool you, this chandelier-crazed Chicago hotel rolls out the red carpet for junior jetsetters. The JW paired up with renowned nutritionists to create a yummy (and healthy!) menu in its restaurant that will appeal to both kids and adults. From turkey meatballs to ‘mini’ adult offerings for teens, these comfort meals are sure to please mom. While parents enjoy selections from the dinner menu, kids can chomp on low-fat yogurt ranch dip paired with fresh cucumber and carrot sticks while exploring activity books provided by the staff.

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With its gorgeous beaches, educational cultural attractions, and laid-back, friendly locals, Hawaii is one of the best family destinations anywhere. And these nine hotels can take your family vacation to a whole other level. Massive pool complexes, man-made snorkeling reefs, water slides, animal attractions, kids clubs, luaus — you can probably find whatever you and your kids can dream up.

Grand Wailea, A Waldorf Astoria Resort

The waterslide at the Grand Wailea Resort Hotel and SpaThe Grand Wailea Resort may be the most kid-friendly resort on Maui; its biggest selling point has to be the one-of-a-kind pool system with some pretty awesome features. Its biggest selling point has to be the one-of-a-kind pool system with a lazy-river pool, four waterslides, a rope swing, and a water elevator at the center of a faux volcano. The resort also has one of the best kids programs we’ve seen; the 20,000-square-foot facility has a video arcade, pingpong and foosball tables, a PlayStation room, a mini movie theater, and an activity room for kids 5-12 (seasonal activities available for teens). As if that’s not enough to keep your kid busy, the beach has great waves for body-surfing and stiller areas for snorkeling. Even the rooms are geared towards families: standard rooms are huge and connecting rooms are available. There are also great kid options on restaurant menus. Read More »

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Traveling with the kids is hardly a picnic, and all too often parents don’t get to do a lot of vacationing on their vacations. If you’re hoping to tantrum-proof your family beach getaway this winter, we have some solutions for you: resorts so ridiculously awesome for kids that your little imps will likely be too busy (and too delighted) to cause you grief. No boredom, no tears — just lots and lots of good family fun.

Atlantis Bahamas

Atlantis Paradise Island Resort
Brimming with activities for kids and teens, Atlantis is a veritable Caribbean Disneyland. In addition to all the basics (babysitting, cribs, rollaway beds, kids club) the resort has 11 spectacular pools (including several kids’ pools), a 141-acre water park, a speedway for racing remote control cars, and a marine habitat with sharks, stingrays, and dolphins to swim alongside — and that’s just a  sample of the attractions. In addition, for teens, Atlantis has an elaborate shopping center, a rock-climbing wall, a movie theater, and, on occasion, a pop-star concert (think Taylor Swift, Katy Perry). Read More »

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If you want to plan a family vacation with wow factor, look no further: Picking a hotel with one of the following kid-friendly attractions will earn you major points with your kids. And with activities this fun, you just may end up acting like a kid yourself.

Water Parks

Water park at the Grand Wailea Resort Hotel and Spa

Water park at the Grand Wailea Resort Hotel and Spa

Hundreds of resorts around the world feature a water slide or two in their pool complex, but a few exceptional properties take it to a whole new level. For example, the Aquaventure water park at the Atlantis features two slides with vertical drops over 50 feet, a mile-long lazy-river pool, a tube that gushes past sharks, and a plethora of other scenic slides. The Grand Wailea water park in Hawaii includes four waterslides, whitewater rapids, caves, a lazy-river pool, rope swings, and a “water elevator” inside a man-made volcano.

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The Amee Farm, tucked into Vermont's Green Mountains, is a rustically elegant spot to say "I do."

With its warm, urban-chic vibe, Amee Farm isn’t a typical B&B. This 40-acre property nestled in the Green Mountains has just 15 rooms, its own organic garden, and interiors that look straight out of a design magazine. With a near-perfect combination of rustic, quaint, and stylish touches, rooms feature wide-planked hardwood floors, comfortable beds with white, and soft linens, and interesting antiques can be found throughout the hotel. Another perk here is the inviting wrap-around porch with Adirondack chairs for admiring the scenery. And if there’s one word that describes Vermont, it’s ‘scenic.’ Winding roads along rolling hills allow for wonderful vistas of tumbling streams, lovely villages and superb trails amid thick woods and state forests. All in all, the farm is truly one of the most luxurious and special hotels in Vermont.

Weddings at Amee Farm are elegant and unique, held in either the barn or throughout the property’s stunning grounds. The farm’s owners are extremely hands-on, working with couples to create a rustically-chic celebration, many of which last three days. The estate can host a tented event on the grounds or an indoor affair in one of six refurbished barns, renovated with modern conveniences while still maintaining the rustic ambiance. Weddings are fully customizable, with a dedicated on-site staff, including a wedding coordinator, ensuring that every detail runs seamlessly. Check out more wedding-inspired photos of the Amee Farm here »

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The oceanfront gazebo at the Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne is a charming spot to say "I do."

Located on a lush, seven-mile-long island, the 450-room Ritz Carlton Key Biscayne is just a 25-minute cab ride from Downtown Miami — but it feels worlds away from the party-hearty throngs of South Beach. While suits and ties abound at this business-friendly locale, the formal air of the hotel gives way to a relaxed, fun vibe when families and couples come to visit (which happens with frequency). The grounds are large, and the hotel is extremely quiet — and not just at the adults-only Tranquility Pool. For some, it may be perfectly peaceful; for others, it may feel a bit too much like a library on the (pristine) beach.

But the Ritz is one of Miami’s most luxurious properties, and it’s on-site weddings uphold the brands’ standards of service and all-around opulence. Of course, that means it’s also one of Miami’s most expensive venues. The resort can host up to 450 guests at various locations, including the Great Lawn, oceanfront gazebo (seen here), the beach, various ballrooms, and private rooms at the restaurant. Couples will be walked through the entire process by an on-site wedding planner, who can also set aside rooms for wedding guests at preferred rates. And because of the Ritz’s dedication to service, the bride and groom are guaranteed to have everything they need on the big day taken care of to perfection — even if that means securing an elephant to carry in the couple or flying in chefs from other Ritz properties. Don’t laugh — it’s been done before — and you never know when the bridezilla inside of you will rear its  pretty little head. Check out more wedding inspired photos of the Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne, Miami here » Read More »

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