Many travelers may think that living it up in luxury digs isn’t that easy with the whole family in tow (many four- and five-star hotels don’t exactly cater to energetic youngsters), but we at Oyster.com are here to tell you that you don’t have to sacrifice hotel quality for convenience. (If Brangelina can manage to travel in style with their brood, so can you!) Below, take a look at the list of our favorite kid-friendly luxury hotels.
The best luxury option in SanFrancisco for families (and not just because it’s only a few yards from some of the world’s best ice cream and chocolate in Ghirardelli Square) the Fairmont’s huge, residential-style one-, two-, and three-bedroom units truly deliver all the comforts of home — a full kitchen with Sub-Zero and Wolf appliances; an in-room washer and dryer; free DVD rentals to watch on a 40-inch flat-screen TV next to a gaslit fireplace. More importantly, foldout couches in the living rooms and bedrooms available with two twin beds make sleeping arrangements easy.
For family-style luxury, the Four Seasons delivers — free toys, welcome cookies, soda and popcorn (for older kids), child-size bathrobes, large guest rooms, and exceptional service that gives kids as much attention as business travelers. Plus, it has a beautiful pool and children’s menus for the Bristol Lounge (which is a bit clubby) and in-room dining. But it’s the location — across the street from the Public Garden, a flowery park with a lake that features swan boat rides in the summer and ice-skating in the winter — that most appeals to parents.
This non-gaming, non-smoking property is a mellow, family-friendly luxury option just off of the Strip. Parents of infants can request cribs, bottle warmers and sterilizers, blankets, bibs, diapers, and baby toiletries from housekeeping, and the Trump Kids program provides terrycloth slippers, board games, books, toys, and a map of Las Vegas for children. All rooms come with queen-size sleeper sofas and kitchenettes.
Among high-end luxury hotels in L.A., the Beverly Wilshire does the most to extend bend-over-backward service to the under-18 set: a welcome star-shaped “Hollywood Walk of Fame” cookie with your child’s name, kid spa treatments, and a room service menu with choices for infants, young children, and tweens. Rodeo Drive shopping is just down the street if your kids are budding fashionistas. The large guest rooms all have DVD players, and the hotel has an extensive lending library of children’s DVDs.
You won’t find many traditional beach resorts in L.A., but you can stay right on the beach. The Santa Monica beach in front of Casa del Mar is a broad stretch of sand with gentle waves, and the pier — with its Ferris wheel, video-game arcade, and carnival-style amusements — is a 15-minute walk away. A 22-mile bike bath passes by the hotel (rentals are available at Shutters next door). The spacious luxury rooms with two double beds can easily fit a family, and the fortune-telling Zoltar booth in the lobby may amuse kids if they tire of the outdoors.
Unlike at most other Miami hotels, the Kids Club at the Trump is free. The large, family-size rooms all have kitchenettes, and many suites also include washer/dryers. The grotto-style pool comes with a broad shallow area that’s great for little swimmers. Plus, there’s always Globie — the hotel mascot — who entertains kids around the pool.
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 small sample of all the attractions. In addition, for teens, Atlantis has an elaborate shopping center, a rock-climbing wall, teen-focused spa treatments like “Acne-attack” facials, an under-18 nightclub, and, on occasion, a pop-star concert of the Jonas Brothers variety.
The Grand Wailea vies with the Four Seasons for the title of the most luxurious resort in Wailea, the manicured planned resort on Maui’s southwestern shore. But its style of luxury is flashier. Cascading waterfalls at the entrance, the world’s only “water elevator” spewing from a volcano in the pool, and one of the most elaborate hydrotherapy spas in the nation deliver a wow factor, but also contribute to a theme park-esque vibe that isn’t right for everyone. Still, opulence marks every feature, from the huge guest rooms to the $30 million in-house art collection.
Kids under 16 eat and sleep for free at this classic luxury resort. Anancy Children’s Village has a series of colorful cabins that house supervised activities like video games, arts and crafts, and stories with nap time. From a great playground to a mini-golf course to horseback riding stables to a private dolphin cove, Half Moon’s 400-acre property offers ample resources for families, including full-time nannies. Rooms are large, and multiroom villas are also available.
Caneel Bay lacks an elaborate pool or even TVs in the rooms, but it has one of the best, and rarest, of kid-friendly amenities in the Virgin Islands: free supervised activities. Kids three to 12 can spend the day participating in arts and crafts, treasure hunts, and nature walks through the activity center, Turtle Town. Plus its location — in the midst of the Virgin Islands National Park — offers ample hiking and outdoors activities.