Caribbean

10 Great Family Resort Stays

written by | Posted on September 1st, 2010

Atlantis’ wealth of kids-only activities ensures that parents don’t have to feel guilty about spending a little time on their own — perhaps testing their luck at the largest casino in the Caribbean, or relaxing with a massage at its Mandara Spa. But family bonding is also on the itinerary here, with Dolphin Cove interactive dolphin encounters on site and the Caribbean’s largest water park with seven water slides, plus pools, river rides and even a rock climbing station providing plenty of ways for families to have fun together. Rates start at $455 per room per night.

the ritz-carlton, grand cayman It’s rare to find an upscale resort that devotes a large amount of its amenities to the family travel set. But that’s exactly what the Ritz-Carlton on Seven Mile Beach has done. Its kids’ programs, which include the Ambassadors of the Environment by Jean-Michel Cousteau, aim to share the wonder of the resort’s surrounding tropical environment with kids of all ages. Kids ages 4 to 7 can take part in submarine trips and explorations of the night sky in the Ambassadors Kids program; Ambassadors Youth, for kids 8 to 15, can get even more active with kayaking tours through Cayman’s mangroves, photography lessons and snorkeling excursions. The lineup of activities also includes several that the whole family, parents and all, can enjoy, including visits to the blue iguana breeding facility at the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park.

And those are just the organized activities. Throughout the resort, families can play on the beach, swim in one of two spacious swimming pools, and schedule golf outings, tennis lessons and more at their leisure. And at the end of the day, they’ll return to a room or suite that’s just their size. The Ritz-Carlton offers rooms with king beds and sleeper sofas, perfect for parents traveling with one or two small children, as well as more spacious suites with two bedrooms and full kitchens. Plus, every room comes with upscale touches like terraces or balconies and beautiful views—sure to make everyone in the family happy. Rates start at $219 per room per night.

malliouhana Most Leading Small Hotels of the World cater to intimate couples’ travel. But Anguilla’s Malliouhana isn’t just any resort. Here, kids find a wealth of offerings just for them, from a 26-ft. pirate ship equipped with water canons and a 60-ft. water slide, to a diving pool where kids can make a big splash from one of two springboards into the water. There’s also a shallow splash pool with fountains for toddlers, plus video games, ping pong and movies in a sun shelter. What’s more, the kids’ area is fully supervised for nearly the whole day, giving parents the chance to indulge in Malliouhana’s more mature offerings: a treatment in the 15,000-sq.-ft. Malliouhana Spa, perhaps, or a relaxing soak in its heated jacuzzi.

But you’ll also find plenty of ways to play together here, including a full array of watersports including motorized options such as water skiing, deep-sea fishing and scuba diving. Families shouldn’t miss the resort’s snorkeling trip, which visits a deserted bay every Monday, Wednesday and Friday—an exciting and picturesque way to explore the island.

Back at the resort, dining at Malliouhana’s restaurants isn’t to be missed; it was voted one of the top three places to eat in the Americas and Caribbean by Conde Nast Traveler. But that doesn’t mean picky eaters are out of luck. Amid the French-Caribbean fusion of flavors is a children’s menu of tamer offerings for lunch and dinner. Rates start at $430 per room per night; the resort is closed in September and October.

half moon Planning a big family gathering? We can’t think of a better place than Jamaica’s Half Moon. Its diversity of accommodations alone recommends it to large group travel, ranging from standard rooms with a choice of king or twin beds, to private villas with swimming pools and as many as seven bedrooms—an ideal option for large families who want to maximize their time together, as well as their budget. Rates for a 7-bedroom villa, capable of accommodating 14 people, start at $1,750; that works out to about $125 pp per night.