Sometimes, traveling with multiple generations of loved ones, all with different ideas of the perfect vacation, it is tough to narrow down a property and destination that will keep all parties happy and busy. The youngest members of the family want to play, teens want to hang out and the adults probably just want to relax with a cold cocktail (and, rightfully so!). Forget the standard all-inclusive hotel. It’s time to bump your vacation up a level. Whether the guests are tiny tots, teens, parents or grandparents a vacation should be fun for all! These all-inclusive properties promise just that for everyone.
HardRock Resorts The Hard Rock chain stepped into the all-inclusive hotel industry several years back and has made quite the name for itself ever since. The massive hotel chain can be found in the Dominican Republic and scattered throughout Mexico. Each of its all-inclusive resorts offers endless activities for kids but does not forget about the adults in the family. While the younger guests can play in the 29,000 square-foot sports facility allowing them to snowboard, ski and skate in doors, adults are trying their luck at the casino and getting spoiled at the luxury-level spa. Other bonuses: a kid’s waterpark, ninja-themed obstacle course, arcade center, a Nicklaus-designed golf course, a digital media camp and lots of rock memorabilia on display to enjoy. There’s also a dedicated kids’ club opened until 10:45 p.m., giving parents time to play a few hands of blackjack, watch live entertainment or participate in a yoga class. Many hotels have age limits but the exciting part for parents, the Hard Rock chain offers programs starting with just newborn.
Beaches Turks & Caicos
I don’t think a list of “top family friendly all-inclusive resorts” exist without the mention of Beaches, specifically Beaches Turks & Caicos. Although, there are two properties in Jamaica too! In Turks & Caicos specifically, there is a 45,000 square-foot Pirates Island Water Park, which includes a surf simulator, kid-friendly pool and a kids-only swim-up bar that serves up juices and sodas. It is a dream come true for any kid. There are even private childcare options with all-certified nannies by the International Nanny Association and qualified with an Associate Degree in Early Childhood education. So, you can relax at the thought of leaving your kids with the pros! We can’t forget about your favorite Sesame Street Characters waiting to create memorable experiences. From bedtime stories with Abby Cadabby and baking cookies with Cookie Monster, these are moments your kids will not soon forget. Meanwhile, teens can enjoy the unlimited games at the Xbox Play Lounge, and the teen disco, “Club Liquid”, where they can dance and hang out. It’s not all about the kids though. Adults can enjoy an array of water-sports, tennis lessons, the comprehensive scuba diving program and the “quiet” pools while sipping on a “Dirty Banana” (highly recommended, by the way!). More recently, Beaches Turks & Caicos announced the premiere of “Voila”, a storytelling interactive spectacle featuring theater, acrobatics and must see surprises.
Probably my favorite hotel chain to recommend to families, Grand Velas, manages to offer something for every family member without sacrificing quality and service. Luxurious room accommodations (many with private pools), dining options that are a foodies paradise and top notch service are amongst the reasons parents love it here. Many family friendly resort are very commercialized and have an unauthentic, Vegas-style feel. Grand Velas on the other hand, offers a true 5-star experience and is a favorite amongst not only parents but couples too. The grounds alone are a family experience all on their own. It’s a tropical paradise. Teens are sometimes less than enthused by family vacations. The antidote: the newly renovated, teen club equipped with a home theater with movies, game room with an XBox Kinect, table games, karaoke set with a vintage dance floor, soft drinks, and NY-deli-style munchies. The younger siblings have their own party in the kids’ club with supervised activities like piñata making and cooking classes. This gives parents time to catch up on some much needed r and r. Back to family time, there is kite flying, eco-shows, kayaking, snorkeling, jet skiing, surfing and sailing in the bay. The resort’s complimentary amenities make even the tiniest of guests feel like VIPs, with everything you could possibly think of (a crib, bottle warmer, teether, baby carrier, etc.). If you’re looking for family adventures, delicious meals, a bit of romance and relaxation, look no further.
Coconut Bay Beach Resort & Spa
St. Lucia’s largest water park-with slides, waterfalls, and a lazy river is located on 85 acres of oceanfront at the Coconut Bay Beach Resort. The property doesn’t boost the same luxury amenities as some of the other hotels on this list however, it holds its own with a fun-packed activities. There are a wide arrange of activities for the whole family to enjoy together, such as family karaoke, movie nights, zip-lining, playing in a tree house, a 30,000 square foot paintball course, lazy river or climbing the mini rock wall. There are even separate wings for adults and families. Travel Tip: some room categories are revamped which will help to elevate your stay. Don’t feel bad if you need to leave the kids behind. They will be busy at the kids club, Coco Coral Zoo and Cocoland, an aquatic playground. Meanwhile, adults have access to a notable spa, modern fitness center, an adults-only pool and tennis courts.
Planet Hollywood Costa Rica
Move over Hardrock, there is another big name making a splash into the all-inclusive hotel industry. Planet Hollywood in Costa Rica is a fun-packed hotel for whoever lands at its doorsteps. Specifically, great for you and your adult children, there are DJ’s bringing lively entertainment to the pools and into the evenings with their themed nightlife. Planet Hollywood offers a burger joint created by the one and only, award winning, Guy Fieri. Amongst the 7 restaurants is also So Cal Gourmet Emporium. For the younger family members there is Splash Zone and a kids’ club dedicated to making your kids feel like rockstars with Planet Hollywood TV, Walk of Fame Scavenger Hunt, Starlets Hall of Fame Party and more. Keeping with the Planet Hollywood theme, the resort will include the “Your Soundtrack” program where guests can create a soundtrack to play in their suite. Parents love the hotel app that allows them to book excursions, room service and more right from their phone. The hotel chain is expanding, so, ask us for the newest locations opening in the near future.
The Grand at Moon Palace
The Moon Palace has been around for awhile but the new Grand is a total separate area and should not be confused with the Moon Palace. The developers of the Grand have thought of everything and with their thoughtful planning, the hotel quickly jumped to the #1 spot on the Mexican Caribbean. Children love the mini robes and slippers, in room mini-fridge stocked with their favorites and the abundance of kids’ activities. You’ll easily find something to do and somewhere new to go between the 9 pools, 16 restaurants, world class spa, indoor bowling alley, state-of-the-art arcade center, glow-in-the-dark miniature golf, jungle gym, outdoor water park with wave pool, lazy river and mega slides, and more! You can forget about hearing the dreadful “I’m bored” comments from your kids. It’s impossible here! Hey dad, order a beer. It will arrive in tall, cold, frosted glass. And, mom, check out the epic spa with the expansive spa menu, and take a cooking class. This trip is for you too!