I recently participated in the TMS Family Travel Summit in Orlando, Florida, where top-notch travel writers and marketers discussed current family travel trends and needs. Per Peter Yesawich of MMGY Global, demand for luxury family travel products is growing. To meet the surge in interest for both independent and multi-generational family travel, leading luxury brands are rolling out all kinds of exciting programs.
I’m constantly reviewing incredible offers around the world and it’s difficult to narrow down a giant list of options to just a handful of amazing experiences for families, but here’s a peek at my latest luxury family vacation dream list:
Aqua Expeditions | Peru
All I needed was just one look at a photo of Aqua Expeditions all-suite ship that travels down the Peruvian Amazon to have goosebumps. The ship can hold just 24 guests at a time so the experience is guaranteed to be intimate and customized. Despite the small size and ultra-remote destination, Aqua Expeditions is catering to families (the minimum age is 7) with connecting suites and services. The wildlife experience must be insane and includes pink dolphins and manatees. Aqua Expeditions offers cooking classes for children during onboard downtime.
Singita Serengeti House | Tanzania
We spent our honeymoon at Singita in South Africa and to this day, the life-changing safari experience is an all-time favorite in my memory bank. I’m thrilled to learn that Singita Serengeti House recently opened in Tanzania and offers a four-suite house that is ideal for multi-generational trips to East Africa. Beyond the star attraction – epic wildlife viewing – the house is connected to the adjacent Singita Grumeti lodge offering a range of activities including tennis, archery, and swimming.
The Alpina Gstaad | Switzerland
In past years, you would never see luxury property open up in iconic jet-set hot spot like Gstaad and bother with children. Not so in 2013! The new Alpina Gstaad Hotel offers a kids’ club for ages 4-10 and rooms that sleep families. Summer activities in and around Gstaad include hiking, mountain biking, an alpine roller coaster, and lovely Lake Geneva/Lac Leman is only 1.5 hours a way via train or car.
Acqualina | United States
We’ve covered Acqualina Resort on the Atlantic Coast near Miami on Ciao Bambino and love it for families (read Nancy’s Acqualina kid-friendly beach resort review on the CB Blog) with a wonderfully appointed beach and pool, as well as villa-style rooms. I love that the resort actively engages children in eco-education, i.e. it offers a beach vacation+. Acqualina is located near a protected zone where endangered turtles lay and hatch their eggs and the kids’ club incorporates turtle education into the programming between May and November to ensure kids have a first-hand view of why conversation is important.
Hotel Fouquet’s Barrière | France
Hotel Fouquet’s Barrière is a five-star property that opened in Paris in 2006. Owned and operated by a French family, they are offering families real and extensive amenities including a “Young Gourmet’s Menu” in their Michelin-star restaurant, spa services and swimming lessons in their indoor heated pool, and educational workshops for children. All of this infrastructure for children in a luxury Paris hotel? Bravo!
The Peninsula Hotels | Worldwide
One of most exclusive names in luxury travel is The Peninsula Hotels with just nine properties around the world. They don’t use their exclusive portfolio as an excuse to ignore the family market. I spent time with Peninsula’s VP of Marketing, Robert Cheng, at the International Luxury Travel Market (ILTM) in Cannes and it’s clear they are thinking about how to meaningfully engage families throughout their portfolio from chocolate making fitness classes to customized city guides. “Tradition doesn’t need to mean stuffy,” per Mr. Cheng. Key for luxury-loving families!
Brenners Park-Hotel & Spa | Germany
Although Brenners Park-Hotel & Spa in Baden-Baden Germany is a world-famous spa, they figured out that for many parents to indulge in treatments, they need (and want) to include children in their vacation. Brenners Park-Hotel offers a free kids’ club for ages 3-12. What I found most interesting, however, is that kids are so important here that Brenners Park actively manages relationships with the children throughout the year – not just with their parents – and send the kids they know treats and gifts. A very smart way to create a lifetime of loyalty through generations …
Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa | Oman
Oman? Absolutely. Case and point that there are few destinations too remote or too exotic for families. The Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa is offering a huge array of amenities for children of all ages including an Adventure Zone, a comprehensive kids’ club, a lazy river, mini-golf, camel rides and more.
The Langham Chicago | United States
Langham Hotels is opening up a new Langham hotel in Chicago in a 52-story Mies van de Rohe building this summer. Expect families to be there given the 67 foot indoor swimming pool and a drop off kids’ zone!
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Editorial Note: All photos provided by hotels except for the Acqualina photo, taken by Nancy Solomon