The summer of 2020 is history — and one for the history books — but what a difference a year makes! As life finally lunges toward normal again, seeing family is top priority for many travelers this year. A March survey from American Express Travel revealed that 71 percent of respondents said they planned to travel to visit loved ones they haven’t seen during the pandemic, and 60 percent said they were planning a 2021 family reunion. But pulling off a successful gathering begins with picking the right place for your clan. Whether you prefer 24/7 togetherness or a do-your-own-thing agenda is more your style, the devil is in the details. That’s why letting experts like Ciao Bambino’s Advisor team plan your trip is essential and leaves you to concentrate on important things like hugs and memory making.
As July is National Family Reunion Month, there’s no time like the present for planning to reunite. One of these seven spots has your family name written all over it.
For an ultra-chic and modern Napa Valley escape under the hot summer sun, Solage earns top marks from families in the know, especially those who appreciate a good pool scene with a side of stellar wining and dining. The resort entices locals to its renowned Michelin-star Solbar Restaurant, but the pool is where the action happens. It has been updated this year with private family-friendly cabanas equipped with TVs and WiFi, stocked with fruit, freshly squeezed juices, beverages and other refreshments. You can also arrange family-style meal options, afternoon activities for kids and even swim lessons with a local master instructor. In the evenings, cabanas are turned into individual private viewing rooms for Dive in Movie and DJ nights, featuring shared plates from the Solbar menu and award-winning Napa wines. The ultra-chic, modern property features 89 separate bungalow-style rooms with semi-private patios, but 11 newly built cottage-style suites (nine one-bedroom and the others two-bedroom) offer more indoor and outdoor living space for families and friends to travel together. Each two-bedroom villa comes with its own set of bikes and a designated Mercedes-Benz for the duration of stay.
For seclusion without the trek into the deep woods and rustic chic without the splinters, Hidden Pond checks all the boxes. Whether it’s a day at the spa, a guided walk in the woods or a dip in the family pool (or adults-only pool), there’s enough to keep the fun meter running, including Tuesday tie-dye workshops and watercolor painting classes. The hotel’s free shuttle takes guests to the sister property, The Tides Beach Club at Goose Rocks Beach. Toast marshmallows by the bonfire each night or listen to live music on Wednesdays. The two-bedroom cottages are family-friendly with fully equipped gourmet kitchens and spacious living rooms. The hotel staff can also pitch a tent on the screened-in porch. It’ll come complete with two sleeping bags and a Hidden Pond backpack for kids who want to “camp out” close to home.
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Park City, Utah
For the family who wants to stay together under one roof but still wants all the pampering perks of a hotel stay, book this 12-room boutique property in the heart of downtown Park City and treat 33 of your closest family members. Everyone will appreciate the 24-hour concierge, personal chef and heated pool surrounded by aspen and spruce trees, and let’s not forget the outdoor fire — a steel Olympic torch from the 2002 Winter Olympics in Park City. The Washington School House staff are uber-accommodating when it comes to special occasions, too, and will chill the Champagne, whip up a cake and set up a family slide show with boxes of tissue at the ready. If you can tear yourself away, go hiking, biking or rafting through the mountains. The hotel is just a short hop to Park City’s Main Street, where you can shop, dine and stroll, which is especially nice on summer Sundays when the street transforms into a pedestrian-only district.
Cooperstown, New York
With charm, history and America on the menu, the historic and still-family-owned Otesaga Resort in Cooperstown, New York, is tough to beat. Boasting 700 feet of Otsego Lake frontage, the hotel has 132 guest rooms, including lakeside suites and ADA accessible accommodations. It’s also just a few blocks away from Main Street, which brims with shops, diners and cafés, and the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Doubleday Field. The renowned Fenimore Art Museum is less than a mile away, and there are several local breweries within striking distance. For golfers, the Otesaga is home to the scenic 18-hole Leatherstocking course, and sunbathers and little swimmers will love the heated outdoor pool. For a special family event, chat with an onsite team that can send you rock-climbing at Clark Sports Center, schedule a tasting session at local small-batch distillery, or plan a boat or canoe outing on the lake. At the end of the day, gather in a rocking chair on the Otesaga’s beloved veranda or around the fire pit for golden hour views and a toast to family.
The Resort at Paws Up is known for its spectacular scenery sprawling across, 37,000 acres situated between Glacier National Park and Yellowstone National Park. Yes, there are 28 luxury homes and cabins on the property to rent, but book one of the resort’s six campsites and up the ante on fun family reunions. Rest assured, the generously sized luxury tents will convince even the most dubious that camping isn’t so bad after all. Each tent has a full bathroom with heated floors, multiple bedrooms and chandeliers. Reserve an entire luxury camp just for your group, and you’ll have exclusive use of the camp’s Dining Pavilion, fire pit, chef and, most importantly, camping butler. Try your hand at fly-fishing or even taking part in an authentic cattle drive, then settle around the campfire for nights of storytelling and s’mores.
For adult-only families that prioritize health and wellness, The Ranch might be the perfect antidote to the past year. Located on a historic working ranch three miles above the Pacific Ocean in Malibu, these 200 natural acres in the Santa Monica Mountains set the scene for calming and recalibrating. Book a four-, seven- or nine-day luxury fitness retreat that’s specifically designed to promote weight loss as well as good physical and mental health. The rigorous program includes daily exercise, yoga, long hikes and healing massages and is complemented by a no-alcohol, 1,400-calorie-a-day organic, plant-based diet that fuels and restore the mind and body far from the demands of daily life. You and your significant others will be ready for anything.
Amelia Island, Florida
Who doesn’t love a sand-in-the-toes vacation? With prime oceanfront real estate on a glorious 13-mile beach in northern Florida, The Ritz Carlton, Amelia Island is a family reunion no-brainer, especially if small children are in the mix. The resort’s supervised and interactive Ritz Kids club hosts fun activities such as indoor pirate campouts and kids’ nights out (a.k.a. parents can get out too) and hands-on adventures, with educational games and activities featuring different themes throughout the week. Keep the whole family active and entertained at the property’s indoor and outdoor pools, junior tennis clinics, golf and on-the-sand fun such as paddle boarding and surf lessons. And with 444 guestrooms (some connecting) that include 42 suites and 43 Club Level rooms with ocean views, as well as three Presidential Suites and four Deluxe Oceanview Suites with oversized patios, there’s room for everyone.
Editor’s Note: Photos courtesy of the individual properties pictured.
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