Traveling with kids isn't always easy. The variety of must-haves, needs-right-nows, and are-we-there-yets can send any parent into a tizzy, but there's good news: there are hotels and resorts around the world that cater to kids, so you don't have to do.
Fodors.com recently came up with a list of the top 10 kid-friendly hotels that take the worry out of whether your kids are enjoying their vacation. The surprising news: none of these resorts have the word "Disney" in the title.
The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain, Arizona: Fodor's credits the resort's swim-up Hot Cocoa Butler, "Dive-in" movies and the resort's resident Ranger Ron as just a few of the fun things that attract kids. The resort's own "Animal Kingdom" includes a native California King snake, a gopher snake, a striped scorpion, and a blond tarantula (all available for petting and feeding) and I personally love Dove Mountain's stargazing activities - perfect for any age.
Mohonk Mountain House, New Paltz, N.Y.: Mohonk Mountain House is the perfect place for a nature-themed family getaway, with activities like guided hiking, swimming or boating on the lake (in summer), horseback riding, and ice-skating and skiing (in the winter), all included in the room rate.
Beaches Turks & Caicos Resort, Providenciales, Turks & Caicos: Thanks to a Pirates Island Waterpark, a kids-themed swim-up bar, XBOX 360 gaming center, Kids Camps, and meet-and-greets and shows hosted by Sesame Street characters, the Turks & Caicos make for a great family vacation.
Atlantis, Paradise Island, Bahamas: The Bahamas beach-front property is like one giant theme park for kids and adults alike, encompassing a water park, dolphin cay, marine habitat, and a Kids Club, Imagination Station, and rooms dedicated to games, computers, and arts and craft.
Grand Wailea, A Waldorf Astoria Resort, Maui, Hawaii: The Grand Wailea hosts a mini-resort for kids ages 5 to 12, which offers activities like painting, crafts, and learning about ancient Hawaiian culture through games and storytelling. When the kids get hungry, there's the all-you-can-eat Keiki Buffet for children ages 12 and under, featuring cuisine like macaroni-and-cheese, pigs in a blanket, and chicken fingers.
Novotel Twin Waters Resort, Sunshine Coast, Australia: If you feel like heading down under, Fodor's says The Novotel Twin Waters Resort is the place to book. Face painting, craft and cooking classes, disco parties, popcorn and movies, in-room babysitting services, game rooms, as well as a unique Cirque Escape program that has trained professionals teach circus skills like juggling, trapeze, tightwire, and bungee trampoline, are just part of the fun.
Westin St. John Resort & Villas, St. John, Virgin Islands: The beachfront Westin St. John Resort & Villas offers a Westin Kids Club, with a focus on the island's rich cultural and natural environment. Activities include arts and crafts, sailing lessons, iguana hunts, sandcastle building, and more. The resort offers teen-specific activities, as well, such as an arcade, water trampoline, floating climbing wall, kayaks, and catamaran cruises.
Club Med Punta Cana, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic: Club Med Punta Cana is an all-inclusive Caribbean resort offering childcare programs for infants through teens. In the Baby Club Med, babies (ages 4 months to just under 2 years of age) are cuddled, fed, and put down for naps. For children ages 2 to 4, Petit Club Med provides caretaker-led outdoor play and creative activities. Mini Club Med is designed for children ages 4 to 10, with plenty of sports and activities, while 11- to 18-year-olds can enjoy Club Med Passworld, featuring video editing classes, dance workshops, DJ lessons, theater groups, and more.
Le Meridien Phuket Beach Resort, Phuket, Thailand: If you're going to travel, you might as well head to one of the top spots of 2012: Phuket, Thailand. Fodor's like the Le Meridien Phuket Beach Resort for kids thanks to their Penguin Club, which provides kid-themed programming like Marco Polo games, mask making, musical chairs, and Thai flower garland making. There are also babysitters available 24/7 for when parents are hankering for some alone time.
Tamarijn Aruba All-Inclusive Beach Resort, Palm Beach, Aruba: The Tamarijn Aruba offers generously sized units for families with up to three children, which even include a washer and dryer. There's a teens program, as well as a Kids Club that hosts activities like pizza making, face painting, and field trips to nearby attractions like the local Butterfly Farm.
Readers: What is your favorite resort for family-friendly fun?
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