You might be impressed with a five-star hotel on the Cote d’Azur, but good luck getting a smile out of the wee scion born, not just with a silver spoon, but a driver and homes on four continents. They may not be tall enough to ride a rollercoaster, but they’ve been there and done that. More importantly still, thrilling these ultra-cultured striplings means winning over mom and dad, too.
So what is a resort equipped with a children’s club to do? This summer, holiday hubs from Mexico to Monaco are pulling out all the stops to wow even the most jaded elementary schoolers. Here is a look at eight of the best.
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Encourage Your Budding Fashionistas
Hotel Metropole Monte-CarloMonaco
Inspired by Monaco’s high-design culture, this iconic hotel offers a brand-new Mini Me experience, in partnership with Dolce & Gabbana. Hotel Metropole’s youngest residents can curate their dream wardrobe with items from the prestigious fashion house. The hotel team works with parents to confirm their children’s style preferences, sizes, and budget ahead of the stay, and they are then welcomed with a thoughtfully selected dressing room in the suite upon arrival. Kids can wear their new dudes at the Evening at the Museum experience, where the whole family can go on a private tour of Monaco’s famed Oceanographic Museum of Monaco after business hours. Youngsters and their parents can discover and explore the seas of the world and more than 6,000 specimens armed with only a flashlight.
Dive in an Aquarium With Marine Biologists
Four Seasons Resort HualalaiKailua-Kona, Hawaii
If you’ve got a budding marine biologic on your hands, or even just a sea-life lover, this sprawling resort on Hawaii’s Big Island has several experiences that are sure to wow kids (and let’s be honest, adults too) of any age . The Resort’s Kumu Kai Marine Center features a digital touch tank display with daily educational sessions and adjacent is King’s Pond, a 1.8-million-gallon swimmable saltwater aquarium, filled with more than 1,000 tropical fish and other sea life. Guests can book an early morning private feeding where Kainalu, the pond’s resident eagle ray, glides right up to you and eats out of your hand or go on a snorkel safari. Better still, have a full-on junior scientific experience with one of the resort’s five marine biologists, where kids can learn how to collect and record data about Hawaii’s ocean life.
Explore a Hollywood Art Director–Designed Rainforest Tree House
One&Only MandarinaRiviera Nayarit, Mexico
When is a kids club not just a kids club? When it’s a 42,000-square-foot playground designed by Brigitte Broch, the Academy Award-winning art director and production designer for “Moulin Rouge” and Romeo and Juliet.” At the impressive KidsOnly, little ones are immersed in a magnificent rainforest world via features like Tree Village, where there is a series of jungle tree houses connected by suspended bridges, slides, climbing walls, and wildlife trails, and the Insectary and Butterfly Farm, which houses hundreds of butterflies, mantises, stick and leaf bugs, and more. A rotating weekly program of supervised activities includes exploring the bug life cycle, discovering nature on a scavenger hunt, throwing a piñata party, and creating art inspired by the local Huichol people.
Your Own Family Vacation Movie
Caruso, A Belmond HotelRavello, Italy
This Amalfi Coast hotel offers its littlest guests access to professional filmmakers to help them produce, direct, and star in their own holiday movie trailer. The program, dubbed Make Your Own Film, brings siblings and friends together to help build lifelong memories. A filmmaker helps kids choose the narrative of their short film, select the soundtrack, learn how to plan the scene, act it all out, and ensure they capture it perfectly. Of course, a completed DVD is provided at the end. Fin!
Have Your Own Amazing Race
Turtle IslandYasawa, Fiji
This private island resort with just 14 beachfront bures (Fijian villas) is typically adults only. But in recent years, due to requests from their returning guests who now have families of their own, Turtle Island now opens its eco-sanctuary to families three times a year for Family Time. Best of all, during these family camps, Turtle Island’s youngest guests of five and under are looked after by their own personal nanny, while those ages six and up are paired with a “Bula Buddy” to be a companion and playmate for the entirety of their stay. A favorite experience during Family Time is the Turtle Island Amazing Race, where children are partnered up with their Bula Buddies to compete against each other in Amazing Race-style of tasks like visiting the chicken coop to gather eggs, identifying vegetables in the garden, and learning woodworking in the joinery. Plus, every participant gets a prize! Another beloved activity is the Meke performance. Meke is the traditional Fijian style of dance combining dance and story-telling through song and little ones learn meke from their Fijian family and put on a show for their parents each Wednesday night.
Learn to Survive in the Bush
Mantis Founders LodgeGqeberha, South Africa
Not only is this a safari lodge where kids can check off the Big Five, but they can also learn o survive in the wild. Designed by famous adventurer Bear Grylls, the Survival Academy teaches some of Bear’s key survival techniques before putting them to the test. This includes learning how to build shelter, find water, make a fire, and navigate in the wilderness, plus lessons on camouflage and concealment and rescue techniques. The best part is, once they’ve completed the academy, they can then participate in the Rhino Observation and Monitoring program and learn how to look after these marvelous but endangered beasts. The rhino monitoring involves a variety of experiences from feeding (which is sometimes necessary in periods of drought) to observing and recording data on the condition of the body and behavior of the rhinos.
Set sail on the Turkish Riviera
D Maris BayDatça Peninsula, Turkey
A secluded and posh hideaway, D Maris Bay has five private beaches and a wide array of water excursions and experiences, including a professional sailing school. Here, teens ages 12 and up can join in a range of workshops covering casting off, steering, capsizing, docking, and other practical lessons. From short classes to intensive five-day basic license courses, youngsters can get their feet wet, or dive right in.
Go Speed Racer!
Villa del ParcoSardinia, Italy
This Leading Hotels of the World member hotel at Forte Village offers several “academies” in various sports, from soccer to tennis to fencing. Our favorite is the PGK Go-Kart Academy, led by Paolo Gagliardini, the former 125 class Italian and European champion. But this isn’t just about driving fast: The training program covers lessons in speed, race etiquette, psycho-physical training, and knowledge of the main concepts of technical karting. The academy provides basic courses for those with no experience, as well as more advanced courses for people wanting to perfect their karting skills (adults welcome!). Other kid-tastic amenities here include a waterpark and the Children’s Wonderland with features like a life-size Casa Barbie, a vegetable garden offering planting workshops, and a theater where kids can act and dance.
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