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Choice Picks for Family TripsJune 15, 2009 By: Megan Stride Travel Agent
School's out, summer's here and kids want vacations. Deal-vendor ResortCompete.com has released its top seven all-inclusive hotels for family-friendly vacations. The site's choice picks and reviews are below.
1. FDR Pebbles, Falmouth, Jamaica
Truly the gold star standard for families, FDR Pebbles is an outstanding family experience. With a staff to guest ratio of 1:1, this resort provides a Vacation Nanny, available all day, who attends to a family’s every need. These competent coordinators allow parents to be involved in their children’s activities, or enjoy some quiet, independent time. The Yellow Bird Kids Club activity center is jam-packed with state-of-the-art educational and computer games, toys, and a library for hours of fun. Pre-teens and teens will never complain of boredom; they can learn to sail or windsurf, and go to beach parties, fishing, hiking, and field trips.
2. Wilderness Trails Ranch, Durango, Colorado
Billed as “the ideal resort vacation holiday for kids from 3 to 83”, this ranch sees generations of families, year after year. Their children’s program is consistently ranked “the best of the best” among ranches and is divided into three age categories: The Pony Express, three-to-five-year-olds, are introduced to horseback riding and counselors direct natural crafts, games, short hikes and swimming. The Saddletramps, six-to-10-year-olds, receive riding instructions, ride their horse for the week, learn about the outdoors and southwest history, plus have nature hikes, picnics, crafts, scavenger hunts, and swimming.
The Bandits and Posse (ages 11-12 and 13-17) help construct their week with choices from activities like half and all day rides, water-skiing, hiking, fishing, team games and challenges.
3. Kona Village Resort, Kailu-Kona, Hawaii
With no televisions, radios or telephones, this serene resort has custom-designed programs to entertain kids. Promoting the classic Hawaiian culture, children participate in traditional activities such as fishing contests, coconut painting, net throwing, and Hawaiian crafts, mixed with pool visits and ball games. This complimentary program is offered daily except in May and September for ages five through 12. Adventurous teens have other options, such as kayaking, snorkeling tours, sunfish sailing lessons, and volleyball, among others.
4. Atlantis, Paradise Island, Bahamas
This resort is the very best out there for families who adore the water -- Atlantis has a mind-boggling water park and aquarium. The Atlantis “Escape” program provides the opportunity to explore this amazing resort while making friends (for children ages three to 12), and The Aqua Tots program (ages three and up, up to 48” tall) offers five children a day the thrill of fish feeding at the Estuary Lagoon. Club Rush, a club for pre-teens and teens (no parents allowed) is the hot spot for evenings, and kids can design, build and race their own RC race car or monster truck at the Atlantis Speedway.
5. Club Med Ixtapa, Ixtapa, Mexico
Club Med’s reputation for outstanding family vacations is prominently displayed here; this club features a baby care room complete with supplies and utensils for preparing baby food, the Pajamas Club, a babysitting service to afford parents a night away, and a teen spa, with services for kids over 12.
The kids club is divided into four categories: Baby Club Med (from four to 23 months old), Petit Club Med (from two to under four years old), Mini Club Med (from four to under 11 years old) and Juniors' Club Med (from 11 to under 18 years old).
6. Holiday Inn SunSpree Resort Montego Bay, Rose Hall, Jamaica
This resort is especially appealing to the pocketbook; Children 12 and under stay, play and eat free! The KidSpree Vacation program (available 9:00 am to 9:00 pm) is also free and welcomes children between the ages of six months and three years in the Granny's Nursery, four to seven years for the Adventurers and eight to 12 years for the Wonder Years. Complete with an adjacent playground, the Vacation Club features jungle gyms and slides in a fenced playground right on the beach. Inside the club, kids can take part in activities like shirt painting, movies, excursions, board games, play garden, sand castle building. Older kids will dig the game room with indoor and outdoor activities like the Xbox360 (charges apply), pool tables, shuffleboards, volleyball, basketball court, nine-hole miniature golf course and water fountain.
7. Almond Beach Village, St. Peter, Barbados
This kid-friendly resort is an ideal setting for families on vacation and offers a one of a kind family section with its own rooms, nursery (full service), play area, wading pool and a daily supervised Kid’s Club. Children up to age two are cared for at the nursery, a mini club is on hand for children two to four years, children five to 12 years play at one of two kids clubs, and teens have teen center activities like games, movies and “disco night.