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Keeping Tabs On The Latest Offerings at These Family-Friendly Hotels

July 1, 2007 By: Erin Sternthal Home-Based Travel Agent
 

From baby food to kids' robes and from hula lessons in Hawaii to an Xbox Game Room, properties are welcoming families like


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    Atlantis, Paradise Island: This mega-resort in the Bahamas (www.atlantis.com|~www.atlantis.com/
    ) teamed up with Johnson's to create the Gentle Travel program for families traveling with babies. Guests who request a crib will receive a kit with baby products, nightlight, lullaby CD and baby routine tips. Clients can also order extra items such as bottle warmers, strollers, crib sheets and bathtubs. More than 100 babysitters are trained in the Gentle Travel program as well as CPR and childcare. If parents want some quality time alone, they can enroll kids in the Atlantis Kids Club,which has morning and evening programs for ages 3 to 5 and an evening program for 3 to 12 year olds. Kids 6 to 12 can participate in the Discovery Kids Adventure offered in hourly, half-day and full-day sessions. In the afternoon, Club Rush is open to 6 to 12 year olds, and it turns into a nightclub for teens age 13 to 17 at 8:30 p.m.

 Sesame Street characters entertain children at Beaches Turks and Caicos

Children's pools are located throughout Atlantis, which also has a theater with new movie releases and popcorn, a lazy river ride, a library, and in-room babysitting. Atlantis has its own marine habitat with 11 exhibit lagoons and daily fish feedings. Commission is 10 percent. Call 888-528-7155.

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    Beaches Resorts: This all-inclusive chain (www.beaches.com|~www.beaches com/) has four properties in Jamaica and Turks and Caicos with water theme parks, Xbox Game Oasis Video Game centers, kids' camps and trained "Ultra Nannies." The chain recently partnered with Crayola to offer Crayola Art Camps at the resorts, offering supervised educational activities such as making scavenger hunt collage frames and island medallions.

Families are also drawn to the properties for Beaches Resorts Caribbean Adventure with Sesame Street, where the resort's youngest guests can attend stage shows, a weekly parade and interact with their favorite Sesame Street characters during Storytime with Elmo, Baking Cookies With Cookie Monster and Dancing With Zoe. Look for Beaches Turks and Caicos to unveil a new water park next year as part of a $100 million expansion, which will also include new family suites and an aqua-themed nightclub for teens. A new Kids Camp facility will also open for 6 to12 year olds. A guest room at Club Med, which offers programs for  all ages, from four-month-old babies to teens

At press time, Beaches Boscobel in Ocho Rios was set to unveil its expanded Pirate's Island Water Park in July with six kiddie slides and a zero-entry baby pool. On average, agents can earn 13 percent commission on rooms and 10 percent on add-ons such as spa treatments and special dining arrangements. Call 800-BEACHES.

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    Club Med: Select all-inclusive Club Med villages (www.clubmed.com|~www.clubmed.com/
    ) throughout the world have programs and activities for four-month-olds to 17 year olds. At certain properties, parents can request equipment such as strollers, safety kits and bathtubs as part of the Baby Welcome. Kids clubs are divided by age. Baby Club Med (4 to 23 months) and Petit Club Med (2 to 3 years old) cost an additional $40 per day while programs for those 4 and older are free. Young guests can test their skills at circus school, trapeze lessons, and snorkeling.

Parents can drop off children at the Siesta Club for an additional $20 per evening to enjoy a night on their own. Select villages also have separate restaurants for kids. At press time, Club Med was revamping its incentive program and commission structure. Call 800-CLUB-MED.

n Four Seasons: Upscale clients heading to a Four Seasons resort (www.fourseasons.com) won't have to worry about cribs, strollers or bottle warmers, as these basic necessities are provided along with babysitting services if needed. Upon request, rooms can be child-proofed prior to arrival. Special menus are offered for kids, including a selection for infants of fruit purees and mashed vegetables. Resort locations also have a Kids For All Seasons program with destination-specific activities.

For the older set, Four Seasons offers a teen concierge at select hotels in the U.S., Canada and Europe, giving teenagers the inside scoop on the destination. Concierges are available during the summer and on most school holidays. Commission is 10 percent. Call 800-819-5053.

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    Hyatt: Hyatt Resorts (www.hyatt.com|~www.hyatt.com/
    ) in the U.S. and Caribbean operate Camp Hyatt for kids 3 to 12. Activities are tailored to educate and entertain kids in each destination: There are hula dancing lessons in Hawaii, kayaking on the Colorado River in Texas and butterfly farm tours in Aruba. The flexible program is offered in half-day, full-day and evening sessions. Toddlers must be toilet trained to enroll.

To help prepare young guests for their trip, www.camphyatt.com offers packing tips, reviews from past guests and ideas for family activities. As an added bonus, clients will receive 50 percent off the second room rate for families. Agents can earn 10 percent commission. Call 888-591-1234.

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    Loews Hotels: In June, each of Loews' (www.loewshotels.com|~www.loewshotels.com/
    ) 18 hotels in the U.S. and Canada enhanced its Loews Loves Kids program with the addition of "mini gym" equipment. Fisher Price Smart Cycles as well as hula hoops, rocking horses and jump ropes will be on loan for little ones staying on property.

The Loews Loves Kids program provides young guests with gift bags and an "On Call for Kids" lending closet with such supplies as books, car seats, strollers, nightlights, toilet-training seats and bath tubs. Commission is 10 percent. Call 800-23-LOEWS.

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    Nickelodeon Family Suites by Holiday Inn: This Orlando resort (www.nickhotel.com|~www.nickhotel.com/
    ) designed its 777 suites specifically for families with full kitchens, colorful two-bedroom KidSuites with bunk beds or twin beds and three-bedroom suites for extended families. Themed Kidsuites come with Playstation 2 and a family room with in-room movies and flat-screen TVs. Nickelodeon Family Suites by Holiday Inn also features a separate check-in desk for kids, two interactive pool complexes with water slides and climbing nets, kids' spa, arcade, character breakfasts and live nightly entertainment. Kids under 5 can eat for free. Scheduled shuttles transport guests to Orlando area attractions such as Sea World, Walt Disney parks and Universal Orlando. Agents can earn 10 percent commission. Call 866-GO2-NICK.

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    Ritz-Carlton: Although this luxury hotel chain (www.ritzcarlton.com|~www.ritzcarlton.com/
    ) is revamping its Ritz Kids program, select resorts feature some noteworthy programs. In Grand Cayman, for example, the Ambassadors of the Environment by Jean-Michel Cousteau gives 4 to 18 year olds an introduction to the natural environment of the islands through hands-on activities and excursions that range from visiting the endangered blue iguana at the botanical park to kayaking in the mangroves. Commission is 10 percent. Call 800-241-3333

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