PLANNING A HOLIDAY VACATION CAN COME WITH ITS OWN SET OF PRESSURES. After all, you're charged with the task of trying to create a festive atmosphere away from home. To ensure all members of the family have a memorable holiday getaway, be sure to book a hotel or resort that has several activities and events geared for the entire bunch. The Resort at Squaw Creek (www.squawcreek.com) in Lake Tahoe, CA, for example, has created a series of family-oriented activities, called Magical Memories, which runs from November 22 to January 6. The resort virtually transforms itself into a winter wonderland with ice skating, breakfast with Santa, Build-a-Bear Workshops, Buddy Bear tea, snowshoe tours, snowman making contests, elf tuck-ins and family bingo. Try to secure the Fireplace Suite (which has a kitchen) for families of four, or a two-bedroom Penthouse Suite that can accommodate larger families. It's not too late to book The Resort at Squaw Creek for President's Day weekend or Spring Break, though secure rooms as early as possible, as President's Day weekend is one of the busiest periods. Contact Lydia Bates, senior sales manager (530-584-4025, mailto:[email protected]) for additional questions.
Over in the nation's capital, The Fairmont Washington, D.C. (www.fairmont.com) is conveniently located near museums, theaters, shopping and dining. The executive pastry chef is running a special gingerbread-house-making class for children on December 1. The $35 fee includes materials, instruction and holiday refreshments, not to mention a completed gingerbread house. For added value, book the "Holiday Lights and Delights" package for clients, which is available from November 23 to January 6. The package includes two complimentary Tour Mobile tickets. Package rates start at $219 per night.
Try to secure a Fairmont Gold room, the brand's "hotel within a hotel," on the ninth floor. In addition to private check-in, families can enjoy a full breakfast, afternoon tea and evening hors d'oeuvres on the floor's lounge. The hotel's travel agent liaison is Coretta Hinds (202-429-2400, mailto:[email protected]).
South Carolina's Kiawah Island Golf Resort (www.kiawahresort.com) has a host of events for the holidays. On December 8, 15 and 22, the resort will offer cookie decorating at 11 a.m. as well as Saturday Storybook Teas with Mrs. Claus ($26 for adults and $18 per child). During Christmas weekend, a special Holiday Kamp Kiawah will be available along with special activities ranging from elf relays and snowflake making to Christmas candy trains and s'mores by the fire.
Request one of the many sets of connecting rooms that combine a king bed with a second room with two queen beds. Another option is to book the corner Oceanfront Suite with a king bed and pull-out sofa. The suite can also connect to a King Oceanfront Room and/or an Oceanview Premier Room with two queen beds to create a three-bedroom suite. Complimentary cribs and rollaways are also provided. Kiawah Island Golf Resort also has availability for President's Day weekend. Contact Natalie Payne, director of travel industry sales, at 843-768-2882 or [email protected].
Family Fun Spots
For Big Apple-bound travelers, Loews Regency Hotel (www.loewshotels.com) has a prime location on 61st Street and Park Avenue, in close proximity to various family-friendly activities. Walk over to Central Park to ice skate at Wollman Rink, visit the hands-on exhibits at the nearby Sony Wonder Technology Lab or visit the glorious tree at Rockefeller Center. For those looking to plan a President's Day weekend getaway or Spring Break, the hotel still has availability and will continue to offer its Loews Loves Kids program (a chain-wide program that includes welcome amenities for kids under 10 and access to a "Kids Kloset" stocked with games and books). Families should consider booking a Luxury Double Room with two beds or a Junior Suite with a queen bed and pull-out sofa in the living room. Other options include an Executive Suite (king bed and pull-out sofa) or the Luxury one-or two-bedroom suites. Contact Venus Siandre, reservations supervisor, at 212-339-4075 or mailto:[email protected].
During Christmas week at The Tides Inn (www.tidesinn.com) in Virginia, kids can participate in gift-wrapping lessons, Christmas card creations and Santa dress-up contests. Families can enjoy a brunch cruise on the Historic Miss Ann diesel yacht and spend Christmas Eve decorating cookies and sipping hot chocolate while awaiting Santa's arrival.
The Tides Inn, a member of The Leading Hotels of the World, has Vista One-bedroom Suites, which are ideal for families who can use the living room as a sleeping area for kids. Otherwise, it's recommended to book connecting Deluxe Rooms with balconies.
Through December 31, The Tides Inn will offer its Crab Net Kids program for children four to 12. A full-day program with lunch and craft materials costs $60. The resort will be closed January 1 through March 6 and will reopen for Spring Break. Contact Susan Williamson, reservations manager, at 800-843-3746 or [email protected].