"Luxury travel" means an "above and beyond" difference in quality, destinations where guests expect to find outstanding settings, amenities, and service. With kids along, guests also expect special features and efforts to keep all family members in good spirits and well cared-for during their stay.
Luxury travel, by definition, isn't for all of us, and costs a pretty penny. But for those seeking to go over-the-top of the line, below are some suggestions for families.
- Mustique: Villa Rental
Forgive the pun, but Mustique has mystique: this 1,400 acre island is known as a retreat of the rich and famous, who have private and fabulous villas there. What's less known is that others can also enjoy Mustique's delights as most of its eighty-five private residences are available for rent. Click to find the right one for your family: you can search for Amenities such as "Butler/Creative Cook" or "Designer Swimming Pool"; or choose Balinese Architecture; or simply go to "Perfect for Families."
- Round Hill, Montego Bay, Jamaica
This legendary playground of the rich and famous welcomes families and even has a Pineapple Kids' Club. Villas may be half price in summer: say, $3500-$6000/week, including breakfasts cooked for you.
Check prices at Kayak.com
Orlando: Concierge Level at Disney World Resorts
Disney World's top tier of resorts (such as the Grand Floridian, and Animal Kingdom Lodge) are beautiful places, and all offer a kids' club, spa, and -- less well known-- a Concierge level of service. Concierge rooms are usually on a private floor or wing with keyed entrance. Guests have a special lounge, with continental breakfast in the mornings and various snacks throughout the day. A member of the concierge staff is assigned to each guest to help with planning: restaurant priority seating, etc. Some concierge clubs offer special extras: such as a Sunrise Safari into Animal Kingdom, for guests at Animal Kingdom Lodge. Get the scoop about Concierge level at AllEarsNet, an excellent "unofficial" Disney World site.
GrandTravel, for example, has a summer "Splendors of Italy" trip exploring Venice, Florence, Siena and Rome.* Make Venetian masks; see how wine is made; take a private cooking lesson with a Tuscan chef, and a pony ride in the countryside; enjoy tours of art and architecture with a knowledgable guide. Services include pre-departure counselling; and GrandTravel is expert in helping the generations have the best possible time together. And how's this for an introduction to Venice: "Upon arrival at Venice’s airport, board a private motor launch and cross the lagoon to your elegant palazzo hotel." GrandTravel offers many other destinations, too.
This classy and family-friendly hotel has a prime spot on Piccadilly across from Green Park, a beautifully presented afternoon tea with scones and clotted cream, a whisky lounge with 250 single malts, and a signature Athenaeum teddy bear. It also has a superb concierge who gives the royal treatment to all guests. Note: families can stay in complete apartments with private entrances on a small side street.
Hawaii has many luxurious and beautiful resorts, and many of them have kids' programs. See Hawaii Resorts for many suggestions, on different islands.
Pure Kauai, however, is something a bit different. Families stay in villas with full kitchens and multiple bathrooms; many have pools and Jacuzzis. Cribs, high chairs, board games, etc. can be supplied. Meals are prepared by personal chefs, either cooked on-site, or delivered. Activities include: Family Hula Class, private session; Tide Pool Exploring with a guide; Mountain Tubing; Boogie-boarding; more. Trained guides and instructors supervise all activities. Childcare can be provided too. (Adults could have time for in-room massage or private yoga class.)
"Family Adventures" are escorted small-group tours to beautiful places, with all details handled, and fine lodgings and meals. That's the typical format, and it offers excellent experiences (at a price of about $2000/person for 6 days) but some tour companies take the experience above and beyond.
- Continue to page 2 for more Luxury Resorts in the Caribbean
Note: for any resort, always check recent visitors' comments. TripAdvisor is a great resource.