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Have Kids, Will Travel: Some of the World’s Best Luxury Resorts Are Geared to the Whole Family

An attentive new trend in luxury travel means you no longer have to choose between high-end escape and family vacation.

Elephant watching SkySafari Elewana Courtesy of Niels van Gijn

Family travel doesn’t have to mean kids’ menus and long lines for the roller coaster. High-end locations around the world are elevating their offerings to include unique and exciting options for children of all ages, from survival- skills courses to zip-line adventures, all while adults enjoy the type of superlative accommodations, cuisine and attractions they would expect from any luxury destination. Here, four ways to truly get away—without leaving the kids behind.

Hawaii: Four Seasons Resort Lanai

ATV adventures in Hawaii

ATV adventuring in Hawaii.  Courtesy of Rick Collins

Located on the unspoiled southeastern coast of Lanai, the five-diamond Four Seasons Resort Lanai is beach luxury at its best, whether for spotting humpback whales from a private catamaran or having a cliff-side dinner at Nobu Lanai.

FOR THEM: “The aerial adventure course allows kids to traverse over 70 obstacles in a two-tiered adventure tower,” says Larry Icalla, island activities manager for Four Seasons Resort Lanai. “Or they can soar through the air on the zip-line course that offers sweeping views of Kaiholena Gulch.” The Lanai Archery and Shooting Range offers bow-and-arrow lessons for youngsters, while the ranch gives kids a chance to interact with miniature horses, donkeys and goats, as well as private rides with an instructor.

FOR YOU: High-flying couples can learn to pilot their own Cirrus SR22 aircraft with Maui Flight Academy, with several flight-path options over sea cliffs, volcanoes and waterfalls. Or enjoy the Jack Nicklaus–designed Manele Golf Course, a breathtaking par-72 track built with panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean. In the evenings, retire to the $21,000-per-night Alii Royal Suite to enjoy its views of Hulopoe Bay as well as the master bathroom’s Japanese soaking tub and double walk-in steam shower.


Montana: Resort at Paws Up

horses at Paws Up

Making friends at Paws Up, in Montana.  Courtesy of Paws Up

Families come to Paws Up for its wide variety of activities and adventures, such as cattle drives, hot-air-balloon rides, dogsledding and ATV excursions. But the Montana resort doesn’t skimp on the amenities: The property’s 28 luxury homes include 10 Wilderness Estates, each with about 3,250 square feet of living space that encompasses a private outdoor hot tub, a fireplace and three master bedrooms equipped with soaking tubs and heated slate bathroom floors.

FOR THEM: “Kids can mine for sapphires in the river and experience rustic ranch cooking classes, including learning how to make churned ice cream,” says Will Smith (no, not that one), director of activities for the Resort at Paws Up. There are also go-karts, treasure hunts and a wilderness-skills course called Gettin’ Primitive, which teaches survival techniques such as building a fire and shelter, identifying edible plants, tracking and more.

FOR YOU: Grown-up fun includes sporting clays, fly-fishing and helicopter rides, but “food and wine lovers should partake in one of the many year-round event weekends with renowned chefs from around the country,” says Smith. The 2020 lineup includes stints by chef Courtney Park, from legendary Michelin three-star restaurant French Laundry, and featured vintners from California’s Holus Bolus Winery and Jelly Roll Wines.

Tanzania: SkySafari by Elewana

SkySafari by Elewana Maasai guide

The scenic landscape surrounding SkySafari by Elewana.  Courtesy of Niels van Gijn

Kids will delight in seeing elephants, lions and rhinos up close, while parents can enjoy a sundowner cocktail in the bush. At SkySafari, families are accommodated not just with luxury lodgings—think butlers and spacious en suite tents—but also with flexible menus and mealtimes.

FOR THEM: Little ones will love bingo safari on game drives, while older kids can go horseback riding through coffee fields and learn the bush skills of local Maasai warriors, who teach archery and the technique of throwing the Maasai spear known as the rungu.

FOR YOU: Enjoy a private dinner and wine pairing in the cellar at the Manor at Ngorongoro and butler service throughout the various outposts. For exceptional convenience, the SkySafari private charter service will fly you directly from lodge to lodge; families can rent the entire plane to customize the safari experience to their needs.

Shanghai: Shanghai Edition

The Shanghai Edition rooftop

A view of the bund from the Shanghai Edition.  Courtesy of Nikolas Koenig

From the landmark Oriental Pearl TV Tower to boat rides along the Huangpu River, Shanghai is a great city for families. The Shanghai Edition is walking distance from many of the top sights in this Asian metropolis, including the West Bund, “the largest art zone in Asia,” according to Shanghai Edition general manager Matthew Cooper.

FOR THEM: “The nearby Shanghai National History Museum has a 4-D cinema and a 140-million-year-old complete dinosaur skeleton, as well as specimens of animals that are found only in China,” Cooper says. On the property, children can enjoy afternoon tea or an under-the-stars movie on the rooftop garden while snacking on local delicacies.

FOR YOU: “The West Bund is home to over 20 cultural and art institutions such as the Long Museum, Yuz Museum and Tank Shanghai,” says Cooper. Foodies and late-night revelers have endless options nearby and also on-site, including the Edition’s two rooftop bars and its 27th-floor Japanese restaurant with incredible views of the Bund. There are also the dance-ready Electric Circus nightlife venue and the Club Room, which features two lounges, a screening room and a karaoke area.

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