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Catered Tots: The Very Best Family-Friendly Luxury Resorts
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Catered Tots: The Very Best Family-Friendly Luxury Resorts

Swimming Pool at Rio Mar Beach Resort, Puerto Rico

Photo by Rio Mar Beach Resort

By Brownell Travel

What makes a luxury resort a top spot for families? It works for both parents and children. Luxury resorts well equipped for family travel offer lots of space in which to turn kids loose safely. They incorporate the destination's natural and cultural features in age-appropriate programs that are educational and fun. Their kid's programs are directed by qualified, engaging leaders that love to interact with children. The entire staff goes out of their way to make sure each family member has an experience to remember. And most importantly, kid-friendly luxury resorts understand the needs of families: they provide opportunities for mom and dad to reconnect and come together with their children.

The following six luxury resorts excel at all of the above.

Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman
Far and away our number one choice for families. The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman worked with sea legend Jean-Michel Cousteau to create a truly mind-blowing children's program. Kids aged 4 to 18 can explore the natural jungle gym of mangroves via pontoon boat and dive 100 feet below the ocean's surface, in the properties submarine, to get a close look at sea life. The kid-friendly resort also boasts a videography project that enables kids to film their adventures as well as the sea life they see. All the programs are superbly supervised by hip and engaging staff, but the experience is so spectacular parents often tag along.

Rio Mar Beach Resort & Spa, Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico is the most overlooked and underrated island in the Caribbean. Rio Mar Beach Resort & Spa is one of the region's true gems. Not only is this family resort luxurious it offers kid-friendly activities and adventures galore, the 'parent's evening out' options offered at Iguana Club allow parents to relax and rejuvenate while the children, aged 4-12, take part in a wide range of fascinating programs. Rio Mar Beach Resort & Spa is just steps from El Yunque Natural Forrest - the only tropical rainforest in the U.S. Forest System. Guests can take eco-walks through the forest and discover hundreds of species of wildlife.

Inn at Palmetto Bluff, Bluffton, SC
The Inn at Palmetto Bluff is home to two incredible multi-tiered tree houses and more activities than you can shake a fishing pole at. The staff can arrange for family fishing, crabbing, shrimping, kayaking, horseback riding and canoeing. The accommodations at this luxury family resort are suitable (and superb) for families of all sizes. You can reserve 2, 3 and 4-bedroom homes or single rooms in the Inn. Most families find having a kitchen or kitchenette helps save money as well!

The Cloister at Sea Island, Sea Island, Georgia
The Cloisters has long been THE destination for posh tots, but the newly built resort with state-of-the-art children's center, beach and movie theater, and children's beach activities are absolutely mind-blowing. As if that's not enough to keep even the most active toddlers and tweens occupied - the resort offers tailored programs for different age groups. Camp Cloister has directed activities centered around a new theme each day (pirates, frogs, fish, birds) for kids age 3 -12. Club Sea Island is geared to pre-teens, aged 9-12, ready for a little more adventure such as ocean kayaking. And these are just a small fraction of the fun things on offer.

Four Seasons Aviara, North San Diego, California
The location, facilities and diverse programs at Four Seasons Aviara make it a great option for families traveling with babies, toddlers, tweens, teenagers and special-needs kids. With advance notice, the resort can arrange for special meals (gluten-free, peanut-free, low-sugar, etc.) and family outings to nearby Lego Land, Sea World or San Diego Zoo. The complimentary "Kids for All Seasons" program takes kids aged 4-12 on an afternoon walk to a wildlife preserve to learn about endangered species and conservation. On the way back, they stop at a life-sized teepee for story-telling and games. Post lunch, the activities continue with kite flying, soccer, frisbee, kickball and scavenger hunts. And the proverbial cherry on top? Room service delivers oven-warm cookies and milk at bedtime.

Hotel San Pietro, Amalfi Coast, Italy
This family-owned, five-star hotel is ideal for family travelers who want resort-style accommodation with easy access to Positano. Unlike other hotels in the area, Hotel San Pietro has a private beach, tennis courts and excursion boat. Families with small children will find Hotel San Pietro a welcome respite from the crowds in Positano. The general manager of the hotel makes every effort to accommodate each visiting family with personal touches and family-specific recommendations.

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