Our family is now in the sweet-spot of resort family travel. At ages 5 and 9, our kids are still young enough to want to hang out with us on vacation, but old enough to participate in active outdoor family adventures. Do you know what else they are (finally) old enough for? Kids’ clubs! Yes my friends, we’ve entered a new chapter in our family travel experiences. Date nights are back. Spa time with my husband on a family vacation is now possible. We grown-ups once again get some time to ourselves.
This is a major change. For years, we have spent our annual family trips to Hawaii tag-teaming massage appointments like a relay race, rushing through expensive resort restaurant meals, and whiling away evenings out on our dark hotel room balcony sipping beers after the kids go to sleep. Call us control freaks, but we never felt totally comfortable with in-room babysitting services. Instead, we decided to wait until our kids were old enough for kids’ clubs.
The Grand Wailea: The Rock
Everything is big at The Grand Wailea. With 780 rooms and suites nestled on 40 acres of incredible beachfront property in Wailea, this Maui luxury hotel is one of our family’s favorites. The Grand Wailea’s big attraction for families is the Wailea Canyon water playground, a 25,700-square-foot water area that has nine pools on six levels. The Grand Wailea’s kids’ club, dubbed The Rock, also is epic; essentially it is a mini resort for kids of all ages. It includes camp for kids ages 5-12, a video arcade, ping pong and foosball tables, a PlayStation room, and a mini movie theater. Teens ages 13-17 even have their own lounge. All kids have access to the new FishPipe, a crazy ride that takes them down a mile-long waterslide on a rotating barrel. (Sorry, youngsters, the ride is only for kids ages 5 and up.) Arts-and-crafts programs and night camp also are available. Prices start at US65/per child for a half-day, US$95/per child for night camp.
Viewfinder Tip: Younger kids can feel overwhelmed with kids’ club for the first time. Request a tour of the facility together with your child, so they can get comfortable with the experience.
Aulani a Disney Resort and Spa: Aunty’s Beach House
On our last visit to Aulani, on Oahu, we could not keep our kids out of the on-site kids’ club, also known as Aunty’s Beach House. My little one loved dressing up in Disney princess dresses and watching Disney movies in the movie room, while my older child enjoyed the interactive game tables and crafts. They both loved the Menehune Musical Mix-Up, an activity that comprised a scavenger hunt through which kids hunted for and learned how to play musical instruments. The best part about Aunty’s Beach House? It’s included in your stay. While you can drop kids off at any point in the day, some experiences are first-come-first-serve, so check the “Iwa, Aulani’s daily activity calendar. Another pointer: Arrive before 8 a.m. to stand in line for those experiences that require pre-registration.
Photo courtesy of Aulani, a Disney Resort and Spa
The St. Regis Princeville Resort: Young Voyager Club
The St. Regis Princeville Resort, on Kauai, rolls out the red carpet for families. A premier destination for family luxury on Kauai, kids ages 5-12 can take a break at St. Regis Princeville’s Young Voyager Club to learn about Hawaiian culture through science and art. In addition to employing certified and experienced child care staff, The Young Voyager Club offers several themed activities. One of the bunch: The Ocean Pulse Young Naturalists program, which gets kids out to explore coral reef ecology at the resort and under a microscope. Prices for the half-day kids’ club experience start at US$49 per child; evening fees are US$69 per kid.
The Hilton Waikoloa Village: Club Keiki
The Hilton Waikoloa Village is a 62-acre, oceanfront playground on the sunny Kohala Coast of Hawaii Island. The kids’ club, Club Keiki, offers different crafts, games, and water activities each day so kids can have new experiences. The club also operates with a different theme every day. Little girls will love the “Party like a Princess,” theme where they can decorate cupcakes, don a tiara, and enjoy a tea party. The “Camping We Will Go,” themed activity allows kids to pitch a camping tent, engage in a night scavenger hunt, play flashlight tag, and roast s’mores. Pricing for Club Keiki is US$60 for the first child and US$45 for each additional child after that.
What are your child’s favorite activities at a resort kids’ club?