World's Best Family Hotels and Cruises

World's Best Family Hotels and Cruises

World's Best Family Hotels and Cruises
Buff Strickland
World's Best Family Hotels and Cruises
Buff Strickland
The results of Travel + Leisure’s World's Best Survey are in—don’t travel with kids until you check out our list.

U.S. + Canada
The Caribbean + Bermuda
Mexico
Central + South America
Europe
Asia
Africa + the Middle East
Top Cruise Lines for Families

U.S. + Canada

1. Inn at Palmetto Bluff, Bluffton, South Carolina

Score: 97.90
Plantation-style cottages and a Jack Nicklaus golf course at a low-country retreat that’s a popular spot for family reunions. Two-bedroom villas from $1,300.

2. WaterColor Inn & Resort, Santa Rosa Beach, Florida

Score: 96.00
New Urbanist vacation rentals and a David Rockwell–designed inn on the Florida Panhandle, tucked between a dune lake and a stretch of glittering sand. Doubles from $325.

3. Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, Lake Buena Vista, Florida

Score: 95.87
Safari lodge near the theme park on a 33-acre African grasslands–style preserve where zebras, giraffes, and gazelles roam free. Doubles from $375.

4. Disney’s Beach Club Resort, Lake Buena Vista, Florida

Score: 94.65
Blue-shingled spread with the feel of a historic hotel, offering direct access to shipwreck-themed Stormalong Bay water park and free transportation to Disney World. Doubles from $465.

5. Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, Lake Buena Vista, Florida

Score: 94.51
Woodsy Arts and Crafts–style compound inside Disney’s Magic Kingdom with a geyser that gushes on Old Faithful’s schedule. Doubles from $375.

6. Sanctuary at Kiawah Island, South Carolina

Score: 94.47
Golf-centric resort (five courses, four with family tees) where activities range from beachcombing to butterfly walks. Doubles from $435.

7. Disney’s Boardwalk Inn & Villas, Lake Buena Vista, Florida

Score: 94.32
Nostalgic take on a seaside village, complete with carnival games, jugglers, and a boardwalk-edged lake. Doubles from $475.

8. Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, Anaheim, California

Score: 93.27
Disneyland’s crown jewel has its own entrance to California Adventure, getting you into the park a full hour before the crowds. Doubles from $395.

9. Disney’s Yacht Club Resort, Lake Buena Vista, Florida

Score: 93.23
Porthole mirrors and crisp striped curtains evoke a nautical mood at this lakeside resort in Disney World. Doubles from $465.

10. Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch, Avon, Colorado

Score: 92.68
Majestically scaled lodge on Beaver Mountain with ski nannies who will shepherd your brood to the slopes while you decompress with a private yoga lesson. Doubles from $779.

11. Four Seasons Resort Hualalai at Historic Kaupulehu, Big Island, Hawaii

Score: 92.63
Ocean-view bungalows, plus a tricked-out teen lounge and baby-proofed rooms for guests with infants. Doubles from $655.

12. The Homestead, Hot Springs, Virginia

Score: 92.26
Great Value A 1902 white-columned classic in the Allegheny Mountains with an equestrian center, fly-fishing, and a spring-fed indoor pool. Doubles from $185.

13. Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa, Hawaii

Score: 92.09
Thrills for all ages, from a 150-foot winding waterslide to a Robert Trent Jones Jr.–designed golf course on an oceanside cliff. Doubles from $540.

 

14. Disney’s Polynesian Resort, Lake Buena Vista, Florida

 

Score: 92.03
Tiki-themed expanse: a four-story “volcano” feeds the pool and luaus take place nightly. Doubles from $510.

15. Whiteface Lodge, Lake Placid, New York

Score: 92.00
Nouveau Adirondacks great camp with its own ice-skating rink and bowling alley. Doubles from $477.

16. Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, Lake Buena Vista, Florida

Score: 91.97
Lagoon-side grande dame with windows overlooking Cinderella’s Castle, on the Magic Kingdom monorail loop. Doubles from $575.

17. Four Seasons Resort, Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Score: 91.67
Ski-in, ski-out lodge at the base of Jackson Hole Mountain, with year-round active adventures (from rafting to geocaching). Doubles from $275.

18. Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort & Spa, Lost Pines, Texas

Score: 91.58
Horseback riding, skeet shooting, and hayrides add Texas twang to this compound outside Austin. Doubles from $339.

19. Kiawah Island Golf Resort, South Carolina

Score: 91.25
Great Value Five hundred vacation villas that share the same barrier island and amenities as the Sanctuary (No. 6). Villas from $205.

20. Vail Cascade Resort & Spa, Colorado

Score: 91.00
Right outside downtown Vail, with the area’s biggest fitness facility and a chairlift servicing Vail Mountain. Doubles from $349.

21. Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando, Florida

Score: 90.82
Fanciful Italian-themed resort (a waterslide modeled on a Roman aqueduct; arias performed on balconies) that is a quick water-taxi ride from Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. Doubles from $304.

22. The Greenbrier, White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia

Score: 90.77
Great Value Dress for dinner at this Georgian beauty in the Allegheny Mountains, home to an off-road driving school and a former top-secret Cold War bunker. Doubles from $249.

23. Cloister at Sea Island, Sea Island, Georgia

90.67
Beloved by generations of well-heeled Southerners, a 1928 Mediterranean-style spread with three pools, an ice cream parlor, a tennis club, and a movie theater. Doubles from $395.

24. Sandpearl Resort, Clearwater, Florida

Score: 90.50
The most sophisticated digs in this part of the Gulf Coast, with citrus-hued rooms and apartment-like suites. Doubles from $379.

25. The Breakers, Palm Beach, Florida

Score: 90.42
A 1926 Italian Renaissance–inspired icon with newly redesigned suites and family-pleasing pool bungalows. Doubles from $499.

 

26. Hawk’s Cay Resort, Duck Key, Florida

 

Score: 90.13
Breezy West Indian–style villas and family rooms, an on-site dolphin program, and a full menu of aquatics for teens, including sailing lessons and reef dives. Doubles from $399.

27. Pelican Hill, Newport Beach, California

Score: 90.00
On 504 acres, sprawling Pacific-facing bungalows and villas, as well as an indoor-outdoor kids’ club. Doubles from $495.

27. Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek, Dallas

Score: 90.00
Gracious peach-colored hotel in a leafy residential neighborhood, plus a driver at the ready to whisk you to area destinations. Doubles from $595.

29. Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows, Big Island, Hawaii

Score: 89.74
Kohala Coast resort with the only children’s golf course in Hawaii. Doubles from $455.

30. Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa, Hawaii

Score: 89.73
Free-form pools and a shallow, sand-bordered lagoon by day; sky-gazing with an on-site astronomer by night. Doubles from $394.

30. Westin La Cantera Resort, San Antonio, Texas

Score: 89.73
Oasis with a clay-tiled roof on a mesquite- and live oak–covered plateau 30 minutes from the historic downtown. Doubles from $279.

32. La Costa Resort & Spa, Carlsbad, California

Score: 89.71
Immensely appealing for both kids (playroom, water park, and Guitar Hero–equipped teen center) and parents (43,000-square-foot spa and holistic center founded by Deepak Chopra). Doubles from $429.

33. Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, Big Island, Hawaii

Score: 89.57
On one of Hawaii’s best stretches of sand, where Keiki Club members can build sandcastles and go on beach scavenger hunts. Doubles from $450.

34. Four Seasons Resort Whistler, British Columbia

Score: 89.47
At the base of Blackcomb Mountain, with the biggest rooms in town and ski concierges to wax your boards and warm your boots. Doubles from $385.

35. Disney’s Vero Beach Resort, Florida

Score: 89.38
Calm compound on the Atlantic that’s the perfect pre- or post- Orlando furlough. Doubles from $310.

36. Tides Inn, Irvington, Virginia

Score: 89.33
Crabbing, croquet, and kayaking at a 1946 resort on its own river-flanked peninsula. Doubles from $320.

37. Grand Wailea, Maui, Hawaii

Score: 89.27
Mega-resort where everything is outsize—a 20,000-square-foot kids’ club; nine pools on six levels, with the world’s first water elevator. Doubles from $429.

 

38. Loews Lake Las Vegas Resort, Henderson, Nevada

 

Score: 89.23
Great Value Laid-back lakeside spread that’s only 30 minutes (via free shuttle) from the action on the Strip. Doubles from $189.

39. Fairmont Kea Lani, Maui, Hawaii

Score: 89.13
Spacious suites and villas, and the Hawaiian Canoe Experience—learn to paddle like a pro and sing native chants. Doubles from $399.

40. Samoset Resort, Rockport, Maine

Score: 89.09
Seasonal hotel on Maine’s mid-coast favored by New England’s old guard for more than a century. Doubles from $299.

41. Ritz-Carlton, Naples, Florida

Score: 89.07
High-service Gulf Coast getaway—one of Ritz-Carlton’s flagships—with a pioneering marine-biology program for kids. Doubles from $549.

42. Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort & Spa, San Antonio, Texas

Score: 89.05
A stone’s throw from SeaWorld, with activities that include Iron Chef–inspired family cook-offs. Doubles from $350.

43. Kahala Hotel & Resort, Oahu, Hawaii

Score: 88.97
Surfing and paddleboarding lessons are complimentary for all ages, but the iconic blue-tile pool remains the center of the action. Doubles from $515.

44. Montage Laguna Beach, California

Score: 88.75
On a plateau overlooking the Pacific; a new summer program for teens includes beach volleyball, movies, and plein-air painting. Doubles from $695.

44. Villas of Grand Cypress, Orlando, Florida

Score: 88.75
Just down the street from Disney World, a golf resort with a summer academy that accommodates kids as young as five. Doubles from $475.

46. Park Hyatt Aviara (formerly Four Seasons Resort Aviara), San Diego

Score: 88.57
Spanish-colonial getaway with open-air living rooms that make the ideal crash pads after a busy day at nearby Legoland. Doubles from $395.

46. The Broadmoor, Colorado Springs

Score: 88.57
Rocky Mountain mainstay since 1918, with rock climbing, rafting, and much more for families. Doubles from $300.

48. Hilton Waikoloa Village, Big Island, Hawaii

Score: 88.53
Navigate this splashy playland on Waiulua Bay via mahogany canal boat or air-conditioned tram. Doubles from $299.

49. Loews Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Orlando, Florida

Score: 88.52
Guests at this South Pacific–inspired property get front-of-the-line access to Universal attractions. Doubles from $274.

50. Sea Pines Resort, Hilton Head, South Carolina

Score: 88.50
Bustling island vacation community with a peppermint-striped lighthouse as its centerpiece. Doubles from $259.

 

The Caribbean + Bermuda

 

1. Hotel Guanahani & Spa, St. Bart’s

Score: 96.00
Creole-style cottages reopening Dec. 15 after a $6 million renovation that will add two family suites. Doubles from $784.

2. Tucker’s Point Hotel & Spa, Bermuda

Score: 94.29
A favorite of the golf and tennis crowd, on the island’s largest private pink-sand beach. Doubles from $590.

3. Beaches Negril Resort & Spa, Jamaica

Score: 91.11
All-inclusive island extravaganza where teens can learn to spin vinyl at a DJ academy and Sesame Street characters show up for meet-and-greets. Adults from $469 per person per night, $105 for children ages 2–16.

4. Beaches Turks & Caicos Resort Villages & Spa, Providenciales

Score: 90.80
Four distinctive themed enclaves (including the new all-suite “Italian” village) share a 45,000-square-foot water park and a 21-and-under nightclub. Adults from $518 per person per night, $105 for children ages 2–16.

5. Jamaica Inn, Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Score: 90.00
The antithesis of the island’s all-inclusive mega-resorts, a 47-suite respite on a private beach. Doubles from $479.

5. Nisbet Plantation Beach Club, Nevis

Score: 90.00
Wicker-furnished cottages on a palm-fringed 18th-century former sugar plantation. Doubles from $656, including breakfast and dinner.

7. Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

Score: 88.16
The launchpad for the Ambassadors of the Environment by Jean-Michel Cousteau program, offering everything from underwater photography to moonlit snorkeling. Doubles from $599.

8. Grand Cayman Beach Suites, Cayman Islands

Score: 87.62
Right on Seven Mile Beach, with diving, snorkeling, catamaran sailing, and a nine-hole Jack Nicklaus golf course for landlubbers. Doubles from $650.

9. Playa Linda Beach Resort, Aruba

Score: 86.67
Time-share property on a stretch of white sand with apartment-like accommodations for weeklong stays. Studios from $305.

10. Rio Mar Beach Resort & Spa—A Wyndham Grand Resort, Puerto Rico

Score: 86.06
The Atlantic in front; El Yunque rain forest out back; and three pools, two golf courses, and 13 tennis courts in between. Doubles from $529.

 

Mexico

 

1. Esperanza, an Auberge Resort, Los Cabos

Score: 94.44
On the Sea of Cortés, a luxe Cabo compound (kids are allowed in villas only) with an expanded spa. Doubles from $675.

2. Barceló Maya Beach, Riviera Maya

Score: 89.41
Five hotels on a white-sand beach, plus more than 37,000 square feet of pools and water-park features. Doubles from $314, all-inclusive.

3. Ritz-Carlton, Cancún

Score: 89.38
Refined Atlantic-facing rooms, and all-inclusive meals and snacks for the 12-and-under set for just $39 a day. Doubles from $469.

4. Four Seasons Hotel México, Mexico City

Score: 89.33
Central location and the city’s largest standard rooms; borrow a retro urban cruiser bike by Paul Frank. Doubles from $415.

5. Meliá Cabo Real All-Inclusive Beach & Golf Resort, Los Cabos

Score: 88.57
For clans looking to laze around a lagoon-like pool but who still want some on-site action (a rock-climbing wall and a zipline across a white-sand beach). Doubles from $400, all-inclusive.

Central + South America

1. Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge, Peru

Score: 91.25
The only hotel adjacent to the ruins, with guided treks to hot springs and hidden jungle temples. Doubles from $1,022.

1. Palacio Duhau – Park Hyatt, Buenos Aires

Score: 91.25
A 1930’s-era palace evoking a bygone Buenos Aires, from chandeliers in guest rooms to tango lessons in a boiserie-paneled salon. Doubles from $505.

3. Llao Llao Hotel & Resort, Golf-Spa, Bariloche, Argentina

Score: 90.44
Classic lodge in the midst of mountains and lakes in Patagonia’s Nahuel Huapi National Park. Doubles from $396, including breakfast and some activities.

4. Los Sueños Marriott Ocean & Golf Resort, Playa Herradura, Costa Rica

Score: 90.35
Central America’s largest pool and a kids’ club with a 10-hour itinerary that includes water polo. Doubles from $289.

5. Paradisus Playa Conchal, Guanacaste, Costa Rica

Score: 90.00
All-suite beach hideaway with a golf course on the northern Pacific coast. From $319 per person, all-inclusive.

 

Europe

 

1. Four Seasons Hotel, Dublin

Score: 93.75
Great Value Big rooms with views of the Royal Dublin Society showgrounds; kids can try out the on-loan hurling sticks and scooters at nearby Herbert Park. Doubles from $225.

2. Grand Hotel Majestic – Gia Baglioni, Bologna, Italy

Score: 92.73
Fifteenth-century landmark with Venetian furnishings and frescoed ceilings located near the kid-pleasing Ferrari, Ducati, and Lamborghini museums. Doubles from $549.

2. San Clemente Palace & Resort, Venice

Score: 92.73
Monastery turned hotel that now has a spa and pitch-and-putt golf—plus a motorboat to whisk you to Piazza San Marco. Doubles from $320, including breakfast.

4. Palazzo Sasso, Ravello, Italy

Score: 92.50
Dramatic Amalfi Coast villa with two rooftop Jacuzzis and a year-old beach club. Doubles from $515, including breakfast.

5. Mount Juliet Estate, Thomastown, County Kilkenny, Ireland

Score: 92.00
Elegant country estate where kids can take lessons in horseback riding, fishing, and golf. Doubles from $360.

6. Marbella Club Hotel, Golf Resort & Spa, Marbella, Spain

Score: 90.67
Former prince’s residence in Andalusia, with a private, sun-bed-dotted beach and a not-to-be missed buffet lunch. Doubles from $550.

7. Hotel Splendido, Portofino, Italy

Score: 90.00
Board the property’s 36-foot Chris-Craft motorboat for a cruise along the Italian Riviera. Doubles from $941, including breakfast.

8. Olissippo Lapa Palace, Lisbon

Score: 89.33
Palm-shaded outdoor pool and a bird’s-eye view of the city’s red-tile roofs. Doubles from $472, including breakfast.

9. Regina Hotel Baglioni, Rome

Score: 89.23
Belle Époque property on the Via Veneto, minutes from the Spanish Steps. Doubles from $820.

10. Domaine des Hauts de Loire, Loire Valley, France

Score: 88.24
Great Value Families can opt for connecting rooms in this château’s carriage house—then hit the hedge-bordered pool or tour nearby Chaumont-sur-Loire castle. Doubles from $168.

 

Asia

 

1. Oberoi Vanyavilas, Ranthambhore, India

Score: 98.18
Daily rides on two resident elephants are one highlight at this luxurious tented compound bordering a tiger reserve. Doubles from $875.

2. Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay, Bali, Indonesia

Score: 95.39
Thatched-roof villas with open-air living rooms and plunge pools; for kids, a new infinity pool and lessons in Balinese dance. Doubles from $780.

3. Oberoi Rajvilas, Jaipur, India

Score: 95.00
Puppet shows based on Rajasthani folktales keep kids busy while parents pamper themselves with ayurvedic treatments at the spa. Doubles from $655.

4. Rambagh Palace, Jaipur, India

Score: 93.85
Marble-floored, mosaic-filled former maharajah’s residence surrounded by polo fields and fountain-dotted formal gardens. Doubles from $627, including breakfast.

5. Oberoi Amarvilas, Agra, India

Score: 93.18
Views of the Taj Mahal from every room and lots of activities guaranteed to keep the little ones busy (including classes in kite-flying and folk dance). Doubles from $655.

6. Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore

Score: 92.31
Opulence on 15 acres in the Orchard Road shopping and business district, a quick drive from the new Universal Studios Singapore. Doubles from $330.

7. Oberoi Udaivilas, Udaipur, India

Score: 92.00
Nouveau Indian palace on 30 acres in the regal Rajasthani city, with boat cruises on Lake Pichola. Doubles from $655.

8. Discovery Shores, Boracay, Philippines

Score: 90.59
On a tiny island known for powder-white-sand beaches; kids learn the Filipino versions of hopscotch and tag and climb up a bamboo pole in a popular local game known as palosebo. Doubles from $400.

9. Sofitel Legend Metropole, Hanoi, Vietnam

Score: 89.41
Old Quarter hot spot that just emerged last year from a four-year renovation; the entire family can join in cooking classes, which start at the local market and end in the hotel kitchen. Doubles from $265.

10. Leela Palace Kempinski Udaipur, Rajasthan, India

Score: 89.23
Sandstone-hued splendor on Lake Pichola with a supervised kids’ buffet and play zone during Sunday brunch. Doubles from $715.

 

Africa + the Middle East

 

1. Fairmont Mara Safari Club, Masai Mara, Kenya

Score: 96.67
Spot river-bathing hippos and crocodiles from one of 50 tents abutting the Masai Mara National Reserve, then jump into a Toyota Land Cruiser for a nighttime game drive. Doubles from $489.

2. Tortilis Camp, Amboseli, Kenya

Score: 95.39
Snowcapped Kilimanjaro looms over 17 cushy tents and grounds where elephants roam. Doubles from $970, all-inclusive.

3. Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa, Cape Town, South Africa

Score: 93.85
Crisply updated rooms and an edge-of-the-world setting on the rocky Atlantic coast. Doubles from $695, including breakfast.

4. Royal Livingstone, Victoria Falls, Zambia

Score: 92.73
Colonial-style rooms on the banks of the Zambezi River; guests can take part in socially responsible initiatives, such as helping local women tie-dye textiles for sale. Doubles from $934.

5. Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club, Nanyuki, Kenya

Score: 92.63
Actor William Holden’s manicured mountaintop haven now lures active families for horseback riding, fishing, and morning game walks in the private reserve. Doubles from $299.

6. Singita Kruger National Park, Kruger National Park, South Africa

Score: 91.43
Two lavish lodges—treetop suites or riverside rooms on stilts, along with twice-daily game drives and kids’ safaris with tracking tutorials. Families with children under 10 must rent out an entire lodge. From $1,423 per person, all-inclusive.

7. Serengeti Sopa Lodge, Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

Score: 91.11
Game drives depart twice daily from this friendly, low-key retreat on the plains. Doubles from $450, including meals.

8. Singita Sabi Sand, Sabi Sand Game Reserve, South Africa

Score: 91.00
Private outdoor showers and well-stocked wine cellars, plus photography-focused safaris led by renowned wildlife lensman Adrian Steirn and cultural outings to a nearby village to share meals with locals. From $1,500 per person per night, all-inclusive.

9. Bateleur Camp at Kichwa Tembo Camp, Masai Mara, Kenya

Score: 90.83
All the romance of 1920’s Africa, with Masai storytelling for kids and lessons in tracking wild game. Doubles from $400, including meals and some activities.

10. Royal Malewane, Kruger National Park, South Africa

Score: 90.00
Twenty guests max at this refined bush camp with pull-out-all-the-stops suites (Persian carpets and claw-foot tubs). Families with children under 12 must rent out the entire spread. Doubles from $1,333, all-inclusive.

 

Top Cruise Lines for Families

 

Large-Ship (600 or more passengers)

1. Disney Cruise Line
Score: 96.35

2. Royal Caribbean International
Score: 83.14

3. Carnival Cruise Lines
Score: 80.59

4. Princess Cruises
Score: 76.64

5. Norwegian Cruise Line
Score: 74.49

Small-Ship (fewer than 600 passengers)

1. Lindblad Expeditions
Score: 86.90

2. Cruise West
Score: 81.00

3. Yachts of Seabourn
Score: 61.85

4. Windstar Cruises
Score: 60.00

5. Silversea Cruises
Score: 56.23

River Cruising

1. Abercrombie & Kent
Score: 87.37

2. Tauck
Score: 76.15

3. Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection
Score: 68.33

4. Avalon Waterways
Score: 65.71

5. Viking River Cruises
Score: 64.33

Methodology: Rankings are based on reader evaluations collected in Travel + Leisure’s 2010 World’s Best Awards survey. Respondents rated hotels on how well they cater to families. Scores are indexed averages of responses, rounded to the nearest hundredth of a point; in the event of a true tie, properties share the same ranking. For full survey details, visit TravelandLeisure.com/worldsbest/methodology.

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