World's Best Family Hotels and Cruises
Published: September 2010
The results of <em>Travel + Leisure</em>’s World's Best Survey are in—don’t travel with kids until you check out our list.
U.S. + Canada
1. Inn at Palmetto Bluff, Bluffton, South Carolina
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Horseback riding, skeet shooting, and hayrides add Texas twang to this compound outside Austin. Doubles from $339.
19. Kiawah Island Golf Resort, South Carolina
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Kohala Coast resort with the only children’s golf course in Hawaii. Doubles from $455.
30. Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa, Hawaii
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
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
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
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
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
Calm compound on the Atlantic that’s the perfect pre- or post- Orlando furlough. Doubles from $310.
36. Tides Inn, Irvington, Virginia
Crabbing, croquet, and kayaking at a 1946 resort on its own river-flanked peninsula. Doubles from $320.
37. Grand Wailea, Maui, Hawaii
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Rocky Mountain mainstay since 1918, with rock climbing, rafting, and much more for families. Doubles from $300.
48. Hilton Waikoloa Village, Big Island, Hawaii
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
1. Esperanza, an Auberge Resort, Los Cabos
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
All-suite beach hideaway with a golf course on the northern Pacific coast. From $319 per person, all-inclusive.
1. Four Seasons Hotel, Dublin
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Belle Époque property on the Via Veneto, minutes from the Spanish Steps. Doubles from $820.
10. Domaine des Hauts de Loire, Loire Valley, France
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.
1. Oberoi Vanyavilas, Ranthambhore, India
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
2. Royal Caribbean International
3. Carnival Cruise Lines
4. Princess Cruises
5. Norwegian Cruise Line
Small-Ship (fewer than 600 passengers)
1. Lindblad Expeditions
2. Cruise West
3. Yachts of Seabourn
4. Windstar Cruises
5. Silversea Cruises
1. Abercrombie & Kent
3. Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection
4. Avalon Waterways
5. Viking River Cruises
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.