The World's Best Hotels and Resorts for Families

World's Best Hotels for Families
Photo: Courtesy of Gateway Canyons Resort

The annual family vacation: a chance to make unforgettable memories in far-off places with cherished loved ones. Sometimes, with multiple generations of loved ones. For such a momentous occasion, why not do it in style?

Every year, Travel + Leisure asks readers to rank travel experiences across the globe—to share their opinions on the top hotels, resorts, cities, islands, cruise lines, spas, airlines, and more. Readers taking our World's Best Awards survey even ranked hotels on how well they cater to families, whether for the annual beach vacation, ski trip, or once-in-a-lifetime safari.

Sure, most hotels encourage families to relax, far away from the stress of daily life. But the world's best hotels and resorts for families also offer ample opportunities for "when will I ever get to do this again" moments, like spotting Royal Bengal Tigers while staying at The Oberoi Vanyavilas, or partying poolside with Disney princesses in Hawaii. Whether the guests are tiny tots, jetsetting teens, or parents and grandparents simply looking for a break, these hotels and resorts take extra care to cater to interests of all ages. And, most importantly, they all get an A in the hospitality department.

This year's winners prove that every family's idea of fun is different, evidenced by the vast variety of destinations rounding out the list. The No. 1 winner, Gateway Canyons Resort, is a paradise for adventurous families nestled deep within the Colorado red rocks, while three of the properties provide a scenic, quaint backdrop for a nautical New England trip. Readers still love Hawaii, with repeat favorite Aulani, last year's No. 1 beach hotel winner, earning high marks on this year's list, though there are surprising debuts from Argentina, Scotland, and South Africa taking family travel to a new, luxurious level.

Rest assured, worried parents. Nearly every property featured here has a supervised children's program, loaded with opportunities to tucker the kids out for a good night's sleep before the snorkeling excursion you have planned for the next day.

01 of 15

No. 15 Big Cedar Lodge in Ridgedale, Missouri

World's Best Hotels for Families
Edward C. Robison III/Courtesy of Big Cedar Lodge

Families looking for a rustic escape find paradise in the Ozarks at T+L's No. 1 Hotel in the Midwest. At Big Cedar Lodge, perched atop 4,600 acres with a view of Table Rock Lake, the multigenerational clan can opt for a cozy, private log cabin or exclusive suite (some of which are able to accommodate up to 14 people). Owned by the founder of Bass Pro Shops, the resort's top priority is inspiring guests to experience nature, especially with a visit to its Top of the Rock Ozarks Heritage preserve: nature trails and a cave, restaurants, a golf course, a museum, historical sites, even a bar and wine cellar. The Kid's Adventure Club for guests ages 4 through 12 facilitates archery, games, and a "Kid's Fishing Bonanza."

02 of 15

No. 14 Gleneagles Hotel in Auchterarder, Scotland

World's Best Hotels for Families
Courtesy of Gleneagles Hotel

Gleneagles makes childhood dreams come true: kids who have begged parents for a pony can actually own one for a day, complete with care instructions and a riding lesson. Thanks to its location on 850 acres of Scottish countryside, the property houses three golf courses, 232 rooms and suites (call for special family options and rates), and an abundance of unique amusements for guests of all ages, namely falconry, gundog training, and Argocat driving. Head out on an off-road safari adventure with one of Gleneagles' guides, rent Segways or bikes, and take in the vistas with a nature walk. Youngsters receive a special welcome treat: Arthur—a toy pony—and a book named after the kid's Gleneaglets program.

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No. 13 The Cloister at Sea Island in Georgia

World's Best Hotels for Families
Courtesy of The Cloister at Sea Island

Home to The Georgian Room (one of the best restaurants in the state), The Cloister at Sea Island is the place to be, according to T+L readers—particularly for refined family fun. Before indulging, take a pre-dinner yacht cruise on the vintage Cloister Belle, or delight in a bevy of family activities across the 1,000-acre property, just south of Savannah. Guests, for example, can spot sea turtles at dawn with a special excursion to patrol the nesting areas, don fancy outfits for the resort's famous Bingo night, or horseback ride along the beach. There are plenty of opportunities for relaxation at Sea Island's very own movie theater or the spa (complete with waterfall and garden) while the kids craft tie-dye shirts, go crabbing, or take baking and etiquette classes.

04 of 15

No. 12 Gasparilla Inn in Boca Grande, Florida

World's Best Hotels for Families
Courtesy of Gasparilla Inn

Look no further for Spring Break plans: The Gasparilla Inn, situated on its own namesake peninsula along Florida's Gulf Coast, specializes in them. Kids enjoy endless beach games, laser tag, and sand castle contests, while golf-loving grownups take to the sprawling championship course. Hop on an airboat excursion or a seaplane tour for the full island experience, get centered with paddleboat yoga, or make a splash at the Beach Club's family pool. Seasonal children's programs, a children's playground, and even organized treasure and scavenger hunts await vacationing young guests. Pro-tip: take note of the dress code for the inn's clubs, lobbies, and restaurants before packing.

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No. 11 Llao Llao Hotel & Resort, Golf-Spa in Bariloche, Argentina

World's Best Hotels for Families
Courtesy of Llao Llao Hotel & Resort

Two words: hiker's heaven. Nestled within Argentinean Patagonia, this resort marries the rugged outdoors with modern grandeur. T+L readers recommend booking a studio in the Moreno Wing, which provides idyllic views of nearby Mount Tronador and Lake Moreno. Youngsters spending time at Nanuelito's Club aren't missing out on any of the "adult" activities—kids will yearn for treatments at the on-site spa after repelling, hiking through the woods, canoeing, painting, and even playing musical instruments or learning how to cook. "Pineapple Candy" is just one of the stars on Llao Llao Hotel & Resort's new ice cream menu, sure to please discerning dessert connoisseur of all ages.

06 of 15

No. 10 Weekapaug Inn in Westerly, Rhode Island

World's Best Hotels for Families
Courtesy of Weekapaug Inn

Boasting a robust calendar of daily events and ways to explore Rhode Island's picturesque shoreline, Weekapaug Inn beckons families seeking a peaceful retreat. Days might be spent fishing and boating on Quonochontaug Pond, or bird watching, stargazing, and heading out on a nature walk with the resident naturalist. There are summer clambakes and evenings spent making s'mores by the inn's fire pit—activities that will give travelers of all generations lasting memories of a classic New England vacation. But kids are the real winners here. They have the opportunity to spend time at the inn's sister property, the iconic Ocean House at Watch Hill, via the children's program, SandCastles. Themes change daily, but young guests can expect to participate in scavenger hunts, team building activities, hikes, and even culinary classes.

07 of 15

No. 9 Resort at Squaw Creek, A Destination Hotel in Olympic Valley, California

World's Best Hotels for Families
Courtesy of Resort at Squaw Creek; a Destination Hotel

Situated on 195 acres at the base of popular ski spot, Squaw Valley, with true ski-in and ski-out access, the Resort at Squaw Creek pairs luxury accommodations with an impressive roster of year-round attractions for active families in Lake Tahoe. Kids ages 6—12 get a taste of adulting during a so-called Chillax Session, complete with cucumber eye masks, breathing exercises, and lots of giggles (seriously, it's one of the spa's "rules"). During the summer months, family members can go horseback (or pony) riding, hike nearby trails, or zip down a 120-foot waterslide. On Monday nights, gather the family for a rousing game of FootGolf (the aim is to kick a soccer ball into a large cup in as few moves as possible). Unsurprisingly, winter's the big draw with skiing, snowshoeing, sledding, ice skating, snowmobiling, swimming in the outdoor heated pool, and dog sled tours.

08 of 15

No. 8 andBeyond Kirkman's Kamp in Sabi Sand Game Reserve, South Africa

World's Best Hotels for Families
Courtesy of andBeyond

Also ranked by T+L readers as one of the Best Safari Lodges in Africa, the 18-suite andBeyond Kirkman's Kamp ensures even the youngest guests remember their family's unforgettable safari trip, thanks to the brand's WILDchild program. Upon arrival, each kid receives a bag filled with crayons, pencils, a logbook, and (for added cool-factor), a temporary paw print tattoo. Exclusive private safari vehicles are available for booking—no need to depend on other safari-goers if the little ones need a nap between game drives. The Big Five (lions, leopards, buffalos, elephants, and rhinos) are often spotted wandering the Sabi Sand Game Reserve. Shutterbugs can also enlist the help of the camp's photography experts to capture each momentous sighting.

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No. 7 Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa in Oahu, Hawaii

World's Best Hotels for Families
Jessica Sample

What list of top-rated family resorts would be complete without one of the Disney variety? Though there are no theme park rides to be found at Aulani, magical details are plentiful. Guests can watch movies under the stars (Disney classics, of course), attend pool parties with beloved characters, enjoy storytelling around the campfire, and go on scavenger hunts. And it's absolutely all complimentary. Travel + Leisure readers rave about Aunty's Beach House—the resort's kid's club for guests ages 3 to 12—which keeps children occupied with video games, arts and crafts, a costume closet for dress-up, and more. Grown-ups, meanwhile, can recharge with yoga or a cocktail at the adults-only pool. The whole family (including kids 5 and up) can unwind with an "'Ohana Means Family" massage at Laniwai, which also offers an exclusive retreat just for teens. Paddleboarding, snorkeling at the resort's private reef, and excursions to explore Oahu round out the perfect family vacation.

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No. 5 (tie) Montage Kapalua Bay in Maui, Hawaii

World's Best Hotels for Families
Courtesy of Montage Kapalua Bay

Want to enjoy Maui's crystal blue waters and lush greenery? Book a room at Montage Kapalua Bay. The 24-acre beachfront resort offers a wide range of accommodations for families, including six "grand residences" that sleep 8 to 10 people. Smaller groups can opt for 50 suites (one to four-bedrooms), each equipped with a full kitchen for when a craving for home cooking strikes. Adults escape to the award-winning Spa Montage, or enjoy a romantic dinner at the intimate Cliff House restaurant that overlooks Namalu Bay. Kids, on the other hand, can enjoy themed arts and crafts activities, and games via the on-property children's program, Paintbox. The tots will definitely love collecting souvenirs—"Montage Merit" pins—that commemorate all the activities they partake in while at the resort, like learning to hula, or spotting a sunset. And that's to say nothing of the food and wine tours, luaus, ziplining, hiking, and snorkeling.

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No. 5 (tie) Cottages at the Boat Basin in Nantucket, Massachusetts

World's Best Hotels for Families
Courtesy of The Cottages at The Boat Basin

Sending Fido to the kennel is often a downside to family getaways. Fortunately, there's the pet-friendly Woof Cottage at Nantucket's The Cottages & Lofts at the Boat Basin, where your fur baby can enjoy "doggie turndown" service, a special pet bed, and a welcome bag filled with treats. Take advantage of the hotel's waterfront location by fishing with the kids (complimentary rods, tackle boxes, and bait are available for day use). Don't forget to weigh your catches, because a prize goes to the junior angler who nabs the heaviest fish! During the summer, a "Beach Bus" filled with towels, chairs, games, boogie boards, umbrellas—anything a beachgoing family might need or want—conveniently drops guests off at the beach of their choice. Retreat to comfortable guest rooms, decorated in soft blues and whites, with a few options from the property's DVD library for family movie night.

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No. 4 Wequassett Resort and Golf Club in Harwich, Massachusetts

World's Best Hotels for Families
Courtesy of Wequassett Resort and Golf Club

Find yourself an Adirondack chair and gaze out over sailboat-filled Pleasant Bay before settling into one of Wequassett Resort and Golf Club's two, three, or four-bedroom cottages: perfect for multi-generational trips. In addition to serving as the base for the quintessential Cape Cod beach vacation, this hideaway boasts an extensive children's program. Outside, little ones can explore the nautical-themed "Tot Lot" and children's area, which boasts a pirate ship playground with ramps and slides, water sprays and fountains, and an amphitheater for future thespians. The indoor Children's Center houses a massive 135" HD TV, Xbox 360, Playstation 3, and more ways to pass a rainy day without bothering Mom and Dad. Catch a "Dive-In Movie" at the pool during the summer months, when there are also daily programs available, like game night for teens; swimming, sailing, or tennis lessons; and family fun night. Make sure to grab a sweet treat from the resort's 1950s Good Humor truck.

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No. 3 The Oberoi Vanyavilas in Ranthambhore, India

World's Best Hotels for Families
Courtesy of Oberoi Vanyavilas

This isn't your average family camping trip. Trade the campfire beans for Rajasthani cuisine amidst the mango trees at the ultimate "glamping destination," The Oberoi Vanyavilas. Wake up in one of the property's 25 temperature-controlled luxury tents, complete with a pillow menu for the king-sized, four poster bed, a clawfoot tub, teak floors, lush tiger print rugs, and a private patio and garden. The resort prides itself on offering guests once-in-a-lifetime experiences that promise unparalleled family memories. Spend the day with Royal Bengal Tigers at nearby Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve, explore historic Ranthambhore Fort, and spot endangered crocodiles on a safari along the Chambal River. A myriad of kid-centric experiences are available, including a camel cart ride, the complimentary Young Hotelier's Programme, a behind-the-scenes tour of the property with a primer on how the hotel runs; painting, block printing, and cooking classes; a treasure hunt, and mixology lessons (soft drinks, only!) to name a few.

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No. 2 Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, New York

World's Best Hotels for Families
Jim Smith Photography/Courtesy of Mohonk Mountain House

Skip the hustle of New York City for this 251-room, historic Hudson Valley gem, offering sweeping views of the Catskill mountains. Mohonk Mountain House has been family-owned and operated since 1869, so it's no surprise they do family vacations right (starting with the property's castle-like exterior that will have any kid's jaw dropping upon arrival). While adults quiet their thoughts with a mindfulness workshop or relax with a book at the solarium, the kids reap the benefits of Mohonk's Kids Club. Catering to little ones of all age groups (known as Tykes, Explorers, and Adventurers), the program offers activities from pony rides and playground time to fossil hunts and kite making. Of course, there's seasonal fun like snow-tubing and boat rides. Budding outdoor-enthusiasts will embark on nature walks and identify plants and animals with Mohonk's resident naturalist, and walk away with an official Junior Naturalist Program certificate. During the summer months and select holidays, an evening program featuring ice cream socials and "twilight hikes" allows parents to escape for a romantic dinner together. Once the whole party reconvenes, take a dip in the indoor heated pool or at the resort's very own lake—lifeguard on duty, of course.

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No. 1 Gateway Canyons Resort in Gateway, Colorado

World's Best Hotels for Families
Courtesy of Gateway Canyons Resort

The family that adventures together stays together. Tucked away in Western Colorado's Unaweep Canyon, Gateway Canyons Resort is owned by Discovery Channel founder, John Hendricks. The expansive list of activities on offer gives explorers of all generations the chance to buckle up for an off-road excursion, white-water rafting down the nearby Dolores River, hike the red rocks, snap a selfie from the cockpit of a helicopter, practice skeet shooting and fly-fishing, or even take a "cowboy lesson" at the on-site Palisade Ranch. As a bonus, guests have easy access to some of Colorado and Utah's best national parks—and can ride there in style in one of the property's rental Porsches. Families can opt to stay in the resort's 14 spacious and secluded casitas for that "feels like home" vibe with a luxury twist: Each comes equipped with a fireplace, private deck with fire pit for roasting marshmallows, unmatched canyon views, and—in certain units—an outdoor hot tub and stargazing deck. Fit in a rest day with a desert-themed spa treatment, or a stroll through the Gateway Canyons Auto Museum to admire the craftsmanship of more than 60 rare, classic cars from Hendricks' personal collection.

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