February 19, 2010

A Virtuoso Mother Knows Best

Virtuoso recently published the digital version of the 2010 Best of the Best Hotel Guide. The guide includes the luxury hotels and resorts around the world which not only offer clients of Virtuoso agencies exclusive amenities, such as complimentary upgrades, spa services, food and beverage credits, and airport transfers, to name a few.

Here are some of my favorite recommendations for families:

Fairmont Kea Lani – An all-suite hotel on Maui’s Wailea coast, featuring spacious one bedroom suites and private villas with plunge pools, a family pool with waterslide, and one of the best restaurants on the island.

Virtuoso amenities: Complimentary upgrade based on availability, daily buffet breakfast for two, and an Ohana gift basket.

Esprit Saint Germain – A serene boutique hotel on Paris's Left Bank that strives for a “home away from home” feel, and offers adjoining rooms in their Family Promotion.

Virtuoso amenities: Complimentary upgrade based on availability, daily American breakfast for two, bottle of red or white wine served with assorted French cheeses, baguette, and crackers.

The Goring – A family run boutique hotel in London right next to Buckingham Palace, which offers connecting rooms for families, and special amenities and activities for kids.

Virtuoso amenities: Guaranteed upgrade at time of booking, daily English breakfast for two, Goring jam, fresh flowers, and fruit

Rosewood Little Dix Bay - A low key resort on a beautiful crescent beach in Virgin Gorda, with spacious suites and villas, and one of the best children’s facilities in the Caribbean.

Virtuoso amenities: Complimentary upgrade based on availability, daily buffet breakfast for two, coconut macaroons, fresh flowers, $100 spa credit.

Ritz-Carlton Cancun-
All rooms have ocean views, and three rooms are specially designed for families traveling with infants. Their Mayan Adventures program is fun and educational for children ages 4-12.

Virtuoso amenities: Complimentary upgrade based on availability, daily buffet breakfast for two, $100 food and beverage credit.

For more information, contact Suzette Mack at suzette@family-treks.com.

February 11, 2010

Rustic Luxury on the California Coast

A wonderful gem on the northern California coast is Costanoa Resort. It’s the perfect combination of full service resort (including spa and meeting rooms) and nature retreat. And it’s perfect for families who like to be close to nature, but still want their creature comforts.

Lodging is quiet varied, guests can choose from campsites (bring your own gear) to luxury cabins to traditional hotel rooms. My favorite are the Douglas Fir Cabins, which have a down comforters, fireplaces, and a deck overlooking the coastal hills. Only hotel rooms have private baths, the others share “comfort stations” located throughout the property. And these comfort stations are quite comfortable, with upscale d├ęcor and an outdoor fireplace. In addition to the spa, onsite amenities include a hot tub & swimming pool, firepits, picnic grounds, BBQ facilties, horseback riding, grocery store, and plenty of lawn area for energetic kids to run around and burn off steam. A short walk across the road and down a sandy path leads to a beautiful, quiet beach with great tidepooling. And a Kids Camp is offered on summer weekends for ages 5-12.

The Cascade Bar & Grille serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and I can attest that the food is very good, and made with fresh, organic ingredients. While there isn’t a lot offered in the way of nightlife, there is occasionally live music, Winemaker’s Dinners, and seasonal events.

A large menu of outdoor activities are available, including guided hikes, surfing lessons, cycling, wine tasting, and sea kayaking. Or families can head off on their own to local attractions such as Ano Nuevo State Park, Half Moon Bay, or Santa Cruz, or one of the many public beaches within a 10-20 minute drive. Hiking trails lead from the resort directly into a neighboring state park, or a short drive takes visitors into a redwood forest.

This is an ideal resort for a short family getaway, small group retreat (I stayed there for a Girl Scout mother/daughter weekend) , or as a stopping point on a trip down the California coast. The location is convenient, about 2 hrs from San Jose or San Francisco, and the setting could not be more beautiful.

For more information about planning your next family vacation, contact Suzette Mack at suzette@family-treks.com.