3 Hotels with Unbeatable Family-Friendly Amenities
Upgrade your family vacation with horseback riding, water slides, or a bedtime butler
The 40-acre beachfront Waldorf Astoria Resort recently unveiled a $70 million refresh, and with it came the pool amenity we never knew we needed: a 262-foot “Lava Tube,” their three-story slide that takes 14 seconds to zoom through (pro tip: a fresh slick of sunscreen on your back can increase your speed). Don’t be surprised to see kids and adults alike go back for repeat rides (assuming they’re at least four feet tall). Elsewhere on the property there are five other slides, a 25,700-square-foot pool for all ages, a Tarzan pool with a rope swing, a sand beach adjacent to one of the other pools, and the world’s first water elevator, built for the original owner’s handicapped son. If you need some R&R sans kids—there’s an on-site camp for children ages 5–12—try the adults-only Hibiscus Pool or the popular swim-up bar. Cheers to keeping kids occupied.
Doubles from $689/night
Turtle Bay is the only resort on the surf-happy North Shore, and they have the hydrophilic programming to match. Their latest is HorSea Yoga ($89), an hourlong yoga session done on horseback on the sand. It’s all about balance, body awareness—and sure, the Instagram. It’s available for anyone age 7 and up, but the younger set can still groom, feed, and ride horses through the hotel’s Pony Experience. If your clan prefers to be in the water, hop on a surfboard or stand-up paddleboard with instructor and North Shore native Rocky and his group of surfing dogs, like Kahuna (pictured), from the Hawaiian Humane Society. The shred sessions last 30–120 minutes and are open to all ages.
Doubles from $349/night
For those times when carting everyone to a restaurant or getting them to focus on family game night seem too complicated, this Portland hotel sends out a Bedtime Butler four or five nights a week from 7 to 9 p.m. to deliver a cart of treats for kids (cocoa, cookies, and books) and nightcaps for adults (liqueurs, hot tea, and aromatherapy). The fun is the unpredictability: You can’t “order” the service, but the butler will visit rooms at random in the evening hours. It’s a perfect way to convince your kids it’s worth it to stay put. RiverPlace also offers tents by request for an indoor campout year-round for ages 3 to 8. The amenity includes a floor cushion, teddy bear, sleeping bag, and campfire-shaped nightlight. It’s free, and it also frees up precious bed space so you don’t have to contend with kicky legs.
Doubles from $175/night