Things to Do Before Your Kid Turns 12 can include all kinds of adventures such as flying a kite, hunting for fossils, climbing a tree, building a snowman, cooking a meal for the family (we're still working on this one) and more. When it comes to luxury resorts, under 12 vs. 12 years and older can make a significant difference, especially for longer stays and stays involving charter flights.
Another reason to bring your under 12 child along to the below luxury resorts is that there are complimentary kids' clubs and kid-friendly activities for children to enjoy. Older kids and teens may not get as much out of a family vacation, depending on the destination, how much they miss their friends or how much time they spend online, so build some great family vacation memories while kids are still young.
Here are 5 luxury resorts to visit before your child turns 12:
1. Amanpulo, Pamalican Island, Philippines
If you're seeking the best beach in the world, look no further. Amanpulo, on a private island in the Philippines, has truly powdery white sand that adults and kids alike will love. Thanks to the high silica content, the sand is never too hot on bare feet, even during the middle of the day.
Amanpulo is also arguably the most child friendly Aman Resort, with its own complimentary kids' club, where kids enjoy arts and crafts, and also venture out to plant trees and make pizza.
The best accommodation choice for families is a Palawan Villa with its own private pool (there are 2 bedroom and 4 bedroom Palawan Villas for larger families), although if you don't mind having your child in the same casita with you, the day bed by the window can be turned into a child bed during turndown service.
A child under age 12 may stay free of charge with parents in a Casita, whereas a child age 12 or older is charged $180 + tax per night. Note that for packages such as the Island Escape, kids age 6-11 are charged $30 + tax per day for kids' menu meals, still a bargain compared with the child age 12 and older/ adult pricing of $260 + tax per day for an extra bed and breakfast/dinner meal inclusions.
For the flight to Amanpulo, adults are $495 per person, vs. $295 per child age 2-11 (under 2 lap children complimentary).
Here's my Amanpulo YouTube video:
2. Laucala Private Island, Fiji
Laucala is a private island in Fiji owned by Austrian billionaire and Red Bull founder Dietrich Mateschitz. It's truly a paradise for water loving adults and kids alike, with all water sports within the inner reef (including scuba diving and even the DeepFlight submarine) included in the all-inclusive tariff, which also includes all food, drinks and house beers, wines and spirits. We especially enjoyed the Thai restaurant, which has a Thai chef.
You only pay for special reserve wines/liquor, additional spa treatments beyond your welcome massage, and diving and water sports outside the house reef. Don't miss the iconic “fish tank” pool, which was a favorite of our son's, as well as the sons of a German family we met while we were there.
The tariff for kids ages 3-11, due to the all-inclusive nature of the resort, is $500 + tax per night, and one child above the stated maximum number of adults (2 adults in a 1BR Villa, 4 adults in a 2BR Villa, 6 adults in a 3BR Villa) is permitted in each of the villas, except for the Peninsula “Udu” Villa. Since 1BR Villas start at ~$5000 per night, that's a bargain at roughly a fifth of what an adult pays per night for a 1BR on a double occupancy basis, or a quarter of what an adult pays in a 2BR Villa when occupied by 4 adults. Kids ages 3-11 are also half the adult price for the King Air flight from Nadi to Laucala.
Here's our Laucala YouTube Video:
3. Cheval Blanc Randheli, Maldives
Take kids to Cheval Blanc Randheli, our favorite luxury resort in the Maldives, before kids turn 12. While there's an extra fee of $220 + tax/service per night per child under 12, children age 12 and older and adults are charged an extra $400++ per night, plus the seaplane cost is half price for kids under 12.
Cheval Blanc Randheli offers amazingly spacious and chic stand alone water villas, each with a large private infinity pool (not just the dinky plunge pool you'll find at many other Maldivian water villas, even at luxury resorts), the best Michelin-level fine dining we've ever experienced in the Maldives, authentic Italian cuisine from an Italian chef, great snorkeling (I saw two octopuses when snorkeling), its own tennis island, and extensive spa facilities, also on a separate island. And for kids there's a kids' club with play area, staffed by friendly attendants. They guided the kids in crafts and learning about the Maldivian language and culture, such that our then 8-year old son didn't want to leave.
4. Amanzoe, Greece
Amanzoe is stunning in its architecture and sea views, and at first blush might appear to only be an adult resort. But, while not quite as family friendly as Amanpulo, it has been very popular with some TravelSort Clients with kids in the summer months. That's because it offers a kids' club at the resort's private Beach Club, toddlers' and kids' pool pools at the Beach Club and a toddlers' pool at the resort, kids' menus, and even special junior yoga, kids' tennis lessons, and Watsu therapy in the pool.
There is no extra charge for a child under age 12 to stay in their parents' room, whereas a 12 year old or older child or third adult will be charged $190 + tax per night to stay in the same Pavilion with two other adults.
5. Four Seasons Resorts
Ok, so this is not just one resort, as there are a number of Four Seasons resorts. At most Four Seasons resorts,Ki a child under the age of 18 may stay in his/her parents' room or suite complimentary. But the reason to visit Four Seasons resorts when your child is young is that most resorts offer a complimentary Kids for All Seasons kids' club for children ages 5-12. I'd say the sweet spot is for ages 5-9, although some resorts, such as Four Seasons Orlando, have a “Hideout” game room. Four Seasons Maui at Wailea also has a games room, with board games, billiards, ping pong and video games, and the Four Seasons Punta Mita earlier this year unveiled The Container, a teen space with air hockey, billiards, pool, ping pong, foosball, pinball, Xbox, PlayStation, and virtual reality areas.
The complimentary kids' club program can make a Four Seasons family vacation a true vacation for parents. There's the flexibility for kids to go only to the activities they're interested in and to have fun with other kids, giving parents couples time, while not incurring the additional cost and advance reservations of paid kids' club programs such as at the Ritz-Carlton or other resorts.
Our son particularly enjoyed the Kids for All Seasons kids' clubs at Four Seasons Hualalai, Four Seasons Marrakech, Four Seasons Bali at Jimbaran Bay, Four Seasons Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru, and Four Seasons Bora Bora.
For readers with kids, what have been your favorite luxury resorts to visit with kids under 12?
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