There are hotels we visit to rest our weary heads after a day exploring a destination, and then there are hotels that are the destination. These luxury family resorts provide guests with old-fashioned, luxurious fun, from vintage accommodations to afternoon teas, complimented by sweeping lake, ocean and mountain views.
Written by Lissa Poirot
Timberline Lodge - Timberline, Ore.
Only an hour outside of Portland
, the Timberline Lodge
's awe-inspiring mountain backdrop is just one reason this resort is a luxury hotel. The lodge opened in 1937 and was named a National Historical Site 40 years later, now receiving more than two million visitors per year. Chalet-style accommodations won't feature the luxurious marble bathrooms and goose-down pillow-top comforters found in newer hotels, but the old-fashioned fun is worth it for families: skiing in the winter, hiking in the summer, and enjoying the heated outdoor swimming pool year-round.
The Sagamore - Bolton Landing, N.Y.
Sweeping views of Lake George give this luxury hotel a decidedly Adirondack feel in a Georgian setting. The views are so inspiring, Georgia O'Keeffe and her husband Alfred Stieglitz summered here throughout the 1920's. The Sagamore
houses 381 guestrooms in its main hotel and lodges, with families enjoying the nature trails through pines overlooking the lake, kids' programs, lakeside water fun, such as kayaking and sailing, croquet on the front lawn, biking and more, all on a 70-acre island.
The Broadmoor - Colorado Springs, Colo.
A family favorite and long-time travel award winner, The Broadmoor
is known for its luxurious accommodations and unparalleled service. Majestically standing on a beautifully manicured 3,000-acre property, The Broadmoor offers gorgeous views of the surrounding Colorado mountains and oozes serenity and relaxation. This expansive property has three buildings with 593 guestrooms, 107 suites and 44 cottage bedrooms, as well as three championship golf courses, six tennis courts (with available tennis lessons), 18 restaurants and 25 retail shops. And although The Broadmoor showcases its colorful history, it's still up-to-date with flat-screen TVs, wireless internet and fresh furnishings. Families appreciate the Summer Bee Bunch Camp for kids and all the thoughtful amenities that are standard at this truly grand property.
Omni Mount Washington Resort - Bretton Woods, N.H.
Since the turn of the 20th century, the Omni Mount Washington Resort
has welcomed families to its 3,500-acre property, which is surrounded by 800,000 more acres (yes, 800,000!) of beautiful White Mountain National Forest. Choose from the grand resort, the Omni Bretton Arms Inn
, or the ski-in/out Lodge at Bretton Woods
, all of which were renovated to the tune of $80 million in recent years. Four pools (three indoor and one outdoor), kids' programs, 101 ski trails and glades, mountain biking, an equestrian center and more keep families entertained year-round.
Congress Hall - Cape May, N.J.
is best known for its quaint bed-and-breakfast accommodations, but anyone who's ever visited will tell you they'd like to stay at Congress Hall
, hence why it made our list of luxury family resorts. The stately building opened nearly two centuries ago, in 1816, as one of America's first seaside resorts. The hotel has welcomed several U.S. Presidents, including Ulysses S. Grant and James Buchanan, as well as a slew of renovations. The hotel's rooms and suites are decidedly modern, with beach dÃƒÂ©cor, free Wi-Fi and flat-screen TVs, but other areas of the hotel, such as The Blue Pig Tavern (which offers kids' meals), still maintain a yesteryear charm.
The Dolder Grand - Zurich, Switzerland
The name is ever-so-fitting, but the structure and location truly define The Dolder Grand
's fairytale-like splendor and why it made our list of luxury family resorts. Set atop a forested hill in Zurich
, the hotel has been in existence since 1889, when it opened as a "curhaus" (health spa). Today, it still features a state-of-the-art spa, along with two onsite restaurants (with kid-friendly meals), museum-appropriate artwork and 173 luxurious rooms and suites. It might be best-known for its open-air ice-skating rink, however, which draws visitors with reasonable rates (free to hotel guests), hot chocolate, music and lights. Summertime brings opportunities to sunbathe and swim in the Dolder Bad, a giant swimming pool accompanied by a smaller kids' pool.
The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay - Half Moon Bay, Calif.
Set atop coastal cliffs that overlook the Pacific (and located just over 30 miles south of San Francisco
), The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay
stuns every family who visits it. Fishing, surfing and sunbathing opportunities are a major draw to the resort, which offers 261 luxurious rooms and suites -- many with floor-to-ceiling windows and stone fireplaces -- and private dining options. Ritz Kids programs provide activities for children during the day, such as arts and crafts and board games, along with special teen and nighttime programs. Together, families enjoy the resort's Colony Club pool, ocean-side fire pit (and making S'mores!), hiking, biking, golf and tennis.
Inn on Biltmore Estate - Asheville, N.C.
Located on Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina
, which encompasses 8,000 acres, the Biltmore House is the largest home in America, originally designed for George Washington Vanderbilt II. Surrounded by beautiful countryside and majestic mountains, the estate is an unsurpassed outdoor playground for families looking to have fun with activities like biking, hiking, horseback riding, river rafting, kayaking and fly fishing. Those looking for a refined, genuine experience will appreciate tours of the Inn on Biltmore Estate
(including the onsite winery), walks in the beautiful gardens (especially in the spring when the tulips are in bloom), and shopping and dining opportunities. After a day of exploration, treat your family to a stay at the Inn on Biltmore Estate; it's the only hotel inside the gates.
Mohonk Mountain House - New Paltz, N.Y.
Nestled in the Hudson River Valley
's Shawangunk Mountains and situated amid 8,000 acres of nature preserve, this National Historic Landmark has welcomed five presidents, along with families seeking a relaxing retreat -- hence making our list of luxury family resorts. Nine adjoining buildings of various facades and heights house 259 guest rooms and suites in various configurations. Families can hike more than 85 miles of trails and go horseback riding, cross-country skiing and ice skating. Kids programs are offered during the summer, when families will also enjoy ice cream sundae socials, campfires and dance parties. An added bonus: the Mohonk Mountain House
is all-inclusive, and regularly offers packages and discounts.
Stowe Mountain Lodge - Stowe, Vt.
What resembles a traditional Rocky Mountain ski chalet can actually be found in the Green Mountains of Vermont, where traditional New England charm seeps into every room. Stowe Mountain Lodge
has grown to include 312 rooms, furnished with indigenous materials, such as Vermont birch and marble from neighboring Lake Champlain
. Of course, hiking and biking through the colorful fall foliage make the resort popular during the fall, but families especially flock to the resort in the winter, as it offers ski-in/ski-out access to Stowe Mountain Resort
. Just down the road is the intimate village of Stowe
, with offers quaint restaurants and shops.
The Greenbrier - White Sulphur Springs, W.V.
In 2007, The Greenbrier
received a $50 million renovation, and in 2010, it saw the addition of a casino. Still, it maintains grand-dame status, and is listed as a National Historic Landmark. Families have actually been visiting the resort since 1778, when the area's healing sulphur springs (hence the town's name) beckoned them away from city life in Washington, D.C.
Today, you can book traditional rooms, one- to three-bedroom suites, cottages and houses, many with front porches to truly enjoy the view, followed by horseback riding, mountain biking and hiking. Kids' programs and even falconry lessons are also offered, along with all-inclusive packages.
The Grand Hotel - Mackinac Island, Mich.
This grand dame has welcomed families to timeless Mackinac Island
since 1887, making a famous appearance in the 1970's classic, "Somewhere in Time." Bicycles and horse-drawn carriages are primary forms of transportation, as no cars are permitted on the island, and no two of the hotel's 385 rooms are decorated alike. Open only from May through October, The Grand Hotel
is nicknamed "America's Summer Place," and still requires evening wear in all areas of the hotel after 6:30 p.m. -- just another reason why it made our list of luxury family resorts. That doesn't mean it's not family friendly though -- all-inclusive rates, children's programs, games, swimming, tennis, croquet, and more are all for the taking.
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