FOR CARTOON FANS
Nickelodeon Suites Resort, Orlando, Florida, USA
The resort: This destination hotel is wild and whimsical, yet manages to remain family-focused. The suites have character-based themes – think Spongebob Squarepants and Dora The Explorer wallpaper in the kids’ rooms – and boast kitchens or kitchenettes. Even dining at the resort is exciting, with Nickelodeon characters like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles coming for breakfast and performing special shows.
For the kids: The resort has two massive water parks, featuring 13 slides and flumes, climbing nets, water jets and a kids’ play area. There is even poolside entertainment, in the form of wacky games and even sliming (where someone will get covered in slime).
Away from the pool, young ones can hang out at the 4D Experience Theatre, where they will get to conduct science experiments and play with slime and snow, blow massive bubbles, and enjoy other games.
They can also check out The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Laser Lockdown laser maze, which offers high-tech, interactive gameplay using lasers, mirrors, and haze effects. And then there is Studio Nick, a state-of-the-art theatre offering live shows for kids. Gamers will love the arcade, where they can play new video games and win prizes.
Room rate: From US$169 (S$241) a night for a two-bedroom suite. www.nickhotel.com
FOR LITTLE ROCK STARS
Hard Rock Hotel, Penang, Malaysia
The resort: Located along Batu Ferringhi beach, the trendy resort has a lot going for families. As one would expect of a Hard Rock property, the hotel is adorned with music memorabilia, images and icons. The rooms and suites, while understated, are still glamorous, with their plush bedding, designer furniture and luxury amenities, including a supersized bathtub and Nespresso machine in the suites.
For the kids: The Roxity Kids Suite has everything a “rock star” child could ask for, from a kids’ minibar and books, to soft toys and a Playstation 3. But what your little ones will really love is the pool, the largest free-form one in Malaysia, which boasts water slides and other fun water features.
The Roxity Kids Club is the ultimate hang-out for children aged four to 12. Here, they can take dance and singing lessons, and spend time with colourful musical characters called the Roxtans, who provide the backup for your kids’ performances.
Rock Spa also offers a range of kiddie spa treatments, from the Bubble Gum Body Scrub to Chocolate Sundae Body Mask and Strawberry Foot Massage.
Room rate: From RM670++ (S$218++) a night for the Roxity Kids Suite. penang.hardrockhotels.net
FOR ACTIVE, SPORTY KIDS
Fairmont Resort, Blue Mountains, Sydney, Australia
The resort: Tucked away in the lush, World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains National Park is this charming resort. About a 90-minute drive from Sydney, it’s the perfect mountain escape. The Family Suite has a separate room for parents, with the kids’ beds in the lounge area. The resort also has a few wonderful restaurants and cafes serving gourmet meals made with locally sourced ingredients.
For the kids: Kids four and under will enjoy Playland’s engaging games and rides like push-cars, a ball pit and a jungle gym. For those aged five to 13, there’s Magic Kingdom, with Nintendo Wii consoles and a range of games for hire. Check out the classic arcade games or bowl at Mirror Maze Arcade, or ride the The Fairmont Express and Fairmont Merry-go-round.
To let them experience the Blue Mountains, sign them up for a Segway tour for children aged nine and up. The guides will take them around the property, through the forest and even test your kids’ new Segway skills across varied terrain. Golf-loving youngsters can brush up on their game at the Leura Golf Club’s junior classes.
Room rate: From A$419 (S$418) a night for the Family Suite. www.fairmontresort.com.au
Bali Dynasty Resort, Bali, Indonesia
The resort: Located in the tourist hotspot of South Kuta in Bali, the massive resort has six restaurants, three swimming pools, health and fitness facilities, and a beach club. The Family Garden View Room and Family Studio are spacious, with a partition for privacy.
For the kids: In addition to beach activities, the resort has a special kids’ playground, themed kids’ club with daily programmes, and a dedicated kids’ pool with a 56m Caterpillar Splash water slide and Kids’ Water Fun Zone.
More fun can be had at the resort’s High Flyers Trapeze School. Here, children above five years can join classes that teach them basic and advanced trapeze tricks, including catches and somersaults.
Less adventurous kids can try out the bungee trampoline that lets them bounce up to two metres high. The classes are kept small so that each child can receive the attention he needs to develop his skills. There is also a Circus Workshop, where participants can learn juggling, plate spinning and more.
Room rate: From US$219++ a night for the Family Studio. bdr.pphotels.com
FOR THRILL SEEKERS
Circus Circus, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
The resort: With 3,770 rooms and suites, this expansive resort on the Las Vegas strip is split into various towers, each offering its own accommodation, retail and dining outlets, and entertainment options.
There is no mistaking the carnival atmosphere here. Since 1968, the Circus Circus Big Top has hosted some of the world’s greatest circus acts and, even today, guests can enjoy complimentary performances by aerialists, trapeze artists, and clown comedy shows, among others. Guests can also play more than 200 carnival games.
For kids: The biggest highlight of Circus Circus is the indoor theme park – the largest in the US. Adventuredome Theme Park has something for children of all ages.
For older kids, there is the double-loop, double-corkscrew roller coaster and the El Loco ride, with its exciting twists, turns and drops. Young ones can hop on Miner Mike, a runaway coal train ride, and Thunderbirds, which lets them play pilot in a 1920s-style airplane. There are also bumper-car rides and a pirate-ship “swing”. Other attractions include indoor rock climbing, bungee jumping and a video game arcade.
Room rate: From US$24 on weekdays and US$69 on weekends. www.circuscircus.com
FOR JUNIOR ARTISTS AND CHEFS
Angsana Laguna Resort, Phuket, Thailand
The resort: The sprawling beachfront property on Bangtao Beach features palm-fringed lagoons, expansive parkland, a 323m-long free-form pool and a golf course. The spacious and well-equipped rooms and suites are decked out in a contemporary style with traditional Thai touches. Book your family into the two-bedroom Angsana Loft, where a sunken bathtub, rooftop patio and vast living area await you.
For the kids: The Tree House Kids Club, for kids aged four to 12, has fun activities that aren’t typically offered in resorts – and they all take place in a tree house! If your little ones love arts and crafts, for instance, they can sign up for lessons like Hairband and Hat Making, Animal Puppet Making, Origami and Fancy Mask Making.
For junior chefs, there are cooking classes that teach them to whip up pizzas, cookies and other tasty treats. There is even zumba, yoga, Thai dance and muay thai for children. Bonus: Kids under 12 get to stay, play and dine for free at the resort.
Room rate: From 18,364 baht nett (S$722) a night for the 2-bedroom Angsana Loft. www.angsana.com/en/phuket/
This article was originally published in Simply Her November 2015.