“In Hawaii, a family-friendly resort is usually one of two things: A large, amenity-packed mega-resort with kids’ activities and dining options galore or a do-it-yourself, kitchen-equipped condo for longer (albeit no-frills) stays,” says Will Begeny, Senior Editor of Oyster Hotel Reviews. “Our undercover reporters found standouts for both types.”
Many families could happily spend their entire vacation on the grounds of this activity-packed resort. The three sprawling, winding pools have waterfalls, a slide, and a basketball hoop. The lagoon beach ocean is calm enough for family snorkeling. Parents can grab some guilt-free time off by enrolling the kids in the hotel’s twice-weekly, four-hour “Passport to Fun” sessions. And the hotel runs activities like fish feeding and yarn lei-making every day of the week.
The condo-style units in this hotel, which opened in December 2008, are a great choice for families who want to spread out and make themselves at home. The luxurious condo suites have full kitchens with high-end appliances, Bosch washers and dryers, and flat-screen TVs with over 500 digital channels. And guests have access to the oodles of kid-friendly amenities at the adjoining [
With the best kids’ club on the island, wildlife talks in the lobby, and a five-acre pool complex that includes an enormous lazy-river pool, a waterslide, and a saltwater lagoon big enough for kayaking, the Grand Hyatt is unbeatable for keeping kids busy and parents happy. Plus, five of the resort’s 11 restaurants have children’s menus. The only blemish on what’s otherwise a kid’s paradise is the rocky beach, where rough surf makes swimming tough for tots.
While the Kauai Marriott can’t top the Grand Hyatt in most categories, its beach has the Hyatt beat. With soft sands and gentle waves, Kalapaki Beach is excellent for swimming, bodyboarding, and beginner’s surfing. A shallow area is perfect for splashing. When kids tire of salt water, send them to the hotel’s 26,000-square-foot pool, the largest single-level pool in Hawaii. Until the kids’ club reopens in December 2009, the hotel is offering daily family activities like koi-fish feeding and hula lessons.
A new kids’ club and several pools — including a long, twisting waterslide that runs between two of them, plus a separate shallow pool for small children — would together make the Fairmont a strong contender in this category. And the suite-style standard rooms, ranging from 840 to 1,000 square feet, allow the grown-ups to stay up after the kids go to sleep.
The Westin Ka’anapali’s condo-style units, which come equipped with full-size refrigerators, microwaves, stovetops, diswashers, and sinks, are a good choice if you’re traveling to Maui with a large brood and want to save money by preparing your own meals. The pools feature a waterslide, a pirate ship, and a basketball hoop; the resort sits directly on an uncrowded stretch of North Kaanapali Beach; kids under 12 eat free at some of the on-site restaurants; and the kids’ club, for 5- to 12-year-olds, is a reasonable $50.