Top 10 family hotels in the Caribbean
For dreamy days spent swimming in sparkling crystalline waters and lazing on sugar-white sand beaches beneath gently swaying palms, the Caribbean has it covered. We check out the top 10 family hotels in the Caribbean for fabulously fun-filled family vacations, all promising outstanding activities for kids and parents.
10. Sunset Beach Resort and Waterpark, Jamaica
What: Spectacularly set on three pristine white sand beaches at Montego Bay, this all-inclusive resort offers an awe-inspiring combination of activities, amenities and attractions. There are 430 newly-refurbished guestrooms tempting with chic Caribbean décor as well as three freshwater swimming pools, a giant Jacuzzi, six sleek bars and four gourmet restaurants serving international and local delicacies.
Best for kids: The adrenalin-pumping Pirates Paradise Waterpark thrills with two 35-foot high waterslides, a Caribbean pirate ship, two elevated whirlpools, the Blackbeard's Lazy River and the Pirate's Plank Bridge. There are two kids’ clubs; Club Mongoose caters for children aged two to 12 years whilst the Pirates’ Cove Teen center keeps 13-19-year-olds amused with pool tables, arcade games and discos.
Best for parents: Book an indulgent signature seaside massage treatment in the spa, work out at the fitness center, enjoy premium-branded cocktails in six bars, and organise a babysitter for late-night partying at the Tamarind Lounge. There are four championship floodlit tennis courts, basketball, mini-golf, non-motorized watersports (paddleboats, sunfish sailboats, snorkeling and kayaking) and nightly live entertainment including fashion shows, BBQ’s and themed parties. Scuba diving, glass-bottom boat rides and parasailing are also available at an extra charge.
More information and to book: Sunset Beach Resort and Waterpark.
9. Atlantis Paradise Island, Bahamas
What: Dominating Paradise Island, this 171-acre tropical wonderland boasts a jaw-dropping range of accommodations; from the iconic luxury-led Royal and Coral Towers and the Bahamian-styled Beach Towers to the sumptuous all-suite The Cove. There are 21 restaurants and 19 bars, a marina complete with million-pound yachts, 20 swimming areas and the largest casino in the Caribbean.
Best for kids: High-energy adventure kicks off at the 141-acre Aquaventure Waterpark complete with multiple themed towers, soaring water slides and a mile-long river ride with rolling rapids and waves. Other attractions include video gaming at Gamer's Reef, racing model cars at Atlantis Speedway and swimming with dolphins at Dolphin Cay. The Atlantis Kids Club supervises kids aged three to 12 whilst Club Crush appeals to savvy tweens and teens aged 13 to 17 with an internet lounge and nightclub serving mocktails.
Best for parents: Beyond beach bliss on the sparkling white sands, this Bahamas jewel offers sublime water-based therapy treatments in the 30,000 square-foot Mandara Spa. Further crowd-pleasers include an 18-hole par 72 Tom Weiskopf-designed golf course, state-of-the art fitness center, Bahamian marketplace featuring upscale boutiques and a 9000-square-foot Jeffrey Beers-designed dance club.
More information and to book: Atlantis Paradise Island.
8. Beaches Turks and Caicos, Turks and Caicos
What: Set on the dazzling 12-mile Grace Bay in Providenciales, this all-inclusive accolade-winning mega-resort entices sun-seeking families with 19 gourmet restaurants, 12 bars and six swimming pools. Accommodation is in three unique village-style settings - Caribbean, French and Italian - and there are 614 tastefully-appointed residences; from oceanview guestrooms to sprawling suites with butler service.
Best for kids: The showstopper is Pirates' Island, a 45,000 square-foot waterpark featuring nine twisting and turning water slides, a SurfStream® wave simulator, a 650-foot meandering lazy river and swim-up soda bars. Little ones get to hang out with Sesame Street characters whilst older children are occupied from sunrise to sunset with scavenger hunts, glass bottom boat rides, reggae jam sessions, karaoke, dance shows and games consoles in the Xbox 360® Play Lounge. There is also a Liquid at Beaches, a super-cool nightclub for tweens and teens that churns out dance tunes and serves non-alcoholic cocktails.
Best for parents: Impress your offspring by learning how to mix, blend and scratch on vinyl or CD at the Scratch DJ Academy, book an energising body scrub with Blue Mountain coffee beans at the Red Lane Spa and enjoy a candlelit dinner-for-two on the sands with your own personal white-gloved waiter. With the ocean as your playground, there is also a diving program suitable for beginners and certified divers.
More information and to book: Beaches Turks and Caicos.
7. Barcelo Bavaro Palace Deluxe, Dominican Republic
What: Located on the beachfront at Punta Cana, this stylish five-star playground is geared up for family fun with a four swimming pools, 11 specialty restaurants, a 24-hour casino and a huge Las Vegas-style theater with a bar on each level. Each of the 1,990 rooms and suites are furnished with rich woods and décor that mixes designer-inspired white interiors with dramatic splashes of colour.
Best for kids: The Barcy Water Park will delight kids for hours with castles, slides and waterfalls, but the showstopper is the resort’s new Pirates Island Water Park, an aquatic adventureland presenting challenging pools and chutes (charges apply). Children aged three to 12 are looked after in the Barcy Kids Club which provides an assortment of fun-filled arts and crafts, games and age-specific entertainment. Teens aged 13 to 17 can cut loose and party-without-parents at Xone Teen's Nightclub.
Best for parents: Indulge at the luxurious U-Spa Bávaro, work out with cardiovascular training equipment at the gym, browse the boutiques in the shopping center or fill the hours with golf, kayaking, sailing and more. By night, sip refreshing cocktails at the sport’s bar, watch nightly live shows and feast on gastronomic cuisine; from minimalist Japanese delicacies to fiery Mexican cooking.
More information and to book: Barcelo Bavaro Palace Deluxe.
6. Buccament Bay Resort, Grenadines
What: Located on St. Vincent’s southwest coast, this all-inclusive five-star luxury hotel is the island’s most glamourous; set on a stunning white beach against a backdrop of mountain peaks and tropical forest with cascading waterfalls. Accommodation is arranged in one, two and four-bedroom villas, most of which have a plunge pool. Paradise for sports fans, the hotel has three swimming pools, a state-of-the-art fitness center, a Pat Cash Tennis Academy, a Liverpool FC Soccer School and a Cricket Academy.
Best for kids: The Little Harlequins Kids Club provides daycare for young children with supervised, fun-filled activities including beach parties, glass bottom boat rides, dolphin-spotting by power boat and sea-shell treasure hunts (charges apply for some activities). Club 61 is a teen zone where kids aged 13 and over can hang out in a lounge decked out with a pool table, darts board and Playstation.
Best for parents: Learn musical theater performance skills with industry experts at the Harlequin Performing Arts Academy, dine at six different restaurants and rejuvenate with a heavenly outdoor massage or holistic ESPA treatment at either the Thai pavilion or under a gazebo on the beach. The resort is also home to Indigo Dive, the island’s only PADI 5 Star diving center which provides guests with tailor-made diving experiences to suit their abilities and also offers glass bottom boat tours and deep sea fishing.
More information and to book: Buccament Bay Resort.
5. Turtle Beach by Elegant Hotels, Barbados
What: Named for its location on a 1500-foot stretch of white sand beach where sea turtles return to lay their eggs every year, this all-inclusive, all-suite resort on the south coast of Barbados is resolutely family-friendly. Amenities include 161 junior and one-bedroom contemporary suites, two floodlit tennis courts, two free-form freshwater swimming pools and three on-site restaurants and bars.
Best for kids: The Flying Fish Kids’ Club provides a stimulating selection of indoor and outdoor activities for children aged three to 12; from calypso dancing, steel pan lessons and road tennis to beach volleyball, scavenger hunts and chaperoned movie nights. The under-threes can also join in the fun, but must be accompanied by a parent or certified nanny. The resort also runs an on-site Aqua School offering complimentary water sports, seasonal educational marine programs and surf excursions.
Best for parents: There is plenty to please grown-ups who want time out from the kids; take a dip in the adults-only pool, rent a car to explore the island's rum distilleries, book a couple’s spa treatment and savour a private beachside dinner. Highlights include complimentary classes in cooking, cake decorating and drink mixology as well as watersports such as sailing, snorkeling, boogie boarding, kayaking and windsurfing. The romantically-inclined can even renew their vows here.
More information and to book: Turtle Bay by Elegant Hotels.
4. Coconut Bay Beach Resort & Spa, St Lucia
What: Set within 85 acres of palm-fringed gardens on the silvery south coast of St Lucia, this all-inclusive beachfront resort offers two different worlds in one idyllic setting. The Harmony wing is a serene adults-only retreat whilst the Splash wing is a vibrant family-orientated zone with the island’s largest water park. This captivating gem has 250 brightly-decorated guestrooms, four swimming pools and four tantalising restaurants, including a beach grill, to suit every palate.
Best for kids: The CocoLand® waterpark boasts exhilarating rides, slides, cannons, whirlpools, waterfalls and a lazy river to thrill kids of all ages. Coco Kidz provides a jam-packed activity schedule for children under 12 whilst The Clubhouse is a dedicated activity center for tweens and teens aged 13 to 17. Most impressive is The Zone, the first paintball facility of its kind in the Caribbean where teams of up to five players can fire neon paintballs at their opponents (extra charges apply).
Best for parents: Harmony offers grown-ups a romantic escape with palm-fringed pools, hammocks, cabana beds and the Kai Mer Spa which specialises in organic treatments. Book a personal trainer for a one-to-one workout, play tennis on one of four floodlit courts, or take a yoga class. By night, drink exotic cocktails in six bars and enjoy upbeat Caribbean party nights with dancers, acrobats and fire-breathers.
More information and to book: Coconut Bay Beach Resort & Spa.
3. Tamarind by Elegant Hotels, Barbados
What: With a 750-foot-long crescent of shimmering sun-kissed white sand on your doorstep, this swanky resort on the platinum west coast of Barbados has been fabulously renovated to include three swimming pools, four first-class restaurants and 104 contemporary guestrooms featuring modern décor, oversized balconies, panoramic ocean views and state-of-the-art amenities.
Best for kids: The resort has two age-appropriate kids’ clubs. The Flying Fish Kids Club provides fun-filled supervised activities for children between ages of four and 12, while certified nannies are on hand to look after babies and toddlers. Tweens and teens are catered for in the ultra-cool Club Tamarind, a large lounged decked out with Wii consoles, computer games, air hockey, pool and table tennis.
Best for parents: The on-site Aqua School offers complimentary watersports including waterskiing, banana boating, snorkeling, sailing, boogie boarding, kayaking, windsurfing and paddle boarding. Snorkel with turtles, book a round at the 18-hole Robert Trent Jones-design golf course at the nearby Royal Westmoreland, pamper yourself at the spa and stay in shape with Cybex cardio and weight equipment at the fitness center. For those who fancy exploring the island, there is a series of excursions including duty-free shopping trips, catamaran cruises, rugged safari tours and glass-bottomed boat rides.
More information and to book: Tamarind by Elegant Hotels.
2. The Verandah Resort & Spa, Antigua
What: Set within 30 beachfront acres and bordered by Devil's Bridge National Park on Antigua’s northeast coast, this eco-resort promises a child-friendly welcome in stylish surroundings. Caribbean-style white-washed cottages with private verandahs and vaulted ceilings are scattered around the freeform swimming pool, all offering superb views of the beach and tropical gardens. The resort has also added six new two-bedroom villas which are perfect for larger families.
Best for kids: Potty-trained children from two-years-old are cared for at the Kid's Club, a purpose-built building featuring its own splash pool and adventure playground. Professional staff organise activities throughout the day; from art classes, pool games and nature trails to seasonally themed programs at Halloween, Easter and Christmas. Older kids are catered for with crazy golf, a games area, movies nights and a weekly teen’s disco and karaoke.
Best for parents: Kayak, snorkel, windsurf or swim in the tranquil waters of the resort's two reef-sheltered beaches - or simply laze on the gleaming sands. Other facilities include a state-of-the-art fitness center, mini cinema and Spa Tranquility, a soothing sanctuary specialising in eco-conscious treatments. Get into the island spirit at four bars and dine at three restaurants – the most salubrious of which is Nicole’s, a showcase of modern French and Italian gourmet cuisine.
More information and to book: The Verandah Resort & Spa.
1. Dreams Puerto Aventuras, Mexico
What: Located north of Tulum and south of Playa del Carmen, this five-star all-inclusive family escape has six restaurants, five bars and lounges, two swimming pools and 305 luxurious guestrooms with private balconies or terraces that afford spectacular views of the Caribbean and yacht-filled marina.
Best for kids:The supervised Explorer’s Club keeps kids aged from three to 12 entertained with activities based around the environment and the Mayan culture; from soaring into the sea from a huge ocean trampoline and tree-planting to cooking lessons, camping trips and releasing baby turtles into the ocean through the seasonal Dreaming of Turtle Project. The ultimate thrill here is Dolphin Dreams, the on-site dolphinarium where guests can swim and kayak with dolphins and manatees (an extra charge applies).
Best for parents: This all-encompassing resort ticks all the boxes. Book an excursion to the ancient pyramids of Tulum or enjoy complimentary greens fees at the Robert Trent Jones II-designed championship golf course at the nearby Riviera Maya Golf Club. Once the sun sets and the kids are tucked up in bed, cherish some couple time curled up on a sunlounger watching a movie on the beach, relaxing in the huge outdoor Jacuzzi or recharging with a seaweed body wrap at the Dreams Spa by Pevonia.