Posts filed under Family Fun. Show all blog posts.
There was a time when a luxurious vacation and vacationing with kids was an oxymoron.
But that was before we went to Bal Harbour.
If you’ve never heard of it, you’re in for a treat—this small (the village is less than one square mile) centre of luxury living (sleeping, dining spa-ing) is about fifteen minutes North of Miami’s infamous South Beach, yet worlds away from ‘the scene’ (though close enough for a cab ride down to all that action if you’re so inclined.)
But why leave the village when everything you need is right there, starting with where to stay—especially if the family is in tow. Though Bal Harbour is a great spot for that ten-year-adults-only anniversary or just getting-away-from-it-all, this is one vacation where you may not mind bringing the kids. Because making it fun for them too—which means you get the gift of time to yourself—has clearly been considered.
Take our two favourite spots to stay. The new St. Regis, Bal Harbour is a sight to behold in every way. Stunning architecture, comfortable quarters, incredible cuisine and gorgeous views greet you the moment you walk in. Large, modern and perfectly appointed suites offer their own cantilevered balconies overlooking the ocean. In fact, every room has an ocean view. But don’t let the glamour fool you, kids are wanted and welcomed (especially the well-behaved kind). From large suites (with your own private St. Regis Butler included!) offering full kitchens and enormous tubs perfect for post beach and pool bubble baths, as well as programs and activities they’ll actually want to join. The hotel has developed a babysitting program kids will be begging to go back to—meaning time for you and your beloved to book an exquisite cabana and serenely soak it all in.
One Bal Harbour is a warm and appealing alternative for accommodation during your stay. Excellent family suites have room for the whole family to sleep, eat and play, and offer enough space to allow you to be together, but separate, when needed—like naptime. (We meant for the babes, but take that anyway you want.)
Bal Harbour is so much more than just a great place to sleep (or in the case of our extremely relaxed significant other—snore.) Beyond the breathtaking beach is one of the best places to shop and people-watch in North America: Bal Harbour Shops. Be sure to take a break while browsing through the high-end stores and grab lunch at one of the many outdoor, patio-style restaurants.
When you’ve had enough of fashion (this is apparently possible) make your way to the nearby Museum of Contemporary Art in North Miami. The kids can soak up a little culture (and depending on the day, some hands-on activities) while you extend your art appreciation in a variety of modern mediums.
Don’t you feel relaxed already?
P.S. Travelling with the family on more of a budget? Try Bal Harbour Quarzo. Just steps from the beach, facing the Intracoastal Waterway, this small boutique hotel has surprisingly large rooms for families, including residence-style accommodations with full kitchens and one and two bedroom suites.
While this blog post was generously sponsored by the Bal Harbour Tourism Board, the opinions are my own, though they may have been positively impacted by three glorious nights of uninterrupted sleep.
Last week, I went on an exciting adventure.
After a lovely banquet with princesses and kings, my three year-old daughter and I travelled through enchanted woods and forests with our wands, discovering magic crystals, opening up treasure chests filled with gold, collecting enchanted runes and taking instructions from a wizard. Oh, and there was a fire-breathing dragon as well.
And no, we weren’t in our living room playing pretend (as fun as that can be).
We had the privilege of experiencing MagiQuest, a new adventure available at the über family-friendly Great Wolf Lodge in Niagara Falls. The first of its kind in Canada, the MagiQuest adventure is an interactive role-playing game that includes a variety of quests that you can go on as a family, or send your older kids on by themselves.
What did Ally love? Her magic wand caused amazing things to happen—chests opened to reveal surprises, fairies spoke to her, crystals glowed and she got to go on an interactive treasure hunt taking her from one floor to another until she completed her ‘task’.
What did I love? Aside from the simple ‘cool’ factor that came with the design, I really appreciated the fact that the game included a multitude of quests, meaning that it wasn’t something that could be finished in an hour and easily forgotten. Even cooler, the wands have a virtual memory, allowing the player to continue on their quests during future visits without having to start from scratch again.
Keith Simmonds, the General Manager of Great Wolf Lodge made a point of sharing how the MagiQuest adventure fit perfectly with the lodge mandate in helping to “create family traditions, one family at a time” and I have to agree. I wasn’t the only parent enthusiastically waving a wand at the walls and other objects. In fact, my mother (who came along for the adventure) spent the evening poring over the quest book to determine which one to try in the morning.
In short, it looks as though Great Wolf Lodge and MagiQuest is about to inspire a new generation of wannabe wizards (move over, Harry Potter).
And okay, I liked the magic wand too. The only trouble I had was when I brought it home and pointed it at all my dirty laundry and piles of dishes, nothing happened. I’m hoping that they can work on that for the future.