Readers' Choice 2015: Top 20 Family Resorts


As in 2014, Hawaiian properties claimed three of the top five spots on this list. But Acqualina in Miami Beach earned first place among voters, an achievement made all the more striking by the property’s first-place rankings among spa and beach resorts as well. Other subscriber-favorite hotels, in locations ranging from Costa Rica to Paris, demonstrate the ever-widening array of destinations working hard to welcome families.

1. Acqualina

Miami Beach, Florida — Lavish 98-room resort within a 51-story tower on four-and-a-half acres fronted by 400 feet of white sand. Rooms and suites have been decorated in a sophisticated style that combines traditional and contemporary elements with a dash of art deco.

2. The Resort at Pelican Hill

Newport Coast, California — Lavish and well-managed resort on 504 acres south of Los Angeles. The property offers golf at two Tom Fazio championship courses and nearby Oak Creek Golf Club, in addition to a stunning circular mosaic glass-tiled pool and a spa.

3. Four Seasons Hualalai

Kailua-Kona, Hawaii — Grand resort in dramatic grounds along a half-mile rocky shoreline on the north Kona Coast. The property features a spa (the island’s best), as well as a gym, seven pools, tennis courts, and a manicured Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course.

4. Four Seasons at Wailea

Maui, Hawaii — Luxurious resort on 15 oceanfront acres at the south end of Wailea Beach. A U-shaped building contains spacious rooms overlooking landscaped courtyards. The property features three tropical saltwater pools and an attractive beach with the usual water sports.

5. Mauna Kea Beach Hotel

Kohala Coast, Hawaii — Renowned 252-room resort founded in 1965 by Laurance S. Rockefeller, overlooking an exquisite white-sand beach on the Kohala Coast. The property features a revitalized 18-hole Robert Trent Jones golf course, plus clubhouse.

6. Blackberry Farm

Walland, Tennessee — Country house hotel of 69 rooms owned by the Beall family since 1976, set on a 9,200-acre estate bordering Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Newly renovated full-service spa, fitness center, outdoor swimming pool, tennis, Orvis-endorsed fly-fishing, and riding stables.

7. Caneel Bay

St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands — Eco-resort founded by Laurance Rockefeller amid 170 verdant acres bordered by seven secluded white-sand beaches. The 166 accommodations feature private patios or balconies with views of the landscaped grounds and the Caribbean Sea.

8. The Cloister

Sea Island, Georgia — Renowned family-oriented resort and golf community on a 10,000-acre island estate. The property offers a full spectrum of resort activities and amenities: a lavish 65,000-square-foot spa; world-class sporting facilities and a five-mile beach.

9. Four Seasons The Biltmore

Santa Barbara, California — Mission-style resort on a 22-acre estate across the street from the public beach. Red tile roofs, lantern-lit brick walkways, courtyard gardens and whitewashed cottages distinguish the 207-room enclave. Spanish Colonial-style spa features 11 treatment rooms.

10. Arizona Inn

Tuscon, Arizona — Atmospheric family-owned enclave dating from 1930, tucked behind vine-clad adobe walls in 14 acres of tranquil gardens near the shops and galleries of old Tucson. Casita-style guest accommodations are clustered in a variety of pink-hued adobe structures.

11. Four Seasons Punta Mita

Mexico — Seaside hotel on a scenic 1,200-acre peninsula with two pretty beaches. A dozen casitas contain 173 guest quarters, most sporting a clean, contemporary design and furnished terraces providing memorable views of the sea.

12. One&Only Ocean Club

Paradise Island, Bahamas — Beachfront colonial-style plantation resort of 105 guest rooms, suites and residential-style villas on the mainland of New Providence Island. The property features a three-mile beach, nearby golf and children’s programs.

13. Four Seasons at Peninsula Papagayo

Guanacaste, Costa Rica — Gracious 181-room resort overlooking two beaches from the hilly Peninsula Papagayo. The property features a full-service spa and three pools, as well as seaside a par-72 Arnold Palmer championship golf course and four Har-Tru tennis courts.

14. Le Bristol

Paris, France — Elegant, impeccably serviced 188-room hotel in a mid-18th-century building near the shops of the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré. Each room is individually decorated in a traditional style that features crystal chandeliers, ornate wood moldings and colorful toiles.

15. Cap Juluca

Maundays Beach, Anguilla — Stylish resort on its own 180-acre garden peninsula, fronting one of the finest beaches in the Caribbean. Whitewashed archways, domes and mock parapets create the look of a fanciful Moorish oasis. Spacious guest quarters are housed in oceanfront villas.

16. Eden Rock

St. Jean Bay, St. Barths — Chic boutique resort atop a small rocky promontory bordered by the pristine white sands of Baie de St-Jean. Of the 34 colonial-contemporary accommodations, the most atmospheric quarters are on the Rock. Aquatic activities include boating, scuba diving, deep-sea fishing and windsurfing.

17. Rancho Valencia

Rancho Santa Fe, California — Spanish hacienda-style resort enclave 30 minutes north of San Diego in Rancho Santa Fe. The property features excellent golf nearby, an outdoor heated swimming pool and 18 Plexipave tennis courts.

18. Ashford Castle

County Mayo, Ireland — Newly refurbished castle-hotel in a 350-acre woodland park on the shores of Lough Corrib, 45 minutes north of Galway. Crenellated battlements incorporate the remnants of a 13th-century castle.

19. The Inn at Palmetto Bluff

Bluffton, South Carolina — Plantation-style residential resort amid 20,000 scenic Lowcountry acres. Fifty distinctive cottages trimmed by screened porches are set beneath trees overlooking a river and lake. The property features a strikingly designed Jack Nicklaus signature golf course complemented by a timbered clubhouse.

20. 1811 House

Manchester Village, Vermont — Intimate inn occupying the former home of Abraham Lincoln’s granddaughter, 60 miles from Albany. Outdoor activities include biking, hiking, tennis, fishing, horseback riding and skiing.

2. The Resort at Pelican Hill - Courtesy of Pelican Hill 3. Four Seasons Hualalai - © Don Riddle 4. Four Seasons at Wailea - © Christian Horan 6. Blackberry Farm - © Beall + Thomas Photography 8. The Cloister - © Andy Anderson 9. Four Seasons The Biltmore - © Blake Marvin 10. Arizona Inn - © Tim Fuller 11. Four Seasons Punta Mita - © Mary Nichols 12. One&Only Ocean Club - © Kim Sargent 13. Four Seasons at Peninsula Papagayo - © Don Riddle 17. Rancho Valencia - © Rouse Photography 19. The Inn at Palmetto Bluff - © Montage Hotels

By Hideaway Report Editor Hideaway Report editors travel the world anonymously to give you the unvarnished truth about luxury hotels. Hotels have no idea who the editors are, so they are treated exactly as you might be.