America's Best Kid-Friendly Hotels (Slideshow)

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From indoor water parks to mountain resorts, these spots offer plenty of options for families

18. The Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead in Atlanta

The Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead, is centrally located near some of Atlanta’s top attractions for kids — American Girl Atlanta, LEGOLAND Discovery Center, the Georgia Aquarium, Imagine It! Children’s Museum of Atlanta, and the World of Coca-Cola are all nearby. Children also can check in as Very Important Kids or VIK. As a VIK, little ones can enjoy a self-guided scavenger hunt and Rice Krispies treats at the Café and The Lobby Lounge. Every Friday night, this hotel hosts a "dive-in" movie at the pool along with complimentary popcorn. The Family Getaway package even includes an American breakfast for two adults and two children in the on-site The Café and tickets to LEGOLAND in addition to the VIK amenities.

17. The Westin Lake Las Vegas Resort & Spa in Henderson, Nev.

Located 20 minutes from the Las Vegas Strip, this resort is situated on Lake Las Vegas and is an ideal place to have an adventure. On the lake, families can kayak, take gondola rides, and boat. Once on dry land, the resort boasts a sparkling pool with a water slide. One culinary highlight here includes the resort’s Candy Sushi School. In this special event that's offered to children ages 5 to 10, one of the hotel’s executive chefs will instruct students on how to make "sushi" with their favorite treats — Rice Krispies treats for sticky rice, licorice to tie it together, and Swedish fish. The Westin is also close to attractions such as Red Rock Canyon, The Neon Museum, and the Pinball Hall of Fame. Kids' camps are also available during the mornings and afternoons, when kids can fish, play board games, or make arts and crafts.

16. Great Wolf Lodge in Sandusky, Ohio

The Sandusky, Ohio, outpost of Great Wolf Lodge, a national indoor water park chain, has five different dining options that cater to kids and adults. Guests can enjoy resort-made soups, specialty salads, sandwiches, mac and cheese, and pizza at the Gitchigoomie Grill, and those searching for a quick bite will appreciate the Hungry as a Wolf takeout menu. It features homemade pizza, bread sticks, and salad that you can enjoy in your room. But the main attraction here is the water park. Kids can enjoy slides, waterfalls, a lazy river, and obstacle courses while adults can kick back in jumbo whirlpools.

15. MileNorth Chicago in Chicago

Parents staying in Chicago with kids who love American Girl dolls should consider checking out MileNorth Chicago. The hotel’s American Girl Place Chicago package includes a personal shopper experience and photo session at the American Girl store. Guests also can look forward to a personalized welcome note, a custom Garrett's Popcorn tin, an American Girl doll-sized travel bed to take home, and a special turn down "sweet treat." Although there’s no designated kids' menu at the hotel’s on site-Ferris & Jack restaurant, the eatery offers options that kids will like, such as root beer floats, Bavarian pretzels, and even Not Your Average Grilled Cheese — Cheddar cheese, mustard, sliced apples, and applewood-smoked bacon served on toasted whole-wheat bread.

14. The Plaza in New York City

Children who love Eloise will be in for the experience of a lifetime if they stay at The Plaza in New York City. The hotel offers custom Eloise-themed breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus, so kids can enjoy the famed book character’s favorite dishes in the hotel’s opulent Palm Court. Early in the morning, children can feast on Central Park pancakes or a Perfect parfait. Later on, they can order Skipperdee’s Sneakers — breaded chicken filets and fries with honey mustard — or Nanny’s Fish and Chips. To finish off their meals, kids can indulge in options like Copy Cat brownies or a bowl of homemade ice cream. For parents who really want to go all out, consider booking the Betsey Johnson-designed Eloise Suite. The room includes a chandelier, pink, candy-striped walls, an Eloise tea set, and Eloise robes and towels. Child care is also available at The Plaza for an additional fee. 

13. The St. Regis Deer Valley in Park City, Utah

Family activities are front and center at this award-winning mountainside Utah hotel. To soak up the outdoor splendor of Park City, kids and adults alike can enjoy yoga, a mountain hike, kite-flying, and even pool games. To feel like they're in the great outdoors without leaving the property, guests can roast marshmallows and enjoy s’mores on the terrace nightly. For an only-in-a-St. Regis experience, families can watch champagne sabering (when you open a bottle with a knife) and learn more about this historic tradition. Dining options here include J&G Grill, which offers a kid-friendly tomato mozzarella pizza and cheeseburger.

12. Winnetu Oceanside Resort in Edgartown, Mass.

Winnetu Oceanside Resort, located on Martha’s Vineyard, is right on the beach and offers families plenty of things to see and enjoy. Guests can purchase signature resort activities that include attending a clambake, a sunset water taxi cruise, and a lighthouse and dune tour. Visitors can also purchase a beach-survival kit that comes complete with a rented beach cabana, towels, one kite, a sand castle kit, and sunscreen. On-site restaurant Lure Grill even has its own kids’ menu, which includes options like fish and chips, French bread pizza, and even a Goldfish salad — mixed greens with tomato, cucumber, and Goldfish crackers. Please note that the resort is open seasonally and is currently closed until April of 2014.

12. Winnetu Oceanside Resort in Edgartown, Mass.


Winnetu Oceanside Resort, located on Martha’s Vineyard, is right on the beach and offers families plenty of things to see and enjoy. Guests can purchase signature resort activities that include attending a clambake, a sunset water taxi cruise, and a lighthouse and dune tour. Visitors can also purchase a beach-survival kit that comes complete with a rented beach cabana, towels, one kite, a sand castle kit, and sunscreen. On-site restaurant Lure Grill even has its own kids’ menu, which includes options like fish and chips, French bread pizza, and even a Goldfish salad — mixed greens with tomato, cucumber, and Goldfish crackers. Please note that the resort is open seasonally and is currently closed until April of 2014.

11. Loews Philadelphia Hotel in Philadelphia

National hotel chain Loews is renowned for its Loews Loves Kids programs, and the Philadelphia location provides kids with an impressive and extensive list of services. The "Kids Closet" features the latest Fisher Price toys and gear, books, car seats, strollers, night lights, a baby bath tub, baby blankets, outlet protectors, and self-contained DVD players with age-appropriate DVDs. Teens can enjoy two music download cards, lists of teen-appropriate nearby attractions and activities, and access to a lending library stocked with board games and DVD players. Children’s menus with healthy dishes are also available.

10. The Hotel Hershey in Hershey, Penn.

The Hotel Hershey is the official resort for Hersheypark and is an ideal choice for parents looking to relax, enjoy the park, and eat some chocolate. On-site Italian restaurant Trevi 5 has a kids' menu complete with a choice of salads, grilled cheese, and even a petite filet; Harvest restaurant’s kids' menu also offers hanger steak served with whipped potatoes and birch beer sauce; and Cocoa Beanery offers an array of house-baked pastries and desserts. The turndown service even includes a small piece of chocolate on guests' pillows every night. Additionally, families will love chocolate bingo, tie-dye, movie nights by the pool, and s’mores by the fire. Families can even partake in the Falconry Experience, where they can see an interactive demonstration featuring hawks, falcons, and a golden eagle.

9. Arizona Grand Resort & Spa in Phoenix

The central attraction here is at the Oasis Water Park, which provides visitors with 7 acres (that’s larger than six football fields) of water recreation. Highlights include an 83-foot-high slide, a 10,000-square-foot wave pool, an artificial river, and "springs" designed with little ones in mind. Spa treatments for kids (like the Pretty Princess manicure and pedicure) and teens are available, too. Kid-friendly dining options include the Aunt Chilada's family meals to go. Each one serves a family of four and includes choice of a main dish in addition to rice, beans, chips, salsa, and a 2-liter bottle of soda. In keeping with Arizona’s Southwestern roots, each main dish includes a choice of tacos filled with beef or shredded chicken or eight enchiladas filled with beef, chicken, or cheese. 

8. Winter Park Ski Resort in Winter Park, Colo.

Skiing is the main draw at this Colorado resort. Children from 3 to 14 can take snowboarding and skiing lessons. If parents want to hit the slopes by themselves, Winter Park Ski Resort also offers child care. During the summers, the resort even offers a Kids’ Night Out program, where 4 to 12 year olds can enjoy indoor activities, crafts, dinner, and a movie. This resort has an impressive 16 dining locations that cater to a variety of taste buds. The Black Bowl Soup Company offers kids' sizes of its homemade soups in addition to breakfast burritos for a hearty meal before hitting the slopes. For an incredible view, consider eating 11,200 feet above sea level at Lunch Rock. Enjoy sweeping views of Parry Peak as you enjoy barbecue and casual dining offerings.

7. The Claremont Hotel Club & Spa in Berkeley, Calif.

This luxurious, all white, castle-like property provides guests with a surprising number of kid-friendly activities. The hotel features a separate kids’ club, and guests receive up to three complimentary hours of child care per night, seven days a week. The kids’ club includes a play area with a slide and sand box and indoor activities include games, toys, and creative arts projects. Child care attendants will provide snacks, too. The hotel’s on-site Paragon Berkeley restaurant also has a kids' menu. Children can dig into pasta, chicken tenders, mac and cheese, or grilled cheese sandwiches, all served with mixed greens and fries, while adults can enjoy options like summer squash ravioli and crispy pulled chicken tacos in this casual yet refined restaurant.

6. Four Seasons Hotel Seattle in Seattle

The Four Seasons Hotel Seattle takes a very innovative approach to welcoming its younger guests to the city. On-site ART Restaurant managers and chefs collaborated with John Skewes, Seattle-based creator and illustrator of the Larry Gets Lost picture book series, to produce a customized Larry program for the hotel. The property invites children ages 12 and younger to follow Larry the lost pup as he wanders through the Emerald City searching for his owner, Pete, in the hotel’s children’s activity book. The book is filled with a children’s menu, coloring pages, games, and word puzzles. The kid’s menu at ART is also Larry-themed, with breakfast options listed under the "Larry Wakes Up!" header. Kids can enjoy pancakes, milkshakes, turkey or soy hot dogs, mini pita pockets with chicken, hummus, or even a Seattle special: a Space Needle Sundae at ART.

5. Hotel del Coronado in Coronado, Ca.

California’s Hotel del Coronado is a luxury resort with plenty to offer. It’s right on the beach, historical, and a must-see for anyone visiting the San Diego area. Fortunately for parents, this hotel has a slew of kid-friendly dining spots and services. On-site restaurant Sheerwater serves a kids' menu that includes a Cheddar cheeseburger on a brioche bun, a rice bowl with grilled chicken and stir-fried vegetables over brown rice, and classic vanilla bean cheesecake for dessert. This legendary beachside hotel also offers a plethora of activities for teens and young children. Kidtopia, the Hotel del Coronado’s room for kids ages 4 to 12, features bright and fun colors, underwater murals, and separate beach-themed rooms for crafts, stage performances, and playtime. The Vibz Teen Lounge caters to kids ages 13 to 17. Here, teens can play shuffleboard, pool, foosball, and Dance Dance Revolution. The Lounge also comes with four 40-inch flat-screen TVs, and Xbox and PS3 game consoles. During the summer, families can enjoy s’mores on the beach beside a bonfire, catch movies by the pool at sunset, and enjoy private and group surfing. Spa services for teens are also available for kids ages 13 and up.

4. Crystal Mountain Resort in Thompsonville, Mich.

Crystal Mountain Resort in Thompsonville, Mich., offers snow sports for kids as young as 3 years old. Children can also enjoy sliding down the mountain on the Crystal Coaster, Michigan’s only alpine slide. After a long day on the slopes, guests are in for a real treat at the resort’s on-site restaurants. At the Thistle Pub & Grille’s kid’s can choose beef tenderloin and rainbow trout or opt for more traditional plates like chicken tenders or mac and cheese. And children who are 8 years old and younger even eat for free with a paying adult for breakfast at Wild Tomato Restaurant. Crystal Mountain also offers several kids' drop-off programs for ages 12 and under in addition to in-room baby-sitting services and a nursery so parents can enjoy alone time. 

3. Kingsmill in Williamsburg, Va.

Kingsmill, a luxury resort located in Williamsburg, Va. (the home of kid-destination Busch Gardens), has even nicknamed itself "Kidsmill" due to its focus on youngsters. For breakfast, parents can treat their kids to a tasty meal from the Bray Dining Room's children's menu that features plates like silver dollar pancakes or cheese omelettes with fresh fruit. Restaurant Regattas’ serves up casual family dining options like salads, pastas, flatbreads, and pizzas, while the kid’s menu at the James Landing Grille offers standard fare like chicken tenders and fish and chips in addition to a BBQ chicken sandwich. Additional highlights here include kid’s golf lessons, mother-daughter spa treatments (options for teens include the "Just for U Facial" and "BFF Mani-Pedi"), and a camp featuring activities ranging from craft projects to physical fitness classes like children’s boot camp and yoga. Kid’s Night Out gives children an opportunity to make pizza, golf, visit the arcade, or play on the outdoor playground. During the summer, guests can cool off in the River Pool complex, which features a winding lazy river pool, waterslide, and a sandy beach area.

2. The James Royal Palm in Miami

The Miami outpost of the James Royal Palm, located in hip South Beach, rolls out plenty of amenities for kids to enjoy as part of its signature Lil' James program. Culinary highlights here include a children’s menu featuring organic chicken sliders and grilled cheese. And it’s worth noting that a portion of proceeds from the Lil’ James menu supports The James’ partner, Common Threads, an organization that encourages proper nutrition by teaching kids in underserved communities to cook wholesome, affordable meals. This hotel also features a play space where children can get creative; kids can enjoy sand and water stations (this is Miami, after all) or have their parents read them a book here. The list of child-friendly offerings really is endless at this hotel. Expect to find interactive games, pre-loaded iPads and Kindles with kid-friendly books and apps, Wii and classic board games, portable cribs, bathtubs for children up to 24 months, car seats, children’s bikes, and helmets, too.

1. Disney’s Polynesian Resort in Orlando, Fla.

Leave it to the folks at Walt Disney World to create the ultimate kid-friendly hotel. Dining options at Disney’s Polynesian Resort cater to every need and those who prefer a meal and a show are in luck. Children can hang with Lilo and Stitch while they dig into island-style potatoes and Mickey-shaped waffles and at 'Ohana for breakfast. In the evening, children can enjoy Disney’s Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show, which comes complete with hula dancers, drummers, a fire-knife performer, and a tropical feast buffet. Children’s favorites like baked chicken nuggets with tater tots, cheese pizza, and either grilled chicken or mahimahi with rice and green beans all make an appearance on the menu at this spectacle. Quick dining options at the resort include Capt. Cook’s, where guests can order casual fare like flatbreads, cheeseburgers, and chicken nuggets. Child care services include in-room baby-sitting and the resort’s activity center, the Never Land Club. Here, kids ages 3 to 12 can make crafts, play games, watch Disney movies, and eat dinner. This hotel also has with a pool that features a volcano backdrop, waterfall, and a slide. And not to mention, visitors will enjoy a monorail that takes them directly to the Magic Kingdom or Epcot.