Review: The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman

Visiting Grand Cayman with your kids and looking for a family-friendly luxury resort? You can’t go wrong with The Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman.
Looking for Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman reviews? We've got the scoop on this lovely Caribbean hotel.
Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman

Facts

Hotel Class: 5 Star
Rates: From $549-$2,070
Address: West Bay Road, PO Box 32348, Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman

Accommodation Options

363 Rooms & Suites, 69 Residences

Things for Kids to Do

Ritz Kids Club, Golf Clinic, Tennis Clinic, Yoga, Pool, Ambassadors of the Environment Program, Watersports, Snorkeling, Scuba Diving

Childcare

The Ritz Kids Club offers supervision and activities. There is no in-house babysitting. However, the hotel can provide recommendations upon request.

Amenities for Kids

For Infants: Crib, High Chair, Swim Diapers
For Toddlers: High Chair, Books, Crayons, Kid Sized Dining Table, Bean Bags, Pool Toys, Swim Diapers, Kid Sized Picnic Tables, Kid Sized Lounge Chair
For Older Kids: Pool Toys

Pool

In addition to the main pool, the hotel also has a little kid water park.

Beach

Right on the Seven Mile beach, the hotel offers beach bars, private cabanas, and lounge chairs.

Food and Drink

The hotel boasts four restaurants: a seafood restaurant called Blue by Eric Ripert, an Italian restaurant called Andiamo, a Caribbean restaurant called Seven, and a Japanese restaurant called Taikun. There are also two bars, Silver Palm and Bar Jack.

Video Tours


Source: Ted McIntyre


Source: IrixGuy’s Adventure Channel


Source: The Ritz-Carlton

Have you ever wanted to try a ranch vacation, but you’re also not ready to give up the comfort of a luxury resort? Then you’re going to love The Resort at Paws Up! Paws Up is a luxury resort located on an authentic working cattle ranch in western Montana. Many thanks to The Resort at Paws Up for hosting us!

Getting There

We flew out of JFK into Missoula, which is in the western part of Montana. From Missoula, it’s about a 40-minute drive to The Resort at Paws Up.

The Accommodations

We were fortunate enough to stay in one of the largest homes on the property: Council Bluff in the Wilderness Estates.⁠ At 3,250 square feet, this 3-bedroom home can sleep up to 8 people.⁠ We loved the real wood-burning fireplace, the Western decor, and the overall cozy feel of this home.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
One fun perk of staying in one of the luxury homes at Paws Up, is that they provide you with your very own Lexus luxury SUV to use during your stay!⁠ And trust me: you definitely need some wheels to get around this massive property. It's not unusual to have to drive for a solid 15-20 minutes to get to your next activity!⁠
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi

The Property

One thing I wasn't ready for was the sheer scale of this property. Paws Up itself covers 37,000 acres. Now as a New Yorker, I find it hard to visualize how big an acre is. I tend to size everything up in terms of how many city blocks it covers, so I did some Googling to try and figure out how large the resort was as compared to our city. Turns out, 37,000 acres is roughly equivalent to the size of Manhattan and the Bronx put together, which is seriously mind-boggling. On top of the resort’s own 37,000 acres, guests have access nearby to 100 miles of trails, 10 miles of the Blackfoot River and 1.5 million acres of the nearby Bob Marshall Wilderness Area. Sometimes it really felt like we were in our very own national park!⁠
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi

Equestrian Activities

If your kids have ever wanted to feel like cowboys or cowgirls, Paws Up is the place to take them. One of our favorite activities was going out on trail rides. The scenery was so gorgeous, especially when we rode along the river.
Photo: Stuart Thurlkill
Photo: Stuart Thurlkill
Photo: Stuart Thurlkill
Photo: Stuart Thurlkill
Photo: Stuart Thurlkill
But if you want to take things to the next level, you can also enroll your kids in some arena lessons! Paws Up has a 29,000-square-foot indoor arena with a beautiful viewing area. In the arena, kids are able to hone their horsemanship skills!⁠ ⁠The first exercise the girls worked on was leading the horse, and getting it to stop when they stopped. It was amazing to see how in no time at all, the girls developed such a strong command of the horses, having enough control even to guide them through simple obstacle courses!⁠
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi

Shooting Sports

For enthusiasts of shooting sports, Paws Up offers a range of activities to choose from, like sporting clays and biathlon, but we tried out shooting .22 rifles. Paws Up has a fun shooting range where the targets are set up in what looks like a town straight out of the Old West.⁠ .22 rifles are ideal starter rifles for beginners because they're light, and have very low recoil.⁠ The instructors were great with the girls, and I appreciated their emphasis on gun safety!⁠
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi

ATV Tours

Another fun activity to try as a family is taking an ATV tour of the property. We stopped by some really scenic places, like Lookout Rock, which had amazing views of the lands below. And beautiful Blackfoot river, where the girls had lots of fun stacking the river rocks.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi

The Dining

One great thing about Paws Up is that you pay an all-inclusive rate that includes breakfast, lunch and dinner. Often at U.S. resorts, this means that alcohol is excluded, but at Paws Up, there’s actually an impressive selection of alcoholic beverages that’s included as well! The food here is rustic, but refined. The dishes incorporate many fresh local ingredients, like the huckleberries that grow on the slopes of nearby mountains, or meat from the bison that graze in the fields here. Breakfast and lunch is served at The Trough, while dinners are served at Pomp.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
You can also opt for in-home dining, where they deliver the food straight to your home. There’s no extra charge for this - it’s also included in your rate.

About Carmen Sognonvi

Carmen Sognonvi is a luxury family travel content creator at Top Flight Family, named a top 10 family travel Instagram account by Time Out New York and Brit + Co. Her insights on travel have been featured in The Washington Post, INSIDER, Huffington Post, Wanderlust Travel Magazine, TravelPulse, HOTELS Magazine, and more. Carmen firmly believes that you can (and should) travel with your kids from a young age. She offers families practical solutions for travel, as well as tips on how to travel in luxury for less. She lives in New York City with her multiracial and multicultural family of four. Follow her on Instagram, FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.

Click here to read Carmen's articles

Have you ever wanted to try a ranch vacation, but you’re also not ready to give up the comfort of a luxury resort? Then you’re going to love The Resort at Paws Up!
Some posts on this site may contain affiliate links, meaning if you book or buy something through one of these links, Top Flight Family may earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. Read the site's full disclosure and privacy policy here.
Looking for a family-friendly ski resort that offers more than just fun on the slopes? Then you have to check out Big Sky! Big Sky is a ski resort located in southwest Montana. You’ll have easy access to activities that give you a taste of Western adventures and the cowboy lifestyle. But because Big Sky is so close to Yellowstone National Park, you also have the opportunity to explore some of the most spectacular scenery in the United States. Many thanks to Big Sky for hosting us!

Getting There

The closest airport to Big Sky is Bozeman. With the mountains in the background, this is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful airport runways in the United States. From there, it’s about an hour drive to Big Sky.

The Accommodations

We stayed in condo 8512 at Snowcrest Lodge, which undoubtedly has one of the best locations in all of Big Sky. There’s an open concept kitchen with an absolutely massive island, which means it can easily double as a dining table, even for a big party. There’s a spacious living area with a fireplace, and I especially loved the vintage sleigh coffee table. There are two bedrooms on the main floor. Serge and I took the larger room with a striking bison painting above the king bed. The second bedroom on this floor has a queen bed. Up the stairs is a loft area with a third queen bed, as well as an absolutely Pinterest-worthy custom built sleeping area with bunk beds and two additional beds. The girls love bunk beds, so of course they decided to sleep here!
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
One of my favorite parts of this condo is the huge storage area right when you come in. Not only are there plenty of cubbies and hooks for everyone’s gear, but there’s even a boot warmer that can hold up to 14 pairs of ski boots! There’s a balcony with amazing views of the ski lifts, and also… a hot tub! Hot tubs are always fun, but hot tubbing when it’s cold outside is especially enjoyable.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
When you stay at the Snowcrest Lodge, you get access to the amenities at the Huntley Lodge, just a few minutes away. They have a swimming pool, more hot tubs and also a fitness center.

The Skiing

But of course, you don’t come to Big Sky to stay indoors! Here it’s all about getting outside and enjoying all the great winter activities the resort has to offer. Skiing and snowboarding are, of course, the stars of the show here. We rented our skis, poles, helmets and boots from Big Sky Sports Rentals, which was conveniently located in the same building as our condo.
Photo: Jonathan Stone
Big Sky has a fantastic school that offers skiing and snowboarding lessons for all ages, even as young as 3. This is actually our second visit to Big Sky. The last time we were here, it was the winter right before the pandemic started. That time, Serge and I took private lessons with Curt, who was fantastic, and we were fortunate enough to be able to work with him again this time around! The girls worked with Dan, and they really enjoyed their lessons with him. He had them skiing down the big-girl runs in no time at all! Serge and I are still beginner skiers, while the girls I would say are starting to move into intermediate territory. But none of us have skied since Covid, so we were definitely rusty, and we took it easy on this first ski trip back. We started by getting lots of practice on the carpet, and then we took the Explorer lift to try our first run! From our photos, you may have noticed that Big Sky is not exactly looking like the winter wonderland it was the last time we were here. And that’s because it was about 20 degrees warmer than it typically is this time of year. Yes, we were definitely there early in the season, but usually by Thanksgiving there’s snow on the ground at Big Sky, and that definitely wasn’t the case when we were here the first week of December. It was even too warm for the resort to use the snowmaking machines. We certainly didn’t mind the comfortable temperatures, but the main downside for us as beginner skiers is that there wasn’t enough snow on the easier runs. So while last time we went down White Wing, which is a pretty easy run for beginners to practice on. This time our only option was Lone Wolf, which is still a green run, but starts with a significantly steeper drop than White Wing.

Swift Current 6

One new thing that a lot of skiers are excited about this season at Big Sky is a new lift called Swift Current 6. It’s currently America's fastest 6-place chairlift.
big sky
Photo: Jonathan Stone
Big Sky has done some really fun things marketing-wise to roll this out. Not only do they have a whole merch line to promote the new lift, but they even partnered with local Bozeman brewery MAP Brewing Company to create a custom beer just to celebrate the lift’s opening!

Other Winter Activities

Even if you don’t love skiing or snowboarding, there’s a ton to do in Big Sky in the winter. Lone Mountain Ranch is a partner of Big Sky, and they offer a variety of activities that are fun for families. On this trip, we took a wagon ride in the snow.  And last time we were at Big Sky, we came to Lone Mountain Ranch to try some snowshoeing!
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Dog-sledding is another experience we tried last time we were in Big Sky. One thing that’s amazing is that the dogs are so excited and hyper and loud before it all starts, but as soon as they’re hooked up to the sleds and start running, they go completely silent. Another fun activity is to have dinner in a yurt, also something we did last time. Even getting there is cool, because you take a huge snowcat up to the mountain. The inside of the yurt is lit by candles and warmed by a wood stove, and there’s live acoustic guitar music. Outside, you can go sledding, warm up by the campfire, and gaze at the stars.

Yellowstone National Park

But one of the biggest reasons to come to Big Sky is that it’s located right next to Yellowstone National Park. Last time we were here, we did a full-day snowmobiling tour of Yellowstone, and it was absolutely spectacular. National parks are often incredibly crowded in the summer, but in the winter, we had the whole thing to ourselves. It was amazing to see geysers like Old Faithful spouting in the middle of the pristine snow. There are lots of geothermal areas in Yellowstone, which basically means there’s all kinds of bubbly, hot stuff around. I’m sure these areas are cool to see in the summer too, but in the winter it’s incredibly striking to see how intense heat and intense cold can co-exist in one place. Some parts of the landscape really felt like we were on Mars, with the strange bacteria, gurgling geysers and red mud! So definitely add a tour of Yellowstone to your list of winter activities to try in Big Sky. If you don’t think you can handle snowmobiling, you can also do it by snowcoach.

The Dining

When it comes to dining, Big Sky has a lot of options. Let’s talk about your options at the base first. Hungry Moose is a grocery store that’s a great place to grab a to-go breakfast. Montana Jack is the place to go if you want to enjoy a good burger after a day on the slopes. Vista Hall is a food hall with a variety of options, everything from pizza to sandwiches to tacos. Peaks Restaurant is located inside the Summit Hotel. They’re primarily a steakhouse, but on our last visit to Big Sky we tried out their breakfast buffet. Westward Social is one of the newer restaurants here, and they offer craft cocktails and elevated comfort food. We particularly liked the sliders, the steak tartare, and the bouillabaisse. Just make sure they bring you extra bread so you can sop up all that good sauce!
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
So those are your options right at the base. But if you’re up for going a little further, you’ll find some more great restaurants. Horn & Cantle at Lone Mountain Ranch is a great restaurant you should try. It’s in a log cabin, with lots of Western decor touches like cowboy boots, saddles and mounted heads. On this trip, we came here for a buffet lunch, which was great. But on our last trip, we had dinner here, which was excellent.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Down in the Big Sky Town Center, you’ll find some good options for Asian food. Niseko is a ramen shop and it’s one of the newest restaurants at Big Sky. They have some fun cocktails that incorporate Japanese ingredients like sake, matcha and yuzu. The girls loved the pork belly bao so much that they asked for another order before they’d finished the first one! Niseko offers a variety of ramen flavors, everything from miso and shoyu to curry and spicy soups. No matter what your preference is when it comes to ramen, you should find an option you like here. Blue Buddha Sushi is also located in the town center, and most people come here for the specialty sushi rolls.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Big Sky is not an all-inclusive resort, so how much you’ll spend on food will of course vary depending on exactly what types of dishes and drinks you order and the size of your party. If you’d like to estimate food costs before you go, all the restaurant menus are available online. Pricing at Big Sky can vary a lot, depending on what type of accommodations you’re booking, how many people there are in your party, and what time of year you’re going. So I always recommend that you start your planning process by going directly to the resort’s website and plugging in some dates to see what the price ranges are looking like. You can either book directly with the property, or if there’s a travel advisor or travel agent you already work with, they can help too.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi

About Carmen Sognonvi

Carmen Sognonvi is a luxury family travel content creator at Top Flight Family, named a top 10 family travel Instagram account by Time Out New York and Brit + Co. Her insights on travel have been featured in The Washington Post, INSIDER, Huffington Post, Wanderlust Travel Magazine, TravelPulse, HOTELS Magazine, and more. Carmen firmly believes that you can (and should) travel with your kids from a young age. She offers families practical solutions for travel, as well as tips on how to travel in luxury for less. She lives in New York City with her multiracial and multicultural family of four. Follow her on Instagram, FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.

Click here to read Carmen's articles

Looking for a family-friendly ski resort that offers more than just fun on the slopes? Then you have to check out Big Sky!
Some posts on this site may contain affiliate links, meaning if you book or buy something through one of these links, Top Flight Family may earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. Read the site's full disclosure and privacy policy here.
Thanks to the Ulster County Tourism Board for sponsoring this article When you think of all-inclusive resorts, you probably imagine beachfront hotels in Mexico and the Caribbean. But did you know that all-inclusive resorts exist within the United States as well? Mohonk Mountain House is a beautiful lakefront property in the Hudson Valley region of New York state, where meals and activities are included in your rate! Mohonk Mountain House is located in New Paltz, which is about a two-hour drive from New York City. The drive was scenic even in September, but I’m sure that if you visited a little later in the season than we did, you’d get to travel through some really beautiful fall foliage.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi

The Accommodations

We stayed in a cozy two-bedroom lake-facing suite. We had a living area, one room with a twin bed, one room with a double bed, and a full bathroom. Our terrace had beautiful views of the lake.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi

The Activities

Of course, you come to Mohonk Mountain House not to stay indoors, but to enjoy the great outdoors! One thing I really appreciate about this property is that they offer a number of guided outdoor experiences each day. This means that even if -- like us -- you’re not super outdoorsy -- you can still enjoy getting out into nature without worrying about things going wrong, since you’ll have an experienced guide who’ll be there with you every step of the way.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
The resort has a daily schedule of organized activities you can participate in that are included with your stay. There are also a number of activities you can pay an additional fee for, such as carriage rides, guided horseback rides, and pony rides for kids. On the lake there are rowboats, kayaks, and pedal boats. You can use these as many times as you want during your stay. Most evenings there are campfires with live music, so you can roast s'mores after dinner.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Our favorite activity was archery and tomahawk throwing. Mohonk Mountain House has an archery range where you can do both activities. We started with a family archery class, and our instructor was fantastic. He made it really easy to learn, and the girls were getting bullseyes in no time at all! He was also very knowledgeable about the history of archery. Did you know, for example, that every culture in the world has a bow and arrow weapon system? And that earliest evidence of archery dates all the way back to 10,000 BC? It’s fascinating to think about how long it’s been a part of the human experience.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Tomahawk throwing is for adults only, so Serge and I gave it a try. I was pretty nervous about doing this, but once we got started, it wasn’t as scary or hard as it seemed!
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
We took a tour with the property’s naturalist to learn how to track animals. If it’s something you’re interested in, Mohonk Mountain House offers both daytime and nighttime tracking tours.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
We also went on a guided hike, which we enjoyed a lot. There are a variety of hikes at different intensity levels, so depending on your experience level and mobility, you can choose your level that suits you best.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
If you’re interested in seeing the views from the highest points of the property, but you’re not comfortable hiking that far, a great option is to take a carriage ride or guided horseback tour. The highest point has really cool views, including being able to see Skytop Tower, a monument built on top of one of the highest hills to commemorate the founder of Mohonk Mountain House, Albert Smiley.

The Spa

If you stay at Mohonk Mountain House, I highly recommend paying a visit to the spa. It blends in perfectly with the rest of the resort’s classic lake lodge feel, with big windows overlooking the trees and nature. There are separate men’s and women's relaxation areas, as well as a couple’s relaxation area with a huge fireplace. The steam room and sauna were closed when we visited due to Covid, but the spa also has a really nice outdoor heated mineral pool that is available.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Serge and each had a massage in separate rooms. Due to Covid, couple’s massages can’t take place in the same room, but we reunited after the treatment in the couple’s relaxation lounge! If you’re looking for other indoor activities, be sure to check out the indoor heated pool. The girls had a lot of fun swimming here. The property also has a small game room with air hockey, table tennis, foosball, and shuffleboard.

The Dining

One thing that’s a bit different about this property is that there aren’t separate restaurants. You take all your meals - breakfast, lunch and dinner - in the main dining room. There are beautiful views in the dining room, and it feels very open and airy. The food is excellent, and all very gourmet. For breakfast, I highly recommend the pastry basket with muffins, banana bread, pain au chocolat. Everything was so fresh and delicious. The Mohonk Mountain House signature lobster omelette is very decadent, so definitely try that for the experience. For some healthier options, the quinoa bowl and avocado toast were both very good.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Breakfast and lunch have mostly the same menu every day, but dinner rotates between four different menus. One thing that’s fun is that both lunch and dinner are three course meals. This means you get to have dessert not just with dinner, but with lunch too! For dinner, Serge and I really enjoyed the French onion soup, while the girls loved the lobster mac and cheese. But the best dinner entree by far was the house gemelli bolognese. It was so hearty, but also had such rich, complex flavors. I ordered this entree multiple times - that’s how good it was. Alcoholic drinks are not included, but there is an extensive wine list, and you can have wine by the glass, half bottle, or bottle. The house cocktails were also really good. Our favorites were the House Tartini and the Honey Bear.

Covid-19 Safety

Most of your time is spent outdoors here, so that factor alone makes this a great choice in terms of reducing exposure. Also, the resort is very strict about wearing masks indoors. All the staff and guests were very much onboard with Covid safety, so mask adherence was high, which was great. And of course, there was ample hand sanitizer throughout the resort.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi

About Carmen Sognonvi

Carmen Sognonvi is a luxury family travel content creator at Top Flight Family, named a top 10 family travel Instagram account by Time Out New York and Brit + Co. Her insights on travel have been featured in The Washington Post, INSIDER, Huffington Post, Wanderlust Travel Magazine, TravelPulse, HOTELS Magazine, and more. Carmen firmly believes that you can (and should) travel with your kids from a young age. She offers families practical solutions for travel, as well as tips on how to travel in luxury for less. She lives in New York City with her multiracial and multicultural family of four. Follow her on Instagram, FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.

Click here to read Carmen's articles

Mohonk Mountain House is a beautiful lakefront property in the Hudson Valley region of New York state, where meals and activities are included in your rate!
Some posts on this site may contain affiliate links, meaning if you book or buy something through one of these links, Top Flight Family may earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. Read the site's full disclosure and privacy policy here.
If you’ve been to Baha Mar in Nassau, then you already know how amazing this Bahamas beachfront luxury resort complex is. What you may not realize is that Baha Mar has recently added some major new amenities that have completely transformed the guest experience there, including a brand-new, 200 million dollar luxury water park. Many thanks to Baha Mar for hosting us!

The Resort

Baha Mar is a resort made up of three different hotels: Grand Hyatt, SLS, and Rosewood. The last time Baha Mar invited us out, we stayed in the West Tower of the Grand Hyatt, which is more of a traditional hotel experience. This time though, they booked us in the East Tower, which has more of a dramatic casino hotel decor style. ​​In the East Tower, there are a number of floors that are considered to be part of The Reserve, a section of ultra-luxury suites. ⁠When you book at The Reserve, you check in at the VIP lounge instead of in the main lobby. The Reserve also has its own entrances and exits so that high profile guests can move around freely.⁠⁠
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi

The Accommodations

We stayed in an absolutely massive 2-bedroom suite with a spacious living-dining area, a pool table, and incredible 28th floor views of the ocean. There was even a screening room, which is not something we've ever seen before in a hotel suite!
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi

The Pools

There are so many amazing pools to choose from at Baha Mar. The Grand Hyatt alone has six different pools of its own! There’s also a beautiful beach area. But if you don’t want to have to choose between the pool and the beach, spend a day at the Baha Bay Beach Club. Not only do you have access to the gorgeous beach, but there are two infinity pools as well. Last time we stayed at Baha Mar, we had a cabana at the beach club, which was really lovely.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi

The Water Park

As nice as the pools and the beaches are at Baha Mar, chances are, if you’re coming here with kids, you’re not going to be able to tear them away from the resort’s newest attraction: the 200 million dollar luxury water park! Baha Bay just opened this summer. It has 24 slides, a lazy river, and the biggest FlowRider we've ever seen. Two people could ride at a time which was fun and practical because it kept the lines pretty short!⁠⁠ One thing that's great about Baha Bay is that it's only open to guests of Baha Mar, plus a very limited number of local residents each day. Because of that, it's a much more exclusive experience than some other water parks in Nassau.⁠ We booked a cabana for the day, which was nice because we had a home base to meet at between slides and rides. For gaming enthusiasts, there’s even a little casino right in the middle of the water park, which is definitely something we’ve never seen before!⁠⁠ There’s a lot to do at this park, but luckily it’s not so spread out that kids can get lost. If the last time you went to Baha Mar was before this water park opened, and you’re wondering if it’s worth a return visit now, our answer is: absolutely!
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi

The Activities

Even without the water park, there is a lot to do with kids in Baha Mar, so you’ll have plenty of options when it comes to planning family time during your stay. There’s a kids club with different play areas, arts and crafts, and even a learning kitchen where they do kids and family baking and cooking classes! Last time we were at Baha Mar we did a family cooking class, and it was really fun. There are also a few different animal encounters you can try out! The aviary is a small area where you can view and feed different birds native to the islands. At The Sanctuary, kids can interact with sharks, stingrays, and sea turtles. Flamingos are native to the Bahamas, so at Flamingo Cay, you can do a flamingo encounter where you can pet them and learn all about these incredible birds! They even offer flamingo yoga, which is not something I’ve experienced, but definitely sounds like a super unique, interesting time. Finally, If you have an interest in art, you should check out The Current, an art gallery and educational space featuring local Bahamian art. There are plenty of workshops here, and we loved the painting class we took with instructor Samantha, who helped us paint an ocean scape. Both Sean and Ella are artists. They’re really passionate about painting and drawing, so this was really fun to do as a family, even though Serge and I aren’t as artistically inclined as the girls.

The Spa

The spa at Baha Mar is absolutely gorgeous. I actually went twice, once for a quick manicure, then for a couples massage with Serge. We’ve had a lot of massages over the years, but the massage tables here were undoubtedly the most comfortable we’ve ever experienced. The decor at the spa was gorgeous, the treatments were so well-done, and the service was fantastic. So definitely book some time here during your stay!

The Dining

If you're planning a trip to Baha Mar, one thing that's really important to consider when budgeting is food. I'd recommend checking out pricing for all the restaurants online before you go, so that you can make a plan for dining while you're there. Baha Mar has opened quite a few new restaurants and dining concepts since we last stayed at the property in 2019, so let’s explore some of the new offerings! Marcus is a concept by celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson, serving his take on Caribbean food. Sugar Factory is another new restaurant at Baha Mar. If you haven't been to any of their other locations before, Sugar Factory is a great place to come with kids, or to celebrate a birthday!⁠⁠ ⁠⁠They have giant, candy-infused cocktails complete with dry ice, massive crazy milkshakes, and overall just a really fun atmosphere.⁠⁠ ⁠You might not expect the food at a place like this to be good, but the dishes are actually quite tasty. The rainbow sliders are always a fave for us!⁠⁠ After your meal, be sure to stop by the epic candy store right across from the restaurant!⁠⁠
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Another new dining concept to check out at Baha Mar is Umami Burger. They started at the resort with just a food truck, but now have expanded to a permanent location inside the Baha Bay water park. We’ve always enjoyed their New York location, so it was nice to have this burger again in the Bahamas. Now let’s talk about some of the dining options at Baha Mar that are not new, but are definitely worth checking out. For breakfast most days we ate at a restaurant called 3tides. Here I’d highly recommend the continental pastry board, which comes with an oversized cinnamon roll, croissant, and pain au chocolat. They’re huge, so you’ll definitely want some friends and family to share this with you! Fi’lia is a great choice if you like Italian food. We especially liked the beef carpaccio and grilled octopus here. Shuang Ba is a Chinese restaurant with absolutely gorgeous decor. We ordered the Peking Duck, which is such an amazing dining experience since the chef carves the duck in front of you. What if you’re on a bit of a budget? If you’d like to spend a little less on dining, here are the more budget friendly options you should check out. First is Umami burger, which I’ve already mentioned. There’s also PizzaLab, which is available for dine in or take out. There are also several food trucks around the resort: like El Jefe, a taco stand, or Street Bird, which is a chicken spot. And finally Stix Noodle Bar has some reasonably priced options as well.

Covid-19 Safety

Now let’s talk about Covid safety at Baha Mar. Masks are required indoors throughout the Bahamas, so make sure to bring some with you! Mask adherence was very good by both staff and guests at Baha Mar, which is always nice to see. You’ll see lots of signs throughout the resort reminding you to maintain a distance of 6 feet, or approximately 2 flamingoes from others, which was a cute touch. Baha Mar offers complimentary on-site rapid antigen tests for all guests. If your country requires a PCR test, you can get one on-site for $112 per person.

About Carmen Sognonvi

Carmen Sognonvi is a luxury family travel content creator at Top Flight Family, named a top 10 family travel Instagram account by Time Out New York and Brit + Co. Her insights on travel have been featured in The Washington Post, INSIDER, Huffington Post, Wanderlust Travel Magazine, TravelPulse, HOTELS Magazine, and more. Carmen firmly believes that you can (and should) travel with your kids from a young age. She offers families practical solutions for travel, as well as tips on how to travel in luxury for less. She lives in New York City with her multiracial and multicultural family of four. Follow her on Instagram, FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.

Click here to read Carmen's articles

Baha Mar has recently added some major new amenities that have completely transformed the guest experience there, including a brand-new, 200 million dollar luxury water park.
Some posts on this site may contain affiliate links, meaning if you book or buy something through one of these links, Top Flight Family may earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. Read the site's full disclosure and privacy policy here.
When you hear the words “Hard Rock,” you probably think of rock and roll and late night parties. Those things are certainly part of the Hard Rock brand, but there’s so much more! Our family recently stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel Punta Cana and found that it was actually a very family-friendly all-inclusive resort. In this review, I’ll cover the accommodations, the pools, the beach, the entertainment, the activities, the spa. I’ll also explain why I think this is a particularly good resort for families with teenagers. And of course I’ll cover the resort’s Covid safety protocols. Many thanks to the Hard Rock Hotel Punta Cana for hosting us!

Checking In

The lobby of the hotel has a sort of moody, club feel, with dim lighting, heavy curtains and big portraits of rock legends like Mick Jagger, John Lennon, Chuck Berry, and Elvis Presley. The decor is really unique-- walking through kind of feels like you’re backstage at a show. Throughout the property there’s lots of interesting rock and roll memorabilia. There’s a whole wall about the Beach Boys, with some of their guitars and gold records, a motorcycle owned by Billy Idol and a customized limo that Madonna used at one of the Grammy awards.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
One thing to note about this property is that knowing some basic Spanish will really help you out. While some staff members did speak excellent English, we found that many only spoke Spanish, even in prominent customer-facing positions. So brushing up on your Spanish skills will definitely give you a better experience here.

The Accommodations

We stayed in a two bedroom suite with a living and dining area. There was a king bedroom and a double room. But one thing that was unique about the double room is that both beds were king beds! Of course, the girls absolutely loved that. Spanning the entire width of the suite is a big terrace with whirlpool tubs.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi

Getting Around

Hard Rock Punta Cana is very large and spread out, so you get around by golf cart shuttles that go around the resort, picking up and dropping off guests at regular intervals. If you prefer not to have to rely on these shuttles, you can actually rent your own golf cart for about $100 per day. Yes it’s a splurge, but it does make getting around the resort more convenient, especially if you’re traveling with kids. It’s nice not to have to wait for a ride, especially after those late dinners when the kids are cranky and exhausted.

The Pools

When it comes to fun in the sun, there’s no shortage of options. There are 13 different pools at the Hard Rock, including a kids pool with a water slide. Live entertainment is a strength of this resort, so it’s no surprise that they even bring the show to the pool sometimes! The Hard Rock also has a lazy river, but when we visited it was actually out of commission, so we didn’t get a chance to try it out.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi

The Beaches

One huge advantage that Hard Rock Punta Cana has over other resorts in the area is its gorgeous beach. The property sits on a massive stretch of Bávaro Beach. It’s spacious and absolutely stunning, with soft white sands and clear blue water. The resort did a great job of cleaning up the seaweed, which can get pretty bad in this area this time of year. We had a cabana for a day which was nice. This beach has some pretty intense waves, so if you have kids, they’ll definitely need adult supervision while in the water. Serge stayed with the girls the whole time, and they loved playing in the waves. Of course, this is a public beach, so make sure to keep an eye on your belongings the way you would anywhere else. The vendors here can also be pretty persistent, so be prepared for that as well.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi

The Gaming

One thing we really liked about Hard Rock Punta Cana is that it offers so many different gaming options. For adults, of course, there’s the casino. But kids and teens have lots of gaming options to choose from as well. There’s a traditional kids club, the use of which is included in your stay. But for an additional fee, there’s so much else to do. Our girls loved the arcade, which had air hockey, driving games, claw machines and all the other classic arcade games. And they had a lot of fun trying the virtual reality experiences. The property also offers laser tag and an escape room. Many resorts offer fun activities for kids and adults, but not a whole lot for teenagers. So it was nice to see that this property had so many amenities suited for teens. We also had a fun family bowling night during our stay!
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi

The Entertainment

There’s lots of nighttime entertainment options for guests each evening. In addition to activities like karaoke and silent discos, Hard Rock Punta Cana offers a live nighttime performance just about every night! We caught two different ones, one called Mi Pais, which featured traditional Dominican music and dancing. But our family’s favorite was the Popstar Show. This featured performers doing different iconic pop songs, which was really fun overall, but the Michael Jackson impersonator was especially impressive.

The Spa

Serge and I took an afternoon to check out the spa at the property. At 60,000 square feet, The Rock Spa is absolutely massive. It offers 42 different treatment rooms, and what it calls the Caribbean's most complete hydrotherapy center with lagoons, whirlpools, steam rooms, saunas and much more. We enjoyed a lovely couple’s massage. The property also has a huge, full-service beauty salon that offers manis and pedis, hair, and makeup services.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi

The Dining

The Market We’ll start with the not-so-good dining, then we’ll move onto the better options. The Market was honestly, my least favorite restaurant at the resort. It’s a restaurant located in the main building, with about five or six different buffet stations with different types of ethnic cuisines. The concept is solid, and the decor is beautiful. But the execution wasn’t great. The servers at the buffet stations were quite unpleasant, even to our girls. The entire buffet system was really hectic and disorganized, and the food wasn’t that great. For all those reasons, I’d recommend skipping The Market altogether and trying out the other great restaurants I’m about to mention.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Isla Isla is your other main option when it comes to breakfast. It’s not located in the main building, so I’m sure many guests don’t even realize that they can have breakfast somewhere other than The Market. The service here is much better, the buffet is a lot easier to navigate and it’s just a much more relaxed, pleasant experience.
Photo: Hard Rock Punta Cana
Zen Zen is the Asian hibachi restaurant at Hard Rock. The chef was entertaining, and had some pretty cool tricks, so this was a fun dinner.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Ipanema Ipanema is the Brazilian steakhouse, and another really good option to dine at. In normal times, the servers would walk around from table to table with the different meats and cut them at your table. But because of Covid, there’s now a dedicated station in the buffet where the chef will serve the steaks to you.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Los Gallos Los Gallos, the Mexican restaurant, was hands-down my favorite restaurant at this resort. The decor is stunning, the service was warm and inviting, and we had a lot of fun trying the flavored tequilas from the roaming cart! It’s an extra charge, but worth it for the experience.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Other dining options include an ice cream parlor, a coffee shop, and several bars and lounges. Room service is also included as part of your all-inclusive stay here, which is always a nice perk.

Covid Safety

I was really impressed by the property’s dedication to keeping their staff and guests safe. Of course, there was hand sanitizer all around the resort. At every entrance to the main building, there’s a security guard stationed at the door to make sure everyone was wearing a mask. And if you didn’t have one, he had a big box of masks on hand so he could give you one. Every buffet was done very safely. Either staff would serve you from behind plexiglass, or if it was a self-serve buffet, they provided plastic gloves for you to wear, and of course, made sure your mask was on while serving yourself.

About Carmen Sognonvi

Carmen Sognonvi is a luxury family travel content creator at Top Flight Family, named a top 10 family travel Instagram account by Time Out New York and Brit + Co. Her insights on travel have been featured in The Washington Post, INSIDER, Huffington Post, Wanderlust Travel Magazine, TravelPulse, HOTELS Magazine, and more. Carmen firmly believes that you can (and should) travel with your kids from a young age. She offers families practical solutions for travel, as well as tips on how to travel in luxury for less. She lives in New York City with her multiracial and multicultural family of four. Follow her on Instagram, FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.

Click here to read Carmen's articles

Is Hard Rock all about parties and rock 'n roll? Not at all! Hard Rock Hotel Punta Cana is actually a very family-friendly all-inclusive.
Some posts on this site may contain affiliate links, meaning if you book or buy something through one of these links, Top Flight Family may earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. Read the site's full disclosure and privacy policy here.
Would you like to stay at a resort in Mexico where authentic Mexican cuisine is the star of the show? Then look no further than Andaz Mayakoba in Riviera Maya! In this article, I’ll cover the accommodations, the pools, the beach, the dining, the activities, the kids club. And of course, I’ll cover the Covid safety protocols at the resort. Many thanks to Andaz Mayakoba for hosting us!

The Property

Andaz Mayakoba is in Riviera Maya, so to get there we flew into Cancun, and from there it was about a 45-minute drive. If you're not familiar with Mayakoba, it's a private community set on 620 acres of lagoons, jungles, and beaches. Mayakoba is home to Andaz Mayakoba, as well as several other high end resorts, and some really gorgeous private luxury residences.⁠ We loved the modern, minimalist aesthetic of the property, as well as the huge, colorful murals you can find all over the resort.⁠⁠
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi

The Accommodations

We stayed in a lagoon view suite on the second floor. This was a spacious one bedroom suite with enormously high ceilings, big windows facing the lagoon, and lots of natural light pouring in. There was a plunge pool on the balcony, and lots of seating. The bedroom had one king bed, and the living room had a daybed, where Sean slept. They brought in a rollaway bed for Ella and even with this in the living room, we had plenty of extra space. The suite featured lots of natural materials like wood, stone, and leather. There were many pieces of Mexican folk art throughout that brought in bright pops of color. The bathroom had double sinks, and a huge frosted window, which made the shower feel almost like an outdoor shower because of all the natural light it let in. There was also a separate powder room.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi

Getting Around

One thing we realized very quickly is that this resort is really spread out, and not that walkable. For this reason, the resort offers free bicycles for guests to use. You pick up and drop off bikes wherever they are available. If your kids are too small for the adult bikes, you can contact the kids club to borrow kid-sized bikes. But those are pretty limited in number, so they may not have any available. If you have toddlers or preschoolers, you can also rent bike trailers for them to sit in. For families with smaller kids or for people who are bicycally challenged (hello that’s me!), it’s probably easiest to just get around by golf cart. You can either call for a golf cart, or just flag one down as they pass by.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi

The Beach

Whenever we talk about beaches, we get a lot of questions about the seaweed. Granted, the Sargassum seaweed situation in some parts of Mexico was pretty bad this summer. At Andaz Mayakoba, there was some seaweed, which was to be expected, but the staff did a great job of cleaning it up and maintaining it. So it wasn’t bad at all!
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi

The Pools

Andaz Mayakoba has two main pools. The Lagoon Pool is really modern, with colorful umbrellas and lounge chairs. If you’d like a pool cabana, this is the pool where you’ll find those. We spent most of our time at the beach pool. I especially loved the loungers, which were more like mattresses or daybeds.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi

The Eco Cruise

One activity I highly recommend at Andaz Mayakoba is the eco cruise. It’s complimentary, and is offered twice a day: once at 11 am, and once at 3 pm. You can also arrange for a completely private tour if you prefer. It’s about 30 minutes long, and is a great way to explore the lagoons of Mayakoba. We saw lots of wildlife, especially turtles and birds.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi

The Kids Club

The kids club at Andaz Mayakoba is called Kimbo. It has table tennis, foosball, a few screens for playing video games, and an arts and craft area. There's also a separate room for toddlers so they can have their own area away from bigger kids. Our girls spent a little time here doing some arts and crafts projects and really enjoyed it.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi

The Gym

And here’s a look at the gym. It’s split into two rooms, with cardio machines on one side And weight machines on the other side.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi

The Dining

Ok, let’s talk about the dining at Andaz Mayakoba, because in my opinion, this is the reason to stay here. This resort had some of the best food we’ve had all year. And we’ve had a lot of great food this year already! One thing I love about this resort is that unlike many other properties, Mexican cuisine isn’t just one of many cuisine options on offer. At Andaz Mayakoba, Mexican cuisine is the star of the show. And when you’re traveling to Mexico, that only feels appropriate. Cocina Milagro Cocina Milagro was one of our favorite restaurants. It serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but the breakfast buffet is definitely the reason to stop by. There’s a section with fruit and cold cuts, a section with hot dishes, and outdoors there's a quesadilla stand where you can customize your own quesadilla, or pick up some tamales. I’m a sucker for cactus, so the nopales quesadillas were my favorite.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Tinta del Pulpo Tinta del Pulpo is the other all-day restaurant. Here breakfast is only a la carte. Our favorite breakfast dish here was grilled salmon with steamed rice, spinach, sesame sauce and vegetables. Not your traditional breakfast dish, but it was absolutely delicious. We also had dinner here one night. We particularly enjoyed the fish tostada and the tempura fish taco.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
VB If you’re vegan, you'll be happy to know there’s a whole vegan restaurant here called VB! They serve fresh coconuts, fresh pressed juices and smoothies, and everything from salads, to wraps, to grain bowls.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Sotavento Sotavento is a restaurant on the beach with an open-air grill. If you love having dinner with sand between your toes, this is the place to go. You can’t go wrong with any of the grilled fish, but make sure you don’t miss out on their frozen desserts! I particularly loved the affogato, which was vanilla ice cream served with a moka biscuit, espresso cream, chocolate sauce, and cacao nibs.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Casa Amate But our favorite meal from the whole trip was at Casa Amate. This cozy restaurant is designed to look as if you’re walking into the home of a sophisticated world explorer. The bar looks like an old-school drawing room, with leather club chairs, and one of the dining rooms is even decorated like an old library. Kids are allowed, but it definitely feels like more of a date night restaurant, so if you were looking for a night out without the kids this would be the place to go. Anytime there’s octopus on the menu, I’m going to order it. The marinated octopus with fried corn, roasted peanuts and glazed yellow sweet potato was so good. For entrees, Serge and I each had one of the two fish dishes. I had the smoked totoaba fish with plantains, peppers, prunes, and coconut broth, while Serge had the red snapper wrapped in banana leaf with roasted peppers, red onion, tomato and garlic oil. Both were amazing.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi

The All-Inclusive Package

Now one thing you should know is that Andaz Mayakoba is not an all-inclusive resort. However, you do have the option to purchase what is essentially an all-inclusive option. This is called the “open kitchen” package. It’s about $125 per day per adult. I’m not sure about the cost for kids, unfortunately. There are a couple things you should know before you decide if you’ll go for this option. First, with this package, you’re still presented with the bill for the full amount, because you’re expected to tip on the full amount. There’s already a ten percent service charge added to your bill, but servers will expect a tip of anywhere from 18 to 22% on top of that. This policy is obviously different from most all-inclusive resorts, where tipping is usually encouraged but not expected. On the menu of each restaurant, there are certain dishes, like lobster, or certain cuts of steak, that require a surcharge. These are clearly marked on the menu, and it’s very clear how much extra you can expect to pay if you order those, so that’s all fine. When it comes to drinks however, it’s not as clear, unfortunately. So I would recommend at every meal, making it clear to the server as soon as you’re seated that you have the open kitchen package. And double-checking with them that whichever drink you're ordering is going to be included in that package. Unfortunately we ran into a few situations where drinks we expected to be included were not, and I read a few online reviews from other guests who experienced the same thing, so I’d recommend being crystal-clear just to avoid any potential misunderstandings. In general, the open kitchen package is probably only worthwhile if you plan on drinking a lot, or if you’re a big eater. Otherwise, you’re better off just ordering a la carte. If you’d like to estimate food costs before you go, all the restaurant menus are available on the resort’s website.

Covid Safety

Okay, let’s talk about Covid-19 safety at Andaz Mayakoba. The breakfast buffet is not self-serve. Instead, you’ll indicate what you’d like, and the staff will serve it to you from behind plexiglass shields. The resort provides sanitation kits in each room with antibacterial wipes and masks. All staff members are masked at all times. Masks are required in indoor areas, but I’d say that the place where this was the most enforced was at the breakfast buffet, understandably. The resort offers on-site COVID tests on a walk-in basis every morning from 8 am to 1 pm. As of August 1st, Rapid Antigen Tests are $15 USD per person, and the PCR Test is $80 USD per person. You get your results by email in about 12 hours.

About Carmen Sognonvi

Carmen Sognonvi is a luxury family travel content creator at Top Flight Family, named a top 10 family travel Instagram account by Time Out New York and Brit + Co. Her insights on travel have been featured in The Washington Post, INSIDER, Huffington Post, Wanderlust Travel Magazine, TravelPulse, HOTELS Magazine, and more. Carmen firmly believes that you can (and should) travel with your kids from a young age. She offers families practical solutions for travel, as well as tips on how to travel in luxury for less. She lives in New York City with her multiracial and multicultural family of four. Follow her on Instagram, FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.

Click here to read Carmen's articles

Would you like to stay at a resort in Mexico where authentic Mexican cuisine is the star of the show? Then look no further than Andaz Mayakoba in Riviera Maya!
Some posts on this site may contain affiliate links, meaning if you book or buy something through one of these links, Top Flight Family may earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. Read the site's full disclosure and privacy policy here.
Are you looking for a luxurious resort in Aruba that’s also very family-friendly? Then you have to check out The Ritz-Carlton, Aruba! This property is one of the only 5-star resorts on the island, so it should be at the top of your list if you’re looking to visit Aruba. In this article I’ll cover the accommodations, the pools, the beach, the dining, the activities, and the extra amenities you’ll receive if you book a club-level room. And of course, I’ll cover the Covid safety protocols at the resort. Many thanks to The Ritz-Carlton, Aruba for hosting us!

Getting There

One thing you should know is that the Aruba airport is very busy these days. You can easily wait an hour or longer to get through immigration and customs when you land. Luckily we had authenticated our negative Covid test results through the app CommonPass, which gave us access to expedited line for Covid screening. I would highly recommend doing this, because it saved us a ton of time. If you’d like all the details on what Aruba requires from visitors in terms of Covid testing, and how you can save a ton of time by using the free CommonPass program, here’s a video all about their current travel requirements:

The Accommodations

We booked a one-bedroom suite with a beautiful, ocean facing view. The bathroom had a huge shower. Seriously, it was so big that all four of us could have fit in there at once. There was a spacious living room with a pull out couch, a dining room and a work area.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
We opted for a club level room, which costs a little more, but the benefits are well worth it. With a club level room, you get access to complimentary pressing of several items of clothing per day, coffee or tea with your wakeup call, and access to the club level concierge. This is particularly useful when the main concierge in the lobby gets busy.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
But the best part of staying club level is getting access to the gorgeous club lounge. The lounge serves a full breakfast each morning, plus light snacks, hors d' oeuvres & desserts throughout the day, as well as a full drink menu. The service in the lounge is particularly good, so if you’re going to stay at The Ritz-Carlton Aruba, I very much recommend upgrading to club-level.

The Pools

There are two main pools at The Ritz-Carlton Aruba. There’s a family pool, as well as an adult pool, which is lined with cabanas.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi

The Beach

Aruba is known for its white sand beaches and turquoise water, so no surprise, that’s exactly what you’re going to find when you stay at The Ritz-Carlton Aruba. The property is located on Palm Beach, in the high-rise hotel section of the island. But this section of Palm Beach is much quieter and feels more secluded, so it has a really chill vibe. Just remember that this is still a public beach, so stay alert and take care of your belongings, just as you would anywhere else.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi

Cooking with the Chef

Solanio is where you'll find the breakfast buffet each morning at Ritz-Carlton Aruba. But one morning, the girls got a special treat when they were invited into the kitchen to make pancakes with the chef!⁠ ⁠⁠Sean has developed a love for cooking and baking since we started spending so much time at home during the pandemic, so it was really cool for her to experience cooking in a real restaurant kitchen!⁠ And just like at home, Ella was the perfect sous chef.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
If your kid enjoys cooking, be sure to check out Ritz Kids, the kids club at the resort! They offer a variety of activities each day, including waffle making! Ritz Kids charges $20 per hour per child, and they require reservations at least 24 hours in advance, so be sure to plan ahead if you want to use the kids club.

The Dining

Solanio The main breakfast destination is Solanio. Here you can find a full breakfast buffet, or you can opt to order a la carte.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Ritual Coffee Culture There’s also a coffee house called Ritual Coffee Culture. There’s coffee of course, but also sandwiches and pastries. It’s open all day and is great if you just want to grab and go. It also has a gelato station, which of course the girls loved.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Divi Bar and Lounge The lobby bar, Divi Bar and Lounge, has a light food menu as well as drinks. We had dinner here the first night and ordered sashimi and a variety of rolls. The bar is particularly known for their gin and tonic selections, so if that’s your drink, you’ll appreciate all the different gins and tonics you can choose from.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
The girls weren’t the only ones who picked up some new skills from the Ritz Carlton staff. Serge and I took a mixology class at the bar where we learned how to make the resort’s signature cocktail, the cadushi. It’s made of white rum, orange liquor, cactus puree, fresh lime juice, simple syrup, and 7-Up. The cocktail is then placed in a smoker, which is not just for presentation. It really does add to the flavor. BLT Steak If you’re a steak lover, you should check out BLT Steak, a chain of American style steakhouse that has many locations worldwide. One thing that’s fun here is that they serve popovers instead of bread. We started with a seafood platter that included oysters, shrimp, and crab. Serge and I shared the porterhouse for two, and for dessert we had miniature donuts with ice cream.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Casa Nonna But our favorite restaurant by far was Casa Nonna, which is Italian for grandmother’s house. A name like that is always a good sign. Casa Nonna is actually located in the exact same space as Soliano, but it has a completely different front of house and kitchen staff. So basically, in the mornings it’s Soliano, but in the evenings it transforms into Casa Nonna. There’s a roaming mixologist who comes to your table and prepares your cocktail of choice right in front of you. It’s really interactive and fun to watch. He made some delicious non-alcoholic mocktails for the girls too, so it’s an experience the whole family can enjoy.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
We started with the grilled octopus salad, and a charcuterie board. Then for entrees, Serge had the shrimp scampi while I had the mushroom ravioli. We got to chatting with our server Joshua, who, it turns out, is actually an incredible surfer, and represents Aruba at international surfing competitions all over the world. His Instagram handle is @inwaterw3trust if you’d like to check out his skills, and also to see what the waves in Aruba are like!

Dinner on the Beach

The signature dining experience at The Ritz-Carlton Aruba actually isn’t in a restaurant at all. It’s Dinner on the Beach. You can customize a four-course menu according to your preferences, and the resort will set up this luxurious outdoor dinner on a secluded part of the beach. There’s a table for the food, pillows for seats, and a beautiful sunset for the backdrop.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Our personal butler Luis took care of every detail for us. He was really amazing. I seriously couldn’t believe that he managed this entire dinner on his own. He also made the evening so fun for us, with great music and conversation and we enjoyed learning more about his life. Like many Aruba residents, he’s originally from Colombia but he moved to Aruba as a kid. While he’s proud of his Colombian heritage, Aruba is really home for him, and he’s now married and has a young daughter, so the roots run deep. Dinner on the beach starts at $120 per person, and it’s definitely something you should look into if you’re coming to Aruba to celebrate a special occasion, like a birthday, an anniversary, or even a proposal! It’s worth the splurge for sure.

Covid Safety

Ok, let’s talk about Covid safety at The Ritz-Carlton Aruba. One thing that’s interesting to note is that Aruba actually has the highest vaccination rate in all of the Caribbean. As of the recording of this video, over 60% of its residents are fully vaccinated. Just a day or two before we arrived, Aruba had dropped all its Covid restrictions, so masks were no longer needed, even indoors, and restaurants were back to full capacity. That said, all guests at The Ritz-Carlton Aruba are required to wear masks indoors. And of course, staff are masked at all times.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
The property offers on-site Covid testing. The rapid antigen test is US$50 and the PCR test is US$125, and results for both are returned in 24 hours. I would recommend booking your Covid tests as soon as you check into the hotel. They’re only offered a few hours a day, so availability is somewhat limited. If you’re planning a stay at this property, I’d recommend calling the resort ahead of time to find out what their most current policies are. Unfortunately with the new variants going around, Covid restrictions change very rapidly these days, so what you experience when you visit may be different than when we went. Aruba itself has also experienced a spike in Covid cases in the last few weeks, so they could be putting some new policies into place.

About Carmen Sognonvi

Carmen Sognonvi is a luxury family travel content creator at Top Flight Family, named a top 10 family travel Instagram account by Time Out New York and Brit + Co. Her insights on travel have been featured in The Washington Post, INSIDER, Huffington Post, Wanderlust Travel Magazine, TravelPulse, HOTELS Magazine, and more. Carmen firmly believes that you can (and should) travel with your kids from a young age. She offers families practical solutions for travel, as well as tips on how to travel in luxury for less. She lives in New York City with her multiracial and multicultural family of four. Follow her on Instagram, FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.

Click here to read Carmen's articles

Are you looking for a luxurious resort in Aruba that’s also very family-friendly? Then you have to check out The Ritz-Carlton, Aruba! This property is one of the only 5-star resorts on the island, so it should be at the top of your list if you’re looking to visit Aruba. In this article I’ll cover the accommodations, the pools, the beach, the dining, the activities, and the extra amenities you’ll receive if you book a club-level room. And of course, I’ll cover the Covid safety protocols at the resort. Many thanks to The Ritz-Carlton, Aruba for hosting us!
Some posts on this site may contain affiliate links, meaning if you book or buy something through one of these links, Top Flight Family may earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. Read the site's full disclosure and privacy policy here.
Are you looking for a resort that offers family-friendly fun all four seasons? Then you have to check out Camelback Lodge, tucked away in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania! Camelback offers outdoor waterparks and mountain coasters in the summer, skiing in the winter, and an epic indoor waterpark all year round! In this article, I’ll cover the accommodations, the dining, the arcade, the indoor waterpark, the outdoor waterpark, the mountain coaster and more. And of course, I’ll cover the Covid safety protocols at the resort. Many thanks to Camelback Lodge for hosting us!

The Location

The Pocono Mountains are located in Northeastern Pennsylvania, about a 2-hour drive from our home in New York City. When New Yorkers need a break from city life, we go to the Poconos for unpretentious, down-to-earth, family fun. Fun fact: our very first videos to blow up on YouTube were indoor waterpark reviews. And ever since then, so many viewers have been asking us to go and check out Camelback! It’s seriously been one of the most requested videos, so I’m thrilled that we finally had a chance to go.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi

The Accommodations

We stayed in a two bedroom suite, with one king bedroom and another room with two queen beds. There were two full bathrooms, and a living and dining room area with a mini fridge and microwave in the kitchenette. There was also a working fireplace.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi

The Outdoor Activities

Camelback has a section called Adventure Base Camp, where you can try all types of outdoor adventures, from zip-lining to riding ATVs to doing treetop ropes courses. I definitely recommend booking these as early in advance as possible, especially since sometimes due to weather conditions, time slots can get cancelled or pushed back. We did the Mountain Coaster, which was like a roller coaster down the mountain.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi

The Indoor Water Park

Aquatopia is Camelback’s incredible, year-round indoor waterpark. Even though it’s an indoor waterpark, there’s lots of natural light because the entire ceiling is made of glass. Just remember to be diligent with sunscreen so you don’t get sunburned! Aquatopia has thirteen different water slides, from body slides to mat slides, from tube slides to bowl slides. There’s a penguin themed area that’s good for infants and toddlers. There’s also a big play area called Kartrite’s Quest that has some smaller water slides. These slides are a good option for kids who don't meet the height requirements for the big slides. There’s a lazy river, a wave pool and a Flowrider.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
I definitely recommend booking a cabana here, because it’s great to have a home base where you can keep all your belongings, and enjoy a bit of shade.

The Outdoor Waterpark

CamelBeach is the outdoor waterpark at Camelback. It’s just a 5-minute shuttle ride from the main lodge. We were totally shocked by how massive this place was. With over 37 rides, slides, and attractions, Camelbeach is the largest outdoor waterpark in Pennsylvania. Some of the girls’ favorite attractions were a 1,000 foot-long, lazy river called Blue Nile Adventure River, a six story funnel slide called High Noon Typhoon, and Triple Venom, a trio of six story high body slides. But by far they spent the most time at the Kahuna Lagoon Wave Pool. This wave pool is no joke:  it has waves ranging from “one-foot rollers” to the “Big Kahuna” which is 4 to 6 feet in height! This wave pool is intense, so kids under 48 inches need to wear a lifejacket and be accompanied by an adult.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Because Camelbeach is so big, I’d encourage you to look at a map ahead of time and decide where your kids are likely to spend most of their time, and set up camp there. We chose a cabana by the wave pool, which was perfect since the girls loved it so much. I’d also recommend that you bring a pair of good water shoes because you’ll be walking a lot over a big, spread out area, and the cement gets really hot. It’s definitely not something you want to do barefoot. While we were at Camelbeach we actually ran into some old classmates of the girls, Charlotte and Annabel two sisters who were in Sean and Ella’s classes back when they were in public school! Sean and Ella hadn’t seen them since before COVID, so we ended up spending the whole day with their family which was really great.

The Arcade

Camelback has a big arcade called Arcadia. There are claw machines, driving games, shooting games, and all the other classic arcade games you can think of. For an additional fee, you can also try laser tag, rock climbing, an escape room, virtual reality, bowling, an indoor ropes course, and bumper cars. But the girls are all about earning those tickets, so as always, they focused on those types of games more than any other.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi

The Dining

Hemispheres For breakfast the main restaurant is called Hemispheres which is just your classic breakfast buffet. Mountain Market Off the main lobby, there’s Mountain Market, where you can get grab-and-go options like breakfast sandwiches. La Colombe La Colombe is one of my favorite coffee shops in New York, and they’ll be opening a location here at Camelback soon.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Graffiti Pizza For a casual lunch or dinner, there’s Graffiti Pizza, where you can choose cheese or pepperoni pizza, or you can fully customize a pizza with your own toppings.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Sugar Shack And right next to it is Sugar Shack, a self-serve frozen yogurt spot that our girls absolutely loved.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Berrelli’s The most high-end restaurant option at Camelback is Berrelli’s, an Italian restaurant and steakhouse. Trail’s End We didn’t get a chance to dine at Berrelli’s, but we did try another upscale restaurant called Trail’s End. The restaurant has big windows overlooking the mountains and woods. And the whole place just has that classic ski lodge feel.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi

Covid Safety

Let’s talk about COVID safety at Camelback Lodge. We arrived in the Poconos on the day Pennsylvania lifted their mask mandate and most of their remaining COVID restrictions. About 75% of Pennsylvania adults have received at least one vaccine dose, and nearly 60% of adults are fully vaccinated already. There were still some older protocols in place, for example, daily housekeeping hadn’t been re-introduced yet, so rooms were only being cleaned between guests.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
If you’re planning a stay at Camelback, I’d recommend calling the resort ahead of time to find out what their most current policies are. Unfortunately with the new variants going around, Covid restrictions change very rapidly these days, so what you experience when you visit may be different than when we went.

About Carmen Sognonvi

Carmen Sognonvi is a luxury family travel content creator at Top Flight Family, named a top 10 family travel Instagram account by Time Out New York and Brit + Co. Her insights on travel have been featured in The Washington Post, INSIDER, Huffington Post, Wanderlust Travel Magazine, TravelPulse, HOTELS Magazine, and more. Carmen firmly believes that you can (and should) travel with your kids from a young age. She offers families practical solutions for travel, as well as tips on how to travel in luxury for less. She lives in New York City with her multiracial and multicultural family of four. Follow her on Instagram, FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.

Click here to read Carmen's articles

Are you looking for a resort that offers family-friendly fun all four seasons? Then you have to check out Camelback Lodge, tucked away in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania!
Some posts on this site may contain affiliate links, meaning if you book or buy something through one of these links, Top Flight Family may earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. Read the site's full disclosure and privacy policy here.
Are you looking for a casual, fun beach resort in Aruba that’s especially welcoming for families? Then you have to check out Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort Spa and Casino! Aruba is known for having the highest repeat-visitor rate in the Caribbean. But still, we’ve stayed at multiple properties in Aruba over the years, and we’ve never been to one where we met so many guests who had returned to the resort year after year after year. So there’s definitely something special about this place. In this article I’ll cover the accommodations, the pools, the beach, the dining, the spa, the kids club. And of course, I’ll cover the Covid safety protocols at the resort. Many thanks to Hyatt Regency Aruba for hosting us!

Getting There

The Aruba airport was packed when we landed. There was easily an hour’s wait to get through immigration and customs. Luckily we had signed up for Aruba’s CommonPass program, which gave us access to the fast pass lane for Covid screening. I  would highly recommend this, because it easily saved us anywhere from 1 to 2 hours.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
If you’d like all the details on what Aruba requires from visitors in terms of Covid testing, and how you can save a ton of time by using the free CommonPass program, here's a video all about their current travel requirements:

The Accommodations

We stayed in a 1-bedroom king suite with an adjoining double room. The resort recently renovated all their rooms, so the design and décor are really modern and elegant. The decor pays homage to the colors of Aruba, with different shades of blue throughout the room that remind you of the beautiful ocean right outside. There’s a huge living and dining area, perfect for families who like lots of space. In total we had two full bathrooms and a powder room. We got a kick out of the fancy electronic toilets with bidets and seat warmers.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi

The Pools

There are two main pools on the resort. The first is the new adult pool, with modern wooden cabanas. It’s relaxing, beautifully designed and perfect for enjoying some grown-up time. The main family pool has a swim-up bar and a water slide that Sean and Ella probably went on like 50 times during the course of our stay. At the pool, we met one woman who said that the first time she went down this slide, she was pregnant with her son. She pointed at a teenage boy and said, and now we’re back here, and he’s going down the slide himself! They were just one of many families we met who had been back to this resort multiple, multiple times.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi

The Beaches

Aruba is known for its white sand beaches and beautiful turquoise waters, and the beach at Hyatt Regency Aruba was no exception. The property is located on Palm Beach, in the high-rise hotel section of the island. This section of Palm Beach is really lively and has a fun, family vibe. Just remember that this is a public beach, so stay alert and take care of your belongings, just like you would anywhere else. One thing I really liked about this location is that it’s right next to Delphi Water sports, which offers everything from parasailing to water skiing, from jet-skiing to flyboarding.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
The beach and the pool at Hyatt Regency Aruba offer a variety of palapas, umbrellas and cabanas. But one thing that’s important to know is that they need to be reserved ahead of time, and there’s a daily fee which is not included in the rate for your room. As soon as you book your room, I’d recommend going to hyattbeachservices.com to reserve your pool umbrella or beach palapas as well. They sell out really quickly, so the earlier you take care of this, the better. If you’re traveling with a big group, you can opt for one of the family palapas, which can accommodate up to 10 guests, or one of the big palapas, which can accommodate up to 25 guests. This resort is definitely set up really well for big parties and multigenerational trips.

The Spa

Hyatt Regency Aruba has a full-service spa called ZoiA Spa. Serge and I booked the spa’s signature in-water massage treatment, which is called Massage den Awa. This was definitely one of the most unique spa treatments we’ve ever experienced. The treatment is actually performed inside the adult pool. You float comfortably in the water, supported by pool noodles under your neck, back and legs. You’re given earplugs to prevent water from entering your ears, and a cool aromatherapy towel is placed over your eyes so that you can block out all distractions. With all of this, you feel a sense of weightlessness, and there’s an element of sensory deprivation as well. The therapists lead you through a series of stretching and light massage. It was a really unique experience, and definitely one I’d recommend trying out if you’ll be staying here.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi

The Kids Club

While Serge and I were having our spa treatment, the girls were at the kid’s club, called Camp Hyatt. Camp Hyatt is by appointment only, and it’s a good place to drop kids off for an hour or two. The space has a simple setup; two large, connected rooms, one for arts and crafts, and the other is a playroom. There are plenty of books, toys and video games to keep kids busy.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi

The Dining

Ruinas del Mar Ruinas del Mar, which means Ruins by the Sea, is where you’ll find the breakfast buffet each morning, but they’re also open for dinner. It’s a beautiful location that overlooks a pond of koi fish.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Palms Restaurant Palms Restaurant is a beachfront restaurant that offers a primarily outdoor dining experience.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Kadushi Juice Bar Kadushi Juice Bar is located right on the beach. They serve freshly squeezed juices, smoothies and refreshing acai bowls.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Shoco Market Café If you’re looking for a quick, grab and go option, try Shoco Market Café. It’s a café and minimart that serves Starbucks coffee and breakfast sandwiches. There were a few mornings when we had scheduled excursions with very early pick-up times, so on those days, this was a great option for grabbing a quick coffee and sandwich to go.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi

Covid Safety

One thing that’s interesting to note is that Aruba actually has the highest vaccination rate in all of the Caribbean. As of the publishing of this article, 60% of its residents are fully vaccinated. Just a day or two before we arrived, Aruba had dropped all its Covid restrictions, so masks were no longer needed, even indoors, and restaurants were back to full capacity. But the property still had many safety protocols in place. Rooms were all stocked with care kits that included masks, hand sanitizer and anti-bacterial wipes. Hand sanitizer was available throughout the resort, and the staff continued to wear masks for safety.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
The first day we tried the breakfast buffet, it was not self-serve. Staff served you from behind plexiglass barriers. But by the next time we returned to the buffet, it had reverted to a completely self-serve setup. So it was interesting to witness this transitional period.

About Carmen Sognonvi

Carmen Sognonvi is a luxury family travel content creator at Top Flight Family, named a top 10 family travel Instagram account by Time Out New York and Brit + Co. Her insights on travel have been featured in The Washington Post, INSIDER, Huffington Post, Wanderlust Travel Magazine, TravelPulse, HOTELS Magazine, and more. Carmen firmly believes that you can (and should) travel with your kids from a young age. She offers families practical solutions for travel, as well as tips on how to travel in luxury for less. She lives in New York City with her multiracial and multicultural family of four. Follow her on Instagram, FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.

Click here to read Carmen's articles

Are you looking for a casual, fun beach resort in Aruba that’s especially welcoming for families? Then you have to check out Hyatt Regency Aruba
Some posts on this site may contain affiliate links, meaning if you book or buy something through one of these links, Top Flight Family may earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. Read the site's full disclosure and privacy policy here.
Are you planning a trip to southern California and want to stay at a family-friendly resort in an amazing location? Then check out Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach! Not only can you enjoy the beach and soak up this town’s deep-rooted surf culture, but you’ll be a short 30-minute drive away from Disneyland too! In this video I’ll cover the accommodations, the pools, the beach, the dining, and the activities. Many thanks to Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach for hosting us.

Getting There

We flew into LAX on JetBlue. From there, it’s about 36 miles to Huntington Beach. If you prefer a shorter drive, you can fly into either John Wayne Airport, which is just 10 miles away, or Long Beach Airport, which is about 15 miles away.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi

The Accommodations

We stayed in adjoining rooms, which had been recently renovated. I  loved the beachy aesthetic with the pops of yellow, and the vintage surfing artwork was really cute.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi

The Pools

There are two main pool areas at the property. There’s the main family pool, which has cabanas and a poolside bar and restaurant.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
There’s also a separate area called Slyders, which has waterslides and other fun water features that work both for toddlers, as well as bigger kids like Sean and Ella.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi

The Beach

The Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach is located right across the street from 10-Mile Beach, and close to the Huntington Beach Pier. The “street” is actually a stretch of the famous Pacific Coast Highway, but the property has a dedicated walkway so that guests can cross safely. The weather was still a bit cool when we went, so we weren’t quite ready to try out some surfing lessons. But we loved walking around the beach and watching the incredible waves come in.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi

The Activities

One of our favorite experiences at Hyatt Huntington Beach was making s’mores at the beach while we watched the sun set. The property has its own section on the beach for this. The attendant builds the fire for you, and you get everything you need for a beautiful evening on the beach: hot chocolate, blankets, and of course, the marshmallows, chocolate and graham crackers.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Listening to the crackling flames, smelling the briny ocean, having sand between our toes, and feeling the warmth of the fire as the evening chill set in, was such a unique combination of sensations.⁠⁠

The Dining

The signature restaurant is Watertable, and you should definitely make it a priority to have dinner here at least one night because the food is fantastic. The decor is really gorgeous, with a rustic, farmhouse vibe. The restaurant gets its name from this literal water table in the middle of the restaurant, which is actually what the servers use to fill up on water for the tables.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Serge started with the stone fruit salad, which is made of duck prosciutto, arugula, baby tomatoes, olive tapenade, greek yogurt, almonds and orange blossom honey. I started with the asparagus salad, which was shaved asparagus on top of arugula, shaved radish, burrata, egg yolk and lemon oil. I  had the petite filet, and Serge had the Chilean sea bass which was amazing. The restaurant has a great wine list, and the cocktails are really fresh and inventive.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
The Hyatt has a nice little plaza with a variety of stores and restaurants. Pete's Sunset Grille is a casual restaurant with surf cuisine like fish tacos. Tower 15 Pizzeria is a pizza joint. Surf City Grocers is a mini-market where you can get to-go food like coffee and sandwiches. And of course, there’s a full menu available through room service.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi

Covid-19 Safety

California fully reopened on June 15th, just a few days before we arrived at Huntington Beach. There weren’t any required capacity limits, no more physical distancing, and much looser mask mandates. About 60% of California residents are now fully vaccinated. The staff at the resort still mostly wore masks, but guests didn’t need to. Unfortunately in the month since the state reopened, there’s been a surge of Covid cases in California, largely due to the new Delta variant. In L.A. County, 99% of new cases involve those who have not been vaccinated. The state hasn’t walked back its reopening efforts yet, though Los Angeles itself is now encouraging even vaccinated people to go back to wearing masks, to be on the safe side. All that to say, if you are planning to visit this resort soon, I would call ahead to check and see if there are any Covid-related restrictions. Things may be a bit different than when we stayed there.

About Carmen Sognonvi

Carmen Sognonvi is a luxury family travel content creator at Top Flight Family, named a top 10 family travel Instagram account by Time Out New York and Brit + Co. Her insights on travel have been featured in The Washington Post, INSIDER, Huffington Post, Wanderlust Travel Magazine, TravelPulse, HOTELS Magazine, and more. Carmen firmly believes that you can (and should) travel with your kids from a young age. She offers families practical solutions for travel, as well as tips on how to travel in luxury for less. She lives in New York City with her multiracial and multicultural family of four. Follow her on Instagram, FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.

Click here to read Carmen's articles

Planning a trip to southern California and want to stay at a family-friendly resort in an amazing location? Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach!
Some posts on this site may contain affiliate links, meaning if you book or buy something through one of these links, Top Flight Family may earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. Read the site's full disclosure and privacy policy here.
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