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

The Grand at Moon Palace Cancun is both luxurious and somehow still next-level in terms of being kid-friendly. In fact, it’s got the biggest kids club we’ve ever seen. And rather just than simply providing a great pool and splash pad like other resorts, The Grand at Moon Palace Cancun has an entire water park for guests to enjoy! But it’s not just about family fun: all of your stress will melt away after a visit to one of the most fabulous spas I’ve ever visited. And foodies will enjoy the many restaurants onsite serving culinary masterpieces. Few other places provide luxury and family-friendliness simultaneously and do it well. After much debate and research, we decided we were ready for a vacation. Today I’ll share how our recent experience was at The Grand at Moon Palace Cancun and what you can expect if you, too, feel ready for travel. Many thanks to the property for hosting us!
The Grand at Moon Palace Cancun
This post may contain affiliate links. Please see our disclosure policy for full details.

Covid-19 Safety Protocol

First, let’s address the elephant in the room. Many people have halted all travel plans this year due to COVID-19, but it is possible to get away from the daily grind and minimize risk at the same time. Choose the safest possible way to get to your destination (We prefer Delta and appreciate the safety precautions they are taking during this time.), and then make sure wherever you’ll be staying has implemented protocol you feel comfortable with. For example, The Grand at Moon Palace Cancun has gone the extra mile with their COVID-19 safety procedures. Here’s what you can expect when you visit: Upon arrival at the resort, you’ll be asked to step onto a sanitizing mat to disinfect your shoes. While that’s happening, the porters will disinfect your luggage. Each room at the resort is disinfected using an electrostatic nebulizer system in between guests. You’ll know this has been completed when you see an unbroken seal on the door. You’ll see a similar seal on the mini-bar fridge, too. Every room is equipped with a personal hygiene kit, which includes hand sanitizer, wipes and face masks. There are social distancing floor decals all over the resort, and tables in the restaurants are spaced apart.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
There are no more buffets, so everything is ordered a la carte. You’re encouraged to access online menus on your phone by scanning QR codes instead of using a physical menu. All staff members wear masks. While masks are not required for guests, we wore ours the whole time we were there anyway. (I especially recommend keeping your mask on when ordering food, as that helps protect the servers.) It’s easy to forget about the pandemic when you’re on vacation... because it’s easy to forget all of your worries while on vacation! But The Grand at Moon Palace Cancun has done an excellent job at balancing the realities of the times with making sure your family still has an awesome experience. Of course, the decision to travel is one only you can make and nothing is completely without risk. We felt like we were in great hands. Now, let’s talk about the beautiful resort itself!
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi

Luxury for the Whole Family

When considering where exactly to stay, keep in mind that The Grand is the most luxurious section of the Moon Palace resort complex. The Grand Family Deluxe accommodations, specifically, are a great choice for families. In the past, I’ve written at length about the value of adults having a separate space from kids while on vacation. Often, that might mean the kids sleep on a sofa bed, but in this case, the kids each get their own double bed! The Grand Family Deluxe is made up of two connecting Superior Deluxe rooms. (We stayed in 87-326 and 87-328.) One of the rooms has a king bed and one has the two double beds mentioned earlier. Each room has a double whirlpool tub and balcony, as well as a desk and sitting area, so there’s more than enough room for everyone. The Grand Family Deluxe also comes with beach toys, and adorable kid-sized slippers and robes! These were really welcoming touches that made the vacation extra special for my girls. Something so small really shows that children are not an afterthought at this resort.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi

A Splashing Good Time

There are nine pools in total at The Grand at Moon Palace, but here are a couple of our favorites: Caribbean Pool This family pool is just a few steps from the beach, making it easy to go back and forth, spending a full day in the sun. A roaming mobile mixologist hand-crafts mezcal cocktails right next to your lounge chair! This really is a spot every member of the family will enjoy.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Adult Pool This pool is a stunner! It’s a great place to relax and enjoy some grown-up time while the kids are at the kids club. A DJ spins live music and the atmosphere has a club-feel at night.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Water Park This property has an entire water park! I’m not just talking about a cute splash pad and a slide. It’s got a lazy river, wave pool, Flowrider experience, giant water slides, and everything you could possibly want from an actual water park!
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
The pools really provide enough entertainment to keep everyone busy for the duration of your trip!

Sand and Surf

When you’re ready to get into nature, one of the most beautiful beaches is right there onsite. And one advantage of traveling during a pandemic is that we had the whole beach to ourselves! No need to social distance when you feel like you’re on a private island! The sand at this location is powder soft and the ocean water was just the right temperature. If you’re in need of some relaxation, the beach here is the place to do it!
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi

Never a Dull Moment!

When you’ve had your fill of relaxation, you won’t have to venture outside the resort to find something to do. Here’s what we would recommend: Kids Club The kids club is nothing short of epic! Often these spaces have movies, games, crafts, and maybe some outdoor activities to keep kids busy while parents have some time to themselves. This kids club, however, provided a space my kids didn’t want to leave! From the bumper cars to the ropes course, from the mirror maze to the unique Time Freak game, from the 3-floor labyrinth to the arcade, this resort has raised the bar forever on all kids clubs!
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Wired Lounge Gamers will love the Wired Lounge, which is a gaming center and arcade. Think bigger than simple video games, though. Whether you like dancing games, driving games, air hockey or basketball games, kids, teens and adults will have a great time here.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Bowling If you love bowling, check out The Ninth Pin. This ultra-modern, 6-lane bowling alley is perfect for families. You can even have lunch or dinner here!
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
The Magic Show Much like on a cruise vacation, the theater at The Grand at Moon Palace has a constantly revolving selection of shows to watch. The girls really enjoyed a magic show, in particular, that was playing when we were there!
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi

Relax and Unwind

Take that relaxation a step further by a visit to the 75,000 square foot Awe Spa at The Grand at Moon Palace to melt your stress away. In addition to more than 100 spa suites and treatment rooms, there are multiple relaxation lounges, a sensory pool, hot and cold plunge pools, saunas, steam rooms, aromatherapy showers, a juice bar, a barber shop, and a huge full-service beauty salon.There's even a fish spa, where you can get a pedicure during which those tiny little fish nibble away your callouses!
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
If you book a spa treatment there, be sure to arrive at least an hour early and bring a bathing suit. You definitely don't want to miss out on their signature Water Journey pre-treatment process because it is seriously amazing. Your spa concierge guides you through a series of hydrotherapy environments. You start at the sauna, then move onto the invigorating peppermint-scented ice room. Then you go to the steam room to open those clogged pores. From there, you move onto the co-ed pool area, where you can use the hot and cold plunge pools and take advantage of the different water jets in the main sensory pool to massage different parts of your body. Serge and I had a couple's massage and it was fantastic. With the amount of tension I was carrying around in my shoulders (because... 2020), my therapist definitely had her work cut out for her! It was good to see that there were lots of safety procedures in place to protect both guests and staff. The spa staff all wore masks, of course, but the massage therapists wore safety goggles and face shields in addition to masks, for extra protection. Only a certain number of guests are allowed into the sauna, steam room and ice room at a time. If you prefer to wait until it's completely empty before you enter, you can do that too. Just let your spa concierge know. As the name implies, Awe Spa is seriously spectacular and should not be missed!
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi

No Need to Skip Your Workout

The gym at The Grand at Moon Palace is very impressive. There's a sprawling yoga studio, and the main gym is huge. There are tons of weight machines and cardio machines, so you can stick to your routine (or try something new) while on vacation.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi

Eat, Drink and Be Merry

There’s no shortage of dining options at The Grand at Moon Palace Cancun! Some have a dress code and some don’t, but all have really unique offerings and something on the menu for everyone! Here’s the breakdown: Habibi Enjoy a live belly-dance performance while you dine you at Habibi! This is the resort’s Lebanese restaurant. The Middle Eastern inspired decor is gorgeous, and the food is fantastic.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Jade The Asian fusion restaurant has really incredible decor, with big cherry blossom trees throughout. Enjoy new classics like rock shrimp, pork belly bao, and miso cod.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
JC Steakhouse This restaurant has very stylish decor that’s got a modern Texas vibe. The steaks we tried were solid, but the appetizers were mouthwatering!
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Le Chateau This is the property’s French fine dining restaurant. Expect delicate flavors and intricate styling. Serge managed to spill a whole cocktail on the table (and part of me), but the servers handled it deftly.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
La Cantina Try the guacamole topped with crunchy grasshoppers at La Cantina! This casual restaurant serves traditional Mexican dishes. If you time your dinner right, you’ll enjoy the musical stylings of their fantastic mariachi band!
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Tavola This is a casual Italian trattoria. It’s a great place if you're craving pizza or pasta.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
The Grand Buffet This is one of two restaurants that serves breakfast. Due to COVID-19, there are no more actual buffets, and everything is a la carte. We enjoyed watching the table-side caesar salad preparation. It’s so fun watching them toss the salad inside this giant carved-out wheel of parmesan!
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Caribeno This is your second option for breakfast. It’s right outside the Caribbean pool and had some of our favorite tacos. Yes, tacos are even available for breakfast!
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Library Bar This is one of the coolest lounges ever! Open the secret door inside a bookcase and you’ll find yourself inside The Library Bar, a speakeasy with a prohibition-era theme. Be sure to order the smoked mojito, it’s delicious!
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi

Conclusion

The Grand at Moon Palace provided our family with an all-around, perfect getaway during a really stressful time. We felt safe, pampered and entertained throughout our visit. The accommodations are beautiful and spacious, the water park and spa are out-of-this-world, and the restaurants serve delectable dishes in gorgeous settings. The beach provided the perfect dose of “vitamin sea” before we headed back into the realities of 2020. If you’re looking for the ultimate in family-friendly, luxurious resorts, look no further!

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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

The Grand at Moon Palace Cancun is both luxurious and somehow still next-level in terms of being kid-friendly. In fact, it’s got the biggest kids club we’ve ever seen!
The Grand at Moon Palace Cancun is both luxurious and somehow still next-level in terms of being kid-friendly. In fact, it’s got the biggest kids club we’ve ever seen!
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.
This post is sponsored by Visit Williamsburg Greater Williamsburg, Virginia is a fantastic vacation spot for families with school-aged kids because there’s so much to learn about American history, but there's plenty of non-historical fun to be had, too! What starts out as a field trip of sorts is sure to leave your family with lasting, fun memories. Here’s what we did with four, short days there.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi

Day 1: The Adventure Begins

We were fortunate enough to stay at the Moody House, one of the Colonial Houses in Colonial Williamsburg. (You won't find it listed on the Colonial Williamsburg website, though. It's reserved for VIPs and special guests, so it was a treat to be able to stay there!) It bears the name of Josias Moody, a blacksmith who owned the property from 1794 until his death around 1810, so right away, we were immersed in history. The home was plenty spacious for our family of four, complete with two bedrooms, three bathrooms, a formal living room, a dining room, a den, and a large kitchen. Back in those days, kitchens were detached from the main houses due to the threat of fire, as well as the heat and odors generated from cooking. The old Moody kitchen has been converted into a one-bedroom suite that you can rent by the night.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
After checking into our accommodations, we headed out for a little fun. The Pirate’s Cove Golf Adventure is an 18-hole miniature golf course that’s- you guessed it- pirate themed. But even this place offered history lessons! Along the course, the signage tells the story of different 18th-century buccaneers. The landscaping is very cute with lots of waterfalls, caves and pirates peeking out at visitors. And bonus: the nature of miniature golf, where each party waits till the previous one is done with that hole, made it the perfect socially distanced activity.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
When it was time for dinner, we went to Blue Talon Bistro, an inviting French eatery in the quaint Merchants Square district. The service was very warm and personable. We started off with fried oysters with cucumber and tomato relish and spicy mayo, plus traditional escargots à la bourguignonne. Serge and I both had steak frites, while the girls had mac & cheese and Caesar salad. Whatever you order, don't skip dessert! We loved both the crème brûlée and the chocolate noisette.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi

Day 2: History & Play All Day

No trip to Greater Williamsburg is complete without a visit to Jamestown Settlement, but we did a little homework before seeing it for ourselves. If your kids are fans of the Disney movie Pocahontas, they’ll know Jamestown as the place where Pocahontas and her Powhatan people, and John Smith and his English settlers met. Before our trip, we watched some videos with the girls (this one from the Smithsonian Channel is particularly good) that broke down just how historically inaccurate the Disney movie was, and explained the real story of what happened. The movie was largely based on John Smith's own writings, and he is now known to be a bit of a fabulist, to put it charitably. Here’s an abbreviated version of how things really went down: Pocahontas was only 10 or 12 when John Smith arrived in what would become Jamestown, so they were never romantically involved. Bubble = burst! The dramatic story of Pocahontas laying her body over his to prevent him from being killed by her Powhatan people was also most likely made up, though it became a deeply entrenched part of America's creation myth. So much so that it's depicted in the frieze in the Rotunda of the Capitol Building in Washington, DC. After being kidnapped by English settlers, made to convert to Christianity and learn English ways, Pocahontas married an Englishman named John Rolfe. The couple, with their young child, traveled to England in 1616, their expenses paid by the Virginia Company of London, which sought to recruit more colonists by using the couple as a symbol of how viable the Virginia colony was, as the Rolfes were evidence that the English and the Native Americans could live in harmony. Sadly, right before she was to sail back to Virginia, Pocahontas died of disease at the young age of 21, and she never saw her home or Powhatan family again. I know what you’re thinking. That’s so depressing! But we can’t gloss over or completely reimagine history when trying to teach our children. Otherwise, we’re doomed to repeat it, right?
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Now back to visiting Jamestown Settlement… It’s a living history museum that tells the story of what would become America's first permanent English colony, and the mix of English, Powhatan and Angolan cultures that existed in the area from the very beginning. In the early 1600s, there were about 14,000–21,000 Powhatan people living in eastern Virginia. Unlike the tribes of the Great Plains, the Powhatans were not a nomadic tribe. They built permanent homes, and in addition to hunting and fishing, also planted crops. The English colonists arrived in 1607, and Jamestown served as the colonial capital from 1616 until 1699. The first Africans arrived in Virginia as early as 1619, when an English warship called the White Lion arrived carrying about 20 enslaved Africans from Angola who had been forcibly removed from a Portuguese slave ship. These Africans were promptly put to work in the tobacco fields, as that quickly became Virginia's primary cash crop. Not long after, the culture of slavery became a part of this colony. Note that Jamestown Settlement is a separate attraction from Historic Jamestowne. It was built before the actual historic site was discovered in the mid-1990s. So if you'd like to see the original site of the first permanent English settlement in America, where Pocahontas and John Rolfe were married, and where James Fort stood, Historic Jamestowne is your best bet. That said, I highly recommend a visit to Jamestown Settlement. Being able to walk through a re-created Powhatan village really brought this era to life. The girls loved chatting with the historic interpreters, dressed in traditional Powhatan clothes, about what daily life was like; what foods they ate and how they cooked; what materials they used to make face paint and tattoo ink; and so much more you’ll have to hear about for yourself!
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Visitors to Jamestown Settlement can also see James Fort, a re-creation of the military outpost at the time, as well as re-creations of the three ships that brought the English colonists to Virginia in 1607: the Susan Constant, the Godspeed, and the Discovery. At lunchtime, we went to Gabriel Archer Tavern, a casual, rustic restaurant in a former farm shed on the property of the Williamsburg Winery. Some of our favorite items on the menu were the cheese and charcuterie board, the Wessex Hundred salad, and the tuna carpaccio. In addition to wine, they’ve got a wide variety of unique cocktails. The blackberry mojito and the lavender lemonade were perfect to quench our thirst on a hot, humid day.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Afterward, we decided it was time to play, so we went to Go-Karts Plus! (The amusement park Busch Gardens is also a fan favorite in this region, but was closed at the time due to Covid-19.) This smaller family entertainment center has go-carts, bumper cars, blaster boats, miniature golf, and an indoor arcade. Our girls had so much fun here! It was the very first time Ella was tall enough to drive her own go-kart, so she was extra excited!
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Cochon on 2nd is a new American restaurant that offers delicious fine dining in a comfortable, inviting atmosphere. The girls shared ribs and fries from the bar menu, while Serge and I started with the tuna tartare and warm goat cheese salad. Our entrees were excellent, so I would highly recommend you add Cochon on 2nd to your itinerary. Serge's ribeye and my pan-seared scallops were the best things we ate during the entire trip!
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi

Day 3: A Trip Back in Time

Usually ghost stories are reserved for nighttime, but when we went to Mobjack Coffee Roasters and Petite Café for breakfast, we started the day with a haunted history lesson! Owner Celeste Gucanac gave us a personal tour of the building during our visit. Family-owned Mobjack Bay Coffee Roasters and Petite Café is located inside the Cole Digges House, a historic Yorktown building managed by the National Parks Service. They roast their own beans and have a successful wholesale business, selling their coffees in local groceries and large retailers like Whole Foods. They also operate a sit-down cafe out of this location. Celeste told us that when she first started inquiring about leasing the building, many old-timers in the area discouraged her, saying the building was haunted. And sure enough, once she moved in, she heard running water or footsteps on the stairs even when there was no one but her there! She originally referred to the ghost as "Miss Elizabeth," as when she dug through the records she found out that the building was Elizabeth Cooper’s Coffee and Teahouse in the 1880s. That changed one day when Celeste hosted a group of visitors. After she told them about the haunting, a medium in the group told her the whole time Celeste was talking about the ghost it was talking to the medium, urging her to let Celeste know that "she's not Miss Elizabeth. She's Miss Anne!" And ever since, Miss Anne has been the ghost's name.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Walking around Yorktown was an experience unto itself. The girls were fascinated by the Nelson House, home of Thomas Nelson, Jr. who was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. Why? Because if you walk around, you'll see that cannonballs from the Revolutionary War period still pepper the sides of the building.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
After breakfast, we took a quick detour to Yorktown Beach, one of several small beaches along the York River, feeding into the Chesapeake Bay. The girls loved catching little crabs and searching for seashells in the sand. There are no real waves in the water, but you do need to be careful of jellyfish, since they're pretty abundant in this area.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Next up, we headed to the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown. If Jamestown Settlement tells the story of the very beginnings of the United States, this museum is a sort of sequel, tracing the evolution of this territory from the colonial period to the Declaration of Independence, to the Revolutionary War. The Battle of Yorktown is important because it was the last battle of the Revolutionary War, after which British General Lord Charles Cornwallis and his army surrendered to General George Washington’s American force and its French allies. Like Jamestown Settlement, the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown combines indoor exhibits with outdoor living history recreations. The girls loved exploring the re-created Continental Army encampment. We chatted with historical interpreters who taught us about how muskets were fired, what types of medical conditions the soldiers faced and what treatments were available, and how and what they cooked. There's also a Revolution-era farm where historic interpreters explain the types of crops that were grown, what typical farm families ate, and how tobacco was grown and processed. We were particularly impressed by the “The Siege of Yorktown” film. I have to admit that I typically find military history quite dull, but this interactive film, shown on a 180-degree surround screen with smoke machines and other dramatic special effects, was incredibly immersive. We really felt transported to the front lines of the revolutionary war. I also appreciated how the film wove in stories of white women, as well as black and Native American men who fought alongside the rebels.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
After Yorktown, we explored Colonial Williamsburg, often referred to as the world’s largest living history museum. The scale of this place is pretty incredible. There are over 300 acres with more than 40 historic sites and trades, four historic taverns, and two world-class art museums. We enjoyed strolling down Duke of Gloucester Street, and the Governor's Palace is a must-see, so add these to your plans.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
When it was time to eat, we checked out Amber Ox Public House. It’s a casual gastro pub that serves farm-to-table dishes. We particularly enjoyed our starters, which were the biscuit board, shucked oysters and a grilled peach salad. The girls ordered mac & cheese and grilled cheese sandwiches from the kids menu. For entrees we had the smoked beef rib and the steelhead over summer vegetable salad. The blush sangria is excellent! It’s crisp and refreshing, which is perfect for the hot and humid, summer weather in Virginia.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi

Day 4: Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow

On our way out, we had breakfast at Illy Caffe Williamsburg, which is also owned by Adam Steely, who operates the Blue Talon Bistro just a few blocks away, where we had dinner the first night. This is a great spot to grab a simple breakfast. The coffee is excellent, of course, as they serve the famous Italian coffee brand's beans, but the pastries are worth stopping in for. In addition to Colonial Williamsburg, this area is also home to William and Mary, America's second-oldest college. So it has that quaint college town feel.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi

History With Plenty of Family Fun

I am amazed that we were able to do and learn so much in such a short amount of time! We weren’t even in Greater Williamsburg for a full four days yet we had such a fabulous time. The food was delicious, the beach was beautiful, the city is steeped in history and we made so many great memories. The girls were really sad to leave! This trip is the perfect combination of history, learning and fun for any family considering it, so if you get the chance to go, definitely spend some time in Greater Williamsburg. Start planning your Greater Williamsburg trip today!

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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

Greater Williamsburg, Virginia is a fantastic vacation spot for families with school-aged kids because there’s so much to learn about American history, but there's plenty of non-historical fun to be had, too
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.
We just had an incredible staycation at the TWA Hotel in New York City. As you may remember, Trans World Airlines went out of business back in 2001, but the vintage brand lives on in this hotel, located in what used to be the TWA Flight Center at JFK Airport. The hotel really captures the glamor and modernity of the Jet Age, with its sleek lines and curved walls. It's a must-see for any fan of aviation and modern design.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
This post may contain affiliate links. Please see our disclosure policy for full details.

The Building

I'm only a casual fan of architecture and design but I was floored by the beauty of this building.⁠ It was designed by Eero Saarinen, the renowned Finnish-American architect and industrial designer who was known for his neo-futuristic style and organic shapes. (He also designed the Tulip chair and Womb chair, both of which have become classics of modern furniture design.)⁠ ⁠ When the TWA Flight Center opened in 1962, it was a marvel in modernity and really captured the futuristic spirit of what came to be known as the Jet Age. When the jet engine was introduced to aviation, it revolutionized the travel industry. Suddenly, air travel was no longer a luxury just for the wealthy⁠ and flying became accessible to many.⁠ The city's football team even renamed themselves the New York Jets as a nod to the New York's dominance in aviation!⁠
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Sadly, TWA ran into financial troubles and went bankrupt twice, first in 1992 and then again in 1995⁠. The TWA Flight Center became impractical, as it couldn't accommodate the larger aircraft that became more common in the 80s and 90s. ⁠Also, the terminal's Iayout made it impossible to install metal detectors and other modern security devices. In 2001, the TWA terminal stopped serving passengers and closed completely.⁠ ⁠ For the next 20 years, it sat mostly empty and unused, save for a few public open houses for architecture fans. Luckily, it was designated a New York City landmark in 1994 and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2005, which protected it from being torn down.⁠ ⁠ ⁠In 2016, construction began on the TWA Hotel and it opened last spring. I'm so grateful not only that this building was saved, but that it was restored so beautifully to match Saarinen's original vision.⁠

Our Room

We stayed in an Executive Double Queen Suite With Runway View. There were two queen beds, a sitting area, a desk, a bar area and a gleaming white bathroom. The floor to ceiling windows gave us incredible views of the JFK airport runways. We loved all the touches of vintage design, from the working rotary phone on the desk to the vintage TWA flight posters on the walls.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi

The Exhibits

There are several impressive exhibits throughout the property. In the years before the TWA Hotel opened, the owners collected more than 2,000 artifacts that trace the story of TWA. Most of the items were donated by former TWA employees and their families, and these items make up the exhibits. Among our favorite exhibits was the collection of 37 full TWA uniforms from 1945 to 2001. Many of the uniforms were designed by legends of the fashion industry, including Oleg Cassini, Pierre Balmain, Valentino and Ralph Lauren.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
We also enjoyed the authentic recreation of a 1962 living room, which includes the first-ever original Barbie Dreamhouse. (Ella, a Dreamhouse enthusiast, was hilariously unimpressed that all the original furniture was made of cardboard!) There are even retro outfits you can try on to really get into the spirit of things.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
The recreation of Saarinen's office was also really interesting. All the period-perfect details brought us back to what it must have been like for him to design this legendary building.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi

Connie the Airplane

The property is full of artifacts from TWA's glory days, but none is more impressive than Connie, the Lockheed Constellation that has been meticulously restored to its former glory. When the hotel's owners purchased her in 2018, she was in bad shape. (Her entire nose was missing, for one!) They tracked down authentic parts, installed flooring and windows, and even outfitted the cockpit with controls.⁠⠀
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
After the restoration was complete, Connie was transformed into a cocktail lounge. You can sip on drinks while sitting in the plane cabin! Well, in non-pandemic times at least. It's temporarily closed due to government restrictions on indoor dining. Still, we were lucky enough to be allowed a peek inside.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi

Rooftop Infinity Pool

We haven't been to a pool since our last pre-Covid trip in February, so getting to enjoy this rooftop infinity pool was such a treat. Like the rest of our experience at the TWA Hotel, it felt very safe. ⁠
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
In order to access the pool and observation deck, you need to be a hotel guest and book a separate reservation just for the pool. The pool opens to guests for 1 hour and 45 minutes at a time, after which the area is thoroughly cleaned and sanitized before accepting the next group of reservations.⁠ There is a bar and restaurant there, but due to current government regulations, if you plan to order an alcoholic drink, you'll need to order food to go along with it.⁠ ⁠ If you'd like to swim for free, you can do so between 7 am and 10:30 am each day. At other hours, pool reservations cost $25 per adult and $12.50 per child Monday through Thursday. If you go Friday through Sunday, it's $50 per adult and $25 per child.⁠
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Now, for the aviation fans, here are some fun facts about the runway ⁠the pool overlooks!⁠
  • 4L/22R is one of the biggest runways at JFK at 12,079 feet long⁠.
  • You'll also be able to see the famous Bay Runway which measures 14,511 feet long - almost 3 miles!⁠
  • The Bay Runway is actually Runway 13 Right/31 Left, and it's the second-longest commercial runway in North America.⁠
If you enjoy plane-spotting, this is a great place to do it. We're not av geeks by any stretch of the imagination, but even we enjoyed spotting some planes we hadn't seen before, like the JetBlue Boston Celtics livery and the JetBlue New York Jets livery. We also saw lots of cargo planes, including some from DHL and Amazon Prime!⁠

Why TWA Hotel Is a Bucket List Attraction

We had an incredible time at the TWA Hotel. It was a chance to really take in the work of a giant in the world of modern design, but also full of family fun. Our girls loved getting to spot planes right from the rooftop pool! I highly recommend a stay here if you'll be in New York City.

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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

We just had an incredible staycation at the TWA Hotel in New York City. As you may remember, Trans World Airlines went out of business back in 2001, but the vintage brand lives on in this hotel, located in what used to be the TWA Flight Center at JFK Airport. The hotel really captures the glamor and modernity of the Jet Age, with its sleek lines and curved walls. It’s a must-see for any fan of aviation and modern design.
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.
Four Seasons Resort Nevis opened in 1991 and it was actually the Four Seasons’ very first property in the Caribbean, so it has a pretty long and storied history among the brand’s properties. In April 2018, the resort began a massive, multi-year, multi-million dollar renovation. We were fortunate enough to visit just a couple months after this huge project was completed. Many thanks to Four Seasons Nevis for hosting us on this trip! Here's a detailed video review of the resort:

Getting to the Resort

One of the most unique aspects of Four Seasons Nevis is how you actually get to the resort. Nevis does have its own airport, but it can only accommodate smaller aircrafts and private jets. So most visitors to Nevis actually fly into St. Kitts instead. From the airport, you take a taxi to the pier, and from there, you take a ferry to Nevis. This may sound like a lot of steps, but it actually feels like a fun adventure, which our girls absolutely loved. Also, the ride from the St Kitts airport to the pier is incredibly scenic, and made me want to explore St Kitts more on a future trip! As soon as we stepped foot onto that boat, it felt like all the stress from our everyday lives in New York City melted away. Of course, it didn’t hurt that the crew members mixed us up some delicious rum punch while we waited for the other passengers to board. Sean and Ella enjoyed their Ting soda all the way to the resort. We were greeted on the pier, and whisked off to our villa by golf cart.
four seasons nevis with kids
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
four seasons nevis with kids
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi

Accommodations

This is where Four Seasons Nevis really shines. The resort has a total of nearly 200 rooms available, ranging from standard rooms to suites to villas. We were fortunate enough to stay in a 3-Bedroom Pinney's Beach Villa. Here's a detailed video tour of our villa: At nearly 3,300 square feet, this was easily the largest and most luxurious villa we’ve ever experienced. The open-plan great room has a massive kitchen, dining area, and a living area with floor to ceiling glass doors that can be opened for an indoor-outdoor feel. Just outside the kitchen is an outdoor dining room, complete with a grill, as well as a private pool and a sprawling lawn. On the other side of the ground floor are two of the three bedrooms. There’s a bedroom with two queen beds and an en-suite bathroom, as well as a king room with an outdoor patio, and a pretty epic bathroom with an outdoor shower. On the ground floor, there’s also a powder room and a little courtyard. Upstairs is the master suite. There’s a massive walk-in closet, a bathroom with another outdoor shower, another outdoor patio, and a spacious master bedroom with soaring vaulted ceilings. One more fun perk about staying in a villa is that you get your very own golf cart to use for the duration of your stay! Anytime we stay at a resort where you get around by golf carts, the girls love it, but having our very own just totally made their day.
four seasons nevis with kids
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
four seasons nevis with kids
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
four seasons nevis with kids
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
four seasons nevis with kids
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
four seasons nevis with kids
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
four seasons nevis with kids
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
four seasons nevis with kids
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi

Dining

If you’re looking for cocktails, there are two main bars at Four Seasons Nevis: Crowned Monkey Rum Bar and Kastawey Beach Bar. In terms of dining, there are three signature restaurants, and they all serve a mixture of Caribbean and American cuisines. You have On the Dune, Mango and EsQuilina. Now because we were staying at a villa and had a kitchen stocked full of groceries, we cooked a lot of our own meals. So out of the three restaurants we only tried EsQuilina, since that’s where the breakfast buffet is served. And what a breakfast it was. We absolutely loved all the fresh fruit, the salad, the cheese and cold cuts, and the omelette station was excellent too. Not surprisingly, the girls’ favorite station was the pancake and waffles station. Mostly because the topping included M&Ms and gummy bears, and they took full advantage!
four seasons nevis with kids
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
four seasons nevis with kids
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
four seasons nevis with kids
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
four seasons nevis with kids
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
four seasons nevis with kids
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi

Pools

There are actually three different pools at Four Seasons Nevis, but we mostly hung out at Limin’ Pool. This is the resort’s signature infinity edge pool. As part of the resort’s renovation, it was completely reconstructed and raised so that when you look out from the lobby, you see one long sight line straight from the pool out to the Caribbean Sea. If it’s in your budget, I definitely recommend renting a cabana for the day. The service is very attentive, and the lunch options were excellent. I think cabanas can be especially useful if you’re traveling with younger kids who still need a midday nap. They can easily nap on the sofa in the cabana, and that way you won’t have to go back to your room or villa and miss out on the sunshine. Four Seasons Nevis also has a long, lovely beach with soft sand. But on this trip our girls were more into the pool, so we spent most of our time there instead of the beach.
four seasons nevis with kids
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
four seasons nevis with kids
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
four seasons nevis with kids
Photo: Tina Papies
four seasons nevis with kids
Photo: Tina Papies

Kids Club

One of the updates made during the resort’s renovation is that the Kids for All Seasons club was moved to a new location, next to the family-friendly Calypso Pool. Use of the kids club is complimentary, but there are certain special activities on the daily schedule that require an additional fee, ranging anywhere from $15 to $65. These are things like cooking classes or certain arts & crafts classes. The design of the kids club is colorful and modern. There’s a small splash pad right outside and a climbing wall inside - those are great options for more active kids. There are plenty of arts & crafts supplies, as well as toys and books. I’d say that compared to other Four Seasons properties, this kids club here is pretty basic. I think that toddlers and pre-schoolers would be pretty content, but if you have older kids like us, they may get bored easily and not want to stay that long. That said, it’s still great to have a place to drop your kids for a couple hours if, let’s say, you want to check out the spa.
four seasons nevis with kids
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
four seasons nevis with kids
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
four seasons nevis with kids
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi

Fitness & Spa

One area in which Four Seasons Nevis really shines is the plethora of fitness options. If you’re a golfer, you’ll enjoy the 18-hole, par-71 course. You’ll often see green vervet monkeys scurrying around, which I imagine would make playing golf that much more fun! There’s a well-equipped fitness room, daily yoga and pilates classes, and you can even work with a personal trainer if you’d like. If you’re a tennis player, you’ll really enjoy the fact that the resort has four red-clay courts, four hard courts and two AstroTurf courts. We took a family tennis lesson and Dave, our coach, was fantastic. It was the girls’ first time playing, and he made it so much fun.
four seasons nevis with kids
Photo: Tina Papies
four seasons nevis with kids
Photo: Tina Papies
four seasons nevis with kids
Photo: Tina Papies
four seasons nevis with kids
Photo: Tina Papies
After you get your workout in, you’ll have to check out the spa, which is really top-notch. The treatments are all done in individual little huts. Before or after your treatment, you can relax in the cold and warm water outdoor plunge pools. Serge and I booked a couple’s massage. It was the Signature Nevisian Massage, which starts with a cleansing foot ritual in which our feet were bathed in warm, lemongrass-infused water. The spa technicians then applied an aromatic scrub made of brown sugar, cinnamon, coconut and nutmeg. Then it was time for the main event. We got to choose from four different scents for our massage oil. And the massage itself was fantastic. We were already pretty relaxed when we got to the spa, but after the massage we were like putty! So I highly recommend you check out the spa when you stay here.
four seasons nevis with kids
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
four seasons nevis with kids
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi

How to Make the Most of Your Stay

If you plan on visiting Four Seasons Nevis, here are three tips to make the most of your stay. 1. Stay in a villa If you don’t mind a bit of a splurge, staying in a villa at Four Seasons Nevis is really the ultimate way to experience this resort. The villa we stayed in can sleep up to 8 adults, so if it’s a stretch for you budget-wise, you can save some by splitting the cost between 2 or 3 families, or a big group of friends. 2. Book a cabana It’s always nice to have a home base for a day at the pool, and a private pool cabana just can’t beat. If you’re more of a beach person than a pool person, you can book a beach cabana instead. You’ll get a personal hammock, which is pretty fun. 3. Book a spa treatment If you can only pick one thing on this list to do, make it a visit to the spa. The indoor/outdoor feel of the spa is pretty unique, and the quality of the treatments are top-notch. If you're looking for a kid-friendly, luxurious resort in the Caribbean that feels like a private hideaway, Four Seasons Nevis is a fantastic choice.

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10 TRAVEL PRODUCTS
EVERY FAMILY SHOULD OWN

Enter your email below to receive your free guide to the 10 travel products every traveling family should own. You'll also be subscribed to our weekly newsletter, filled with luxury travel inspiration for you and your family!

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

If you're looking for a kid-friendly, luxurious resort in the Caribbean that feels like a private hideaway, Four Seasons Nevis is a fantastic choice.
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're looking for a ski resort that combines luxury, fine dining and family fun, Deer Valley Resort in Utah is a great choice. In this article I'll break down what makes Deer Valley stand out from other ski resorts, the accommodations options, the ski instruction and the great dining that's available here. Many thanks to the team at Deer Valley for hosting us!

The Deer Valley Difference

There are several key areas in which Deer Valley stands out from other ski resorts you may visit in North America. 1. It never gets overcrowded Deer Valley Resort limits the number of tickets they sell each year. Because of this, they do a fantastic job at limiting the number of people visiting, so you never worry about it being overcrowded. That means you can spend more time actually skiing instead of standing in line waiting for the lift. On top of that, it helps with dining options because you’re not as worried about beating the crowds.
deer valley resort with kids
Photo: Jessica Weyerts
2. You can bring little kids, even infants! Another thing that’s great about Deer Valley Resort is that they offer ski lessons for kids as young as 3 years old. The resort even offers state-certified childcare for infants as young as 2 months old! So if you’ve got babies with you, you can still spend a day on the slopes.
deer valley resort with kids
Photo: Jessica Weyerts
3. Beginners can ski all over At many ski resorts, beginner skiers are stuck near the base. But at Deer Valley Resort, five of the six peaks have green trails for beginners. And six out of six have blue runs. Which means that if you're beginners like us, you can ski around the whole resort! Also, if you have a mix of abilities in your family, you can all ride the lift up together but ski down different runs, and meet at the bottom.
deer valley resort with kids
Photo: Jessica Weyerts

Spacious Accommodations

We stayed at The Lodges of Deer Valley, which is about a 3-minute shuttle ride from the base. We had a spacious two-bedroom condo with a full kitchen and three bathrooms. It was so nice to snuggle up in front of the fireplace each evening after a long time on the slopes. deer valley resort with kids Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
deer valley resort with kids
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
deer valley resort with kidstext here

Ski School

Deer Valley is renowned for its ski school, and we got to see why. Serge and I took two half-day private lessons, while the girls joined group lessons. The ski school for kids breaks its program down by age group: The Fawn Special is for 3-year-olds, The Bambi Club is for 4-year-olds, The Reindeer Club is for 5- and 6-year-olds, and The Adventure Club is for ages 7-12. The girls absolutely loved their instructor, nicknamed "Mrs. Bumblebee," and progressed a lot on this trip. Serge and I learned a lot as well from Tom, our instructor. Getting to go down green runs on so many different peaks was exhilarating!
deer valley resort with kids
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
deer valley resort with kids
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
deer valley resort with kids
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi

Dining

Deer Valley is known for being a pioneer in transforming the food culture within the ski industry. They were probably the first resort to start emphasizing gourmet food created with the freshest ingredients, and their dining options continue to shine today! Fireside Dining at Empire Canyon Lodge We had a fantastic dinner at Fireside Dining, a European alpine-inspired restaurant where they prepare the food in rustic stone fireplaces. Not only is it a great way to warm up after a long day on the slopes, but the food is delicious. You walk around to the different food stations and watch the food cook and let them carve or serve it right then and there! ⁠
deer valley resort with kids
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
deer valley resort with kids
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
deer valley resort with kids
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Seafood Buffet at Snow Park Lodge The Seafood Buffet at Deer Valley is pretty much legendary, and we could see why. This was one epic meal full of many crab legs, oysters and more. From poke to clam chowder, from sashimi to grilled shrimp, we sure were happy campers at this buffet. For those who are not into seafood, they offer veggie specialty dishes and prime rib too. And there's an extensive dessert bar too! My favorite was the bread pudding.
deer valley resort with kids
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
deer valley resort with kids
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
deer valley resort with kids
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Royal Street Cafe Most restaurants on the actual slopes of a ski resort are cafeteria-style joints. But if you'd prefer a sit-down experience, Deer Valley offers Royal Street Cafe. We particularly enjoyed the appetizers here. The Dungeness Crab Tower was fantastic, and the Street Corn Guacamole took flavor to the next level with dashes of guajillo chili powder.
deer valley resort with kids
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
deer valley resort with kids
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
deer valley resort with kids
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
The Brass Tag The Brass Tag is a restaurant at The Lodges of Deer Valley, where we stayed. It pays homage to the region's mining industry past. Each miner was assigned a number which appeared on a metal tag that was taken off a board by the miner as he entered the mine and replaced on the board when he exited the mine. This let the company know how many miners were in the mine at any given time, and who they were. deer valley resort with kids Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
deer valley resort with kids
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
deer valley resort with kids
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
We had such a great time at Deer Valley. Serge and I are finally starting to feel like "real" skiers! Being able to do so many runs on different peaks was nerve-wracking, but also exhilarating. We can't wait to see how we improve even more next winter!

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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

If you're looking for a ski resort that combines luxury, fine dining and family fun, Deer Valley Resort in Utah is a great choice.
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.
This post is sponsored by Visit California When most people hear "California," they immediately think of palm trees, sunshine, and beaches. But there's so much more to this state! California might be the one state where you can go skiing in the morning and surfing in the afternoon, all in the course of a single day. We recently got a chance to see what a winter vacation in California is like. Many thanks to Visit California and their partners for hosting us on this trip! Here's how it went:

Day 1 - Dinner in Downtown Disney

As huge Disney fans, we were excited that we'd be starting this California adventure at Disneyland! We've been to Walt Disney World in Orlando so many times, but this would be our first time visiting the park where it all started! We checked into the Anaheim Marriott Suites, a very family-friendly hotel located just minutes away from Disneyland. The one-bedroom suite configuration worked well for our family, and though our transportation on this trip had been pre-arranged, it was good to know that the hotel had its own shuttle that runs hourly back and forth from Disneyland.
Downtown Disney in Anaheim, California. Photo: Max Whittaker
We headed to Downtown Disney, a dining and shopping destination right outside the parks, very similar to Disney Springs in Orlando. We had eaten at the original Manhattan location of Black Tap Burger once before, so the girls were very excited to see that we'd be dining at their Downtown Disney location. We enjoyed juicy burgers and huge, over-the-top milkshakes. It was fun getting to know the other families on the trip, who came from all over: London, Sydney, Mexico City and even Arkansas!
The Cake Shake at Black Tap Craft Burgers in Downtown Disney. Photo: Max Whittaker

Day 2 - Disney California Adventure

The next morning, we headed to Disney California Adventure Park. We started our day with a meet-and-greet with one other than Elsa from Frozen! The Disney team was kind enough to gift us special Frozen-themed ears, which the girls loved.
Ella and Sean at Elsa's Royal Welcome at Disney California Adventure. Photo: Max Whittaker.
After a quick breakfast at Fiddler, Fifer & Practical Cafe, we headed to Animation Academy in Hollywood Land. Here, we got to learn from an animator how to draw Olaf from scratch! I'm not particularly gifted artistically, so it was a credit to our instructor that my sketch came out pretty convincingly!
Drawn to Animation Class at Disney California Adventure. Photo: Max Whittaker
Sketching Olaf. Photo: Max Whittaker
Then it was time for more Frozen! This time, we went to see the live show at the Hyperion Theater. Even after having seen the Frozen Broadway musical here in New York, we were seriously impressed by this show at Disney California Adventure Park. It was like a mini-version of the Broadway show, but with costumes, stage design, special effects, and performances that honestly rivaled the big show!
Frozen, Live at the Hyperion. Photo: Max Whittaker
We spent the afternoon doing thrill ride after thrill ride (yes, my girls love to live on the edge). Our favorite attractions were the Incredicoaster, Radiator Springs Racer, and Guardians of the Galaxy Mission: Breakout!
Exploring Disney California Adventure. Photo: Max Whittaker
After dinner at Flo's V8 Cafe, we headed to watch World of Color, the park's nightly outdoor show. During the show, scenes from a variety of Disney and Pixar movies are projected onto fountains, with lots of cool fire, fog and laser effects.
World of Color at Disney California Adventure. Photo: Max Whittaker

Day 3 - Downtown Anaheim and Disneyland

The next morning we headed to Anaheim's Center Street Promenade, part of Anaheim’s Center City. There's a farmer's market there that's popular with both locals and visitors.
Farmer's Market in Anaheim. Photo: Max Whittaker
We visited Okayama Kobo Bakery, a Japanese bakery that bakes all its breads and pastries using a special blend of Hokkaido wheat flour imported from Japan. The end result is unbelievably soft and fluffy! The girls had so much fun decorating their Anpan buns with icing. And all of us loved the bakery's savory sandwiches and Japanese-style hot dogs.
Decorating emoji bread at Okayama Kobo Bakery in Anaheim. Photo: Max Whittaker
After lunch, we headed to Disneyland. It was so exciting to see the Sleeping Beauty Castle! Being in front of the castle felt extra-special knowing that Walt Disney himself put his stamp on it! We spent the afternoon on more thrill rides, with Big Thunder Mountain, Indiana Jones Adventure and Matterhorn Bobsleds being our favorites.
Exploring Sleeping Beauty's Castle. Photo: Max Whittaker

Day 4 - Galaxy's Edge and Mammoth Lakes

The next morning, we were in for a very special treat. We got to Disneyland super-early, before it opened to the public, and got to explore the Star Wars-themed Galaxy's Edge before any other guests arrived! We had a special meet-and-greet with none other than Chewbacca himself, and rode Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run, which was just as fun as we remembered from Disney World.
Sean and Ella meeting Chewbacca in Galaxy's Edge. Photo: Max Whittaker
Riding Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run in Galaxy's Edge. Photo: Max Whittaker
We enjoyed a lovely character dining breakfast at Plaza Inn, and had so much fun interacting with all the characters who stopped by! Chip and Dale were both adorable, and Serge and Captain Hook bonded over how tall both of them were! Then we got an important call: the Resistance needed us, so it was time to head back to Galaxy's Edge! I was beyond excited that the Disney team was able to arrange for our group to ride Rise of the Resistance - the brand-new attraction at Galaxy's Edge. I don't want to spoil it for you so I won't give too much away here, but suffice it to say that this attraction more than lived up to its hype. I can't wait to ride it again!
Rise of the Resistance at Galaxy's Edge. Photo: Max Whittaker
After this incredibly eventful morning, we headed to LAX to get on our flight to the mountain destination Mammoth Lakes. It's incredible that you can go from the middle of Los Angeles to a snowy mountain in less than an hour's flight! We checked in to our spacious 2-bedroom condo at The Village Lodge at Mammoth and enjoyed a delicious Italian dinner at Campo Mammoth. It was the perfect way to end a long but fun day, and fuel up for fun in the snow the next day.

Day 5 - Mammoth Lakes

We started our day at Toomey's, a casual baseball-themed eatery with lots of hearty breakfast options. Then we headed off to our first adventure of the day: snowmobiling! A few weeks before this trip, we had spent a pretty epic day snowmobiling for 8 hours through Yellowstone National Park as part of our trip to Big Sky, Montana. Serge and I had loved the experience, but the girls were not as thrilled about it as we were. So I knew going into this snowmobiling experience in Mammoth Lakes that it probably wasn't going to go that smoothly. Sure enough, Ella wasn't thrilled about doing it, and to be honest, I felt a bit nervous too as the trails were narrower and the terrain more bumpy than I had experienced before. So Ella and I decided to end our tour a bit early, while Serge and Sean completed it with the rest of the group.
Serge and Sean snowmobiling at Mammoth Mountain in Mammoth Lakes. Photo: Max Whittaker
After snowmobiling, we had lunch at The Yodler, a German Bavarian-style restaurant and bar with a beautiful outdoor deck. By this time the temperatures had gotten up to about 60 degrees, so we didn't even need our jackets. Skiing in California is definitely a very different experience than in other states!
Lunch at the Yodler in Mammoth Lakes. Photo: Max Whittaker
Then it was time for more fun in the snow. We headed to Woolly's Tube Park & Snow Play and the girls had an amazing time tubing down the hill. Coming down was fun, of course, but they enjoyed the trip up just as much! Unlike the slow-moving magic carpet that many other snow tubing attractions use, Woolly's has a lift where you sit in your tube, it's hooked up to a cable, and it whisks you quickly up the hill!
Ella and Sean snowtubing at Woolly's Tubing & Snow Play in Mammoth Lakes. Photo: Max Whittaker
That evening, we enjoyed dinner and bowling at Mammoth Rock N Bowl, and finished our night by roasting marshmallows and making s'mores at a fire pit in the village.
Bowling at Mammoth Rock 'n' Bowl. Photo: Max Whittaker
Making S'mores in the Village in Mammoth Lakes. Photo: Max Whittaker

Day 6 - Back to Los Angeles

The next day, we were originally supposed to take an afternoon flight back to LAX. However, because there was inclement weather that was likely to cause our flight to be cancelled, we ended up doing an impromptu road trip! Instead of flying, we actually drove all the way back to Los Angeles. Though I'm usually not the biggest fan of road trips, this one was actually very enjoyable. It was pretty spectacular to be able to watch the scenery change gradually from snowy mountains to desert and rock formations. We also enjoyed our brief stop in Lone Pine, a tiny town of just 2,000 residents that, with its rugged terrain, looks like something straight out of a cowboy movie. And in fact, many movies have actually been filmed here, from classic Westerns like How the West Was Won to more recent hits like Django Unchained.
Road tripping through Southern California. Photo: Max Whittaker
Lone Pine, California. Photo: Max Whittaker
We got into Santa Monica that evening and checked into Hotel Shangri-La. I was thrilled with the hotel's beachfront location, and the girls went nuts for the oversized jacuzzi tub in our suite's bathroom! We enjoyed a room service dinner before going to sleep.

Day 7 - Santa Monica

The original plan for the next morning was to do some surfing. However, a serious cold front had moved in while we were in Mammoth Lakes. So with the temperatures in the mid-40s and the water being very choppy, we opted for plan B: biking around Santa Monica!
The iconic Route 66 sign in Santa Monica Pier. Photo: Max Whittaker
Now I'm embarrassed to say that the girls and I are... let's just call it "bicyclally challenged." So Serge joined the rest of the group to do a bicycle tour of Santa Monica beach, while the girls and I explored on our own two feet. They had a great time playing on all the swings, monkey bars and exercise equipment on the beach. (By the way, did you know that the original Muscle Beach was in Santa Monica, not Venice? This is an interesting article about that history.)
Exploring Santa Monica California, February 3, 2020.
After lunch at Seaside on the Pier, we headed to the Heal the Bay Aquarium, a marine education facility that promotes conservation of Southern California coastal waters. We got a behind-the-scenes tour of the facility, and all the kids in the group were absolutely riveted by the marine life there. And they loved getting to feed the baby shark!
Visiting Heal the Bay Aquarium in Santa Monica. Photo: Max Whittaker
We spent the rest of the afternoon doing rides at Pacific Park, the amusement park located on the Santa Monica pier. Even though the roller coaster "was way too slow," according to the girls, they had a lot of fun running around with their new friends trying ride after ride.
Pacific Park in Santa Monica. Photo: Max Whittaker
Sean, Ella and their new friends riding the attractions at Pacific Park in Santa Monica. Photo: Max Whittaker
After Pacific Park, we walked over to Third Street Promenade, a lovely shopping and dining area. We visited The Void, a virtual reality attraction that was a lot of fun. We tried two of their experiences: one was Jumanji-themed, and the other was Star Wars-themed. They were both incredibly realistic and entertaining. So realistic, in fact, that it got a bit too real for Ella, so she ducked out early! We ended our day... and our trip, with a dinner at The Gallery Food Hall, an indoor food court with lots of innovative restaurants under one roof. We really enjoyed the build-your-own bento concept of Supertoro, but couldn't leave without trying some tacos from Azulé Taqueria as well.

California: An Alternative Winter Destination

If your family is somewhat interested in a snow or ski trip, but you're not sure you want to commit a full vacation to it, adding a few days in the snow the way we did is a great way to ease into it. Many thanks to Visit California for hosting us on such an eye-opening trip! We can't wait to explore more of this beautiful state.

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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

When most people hear "California," they immediately think of palm trees, sunshine, and beaches. But there's so much more to this state! Here's what a winter vacation in California is like.
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.
This post is sponsored by Paramount Pictures Have you ever dreamt of attending a real Hollywood movie premiere? We recently got a chance to do this when Paramount Pictures invited us to Los Angeles to attend the premiere of the new animated feature, Sonic the Hedgehog, based on the character from the classic SEGA video game. It was so much fun to get to explore both modern-day Hollywood, as well as its rich 100-year history.  Many thanks to Paramount for hosting us on this trip! Here's a look at what our experience was like:
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
We flew into LAX on Alaskan Airlines, which was actually our very first time flying this airline. We checked into the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, a property whose history is intimately intertwined with the movie industry itself. Opened in 1927 by a group movie industry executives, it hosted the first ever Academy Awards. The hotel has a three-level, 3,200 square foot penthouse where actors Clark Gable and Carol Lombard carried on a secret love affair in the 1930s. Fittingly, this suite is now called the Gable & Lombard Penthouse. Another room of note is the Marilyn Suite, where Marilyn Monroe herself lived for two years in the late 1940s. It's located just steps away from the Hollywood Walk of Fame and Grauman's Chinese Theatre, so it's in a great location if you want to be close to those attractions.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
The next morning, we headed to Paramount Studios, where we started the day with a tour of the studio. We started by visiting the prop warehouse, where we got close-up views of props used in some of the biggest hit movies and TV shows, including Bumble Bee and Optimum Prime from Transformers, and the transporter from Star Trek.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Then we headed to the New York backlot. It was both funny and jarring to go in just 24 hours from the real New York City, where we live, to the pretend New York City of this studio. Everybody Hates Chris is a favorite show of ours, and it was cool to see that the Bed Stuy brownstone shown at the start of every episode is actually one of the buildings on this lot!
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
There's a ton of history at Paramount Studios (it was amazing to see Stage 19, for example, where Orson Welles' classic Citizen Kane was filmed) but there are lots of current productions that are now shooting there too - everything from Grace and Frankie to The Blacklist. We visited the soundstage where Dr. Phil is filmed, and it was fun seeing the trailers of the This Is Us cast as we walked through the lot.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Then it was time for the main event! The Paramount Pictures team created a really amazing setup. It was a sea of bright blue (the color of Sonic himself, of course) and there were so many fun games and activities for kids to do. The girls loved eating blue Sonic-shaped cotton candy and playing in the ball pit.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
sonic the hedgehog movie premiere
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
We stopped by the blue carpet to snap a family photo, before heading in to watch the movie, which we absolutely loved! Jim Carrey, no surprise, steals the show with his performance as archvillain Doctor Robotnik. James Marsden and Tika Sumpter bring a lot of heart to the story. Ben Schwartz, whom I absolutely adored as Jean-Ralphio on Parks & Recreation, did a great job of bringing Sonic the Hedgehog to life through his voicing performance.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Thanks again to Paramount Pictures for such a fun trip. It was the girls' first time in Los Angeles, which made it all the more special!

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THE 10 BEST VACATIONS FOR KIDS
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Enter your email below to receive The 10 Best Vacations for Kids in the U.S. You'll also be subscribed to our weekly newsletter, filled with luxury travel inspiration for you and your family!

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

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.
piano piano
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
This post is sponsored by PianoPiano A little known fact about me is that I’ve been playing the piano for nearly my entire life, and actually taught piano lessons throughout high school. I’m ashamed to admit that it’s taken me so long to get around to arranging music lessons for Sean and Ella! Though, as my readers know, the girls have had plenty of other amazing opportunities in their young lives, but I digress… Enter PianoPiano, an NYC-based, family-owned, piano rental company that’s been in business for close to 50 years. Until now, it hasn’t really been easy to let a kid try their hand at playing the piano. If they don’t have one in their home, they can’t practice, but getting one into the home can be a challenge (both financially and physically speaking). PianoPiano makes trying the piano affordable and easy. They help you choose the right piano, they deliver it, tune it, and take it away when you’re done! They even have rent-to-own options. Here’s how it works: 1. Pick either an upright, grand, or silent piano Yes, they make pianos that can be played without disturbing others, which is especially great when you live in an apartment building! Clueless about picking the right piano for your family? Take their Perfect Piano Quiz to figure out where to start! And, you get unlimited exchanges for a small fee, if for any reason you’d like a different one. 2. Choose a rental plan Pianos can be rented for as little as $38 a month! You can keep renting for as long as you want after your plan is up, without an increase in your monthly fee. PianoPiano offers the lowest prices with no surprises. 3. Schedule set up and delivery Delivery fees for an upright piano up to 100 miles from New York City are $195 each way, including one flight of stairs. If you live further than that, they may be able to arrange delivery for an additional fee. PianoPiano delivers as far east as Hartford, CT and all over the Philadelphia metropolitan area. 4. Get initial tuning at a discounted rate by a professional technician afterward And if you’d rather have an actual human being walk you through the process, just call or visit the showroom. All the pianos are new and like new. Many are actually brand-new from the manufacturer/refinishing factory and have never been rented before. When a piano does come back from rental, PianoPiano's team goes over it to get it into like-new condition. I love that PianoPiano offers a "rent, then own" option. With this option, you can decide to buy at any time. The first 12 months of rental fees go towards purchase no matter when you decide to buy. This program gives you ultimate flexibility, as you are not locked into a purchase from the beginning. You can decide when it’s the right time for you to buy the piano, keeping the same low monthly payment as long as you keep renting. You never have to buy and can keep renting forever (most customers do this). When you’re ready to buy, just let PianoPiano know and then you have 12 more months to pay off the balance with 0% interest. If you pay all at once by check, then you get a 3% discount. I’m so excited to have a piano in my home again, and to share my love of it with my girls. I’m even happier that I didn’t have to break the bank to get it, and I didn’t have to do any of the heavy lifting! PianoPiano makes the process painless. So tell me, have you ever played the piano? Would you consider renting one?

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Enter your email below to receive your free guide to the 10 travel products every traveling family should own. You'll also be subscribed to our weekly newsletter, filled with luxury travel inspiration for you and your family!

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

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.
Our family’s latest adventure took us to Baha Mar in the Bahamas! This tropical getaway couldn’t have come at a better time, since we’re in the middle of a cold, gray winter here in the Big Apple! The iconic Baha Mar is a fun resort for families, with lots of different pools and restaurants, and no shortage of hands-on activities that allow visitors to learn about local marine and wildlife. Many thanks to Baha Mar for hosting us on this memorable vacation. There were so many picture-perfect moments on our trip that it’s hard to know where to begin! Let’s start with an introduction to the expansive resort itself. Baha Mar is located on Nassau’s Cable Beach, and it’s actually made up of three distinct hotels: Rosewood Baha Mar, a quiet and laid-back luxury hotel; SLS Baha Mar, a lively Miami-style hotel with a youthful vibe; and the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar, a modern and upscale hotel that's great for both kids and adults. In this way, visitors can return to Baha Mar year after year and have a different experience each time. Connecting all three properties is Baha Mar Casino, the largest casino in the entire Caribbean, and the only casino in the world with an ocean view. The resort also boasts a par-72, 18-hole Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course, as well as a world-class racquet club, a full-service spa, a nature sanctuary, an impressive kids’ club, and over 40 different bars and restaurants. Guests staying at any of the three hotels can access all of Baha Mar's bars, restaurants, pools, beaches and other amenities. The only exceptions are The Rosewood's kids club, pools and beach areas, which are reserved just for guests of that hotel.

Getting there (in style)

baha mar with kids
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
We flew direct from New York City to Nassau on Delta. Once at the airport, we were treated to a truly luxurious welcome. You see, each resort has its own booth in the ground transportation area of the Nassau airport, and that's where visitors go to get from the airport to their respective hotels. This is usually an unremarkable moment, but Baha Mar sent a Tesla Model X to pick us up, with the cool Back to the Future-style falcon wing doors that open up toward the roof! The girls were delighted to ride in such a fun, futuristic car.

A room (or two) of our own

We stayed in rooms 1500 and 1502 in the west tower of the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar, and had two adjoining rooms: the Grand Suite King and the Ocean View Balcony Queen. The Grand Suite King provided 694 square feet of opulence, with a king Hyatt Grand Bed, a pristine bath, and a separate living room. The Ocean View Balcony Queen was a bit smaller, but still provided 412 square feet of space, two queen Hyatt Grand Beds and bathtub. (The high-end bathroom products by Balmain smelled so good!) Both rooms had an interactive tablet, giving us all the information we needed about the resort. We were even able to make dining reservations from the device.

(Wild) things to do

If anyone in your family is an animal lover, they will really enjoy the animal encounters offered at Baha Mar. This is where the resort really shines! Here’s a breakdown of things to check out: The Aviary: This small space has lots of different local bird species. It’s free to enter, but I'd highly recommend that you pay the $10 for the feeding activity. You’ll receive two seed sticks to hold in your hand and the birds will flock to you to eat the seeds!
baha mar with kids
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
The Sanctuary: This is the resort's marine life center, where you'll find sea turtles, stingrays, nurse sharks and many different species of fish. You can do a close marine encounter experience for $75 per person, and for the memories alone, it’s totally worth it! For about 30 minutes, you can get up close to stingrays and can feed sea turtles with lettuce! Plus, friendly nurse sharks swim around you as well.
baha mar with kids
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
The Flamingos: The flamingo is the national bird of the Bahamas, and is a big part of the Baha Mar experience. You can do a flamingo meet and greet experience that allows you to touch, feed and take photos with a special group of flamingos that were hatched on property. We had so much fun meeting Baha, Lynden, Luca, Indy! It was also cool to see how Bimini, the youngest bird of the flock, is just starting to turn pink from the white/grey color it was born with. This activity is not only fun and educational, but of course, the perfect photo opportunity!
baha mar with kids
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
The Explorers Club: The girls absolutely loved the Explorers Club at Baha Mar, which is the resort's kids club. They were only supposed to do one half-day session, but they ended up doing three sessions over the course of our stay! The facility is actually brand-new and really impressive. In addition to beautiful, vibrant decor, it's incredibly well-stocked with all types of crafts materials. The girls amassed quite a collection of crafts they created after the three sessions. We left with everything from tote bags to key chains, and from colored sand to shell art! The kids club has a state-of-the-art theater room where kids watch movies and play dance-based video games. Counselors will also take the kids on "field trips" around the property to visit the animals. The Explorer's Club programs are divided into three daily sessions: 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., and 6:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Each session costs $65 per child. Note that these sessions are fairly structured, with counselors leading the kids in organized activities. That may be a plus or minus for your family, depending on your kids' personalities.
baha mar with kids
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Cooking Class: One of our favorite experiences was taking a family cooking class at the Explorer's Club. The club has an ultramodern learning kitchen that's a really impressive facility. We worked with Chef Michael Davis. Serge and I made seared tuna tacos with him, while the girls worked with his sous chef to make red velvet cupcakes. After the class we dined in the garden just outside the kitchen, which is also where they grow their own herbs and vegetables. The experience was memorable and fun!

Soak up the sun

baha mar with kids
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
baha mar with kids
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
There's no shortage of pools to choose from (Grand Hyatt alone has 11 of them!), but the girls' favorite was definitely Dean's Blue Hole, a mini-sized recreation of the famous attraction on Long Island in the Bahamas. Sean loved getting to cliff-dive into the pool. There is a high and a low "cliff" you can choose from, and the lifeguards are very good at timing everyone's jumps so that it's very safe. This pool is extra special because it also has a grotto with windows inside that offer a glimpse into the tank of stingrays and nurse sharks at The Sanctuary.
baha mar with kids
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
baha mar with kids
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
The whole stretch of beach at Baha Mar is beautiful, but for a real treat, check out Baha Bay Beach Club. It’s managed by SLS, but is available to all guests. This brand-new beach club has two beautiful infinity pools overlooking the beach, with a beautifully designed terraced area of lounge chairs and cabanas. We were lucky enough to have a cabana for the day, which was an amazing experience. The servers were extremely attentive, and you can order food from 25 North, the California-inspired signature restaurant on-site there.

Eat, drink & be merry

There are over 40 different bars and restaurants at Baha Mar, and we tried many of them during this trip. Here are our top picks: The Swimming Pig: In addition to lunch and dinner, this English gastropub serves breakfast too, though I don’t think many people realize this, based on how light the breakfast crowd was! It's a great place for a hearty breakfast or brunch of steak and eggs, French toast, or chicken and waffles. 3 Tides: This was probably my favorite dinner experience. 3 Tides is an elegant space with an open kitchen that specializes in seafood. I especially liked the appetizers. (The grilled oysters and ceviche were particularly good.) Streetbird: This casual concept by Chef Marcus Samuelsson is one of several food trucks at Baha Mar housed in vintage Airstream trailers. The chicken sandwich here is delicious, as are their conch fritters. (A quick note to anyone new to vacationing in this region: Because most food and beverages have to be shipped or flown in, dining while in the Caribbean can be pricey. Don’t let it hinder your experience; just plan ahead, check out the menus online before your trip and add to your budget accordingly.)
baha mar with kids
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
baha mar with kids
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
baha mar with kids
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
baha mar with kids
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
baha mar with kids
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Baha Mar treated us to a vacation unlike any other from the moment they picked us up at the airport. Typically, resorts are either family friendly or luxurious. They’ve either got lots of entertainment for adults to enjoy or they really shine when it comes to entertaining the kids. And I’ve rarely seen a resort with so many fabulous ways to get up close and personal with wildlife! Baha Mar provides it all. Bring your appetite, your camera, and your sunscreen…and leave room in your suitcase for all the handmade souvenirs you’ll be bringing home!

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EVERY FAMILY SHOULD OWN

Enter your email below to receive your free guide to the 10 travel products every traveling family should own. You'll also be subscribed to our weekly newsletter, filled with luxury travel inspiration for you and your family!

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

The iconic Baha Mar is a fun resort for families, with lots of different pools and restaurants, and no shortage of hands-on activities that allow visitors to learn about local marine and wildlife.
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.
Big Sky Resort in Montana is exactly the majestic winter wonderland you would expect. You know the photos you see of those stunning snowcapped mountains and others of tree-lined trails right off of picturesque Christmas cards? The ones where you can practically hear the eerie and beautiful silence that only comes after snowfall? I can now officially say there’s nothing filtered about those pictures! Our family recently visited Montana and we were so impressed, not only by the landscape, but by the way it pushed us out of our comfort zones. Our trip was full of firsts, from snowmobiling across Yellowstone Park in single-digit temperatures, to dogsledding through the forest with 75 Alaskan huskies. We went snowshoeing for the very first time and went skiing on our first real ski runs. We’re so grateful to Big Sky for hosting us and designing such a thoughtful and well-planned itinerary for us! If you’ll be traveling there soon, consider using our 5-day itinerary below. Before the fun could begin, however, we had to get from point A to point B. We flew Delta from New York City to Minneapolis, and then from Minneapolis to Bozeman. There's a direct flight United from Newark to Bozeman, too, if you prefer not to have a connection, but of course we are a Delta family, so we preferred this option. Now, here’s what we did once we got there:

Day 1: Bozeman

Bozeman is a small, charming town that's experienced a ton of growth recently. Since 2010 the population has grown by 25%. You'll see a lot of construction projects around, and a Kimpton property is slated to open in the next couple years. We found it really funny that long-time Montana residents affectionately bemoan that the town is turning into "Boze-angeles." With all the new shops, restaurants, and hotels opening up, it's clear that Bozeman is on its way to becoming a hot spot city like Austin or Portland. We spent our first night at RSVP Motel, which is a super cute property. It used to be a run-down motel, but they renovated it into a very stylish motel, with a retro flair. The check-in process is fun: Adult guests are served champagne as a welcome drink and children get muffins! Our room was a queen-queen suite, with a massive bathroom, complete with pretty floral print robes. The room also had access to a patio area outside with a fireplace, but since we were there in the winter, we didn't use that feature much.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
We had lunch at Roost Fried Chicken, a delicious, Tennessee, fried chicken joint. The girls especially loved the boiled peanuts; they couldn't get enough! The fried chicken was crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. The collard greens, mac and cheese, and baked beans (which had a bit of a kick) were also really good. Serge had the fried chicken sandwich, which came topped with lettuce, pickles and the restaurant's proprietary "Come Back Sauce," which was a really great mix of flavors.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi

Day 2: Heading to Big Sky

We started the day with breakfast at RSVP Motel's restaurant, called The Farmer's Daughter. It's a gem of an eatery, and it’s extremely Instagrammable with stylish touches everywhere and lots of millennial pink and pastel. The menu is great for health-conscious folks, with lots of Paleo-friendly and gluten-free options.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Once at Big Sky, we learned there are lots of different lodging options, with the two main hotels being The Summit and Huntley Lodge. There are condos located around the resort as well. We stayed at condo 32 at the Big Horn Condominiums. Many of the condos at Big Sky are privately owned, but almost all of them are managed by Big Sky itself, which makes the booking and check-in process seamless for travelers. We checked in at the Summit Hotel's front desk, where they gave us our keys. Then one of the bellmen at the hotel gave us a ride down to the condo, which was one of the great features of staying at a Big Sky condo. You can call the Summit hotel front desk anytime and request a complimentary ride up to the base, down to the town center, or wherever you need to go. (The bellmen just work off of gratuities.) Because of this, we didn't feel hampered at all by not having a car. The girls absolutely loved the bellmen at Big Sky because they're dressed like cowboys! And at least a few of them we chatted with actually are cowboys in the off-season, which the girls were very impressed by. We had a 3-bedroom condo that probably could have fit another two families! There was a ton of space to spread around in, beautiful vaulted ceilings in the living room, a real wood-burning fireplace, and our favorite feature was the giant picture window in the dining room that overlooked a ski slope, giving us an amazing view.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
We had lunch at Montana Jack, a fantastic place if you enjoy burgers and craft beers. I had The Bae, a beef patty topped with sharp cheddar, bacon, avocado, and a fried egg. Serge had the Montana Bison Burger, which was amazingly tender and juicy. As you would imagine, beef and bison in Montana is incredibly flavorful, so while you're here you can't go wrong order those options on any restaurant menu.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Afterward, it was time for something I have always wanted to try: snowshoeing! I was so excited to learn that this was one of the activities Big Sky arranged for us. We headed down to Lone Mountain Ranch to get outfitted with our snowshoes and poles, and then we set off into the forest. Snowshoeing is a lot more challenging than it looks, as it takes a while to get used to walking with the wider gait that you need with the snowshoes on. So it's one of those activities that can be as relaxing or as intense as you choose. We went at a moderate pace, which was still pretty challenging for us. It was great getting to explore this beautiful scenery. When we were done, the girls got to see the horses on the ranch and feed them apples!
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
When it was time for dinner, we took a quick walk over to Horn & Cantle, a fantastic fine dining restaurant on the premises of Lone Mountain Ranch. It’s in a spacious log cabin, with lots of Western touches in the decor like cowboy boots, mounted deer heads, saddles. I’d highly recommend dining here, since it was probably my favorite meal of the whole trip! We started with a beet and citrus salad, and the steak tartare, which were both excellent. Since we had a heavy lunch, Serge and I both decided to go with seafood for entrees. Serge had the crispy skin Montana trout and I had the bouillabaise. The girls both had mac & cheese from the kids menu and enjoyed their meals, too.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi

Day 3: Skiing

We started the morning with breakfast at Peaks restaurant at Summit Hotel, which has a breakfast buffet, and then spent a couple hours doing a photo shoot. Even though it wasn't yet open for the season, we took the covered chair lift up to Everett's 8800, an elegant, rustic restaurant at the top of the mountain. The deck has really incredible views of Lone Mountain, so it's worth the trip for that alone.
Photo: Justine Esslinger
Photo: Justine Esslinger
After grabbing a quick lunch of great gourmet hot dogs from Yeti Dogs, we began our ski lessons. The girls took a private lesson with their instructor Hannah, while Serge and I took our private lesson with Kurt. (Both were fantastic!) Kurt took us down White Wing, our first official ski run. Up until this trip we'd mostly just stayed on the ski school bunny slopes, since we're still beginners. To be honest, I was completely terrified, but also so proud of myself that I got all the way down! Big Sky Mountain Sports is super family-friendly. (Kids under 6 years old even get to ski for free! Book your lift tickets online for the best savings.) It’s safe and fun for the whole family, with the instructors really making sure your experience is tailored to your abilities so that you have the best possible experience. With more than 5,000 acres of skiable terrain, there’s something for everyone. There are even guided experiences, like Everett's First Tracks Breakfast and Headlamp Night Skiing.
Photo: Justine Esslinger
Photo: Justine Esslinger
Once we’d worked up an appetite, it was time for dinner at one of the newest restaurants on the mountain: Blue Buddha Sushi. The restaurant serves entrees too, but the main attractions are the specialty sushi rolls. Two of our favorites were the Dam Roll, made of seared beef tenderloin, yellowtail, scallions and topped with wasabi aioli; and the Spicy Crunchy Lobster roll, made of spicy lobster, avocado and cucumber, and topped with spicy aioli and tempura crunchies.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi

Day 4: Skiing and Dogsledding

The fourth day was one of the coldest of our entire trip, so the slopes felt a little more challenging. The snow felt icy and crunchy, and my joints felt stiff, too, but with Kurt's patient instruction, Serge and I ended up going down White Wing, just as we had the day before. This time I was much less scared, and felt much more confident going down. I even ended the run by skiing over some of those big snow bumps! That afternoon, we drove over to Moonlight Basin, where we'd try dogsledding for the first time with Spirit of the North Dogsledding. This had been a bucket list experience I'd wanted to try for a long time, so I was really excited! Unfortunately, Ella is pretty scared of dogs, and this ended up being too overwhelming of an experience for her. Before the dogsledding begins, the dogs are super excited about going for a run, so they're all jumping, barking and howling. If it was just a couple dogs, this might not have been that bad, but here were 75 Alaskan huskies there, all going crazy at the same time. And because a couple of them were not on their leashes (though they were very sweet and totally safe), Ella freaked out big-time. She was crying and terrified, and refused to go. Seeing Ella so scared got Sean scared too, so she decided to sit it out as well. Luckily at the last minute, Sean changed her mind and decided to join Serge in his sled. Dogsledding was a really great experience. The scenery was amazing, and once the dogs start running, they are completely silent and focused. It's a pretty amazing transformation. About halfway through, we took a break to warm up with some cookies and hot cocoa, and I got to play with the dogs, which were all super sweet. It was also sweet to see how loving and playful the guides were with all the dogs.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
That night, we had a really fun dinner experience. We took two snowcats (named Rosie and Ginger!) up the mountain the Montana Dinner Yurt. When we arrived, there was French onion soup waiting for us, perfect to warm up after the cold ride up. While they got the entrees going, we got to play outside in the snow. Sean did some sledding, while Ella and Serge warmed up by the outdoor campfires. After entrees, there was more time for socializing and stargazing, before the dessert of chocolate fondue was served.
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi

Day 5: Snowmobiling in Yellowstone

This was our last day in Montana and by far the most epic experience. We checked in at Backcountry Adventures, where we got fitted with boots, helmets, and warm snowmobile suits. These suits were really amazing because it was in the single digits that day, but it didn't feel that way at all with these suits on! After a quick tutorial on how the snowmobiles worked, we headed off towards Yellowstone. Snowmobiling through Yellowstone was truly incredible. It was like driving from one perfect landscape painting into the next perfect landscape painting. I was awestruck through the entire ride! Between the snow-covered trees, the steep mountains, and the river winding gracefully through the landscape, the beauty was just unreal. Every once in a while, our guide would stop to show us wildlife. We saw everything from bison to coyotes to bald eagles. We got to see Old Faithful, probably the most famous geyser in the world, erupt. We also really enjoyed exploring the hot springs area. I've never been there in the summer, but in the winter it's really striking how intense heat and intense cold co-existing in one place. Some parts of the landscape really felt like we were on Mars, with the strange bacteria, gurgling geysers and red mud!
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Photo: Carmen Sognonvi
Before we knew it, we had to head back to the hustle and bustle of the concrete jungle, which seemed so very far from the tranquil beauty of Big Sky. I’ve rarely felt as one with nature and so lucky to be able to experience it, as I did during those five days in the snowy mountains of Montana. Between the snowy adventures, the confidence-building activities, the breathtaking landscapes, the spacious accommodations, and delectable dining, Big Sky will be hard to say goodbye to. If you can whisk your family away for a few days, I would definitely recommend it!

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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.

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