Passion-led family travels

January 14th, 2021

For summer of 2021 and beyond, travel is poised for a comeback and we foresee family vacations topping the list. Here are ideas to quench any family’s wanderlust, from avid astronomers to city slickers…


For the astronomer family

  • Todos Santos in Baja, Mexico, is a prime spot for stargazing due to its minimal light pollution and dry clean air. Each of the rooftop suites at the new Paradero Todos Santos comes with its own telescope to take in the evening’s bounty of stars, galaxies and planets that sparkle across the desert sky.
  • On the open-air observation deck at Nayara Alto Atacama, guests check out the most important constellations for the people of the Atacama: the Yacana Llama that runs along the Great River (Milky Way) and the Chacana Cross (Inca Cross) which points to the south. The Atacama Desert’s famously arid atmosphere makes it ideal for stargazing.
  • andBeyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge in Namibia’s Namib Desert abuts a dark sky reserve and has an astronomer on staff to guide guests’ stargazing experiences. Plus, the above-bed sky lights are perfect for spotting shooting stars while drifting off to sleep.


For the birding family

  • While most head to Jamaica for its white sandy beaches, birders should note it’s an avian playground with over 300 species. Specifically, the Blue Mountains, set 3,100 feet above sea level, are laced with a network of trails for birdwatching among the Jurassic Park-like landscape. Strawberry Hill’s onsite bird expert, Lyndalee Burks, arranges adventures with knowledgeable local guides – think sunrise and sunset treks to see the rare Crested Quail-Dove or Jamaican blackbird.
  • With a plethora of birds to check off a list (over 500 species in the area), Nayara Tented Camp’s private naturalist guides can lead family’s on daily birding walks to spot toucans, red-lored parrots, green herons, and ruby throated hummingbirds. Tents can comfortably fit two adults and up to two children, plus there are adjoining tents for bigger groups and older kids.
  • All guests at andBeyond Phinda Private Game Reserve all receive a Star Birds guide to spot the over 400 bird species inhabiting Phinda’s diverse habitats, but passionate birders can book a Birding Safari. One of andBeyond’s guides leads guests on a special game drive to see Rudd’s Apalis, Neergard’s Sunbirds, and Narina Trogons. Phinda Homestead – a stand-alone lodge with four bedrooms – is the perfect private spot for a family.


For the beach bum family

  • Families looking for some blue skies and warm sand can make Belmond Cap Juluca in Anguilla their home-away-from-home. For the utmost privacy, families can book a three-, four-, or five-bedroom private pool villa to experience optimal seclusion. Highlights include a full kitchen with a dining atrium for private meals, direct beach access, and a personal freshwater swimming pool. Those who just aren’t ready to leave can stay a month or longer and the property will cover weekly spa treatments, unlimited laundry, daily resort credit, and a dedicated host.
  • Jamaica’s GoldenEye, once home to Ian Fleming and the site where he penned all 14 James Bond novels, offers a collection of stand-alone hut, cottage and villa accommodations. Kids can partake in coconut carving and nature walks led by Ramsey DaCosta, Fleming’s former gardener, while adults enjoy cocktails at Firefly, Noel Coward’s hilltop estate and rumored to have been Captain Morgan’s lookout. Mark the occasion by planting a tree on property with a donation to the hotel’s Oracabessa Foundation, which supports the community through a variety of health- and environmentally- focused initiatives.
  • Off the coast of Zanzibar, andBeyond Mnemba Island is a private island paradise worthy of screen saver. Families can lounge on the beach in their private beach cabanas, go snorkeling or scuba diving with the local dolphins, take a sunset dhow sailboat ride, or take a day trip to Stone Town and learn about the spice trading history of Zanzibar. The thatched-roof bandas have no doors or windows, just woven shades, creating a true Robinson Crusoe feel.
  • UXUA Casa Hotel & Spa sits on the grassy quadrado (town square) of Trancoso, Brazil. This small town has long attracted artisans and those in the know – Anderson Cooper has a house at UXUA and Solange Knowles honeymooned at the property. Their cool beach bar and quartz-lined pool are supreme lounge spots, and more active family members can try their hands at capoeira – the Brazilian martial art – or meet with Dr. Julian at the UXUA Vida Spa to learn about herbal remedies.

For the history buff family

  • Dromoland Castle was built in the 16th century and has a rich history – from starting as the royal seat of the last kings of Ireland to a Temple of Mercury dedicated to a beloved racehorse who saved the family from financial ruin. Families can try the ancient sport of falconry, golf on the 18-hole golf course, try cocktail making or go foraging with a local guide.
  • The magic of Greek mythology still envelopes the Cycladic isles. Mykonos was the home of Aeolus, keeper of the wind. Families can stay in one of the two villas at the soon-to-open Kalesma and catch the sunset over Delos, the birthplace of Artemis and Apollo.
  • Washington, D.C. is awash with American history. The Dupont Circle hotel is surrounded by embassies (former gilded age mansions of the city’s elite) and a 20-minute stroll to the national mall and its monuments. The Penthouse Suite can be booked as a two bedroom and with its sprawling terrace, living room, and dining area it creates a luxurious home-away-from-home.

For outdoorsy families

  • The Chatwal Lodge, scheduled to open on May 1, is nestled within a 30-acre environmentally protected land in the Catskill region. Guests will enjoy panoramic views of the 1,000-acre Toronto Reservoir Lake, ideal for year-round fly fishing; have access to hiking trails dotted with chestnut trees and water streams; and admire myriad native animals, such as white-tailed deer and nesting bald eagles. Adventurers at heart can opt for a treehouse, raised 25 feet above the ground, or a luxury glam tent.
  • PONANT, the leader in expedition cruising, takes guests to remote destinations not accessible to larger ships thanks to its moderate size, design and advanced technology. Lead by naturalist guides and experts, expeditions can opt to take time to watch a caving glacier, make a detour to discover a southern white whale, or go ashore to admire a colony of penguins. New this year, PONANT will launch Le Commandant Charcot, a luxury hybrid polar exploration vessel, that will allow adventurous families to reach the true Geographic North Pole and parts of Antarctica that fewer people have stepped foot on the moon.
  • With over 300 days of sunshine, Zermatt is definitely a pick for the outdoorsmen. While you can ski 365 days a year in the alpine town, there is plenty to do beyond hitting the slopes, including hiking, mountain biking, paragliding, and fly fishing. The iconic Schweizerhof hotel is located on the main thoroughfare of Bahnhofstrasse at the base of the Matterhorn and recently underwent an extensive renovation.
  • Believe it or not, California’s wine country is not just all about wine. Families looking for a breath of fresh air can head to Napa Valley and explore the 53,000 acres of preserved land laced with hiking and biking trails through the mountains. Kids can join parents to explore the di Rosa outdoor sculpture park, or visit with miniature horses – Whinnie the Pooh, Sweet Jane, and Molly – at Jamieson Ranch Vineyard while parents enjoy a vino tasting. Families can opt to stay at Calistoga Motor Lodge – a roadside 1940′s motel in its past life – which evokes a retro-camping feel with rooms designed to mimic a 1960s VW camper. As an ode to its roots, the property offers throwback in-room amenities such as Polaroid cameras and Etch-a-Sketches that kids will love.


For city slicker families

  • Tokyo is the ultimate destination for city lovers – its towering skyline, famously busting crosswalks, jewel box bars, and mix of modern and ancient culture are hypnotic. Park Hyatt Tokyo sits above the city and offers families a haven above the metropolis, especially with older kids. The concierge can book restaurant reservation at in-the-know-only spots and recommend fun stops like Kawaii Monster Café with its rainbow confections, and the whole family can wind down at the hotel with the twice weekly goodnight sleep stretch.
  • London has something for everyone in the family from shopping to museum hopping to tasting global cuisines. Centrally located in Mayfair, The Beaumont is the perfect home base to explore all the Big Smoke has to offer. A destination unto itself, the hotel is home to Turner Prize-winning artist Antony Gormley’s inhabitable sculpture called ROOM. Families can even book the entire fifth floor for up to 10 people, with perks including a stocked pantry kitchen, large dining terrace and private elevator access.
  • While Paris is known for romance, it’s surprisingly family-friendly, offering myriad parks and museums, not to mention the food – who doesn’t love croissants and baguettes? Overlooking the Trocadero and with unbeatable views of the Eiffel Tower are the 10 La Réserve Paris Apartments. The largest apartment can accommodate up to 10 people, but families could reserve multiple flats for larger groups. The neighborhood is also home to the Bois du Boulogne, the 2,000+ acre forest full of hiking trails and ponds, the Jardin d’Acclimation amusement park and the Fondation Louis Vuitton.


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