What can you do to promote a healthy lifestyle while on vacation? What's easier and more fun than nagging your kids to get off the beach chair and go for a hike? Take them to the spa. As parents, we look forward to vacations where we can treat ourselves to massages that melt stress and wraps that revitalize. Youngsters, too, can get the same feel-good benefits from spa-going. That's why more and more facilities are adding kid- and teen-friendly options, such as manicures and pedicures, facials (great for teens) and massages ('tweens and teens typically wear bathing suits). Share the pampering with your progeny at these 10 resorts with kid-friendly spas.
1. Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Both the Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit and its sister property, the Grand Velas Riviera Maya, earned AAA Five Diamond ratings, rare honors for all-inclusive resorts. Both hotels gain fame for expansive rooms, excellent food and exceptional spas. The Riviera Nayarit's new Kids Spa provides massages, facials and baths for children as young as 4. Little spa goers like to stretch with a Tarzan and Jane massage, or bask in the sweet scent of a Flower Shower massage. There's even a treatment for tots ages 1 to 3, who giggle with the gentle textures and sounds of the Sunrise massage. Kids can also enjoy chocolate, strawberry or vanilla malt baths, as well as sparkly manicures and fantasy makeup sessions. Treatments take place poolside or in the family suites. Spa treatments cost extra.
2. Grand Wailea, Maui
Maui's Spa Grande, Grand Wailea's 50,000-square foot spa, consistently ranks among the top spas in North America for its soothing soaks and Hawaiian-influenced scrubs and wraps. Unlike many facilities, this one caters to ages 6 to 17. Kids can sample 25-minute versions of signature treatments, such as an aromatherapy or crystal massage, a coconut and papaya polish and a tropical or acne facial. Honey mango pedicures, chocolate coconut manicures and hair braiding are also great options for youngsters. Another nice touch: 'Tweens ages 10 and older can take part in the spa's stretch, boxing, yoga and group cycling workouts, and can also receive a fitness assessment.
3. Atlantis, Paradise Island, Bahamas
A mega-resort in the Bahamas, Atlantis is loosely themed around the myth of an ancient lost city under the sea. That sort of explains the 141-acre indoor and outdoor waterscape, awash with lagoons, lazy rivers and Maya-themed water slides, as well as indoor and outdoor aquariums that showcase sharks, dolphins, stingrays and hundreds of other critters. The Atlantis resort creates legends of its own with its new CRUSH teen center, fantasy camp for ages 6 to 22 and the Generation Y Spa. That's where kids ages 9 to 17 chill out with mother/daughter or father/son massages, improve their Facebook presence with acne attack or fruity facials and get moving with three exercise classes. Girls can finish up with Beach Babe hair conditioning and French braids, as well as manicures and pedicures.
4. Nickelodeon Suites Resort, Orlando
Not all the excitement in Orlando takes place at the city's theme parks. Nickelodeon Suites Resort keeps kids' energy up with 4D movies, mini golf, Nickelodeon-themed shows, family karaoke and a lagoon pool with daily mass sliming -- that's the famous icky green stuff. Dried off and back in street clothes, boys and girls ages 4 and up channel their inner rock star with temporary tattoos and hair braids at the Kids' Spa.
5. Cape Codder Resort & Spa, Cape Cod
Bonfires on the beach, movies under the stars and man-made waves at the indoor pool are just part of the fun at this Hyannis resort, situated on 14 acres. At the Kids' Corner, part of the property's Beach Plum Spa, children as young as 3 can soak their fingers and toes in potions and lotions that smell and feel like strawberry ice cream or chocolate milkshakes. Parent and child 30- or 50-minute massages are also available. Having mom or dad in the room lessens kids' anxiety, adds to the relaxing benefits and creates a mellow bonding experience.
6. Ritz-Carlton Cancun, Cancun
All Ritz-Carlton hotels are upmarket, but the luxury chain's Cancun property delights food-lovers with two AAA Five Diamond restaurants -- Club Grill and the Mediterranean-inspired Fantino -- plus a cooking school. Kids ages 4 to 12 enjoy crafts and games with the Ritz Kids Mayan Adventures program. After a day of sunning and swimming, teens ages 13-17 rejuvenate at the Kayanta Spa. Among the just-for-teens treatments are facials, an aromatherapy massage for the hands, neck and shoulders and a back and neck massage.
7. Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, Farmington, PA
Situated on 2,000 acres in southwest Pennsylvania, Nemacolin offers golf, plenty of accommodations and the noted Woodlands Spa, whose tree-shaded decks overlook ponds, creating a relaxing ambiance for adults to de-stress. At the Voyage Kidz Spa, red and purple colored walls, a jungle, Arabian desert and other themed areas get kids ages 5 to 15 excited about treatments. Youngsters can choose rainforest reflexology, a 25-minute session that starts with a foot bath or mini-massage. Can't get your child to wash his or her face? Consider a 15- to 25-minute mini-facial for ages 5 to 9. The spa also features child-oriented manicures, pedicures, shampoos, French braids and movie starlet makeup for ages 7 to 15.
8. Wintergreen Resort, Wintergreen, VA
Wintergreen sprawls across nearly 11,000 acres in the valley and on the slopes of Virginia's scenic Blue Ridge Mountains. During the winter, go skiing and snowboarding, and hit the hills for guided hikes, fly fishing, tennis and golf during the summer. At the Wintergarden Spa, kids ages 9 to 14 primp with manicures and pedicures. Kids will also enjoy the Diva Day with Mom package, which includes pedicures and massages. Older teens can add a Bye Bye Blemishes facial, a back and foot massage and finish with Makeup Art 101, a session that teaches effective and moderate makeup application. Teens, after all, are more likely to listen to the advice of a specialist than mom.
9. Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore, Santa Barbara, CA
Known for their lavish hotels whose decor reflects each locale's architecture and culture, the resort properties typically offer kids' meals, robes, baby amenities and often the Kids For All Seasons children's program for ages 4 to 12. 'Tweens and teens ages 12 and up can take advantage of the chain's glamorous spas. From a Little Princess Mini-Facial to a Teen Corrective Facial or a Junior VIP Relaxing Massage, kids can get pampered just like mom. They'll also like the Mother and Daughter Day of Beauty package, which includes a body scrub, body wrap, facial and hand and foot treatment
in a private spa suite.
10. Topnotch Resort and Spa, Stowe, VT
Traveling with a teen who feels "weird" being seen with his or her parents? Turn your grumpy progeny into a grateful spa visitor at Topnotch Resort and Spa. Not only does the 35,000-square foot facility frequently make it onto top 10 U.S. spas lists, but it also allows full access to those 16 years of age or older. Even the pickiest teen can find something to tweet about from the resort's menu of 120 treatments and services. Maybe they will go for the 25-minute Maple Sugar Body scrub or the 75-minute Little River Stone massage. They'll also like the luxurious Mount Mansfield Saucha (Sanskrit for "purify"), 100 minutes of sea salt exfoliation, followed by a wrap soaked in the essence of Vermont wildflowers and topped off with an aromatherapy massage. You're not likely to hear any complaints, even if your teen loses to you on the tennis courts.