Camelback Mountain Resort, a popular ski locale in Tannersville, Pa., recently announced the groundbreaking of a $36-million lodge and indoor waterpark, expected to debut in February 2015. The new hotel will be one of many family-friendly resorts to open over the next year or so, and these are the ones we’re most excited about:
1. Camelback Lodge – Tannersville, Pa.
Camelback Lodge will house 453 rooms, in 20 different configurations, and the largest indoor water park — at 125,000 square feet — in the Northeast; it’ll also be the nation’s largest indoor waterpark to be constructed in a single phase. The waterpark will feature seven pools, 19 slides and rides, interactive water play areas and a surfing simulator, along with cabanas, a swim-up bar and food service. Other food options will include a ski-in, ski-out bar and outdoor patio at the base of the mountain. For a break from the water and nearby slopes, the resort will also provide a dry park with a family arcade, laser tag arena, kids’ activity center, mini bowling alley and ropes and golf courses.
2. Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort
Upon its opening in Summer 2014, Four Seasons Resort Orlando will be the largest Four Seasons property in the world. It will have 434 rooms and — get this — a Royal Suite that expands to NINE bedrooms for large families and groups. “It may well be a destination in itself,” says AlbanyKid.com Editor and Family Vacation Critic contributer Sandra Foyt, who attended a hard-hat press tour of the property in October. “Families will love the five-acre Explorer Island, which has a waterfall, game room and two waterslides, including one with a transparent tunnel, a lazy river with rapids and choreographed fountains set to music.” Foyt says the five-star resort will also offer a complimentary kids’ club, in addition to tennis and golf programs.
3. Cabana Bay Beach Resort – Orlando
The newest addition to Universal Orlando will take visitors back in time with a retro, 1950’s-1960’s-beach resort appeal. It will offer a whopping 1,800 rooms, half of which will be Family Suites; the other half will be standard guestrooms, and of those, 50 percent will have connecting capabilities for large groups or families who want more space. Our favorite part? It’s affordable! Standard rooms will range between $119 and $149 per night, and Family Suites will go for $174 to $209. Family-friendly amenities will include a 10-lane bowling alley, two zero-entry swimming pools with activities, a game room and a 600-seat food court. Additionally, guests will receive complimentary, scheduled transportation to Wet ‘n Wild, SeaWorld and Aquatica, along with early admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The hotel will officially open on July 1, 2014, but families can get a sneak peak for less, March 31 through June 14, when the hotel will offer Family Suites for the price of a standard room.
4. Great Wolf Lodge New England – Fitchburg, Mass.
Just 45 minutes from Boston, Great Wolf Lodge New England will open in the late spring of 2014, and not only will be it the first of its kind in the region, but it will also be the chain’s first property with an indoor play area, complete with indoor ropes and golf courses. Other firsts will include Majestic KidCabins and Grizzly Wolf Dens, which will sleep large groups (up to 11 guests) in separate bedrooms and themed areas just for kids. Families will also enjoy MagiQuest, an interactive game; Scoops Kids Spa, with ice-cream-themed manicures and pedicures; Ten Paw Alley for bowling; Cub Club on Wheels, a resort program with daily activities for kids; The Great Clock Tower Show and Story Time, four onsite dining options; and, of course, a 68,000-square-foot indoor water park.
5. Hilton Garden Inn Virginia Beach Oceanfront
Scheduled to open in May 2014, just in time for summer vacations, Hilton Garden Inn Virginia Beach Oceanfront will join a myriad of family-friendly hotels along Virginia Beach’s 40-block boardwalk, and will be smack dab in the center of town, to boot — it’ll be located near the beach playground across from Neptune Park, where many summer events and activities take place. The hotel will have 167 ocean-facing rooms, including 24 suites, advertised as Family Suites at the hotel’s future site. According to the hotel’s Web site, some of the suites will include two or three queen beds, along with sleeper sofas, ensuring enough space for families of five or more. There will also be two restaurants and both an indoor and outdoor swimming pool.
6. LEGOLAND Hotel – Winter Haven, Fla.
LEGOLAND Florida recently announced plans for a four-story LEGOLAND Hotel, a true victory for Winter Haven, Fla. and the families who visit it – the area currently lacks family-friendly hotels, and most park-goers stay in Orlando, about an hour away. Characteristic of other LEGOLAND hotels, the new hotel will feature brightly colored, themed rooms (152 of them), interactive play areas, a swimming pool and an onsite restaurant. LEGOLAND Florida is expected to open in 2015.
7. Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall – Montego Bay, Jamaica
In 2013, Hyatt announced the rebranding, multimillion-dollar renovations and openings of two all-inclusive resorts, Hyatt Zilara Cancun and Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos, the later for families (the first for couples). Following suit, Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall will open in Montego Bay, Jamaica, sometime in mid to late 2014. About 100 suites will be added to the 5,000-acre, oceanfront property, which has operated as The Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort & Spa, Rose Hall for the past 12 years. Several restaurants are expected to be added, as well, and we surmise there will be a kids’ club, similar to Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos.
8. Hotel Pearl – A Kimpton Hotel – San Antonio, Texas
Kimpton hotels are growing in popularity with families (and popping up just about everywhere), and Hotel Pearl, situated in historic San Antonio and expected to open in Fall 2014, will be no exception. Located on the site of Pearl Brewery (hence the name), the hotel will feature 146 spacious rooms, along with the chain’s famed amenities, such as complimentary wine hours, a kids’ program (think child-proof gadgets and goldfish to “rent” during your stay) and perks for pets, who are welcomed at all Kimpton properties. Hotel Pearl will be the third Kimpton hotel to open in Texas.
— Amanda Geronikos