Determining the perfect location for your family reunion or intergenerational trip is one of the most important decisions you'll make. If you've done your family homework well, your discussions should have helped you narrow down your choices. There are many options, as you can see below.
Many resort locations are perfect for family reunions and intergenerational travel, as many offer wonderful settings, a wide variety of activities, meals (no deciding who's going to cook tonight!), and excellent guest services. Try to choose one that offers children's programs to allow for adult relaxation and fun for kids.
The Tyler Place in Highgate Springs, Vermont, offers the perfect destination for intergenerational travel. This all-inclusive resort on Lake Champlain has been catering to families for over 60 years, and in the words of a recent guest, they "have this down!". When we were there recently, there were a number of groups of grandparents, parents and children vacationing together. A number of the grandparents had brought their own children here, and were now getting to enjoy the resort through their grandchildren's eyes. With seven separate children's programs for 18-month-olds to 16-year-olds, and infant care for children as young as newborns, everyone certainly has time for a break as well as togetherness. "There's something for everyone here", said one of the grandparent guests, "and this place gives us the opportunity to enjoy ourselves as well as each other." With a returning guest rate of well over 70% each week, The Tyler Place also gives families the opportunity to reunite with old friends as well.
For reunions, the Y.M.C.A. of the Rockies may be the most popular site in the country according to "The Family Reunion Handbook". Certainly the Estes Park, Colorado site has a great deal of experience -- handling over 650 reunions a year. According to resort spokesman Dave Thomas, reunion bookings at the site have doubled over the last 10 years. Contracts will only be executed two years in advance, although requests can be made for future years.
Many members report that urban business hotels are a great location for a intergenerational trip or family reunion. These properties often have pools, health clubs, good restaurants, and meeting rooms for parties or large banquets. Make sure there are parks or facilities nearby for kids to "work off some steam".
This summer, a number of hotel chains are rolling out the red carpet for families. Most of these hotels' properties in resort destinations are also offering children's programs, and some urban locations may as well. Make sure to inquire when making reservations.
For example, Marriott's new summer program, "Together Time" includes reduced rates, and a free meal for up to two children under 10 for each adult ordering an entree. With stays of at least four nights, family members receive a free breakfast. There is also a tie-in with Hertz Rental Cars. For more information, call (800) 228-9290 or Marriott Hotels, Resorts & Suites,
Hilton Hotels offers the popular "Vacation Station" at 81 of their hotels this summer. Now in its sixth year, the program offers a lending selection of toys and games from Hasbro, gifts for kids 12 and under, and an local area information kit for parents. For more information, call (800) 445-8667 or Hilton Worldwide -
Hyatt Hotels & Resorts, in particular, tend to have excellent children's programs. In addition to their resort properties, some of their more urban locations also offer planned activities for children 12 and under. Age groups vary by location. This summer, the resorts are offering an added plus for golf fans: kids 8-17 play free at participating Hyatts. Call (800) 446-5373 for more information or Hyatt Hotels & Resorts .
At Holiday Inns, the "Kids Stay and Eat Free" promotion runs through September 2, 1997, at participating locations. Children under the age of 19 stay free in their parents' room, and kids under 12 eat free from the kids menu when an adult member orders a meal. For more information, call (800) 465-4329 or Holiday Inn Worldwide.
If you're planning for a reunion calling for 10 or more rooms, skip the reservations line and head straight for the sales or convention department. Bookings of 10 rooms or more usually result in discounts and/or a free room for the planner. When planning a large reunion for extended family, we found the Sales staff of The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, to be incredibly helpful. We received discounts on rooms, as well as special help in planning banquets, activities, and family-only events. They also offered excellent suggestions about activities that had worked well for other reunion groups.