Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort

This massive oceanfront resort features tropical wildlife and Diamond Head views.
Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort 

Having celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2011, this hotel remains one of the largest oceanfront resorts in the world. With 2,500-plus guest rooms and suites just steps from a white sand beach, the property offers a staggering selection of attractions. The complex consists of five pools, more than 20 restaurants and bars, daily activities such as hula lessons, the Camp Penguin kids’ club and more than 90 shops. It's also home to a full-service Mandara Spa and a collection of resident exotic birds, waterfowl, fish and turtles. But what really makes this place special is that given its size, it never seems to lose its aloha spirit. 

The five towers offer various rates that make a stay affordable to most everyone. The most appealing rooms (in our opinion) are those in the fully renovated Rainbow Tower, with unobstructed Diamond Head, ocean and/or sunset views that make you feel like you’re drifting in the clouds. Book a room facing Diamond Head on a Friday night and you will have a spectacular view of Waikiki’s evening fireworks show. You can also enjoy a more private experience with all the benefits of the full resort at ALI'I at Hilton Hawaiian Village, which has its own check-in, pool, fitness center and lounge. Because of its varied offerings, the resort is a popular venue for conferences with more than 150,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space. For those who would like to learn more about this storied property, check out the 80-foot History Wall, showcasing photos and oral histories from the hotel's past.

Earthshine Discovery Center

1600 Golden Rd. (Flat Creek Dr.) Lake Toxaway NC 

Enriching attractions at this all-inclusive retreat highlight ways of life for Native Americans and early American settlers.
Earthshine Discovery
Education and enrichment for families is the focus at the all-inclusive Earthshine Discovery Center. Forget about typical resort activities like tennis and spa treatments. Here guests will gain respect for tradition, as they discover old ways of life at pioneer and Cherokee "villages," participate in hands-on earth sciences activities and explore the natural wonders of the property's 80 acres of forest and pastureland. Adventurers will appreciate the many ways to get the pulse pounding: high and low ropes courses, creek hikes and zip lining. Meals are hearty, beginning with breakfast dishes like grits and homemade granola; lunch fare and snacks to keep up your energy during the day; and dinners of rainbow trout or barbecue ribs, followed by apple cobbler and pecan pie. Rates are terrific value and include all meals, snacks, beverages (except alcohol, but you can bring your own), all activities and accommodation in the lodge or cottage. Because of its unique and varied offerings, Earthshine is a popular choice for family reunions and corporate retreats. 

Club Med Sandpiper Bay

Hotel Information |Your Opinion
4500 SE Pine Valley St. (SE Monte Vista St.) Port St. Lucie FL 

The all-inclusive extras at this breezy resort are above par: tennis, sailing, golf and even flying trapeze lessons.

Club Med does an excellent job of uniting activities for parents and kids. Each of the kids' clubs at this all-inclusive family resort offers a range of activities. Babies are catered to with music awareness and motor skills sessions, while teens can learn stand-up paddle boarding, sailing and, most notable, the art of the flying trapeze. As for ages in between, the fun ranges from puppet shows and water sports to petit golf and cookery lessons. The resort is home to a tennis center, water park and Club Med Spa by L'Occitane, making it easy for parents to spend time with their children and escape for a treat every now and then, all in the course of a single day. Guest rooms are spacious, with separate bedrooms for parents and stocked mini-fridges. Three restaurants include The Marketplace (casual international fare), Soleil (waterfront gourmet dining) and Riverside Grill & BBQ (local specialties). There is a Baby Corner for preparing meals for infants, and a selection of lounges and bars.