Music and art activities abound at new Le Meridien kids’ clubs. // © 2016 Le Meridien Hotels
Feature image (above): Colorful, large-scale maps encourage little ones to talk about where they’re from and where they want to go. // © 2016 Le Meridien Hotels
Play time is also reimagined with Ritz Kids clubs
, designed around environmental themes.
Last month, Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide announced the launch of new family programming at more than 300 Le Meridien and Westin Hotels and Resorts properties around the world. Inspired play areas and fresh interactive programming are key elements of the upgrade. According to Brian Povinelli, global brand leader for Le Meridien and Westin Hotels and Resorts, the new kids’ clubs were heavily influenced by what modern families are looking for as they crisscross the globe.
“Today’s family travelers are more active, more global and more socially connected than ever before, and the way they travel together has changed dramatically,” Povinelli said. “In speaking with our most loyal guests, we know that the new dream vacation, for many, looks like an active adventure, exploring new destinations and experiencing a new culture. To help us develop these new family programs, we also zeroed in on insights from our littlest travelers, who will define expectations and inspire the future of family travel.”
“Six Pillars of Well-Being” shape the new Westin Family Kids Clubs: Eat well, play well, feel well, work well, move well and sleep well. Design elements were further inspired by biophilia, or the belief that a strong connection to nature is required for optimum health. As such, natural colors and vertical gardens adorn the indoor and outdoor play areas, and various furnishings and decor items are made from recycled or low-impact materials. Children are encouraged to get a little dirty through hands-on gardening experiences.
Meanwhile, Le Meridien Family Kids Clubs find inspiration in location and midcentury-modern style. Decor might allude to local icons, landmarks or culture, and young guests are invited to “unlock the destination” through programming that incorporates music, art and play. Giant maps spark conversations about where kids are from and where they’ve been. Kids’ club snacks also encourage little ones to try new things and experience local favorites.
Unplug and Reconnect
To help families connect outside of the kids’ club, the Westin and Le Merdien brands have also launched new on- and off-property active experiences. For example, guests at The Westin Blue Bay Resort and Spa in Hainan, China, might go crab hunting together, while those at The Westin Hilton Head Resort & Spa in South Carolina can reconnect during a group cooking event. Le Meridien family programming includes bicycle tours and photography lessons at Le Meridien Ra Beach Hotel & Resort Barcelona and petanque (a French game similar to bocce ball) lessons at Le Meridien Monte Carlo.
Partners in Play
The new kids’ programming is also inspired by the power of play, so parents can expect many ways for children to use their physical and imaginative energy. In partnership with Lego Group, more than 100 Le Meridien properties offer Lego amenities upon check-in. The brand has also teamed up with Imagination Playground to create nontraditional, interactive play spaces at family-focused sites such as Thailand’s Le Meridien Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Golf Resort & Spa. The transformable, eco-friendly play spaces allow children to manipulate and create their own fun-filled environment.
“More than two-thirds of our guests look at family programming when making hotel booking decisions, and they increasingly value educational and cultural activities that promote outdoor play,” Povinelli said. “The goal of our partnerships is to foster togetherness and broaden a child’s perspective of the world. Whether unlocking a destination with Le Meridien or connecting with nature at Westin, we hope to strengthen bonds and create memories among families and our youngest guests that are sure to last.
Traveling families can expect both brands to open new kids’ clubs in new markets throughout the year, including in the U.S., the United Arab Emirates, Spain, Mauritius and Thailand.
The Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa at Beaver Creek Mountain in Avon, Colo., has officially opened its new kids' club. Other U.S. locations set to debut clubs this year include The Westin Maui Resort & Spa Kaanapali in Hawaii and The Westin Monache Resort, Mammoth in Mammoth Lakes, Calif. The Westin Tashee Resort, Taoyuan in Taiwan will soon feature the largest Westin Family Kids Club in the world.
Le Meridien properties that will debut new kids’ clubs include Le Meridien Ra Beach Hotel & Spa in Tarragona, Spain.
Brand properties not launching physical clubs will still offer family programming. To verify whether a kids' club space is available, travel agents should contact the property directly.