What defines a holiday? Rest and relaxation are definitely part of the equation, as sleeping in, eating well and soaking up the sun can do the mind and body good. But the same can be said of good, old-fashioned play. Here, four destinations help guests get the most out of their getaways with playtime activities that are equally soul-restoring.
Words by Maria Carter
Beaches Ocho Rios Resort & Golf Club & Sandals Grande Riviera, Jamaica
Not one, but two Luxury lncluded® resorts await visitors to Ocho Rios. Sandals Grande Riviera, popular with couples, showcases championship golf, a European-style spa, a piano bar, more than a dozen restaurants and villas complete with personal butler service. On the other hand, Sandals’ sister property, Beaches Ocho Rios, is family-friendly and fresh off a $30 million facelift. Its 22 acres offer parents and children alike the chance to swim in multiple pools, whoosh down twisting water slides, build sandcastles on a private beach, mingle with Sesame Street characters and play golf on a championship course. Off property, Sandals and Beaches house their own adventure company, Island Routes Caribbean Adventures, which whisks guests away to bobsled, zipline and raft or tube down rivers through Jamaica’s rainforest.
Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort & Casino, Aruba
‘Playful’ should be this resort’s middle name. Among the beachfront property’s fun features is a full-service spa, a casino with multiple bars, Camp Watapana (activities and games for kids) and a three-tiered pool complete with a water slide and falls. With exotic birds of paradise dotting the lush landscaping and a cold drink never far from hand it is easy to wile the day away poolside, but step outside its luxurious compound to experience other island adventures. Aruba’s signature trade winds make windsurfing at the Fisherman’s Huts beach an ideal activity (check out Aruba Active Vacations for lessons), while stand-up paddle boarding with Aruba Surf School, off-roading excursions through the desert-like Arikok National Park with De Palm Tours, and beach yoga at the popular MooMba Beach Bar are all excellent alternatives.
Anegada Beach Club, Anegada, BVI
Spanning the secretive coral atoll of Anegada, part of the string of sixty islands forming the British Virgin Islands, this barely one-year-old boutique hotel, part of the Driftwood Resorts collection, attracts adventurous types who come to kayak, kiteboard, snorkel and ride dirt bikes in peaceful seclusion. Amenities such as the swimming pool, spa, beach volleyball court and Pilates classes help guests stay in peak physical condition between adventures, while the poolside bar and grill offers tasty fuel (and liquid courage) for such endeavours. Within walking distance of the club’s confines, salt ponds inhabited by Caribbean Flamingoes offer a rare, up-close glimpse at nature.
Windjammer Landing, Labrelotte Bay, ST. Lucia
Nestled among the hills along St. Lucia’s northeastern shore, the villas of Windjammer Landing are a godsend for families. Here, guests enjoy the comforts of home (fully-equipped kitchens, dining areas, private plunge pools), with all of the amenities (a spa, five restaurants, five pools, tennis courts, nanny services) of a top-notch resort. Boredom is practically a crime at this stay-and-play hub, where recreation includes coconut bowling, photography classes, inflatable rides, complimentary water sports such as hobie cat sailing and windsurfing, and more. The friendly staff can also help guests venture off property with Jammin’ Tours for excursions of the ziplining, volcano hiking, deep-sea fishing and horseback variety.
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