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Acqualina, Miami Beach, Florida

Best Family Resorts: Readers' Choice Awards 2016

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Acqualina Resort & Spa in Miami Beach earned first place for the second year in a row, adding a third award for the hotel this year (also No. 2 in both Best Spa and Best Beach resort). Blackberry Farm shot to second place, up from No. 6 in 2015. Other family-favorite hotels in locations ranging from Costa Rica to Antigua, demonstrate our readers' penchant for exotic vacations, even with kids in tow.

= Offers Benefits

1. Acqualina Resort & Spa on the Beach


Sunny Isles Beach, Florida — Lavish 98-room Mediterranean-style resort within a 51-story tower on four-and-a-half acres fronted by 400 feet of white sand. Suites offer separate sitting rooms, well-equipped kitchens and panoramic views of the ocean. Three swimming pools face the Atlantic and there are extensive activities for children.
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2. Blackberry Farm


Walland, Tennessee — Country house hotel of 68 rooms set on a 4,200-acre estate bordering Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Cottages, suites and multi-bedroom homes are enhanced by fireplaces, whirlpool tubs and porches. Amenities include a spa, gym, outdoor pool, tennis, cooking classes, fly-fishing and riding stables.
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3. Four Seasons Maui at Wailea


Maui, Hawaii — Luxurious resort on 15 oceanfront acres at the south end of Wailea Beach. The building contains 380 spacious rooms (75 suites) overlooking landscaped courtyards. Three tropical saltwater pools, an attractive beach with water sports, two tennis courts, a well-equipped gym and an impressive health spa.
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4. Four Seasons Hualalai


Kailua-Kona, Hawaii — Grand resort on dramatic grounds along a half-mile rocky shoreline on the north Kona Coast. Four lodging crescents house 243 stylishly appointed rooms featuring lanais and lavish baths. The Four Seasons Hualalai features a spa, gym, seven pools, tennis courts, manicured Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course.
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5. The Resort at Pelican Hill


Newport Coast, California — Lavish resort on 504 acres south of Los Angeles with 204 bungalow rooms and suites, about half with sea views. Also, 128 villas offer two-, three- or four-bedroom configurations with full kitchens and butler service. The fine formal restaurant at Pelican Hill offers Northern Italian cuisine.
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6. The Equinox


Manchester Village, Vermont — Historic Vermont resort situated in the Manchester countryside. Recent multimillion-dollar renovation featuring well-appointed, modern decor. Outdoor activities include biking, hiking, tennis, fishing, horseback riding and skiing.
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7. Caneel Bay


St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands — Eco-resort founded by Laurance Rockefeller amid 170 verdant acres bordered by seven secluded white-sand beaches. The 166 accommodations feature private patios or balconies. Amenities include nine tennis courts, teen center and children’s club. Snorkeling, scuba diving, sailing and kayaking nearby.
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8. Four Seasons Biltmore, Santa Barbara


Santa Barbara, California — Mission-style resort on a 22-acre estate. Red tile roofs, lantern-lit brick walkways, courtyard gardens and whitewashed cottages distinguish the 207-room enclave. Access to adjacent beach club with outdoor lap pool, fitness center and two dining options; three lighted tennis courts and three nearby golf courses.
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9. Amangiri


Canyon Point, Utah — Amangiri is an exceptional resort set amid 600 acres of stupendous desert landscape. Amangiri's principal amenity is a serene 25,000-square-foot spa with gym. Myriad activities include guided hikes, national park excursions, boating and fishing.
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10. Four Seasons Punta Mita


Nayarit, Mexico — Seaside resort on a scenic 1,200-acre peninsula with two pretty beaches. A dozen casitas contain 173 guest quarters. Amenities include two golf courses, reef snorkeling, scuba diving lessons, spa, two private beaches and tennis courts.
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11. Carlisle Bay


St. Mary's, Antigua — Contemporary 82-suite resort is in the picturesque southwest of Antigua. Beach Terrace Suites lack views but give direct access to the sand and are ideal for those traveling with children as they contain second bedrooms. Also nine tennis courts, gym, 17,000-square-foot spa complex and Cool Kids Club.
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12. Mauna Kea Beach Hotel


Kohala Coast, Hawaii — Renowned 252-room resort founded in 1965 by Laurance S. Rockefeller, overlooking an exquisite white-sand beach on the Kohala Coast. Beachfront Wing features a mid-century modern décor. Revitalized 18-hole Robert Trent Jones golf course, plus clubhouse, tennis club, fitness center and a new spa.
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13. The Cloister at Sea Island


Sea Island, Georgia — Renowned family-oriented resort and golf community on a 10,000-acre island estate connected by a causeway to St. Simons Island. The hotel’s 267 rooms and suites are located in four venues. A variety of restaurants; lavish 65,000-square-foot spa; world-class sporting facilities; sophisticated kid’s club.
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14. Arizona Inn


Tucson, Arizona — Atmospheric family-friendly enclave dating from 1930, tucked behind vine-clad adobe walls in 14 acres of tranquil gardens. Ninety-two casita-style accommodations are clustered in a variety of pink-hued adobe structures. Library, heated outdoor pool, two tennis courts, croquet, badminton, complimentary bikes and croquet.
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15. Fairmont Grand Del Mar


San Diego, California — Elegant 249-room Mediterranean-style golf and spa resort adjacent to a 4,000-acre nature preserve. Opulent interiors evoke the style of famed 1920s resort architect Addison Mizner. Lavish spa, plus a gym with yoga classes, four heated pools, tennis, equestrian center and supervised children’s programs.
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16. Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo


Carrillo, Costa Rica — Gracious 182-room resort overlooking two beaches. All lodgings feature furnished balconies or terraces. Full-service spa, large gym and three pools; also seaside par-72 Arnold Palmer championship golf course, four tennis courts and one grass tennis court. Deep-sea fishing, scuba diving, kayaking and catamaran sailing.
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17. Cavallo Point Lodge


Sausalito, California — Handsome resort on the site of Fort Baker in Sausalito, with 68 historic accommodations set around the former Parade Ground and 74 contemporary lodgings on the hillside. Amenities include a cooking school, a superb spa with Tea Bar and 11 treatment rooms and fitness classes.
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18. The Broadmoor


Colorado Springs, Colorado — World-class sporting facilities draw visitors to this grand resort in the shadow of Cheyenne Mountain. An Italian Renaissance-style palace houses 779 rooms; another option is the Cloud Camp, set at 9,200 feet atop the mountain. Eleven distinctive restaurants, spa, gym, golf courses, tennis courts and riding stables.
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19. The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman


Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands — Lavish 375-room beachfront resort set on 144 landscaped acres of an archipelago of three islands. Five restaurants, Nick Bollettieri tennis center with five courts, golf course and eco-adventure program by Jean-Michel Cousteau. The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman is particularly suitable for families.
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20. WaterColor Inn & Resort


Santa Rosa Beach, Florida — Contemporary 60-room seaside resort on a stunning 499-acre property overlooking dunes, sugary beaches and the gentle turquoise waters. Amenities include six outdoor swimming pools, a spa, a fitness center, a boathouse, bicycling, canoeing, fishing, tennis, golf, private beach and supervised programs for children.
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Photo Credits: 1. Acqualina 2. Blackberry Farm - © Beall + Thomas Photography 3. Four Seasons at Wailea - © Christian Horan 4. Four Seasons Hualalai - © Don Riddle 5. The Resort at Pelican Hill - Courtesy of Pelican Hill 6. The Equinox - © Jason Dewey 7. Caneel Bay 8. Four Seasons The Biltmore - © Peter Malinowski/InSite 9. Amangiri - Courtesy of Aman 10. Four Seasons Punta Mita - © Mary Nichols 11. Carlisle Bay 12. Mauna Kea Beach Hotel 13. The Cloister at Sea Island - Courtesy of Sea Island © Al Payne 14. Arizona Inn - © Tim Fuller 15. Fairmont Grand Del Mar 16. Four Seasons at Peninsula Papagayo - © Don Riddle 17. Cavallo Point 18. The Broadmoor 19. The Ritz-Carlton - © Don Riddle 20. WaterColor Inn & Resort - © Jacqueline Ward Images
Andrew Harper Photo Andrew Harper is the editor of The Hideaway Report, a luxury travel newsletter that first appeared in 1979. He travels anonymously and pays his own expenses in pursuit of unique properties that offer unusually high levels of personal service. Hotels have no idea who he is, so he is treated exactly as you might be.

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