Category Archives: Family Travel

Christmas Village in Philadelphia


Christmas Village in Philadelphia ( is back for its 10th anniversary season. I visited the Christmas village on Black Friday and it was simply magical. The event started on Thanksgiving Day and runs daily through Christmas Eve. Philadelphia’s LOVE Park (15th and JFK Boulevard) is transformed into a traditional open-air German Christmas Market.

There’s fun shopping for international and local gifts and decorations, lots of food and drinks, live music and cool children’s activities, including photos with Santa Claus. Admission is free!!

New surprises for 2017 Holiday season:

  • Dog Fridays with specials for our furry friends
  • Meet St. Nikolaus and get your boot filled with treats
  • Guided tours through the market for senior citizens
  • New mascot Phil, the 10th reindeer of Santa
  • Anniversary weekend with a huge birthday bash and a cake sponsored by Whole Foods
  • New vendors
  • New restaurant partnerships for HoHo Happy Hour with The Little Lion, Dim Sum House, Tir Na Nog and Revolution Taco
  • Collector Mug with a new design for 2017

Theme Weekends

Theme weekends will be filled with music, performances and entertainment. Full schedules and additional info can be found here:

  • November 25 and 26 – Opening Weekend
  • December 2 and 3 – 10th Anniversary Weekend
  • December 9 and 10 – German American Weekend
  • December 16 and 17 – Charity Weekend with Make-A-Wish® Foundation
  • December 23 and 24 – Christmas Weekend

Love Park – 1500 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102.

Our Summerlin Vacation Rental Home


We just went on a family vacation to the Las Vegas area. Since we were 7 guests and had two kids ages 11 and 13, we didn’t want to stay on The Strip, so we opted for a vacation rental home in nearby Summerlin. Here’s a link to the house we rented for a week.

There are several things we loved about this rental, including:

  1. We liked that it was near enough to The Strip but far enough from it also. The neighborhood was quiet but near major highways. It was also close to tennis courts and great golf courses. For me, it was near a renowned spa where I took a $6 Uber to get a massage.
  2. The backyard was ideal for a large family getaway. The pool is super with its diving board and slide – kids loved it. At night, there were lights that changed colors in the pool and hot tub that were so relaxing! The kids are avid basketball fans and the court was the greatest for them. My golf-crazed hubby practiced his putting on the brand new putting green. There were plenty of pool toys, basketballs, putters and golf balls also.
  3. The kitchen was huge and included everything this cooking aficionado could have dreamed of. From pantry items like spices, coffee and paper goods to small appliances like a crockpot, a blender and even a toaster oven, this was a dream kitchen and I enjoyed cooking and grilling almost every night (there are numerous restaurants nearby and delivery menus if cooking on vacay isn’t your thing).
  4. The amenities were super like premium bedding, plenty of towels – both bath and pool, tons of pillows and more. There was laundry detergent and we did a bit of laundry during our stay.
  5. There is a double car garage with a remote door opener where we could park our car to keep it cool(er).

We could not be happier with our stay in this ultra-clean home. The host was there to greet us, even with our flight being 2 hours late. She walked us through how things work (TVs, pool, hot tub, etc…) and was great at communicating with us during our stay.

We highly-recommend this house and look forward to staying here again.



JadeWaters Resort Pool Complex at Hilton Anatole


View from Conference Room

I recently stayed at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas, TX where I learned of the recent opening of its $20 million JadeWaters Resort Pool Complex. Since I was at a business function, this was my view of the amazing-looking complex!

About JadeWaters at the Anatole

Exclusive to hotel guests, JadeWaters features:

  • 4,000 sq. ft. Leisure Cove Pool (adults only on weekends)
  • Beach entry family pool
  • Splash zone for kids
  • 630-foot long lazy river
  • Two 180-foot winding water slides
  • Private cabanas and daybeds
  • 23-seat swim-up bar
  • JadeWaters Grill & Bar

JadeWaters offers scheduled activities for families on the weekends, such as cooking experiences, duck races, gold plunges, family movies on Friday and Saturday nights and s’mores parties.

Hours of Operations

2017 Summer Season — May 26 – Sep 4, 2017 (Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day)

JadeWaters Resort Pool Complex: Open daily from 9:00am – 9:00pm

JadeWaters Grill & Bar: Open daily from 11:00am – 8:00pm

Visiting JadeWaters

JadeWaters Resort Pool Complex is an exclusive amenity for Hilton Anatole guests. Per reservation, guests receive:

  • Up to two wristbands per King guest room
  • Up to four wristbands per Queen double-bed rooms or guest rooms with King and sofa bed

*Guests will receive wristbands at the hotel, which will be required for daily entrance into JadeWaters.

*Up to an additional two wristbands per room are available for purchase for $25 each per day.

Cabana and Daybed Rental

Cabanas and daybeds are available to hotel guests for daily rental at JadeWaters during the summer season.

Cabanas — $325 per day and include:

  • 4 reserved chaise lounges
  • Table and chairs
  • 55-inch TV
  • Mini-fridge
  • 8 bottles of water
  • Locking drawer
  • Ceiling fan
  • 8 towels
  • Tropical fruit platter

Note: $425/day Friday – Monday on following holiday weekends: Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day

Daybeds — $195/day, with seating for 2-4 guests.

Hilton Anatole – 2201 North Stemmons Freeway, Dallas, TX 75207.

Happy travels,


I’m a travel industry veteran currently employed by Hilton. The views and contents of this post are my own and in no way in partnership with my employer. I wasn’t compensated for writing about this subject.

5 Kid Friendly Hotels on the Las Vegas Strip


I’ve traveled to Las Vegas for work more times than I could ever count. Before this year, I’d never thought about taking kids to Sin City, but with family coming to visit from Europe and yearning to visit the west coast, Vegas ended up on the itinerary.

In researching family-friendly hotels in Las Vegas, I found that there were many great options – surprise! There are multi-room accommodations, kid-friendly shows, amazing pool complexes and various activities perfect for the little ones.

We were looking for hotels on the Strip, and found everything from lazy river pools to shark aquariums to giant circus-tents to knights jousting.

Regarding price, there are options ranging from budget-friendly to break-the-bank luxurious, so travelers with any size wallets will find the right property for their families.

Circus Circus

Circus Circus is an iconic Las Vegas hotel has been one of the most family-friendly properties for decades. There is a wide variety of accommodations available from the most basic room to luxury suites to even an RV park. What really attracts families at Circus Circus are the attractions. Adventuredome, a five-acre indoor theme park, offers everything from rides to clown shows to arcade games and will keep kids busy for hours. There is a midway with over 200 games and the popular daily free circus with its daring acts.

Elara, a Hilton Grand Vacations Club Hotel

Photo courtesy of Elara

Elara, a sleek 52-story glass tower offers spacious studios, plus 1-, 2-, 3- and 4-bedroom suites and is a member of the Hilton family. The non-gaming hotel is set back a bit from the Strip and offers adjoining access to the Miracle Mile, which has 21 restaurants and bars and 100 retail shops, and is adjacent to the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino complex featuring a renowned casino, nine restaurants and the Mandara Spa. For families, perhaps the best part of staying at Elara is access to kitchenettes in studios and full kitchens and separate living and sleeping spaces in larger units. That means cost savings through breakfast and snacks in the units and adult beverages in the fridge for the parents.

Excalibur Hotel & Casino

It’s hard to miss Excalibur with its center-Strip giant King Arthur themed castle. Accommodations range from standard rooms to 2-bedroom suites, perfect for families. Fun Dungeon, the Excalibur arcade, is a favorite with the kids. The resort has four pools with 30,000 square feet of deck space making it easy to find seating for the whole family. There are also a water slide and 19 well-stocked cabanas with all the essentials to keep cool. The ultimate family dinner adventure awaits at the medieval Tournament of Kings dinner show where guests sit in an arena style theater and watch and cheer on the knights as they battle with sword fights and jousting.

Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino

Mandalay Bay is a fantastic property for families on so many levels. First, there’s Mandalay Bay Beach, the hotel’s pool area that features a quarter mile lazy river, a gigantic wave pool and a beach area with real sand. Another must-visit attraction is the 1.6 million gallon Shark Reef Aquarium with 15 species of sharks, Piranhas, stingrays eels and many other fish numbering over 2,000 animals. Room types vary from a standard room to multi-bedroom suites and there are dozens of restaurants to choose from for families.

Mirage Las Vegas

The Mirage is perhaps best known for its volcano with waterfalls and palm trees. Kids are fascinated by the volcano show that erupts nightly starting at 8 p.m. complete with a sound effects, 150 fireshooters and a giant eruption finale shooting 60 feet into the air. Children will also enjoy the 20,000-gallon saltwater aquarium and the tropical rainforest atrium that has waterfalls, a lagoon and lush foliage. Another must-attend exhibit at The Mirage is the Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat where guests can explore, learn and play in an enchanting world of bottlenose dolphins, white tigers, white lions and leopards. Accommodations are very wide ranging from standard rooms to three-bedroom villas with their own yards and pools.

Happy travels!


Veronique Deblois is a travel industry veteran who’s currently employed by Hilton. The views and contents of this post are my own and in no way in partnership with my employer. I wasn’t compensated for writing about this subject.

Cheap Family-Friendly Vacation in San Diego


San Diego

Balboa Park Mini Train. Photo by Balboa Park.

San Diego, with its nearly perfect weather and tons of family activities, is an ideal place to bring the kids. A must-visit spot is Balboa Park with its renowned San Diego Zoo, miniature train, 14 museums and beautiful gardens – check out the kid-friendly itineraries. TheNAT, San Diego Natural History Museum, offers an Ultimate Dinosaurs exhibit where kids can meet new and exotic dinosaurs and for the first time outside Washington, DC., Photo Ark a multimedia exhibition that showcases National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore’s project documenting the world’s animal species. Visit TheNAT website for info on monthly family days. The New Children’s Museum is filled with various art installations to keep kids and their families entertained for hours. While not the most wallet-friendly activity in San Diego, SeaWorld San Diego with its coasters, rides and sea creature exhibits is a popular option. Know what is affordable? San Diego’s pristine beaches for a day of surf and sand.

Where to stay: Hilton San Diego Bayfront has a toddler pool and kids-only water slide. Embassy Suites San Diego Bay – Downtown modern suites include separate living rooms with pull-out sofas plus free amenities like made-to-order breakfast and evening appetizers and drinks – near kid-friendly activities.


Happy travels!


Veronique Deblois is a travel industry veteran who currently works for Hilton. The views and contents on this post are my own and in no way in partnership with my employer.

10 Luxury Hotels with the Best Kids Programs

Teen Lounge at Grand Wailea


A family vacation does not mean discerning parents need to do away with luxury accommodations. World-class resorts have smartly developed kids programs to keep the little ones entertained while providing their parents with much needed R&R of their own.

Here are ten luxury hotels with amazing kids programs where guests will easily create family vacations to remember.

The Cloister at Sea Island – Sea Island, GA

Sea Island’s Camp Cloister is fun-filled with activities for the kids, like baking classes, archery lessons, themed dinner night, baby sea turtle viewing, fishing, nature walking, swimming, scavenger hunts and storytelling.

There are also endless activities for teens like sailing, paddle boarding, swimming in the ocean or the pool, beach volleyball and more. Teens 15 through 18 years old will also enjoy Waterfront Lounge, Sea Island’s haven made just for teens where they can watch the game, play pool or shuffleboard and meet other teens from different destinations.

Grand Summit Hotel at Mount Snow Resort – West Dover, VT

Grand Summit Hotel is owned by the Mount Snow ski resort making all ski school programs very conveniently located. A full day of ski school is offered to kids ages three (Cub Camp), found through six (Snow Camp) and seven through 14 (Mountain Camp for skiing, Mountain Riders for snowboarders). Non-skiers can enjoy snowshoeing and tubing.

In warmer months, there is Adams Farm, a working seven-generation farm with seasonal activities and agricultural experiences. Kids can enjoy feeding the farm animals, wagon rides, sleigh rides, paintball, and with many other seasonal special events. There is also bowling, fishing, boating, miniature golf and more.

Grand Wailea, a Waldorf Astoria Resort – Wailea, HI

The Grand Wailea kid and teen program, Camp Grande is a supervised children’s program for kids ages five to 12 years old. The program is held at The Rock, a 20,000 square foot facility that also houses Ohana Hale – the gaming lounge with countless video games and The Spot – a lounge for teens 13 through 17. At The Rock, kids can find activities like fresh orchid lei making, hula lessons, video games, the Lego wall and much more. There are also a whale-shaped outdoor wading pool, a play kitchen and tool set, a private movie theater, snack bar, craft room and a full-sized soda fountain. The game room offers foosball, ping-pong, pool and an arcade.

Photo by Hawks Cay Resort

Hawks Cay Resort – Duck Key, FL

Hawks Cay Resort offers kids’ activities for young ones five to 17 years old. Camp Hawk at Hawks Cay Resort is for children five through 12 years old offers activities like nature hikes, scavenger hunts, swimming in the resort’s two pools, snorkeling and kayaking in the resort’s saltwater lagoon, and feeding tarpon from the marina’s dock.

Teens (ages 12 through 17) can play basketball, volleyball and kickball. They can also hit the ocean and kiteboard, kayak, snorkel and fish. For teens looking to just unwind, the five pools are perfect for laying out and video games in the play area are where they can make new friends.

Hotel Del Coronado – Coronado, CA

At the DelVentures activity center at Hotel Del Coronado, children four through 12 years old can enjoy beach-themed activities and play rooms, underwater murals, funhouse mirror and more. Exciting 1-hour activities and 3-hour evening adventures are popular with this age group, The free adventure pack provided at check-in includes a treasure map and compass to use to explore the property and uncover the hidden clues, leading kids to a “treasure” at the end.

The resort also has a space dedicated to teens ages 13 to 17 – VIBZ, a hip lounge with computers, karaoke and foosball tables. Teens over 14 years old can also visit the spa for special massages and facials.

Summertime activities for the whole family include dive-in movie nights, surf camps and family s’mores night.

Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort & Spa – Santa Ana Pueblo, NM

Hyatt Regency Tamaya takes great care to develop its children’s program with local culture and flavor. The 500-acre property is located on part of a Native American Pueblo and provides kids three to 12 years old the opportunity to experience the art and history of this culture within prearranged activities at Camp Hyatt. Camp Hyatt works with National Geographic Kids to construct eco-friendly and locally inspired activities.

The Stables at Tamaya, where over half of the horses at are rescue animals from the Tamaya Horse Rehabilitation Program, is another popular place with kids. The stables offer free pony rides to kids three through eight years old and lead-arounds for children ages four through eight.

Photo by Langham Huntington

Langham Huntington – Pasadena, CA

Modestly priced at $30, The Langham Huntington Kids Program offers kids 12 years old and under a teddy bear backpack filled with goodies like a special kids’ craft from Little Junebugs, Langham newsletter which includes family-friendly dining and activities in the area, free kids’ dinner in The Terrace restaurant (must dine with an adult who orders an entrée from dinner menu and a complimentary Langham chocolate bar from the Flavours of Langham Luxury Gift Boutique.

There is also the Imagine Tea, designed for kids and featuring junior performers from the famed Magic Castle who do close-up magic while the kids dine on a specialty tea menu of sandwiches and fun desserts, accompanied by pink lemonade, milk and a selection of fruit-infused, caffeine-free teas.

Photo by Mohonk Mountain House

Mohonk Mountain House – New Paltz, NY

The Mohonk Mountain House, a National Historic Landmark resort, is nestled in the private woods of the Hudson River Valley. The resort’s castle-like appearance is sure to fascinate kids and parents alike and the kids’ program is built in a way that puts children in touch with nature and area wildlife through a variety of outdoor activities. Mohonk accepts children two years and older and the full-day program is available from mid-June through Labor Day for kids two to 12 years old. Activities range from nature hikes, to pony rides, to swimming and boat rides.

There are also activities for kids from seven to 12 years old that include learning rock scrambling, tennis and golf clinics and sporting events and tournaments. The Teen Lounge accommodates teens from 13 to 17 years old and entails listening to music, watching movies, playing video games and simply hanging out. In the winter, children can take ice-skating lessons, go snow tubing or snow shoeing.

Photo by Resort at Paws Up

The Resort at Paws Up, Greenough, MT

At The Resort at Paws Up, families will get reacquainted, reconnected and revitalized. The resort offers activities ranging from horseback riding, fly-fishing, river rafting, paintball wars and chuck wagon riding. Families can stay on luxurious homes with wrap-around porches or plush family tents outfitted with separate sleeping quarters for the children and full bathrooms with heated floors. The property has a newly added perk of complimentary kids club – Kids Corps of Discovery, an immersion program that “replaces screen time with serene time” for children. Age-appropriate itineraries are available for toddlers, teens and tweens.

The Ritz-Carlton Naples – Naples, FL

Ritz Kids at The Ritz Carlton Naples is a nature center with 11 aquariums and touch tanks (home to eels, baby alligators, sharks, and jellyfish), a laboratory and a computer room. The program, available to children from five to 12 years old, is a place where kids can learn about and discover nature in a colorful, living eco-sanctuary.

The full and half day program provides hands-on discovery activities in the Nature’s Wonders facility that use a science-based curriculum and kid-sized lab featuring microscopes and visual stimuli like preserved reptile skeletons—all the tools to help a budding marine biologist explore a new world.

Happy travels!


Veronique Deblois is a travel industry veteran who’s currently employed by Hilton. The views and contents of this post are my own and in no way in partnership with my employer. I wasn’t compensated for writing about this subject.

Cheap Family-Friendly Vacation in Washington DC


Washington, D.C.

National Air and Space Museum. Photo by The Smithsonian Institution.

In Washington, D.C., most of the family-friendly attractions are free making this popular city a bargain for families. Three stops on the National Mall that are must-visit are part of the Smithsonian Institution:  the National Air and Space Museum, the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History and the National Museum of American History. The National Air and Space Museum offers many educational opportunities for children and adults and features thousands of objects on display, including the 1903 Wright Flyer, Charles Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis, the Apollo 11 Command Module Columbia and a lunar rock kids can touch. The National Museum of National History has a compelling display of dinosaur bones and artifacts and also features the wildly-popular Butterfly Pavilion, which is a paid exhibit. At the National Museum of American History, families will be able to view the Star Spangled Banner and visit hands-on kid-friendly exhibits. A short metro ride away is the National Zoo with its more than 2,000 animals and many informative educational classes.

Where to stay: The Embassy Suites Washington DC Convention Center is within walking distance to the Smithsonian museums and White House and has an indoor pool. Hampton Inn Washington, D.C./White House has an indoor pool and offers complimentary breakfast and internet. The District by Hilton Club offers a touch of luxury with family-friendly amenities like free hot breakfast and an indoor pool.

Happy travels!


Veronique Deblois is a travel industry veteran who currently works for Hilton. The views and contents on this post are my own and in no way in partnership with my employer.