Southern Stays For Families

The Beach Club at Charleston Harbor Resort & Marina sits on the waterfront with a lovely view of the water.

The Beach Club at Charleston Harbor Resort & Marina recently opened as a member of The Leading Hotels of the World. Located just 15 minutes from the Charleston International Airport, the resort sits on the waterfront with a view of the Charleston Harbor (hello, beautiful vistas). We suggest families book the top accommodation, the Family Parlor Room, which has 750 square feet of space, a seating area and a balcony. Note: All the rooms have views of the water and most are unobstructed. The Family Parlor Room is well suited for a family of four for it has two bedrooms — one with a king size bed and another with two twin beds. Guests seeking the top view on property should book the Premier Balcony King Rooms. These corner rooms boast sights of the USS Yorktown aircraft carrier and downtown skyline at sunset. Note: For a stay between Memorial Day and Labor Day, guests should book four to six months in advance.

The Henderson, a Salamander Beach & Spa Resort, situated along the Gulf Coast, has 170 guestrooms and suites and a 10,000-square-foot spa.

During the day, families can spend time at one of the two heated pools, which are complete with full-service, private cabanas. Seasonally, kids can also play at the Mariners Children’s Program, which offers fun activities with an educational edge. There are also beach games like bocce ball and life-size chess for groups to enjoy. Tip: The resort also has a spa, The Estuary Spa, with five treatment rooms for when it’s time for some rejuvenation.

For dinner, we hear the Charleston Harbor Fish House is the place to be seen with its top-notch views of the harbor and signature dish of shrimp and grits with Andouille sausage, white grits, shrimp gravy and sweet peppers. Parents will be interested in The Bridge Bar located on top of the Fish House or the Beach Club Tiki Bar, both of which serve up cocktails and a festive atmosphere. The resort is open year-round and for an evening with the family during the shoulder season, we suggest relaxing by the fire pits complete with s’mores and hot cocoa. Another nighttime entertainment option includes the resort’s theater, The Crescent Theatre, which offers family movie nights. For a taste of soft adventure, guests should select activities like golf, yachting, sailing, inshore and offshore fishing and biking.

The Beach Club at Charleston Harbor has 92 guestrooms with custom-made furnishings with hand-painted elements.

Travelers also have the option to take a water taxi to downtown Charleston for a day of sightseeing. The water taxi is not complimentary but guests are provided a shuttle service that runs on a schedule. For more of an outdoor experience, the hotel also provides bikes to the guests. Note: Black car service is also available for VIPs. Special booking requests can be made with Jamie Link (jlink@charlestonharborresort.com).

The Henderson, a Salamander Beach & Spa Resort, part of Preferred Hotels & Resorts, opened last month in Destin, FL, along the Gulf Coast. Playing on the traditional coastal architecture, guests will experience a homey feeling with a “Living Room” instead of a lobby, high ceilings and windows that showcase the beach and forest. The resort is open year-round and we suggest that large groups book the Pool View Double Queen Suites, which can be connected to the Pool View King Suites and can sleep up to six guests. The top accommodation is The Hagerman Suite (No. 440). This one-bedroom, two-bath suite boasts a full living room and butler pantry. Note: This suite can also be connected to Room No. 442 for added space. To book a VIP stay, contact Bobby Sweet (bsweet@salamanderhotels.com).

Barnsley Resort’s two-storied Julia Cottage comes with two bedrooms and a great room with a dining area and a wood-burning fireplace.

With two outdoor swimming pools and private beach access, this resort is well suited for travelers who want to soak up some Florida sun. Guests will want to dine at the Primrose restaurant, which is named after Destin’s first commercial fishing boat. Following the fishing theme, the menu has a selection of fish that is caught daily. Other touches include a sushi bar and panoramic views of the Gulf. For dessert, little ones will want to stop by the old-fashioned ice-cream shop, Sprinkles.

The new resort also includes a 10,000-square-foot spa with 11 treatment rooms. (There is a couples’ room and a VIP suite with a private tub and balcony.) The most requested spa treatment is the Mineral Aromatherapy Massage. Using magnesium and minerals, this massage helps with detoxification and muscle relaxation and replenishes magnesium levels. The spa also offers special teen and kid packages that include the Beach Bum Manicure, Sun Kissed pedicures, wellness programs and a facial for the teens. Contact Kimberly DeOrsey (kdeorsey@hendersonbeachresort.com) to plan a spa stay.

Barnsley Resort is surrounded by gardens and manor ruins.

In fall 2017, Barnsley Resort, located 60 miles north of Atlanta in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, is set to open an additional 55 guestrooms and state-of-the-art meeting and conference space. The new rooms will be housed in the three-story Inn at Barnsley Resort. Guests staying at the Inn will feel like they are staying at a country estate with exposed beams, hardwood floors, a grand staircase and impressive fireplace (hello, winter getaway). For guests booking a stay this season, we suggest flying into the Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. From there, the resort can arrange for a pickup, including limousine and town car service. Note: Private jets can land at Tom B. David Airport, which is about a 25-minute drive from the resort and helicopters can land on property.

Upon arrival, we suggest checking in to one of the six estate cottages, which are designed with home comforts — think dining areas, living rooms and multiple bedrooms. The two-storied Julia cottage with 1,200 square feet of space is well suited for families. In total, it is possible to sleep eight in this cottage with the use of a sleeper sofa. There are also two bedrooms — one master and another with two queen beds. This hideaway also has a wood-burning fireplace in the living room and private porches with garden views. For that quintessential southern log cabin feel, guests should book the Fugger Cabin. This restored accommodation was originally built in the 1800s and will please clients looking for a rustic atmosphere (think exposed wood) with a mix of luxury — three bedrooms and three baths. Guests staying in Fugger will want to take advantage of the private front and back porches along with the private fire pit and dock that overlook a 10-acre lake.

For guests visiting next month, the resort will be celebrating the holiday season with a special light show, which we think will be the perfect place to take a family holiday photo. More than one million lights are used to light up the English-style village and the manor ruins, which are the remains of the original estate dating back to the 1800s. Tip: To complete the holiday experience, there is also a resident “fairy godmother,” who will deliver surprises for children and pets alike. Throughout the year, there are also a range of other experiences like horseback riding, hiking, biking, canoeing, fishing and more. Parents will be happy to know that there is also a spa with 10 treatment rooms. Note: The resort suggests booking spa treatments seven days in advance. We hear the most requested spa experience is the Relax and Refresh Body Treatment. The skin is exfoliated with a loofa and then a mask of lavender and mint is applied to smooth and tighten. Contact Michelle Pasley (michelle.pasley@barnsleyresort.com) for spa reservations. For dinner, guests should head out to the Rice House. Here, the menu changes seasonally to highlight in-season ingredients and we suggest sitting near the fireplace. In the warmer months, the verandah at The Woodlands Grill is a popular place to eat dinner. Good to know: Those traveling with pets can eat with Roscoe on The Woodlands Grill’s porch. To create a special stay, contact Sarah McAbee (sarahm@barnsleyresort.com).