Five reasons to Ritz it

The Ritz-Carlton in Manalapan, Fla. epitomizes the glamour of Palm Beach and the luxury hotel chain itself, but you will also discover a staff and fellow guests who welcome young guests and even dogs!

Here are five family-friendly features of The Ritz-Carlton, Palm Beach:

Age-appropriate kid’s programs

Two dedicated spaces house the property’s children’s programs: AquaNuts (Ritz Kids program) for ages 5 to 12, and Coast (Ritz Teens) for those ages 13 to 17. Both rooms are brand new as of late December (after super storm Sandy destroyed the original spaces). AquaNuts changes its theme and activities based on the day, with the focus on “edutainment.” Inside the underwater world-themed space, you’ll find rock-climbing walls, a theater, Mac computers with gaming consoles, and even good ol’ fashioned board games and coloring books.

Teens step into a beach shack-themed lounge with a recording studio and DJ booth, gaming consoles, and pool table at Coast. Teens can also create vacation videos with a video production and editing station. At night, the space allows for dance and club nights and movie time.

In between the two spaces is Beauty@Coast, for tweens and teens who want to dress up, get made up, and even participate in a photo shoot (all for a range of fees). The resort salon within the Eau Spa will also give manicures and pedicures to teens, but parents must be there during the treatment.

All-day camp is from 9 am to 4 pm, including a lunch. A half-day camp includes lunch and is offered from 9 am to 1 pm or noon to 4 pm. Rates vary depending on the time of year. There are also a number of specialty programs that can be purchased separately. Although programming is available during off-peak periods, it is more robust during holidays and summer vacation when the family occupancy rate tends to run higher.

This summer, the property will launch a kids and adults Camp Ritz-Carlton program that will last one or two weeks and be similar to what kids would experience in a true camp, such as arts and crafts, camping, marshmallows, and ghost stories.


No need to leave the family pet at home, since dogs 25 pounds or lighter are welcome resort-wide. The property even has a special dog menu featuring canine cuisine.

Key location

A quick 2.5 hour flight from New York City lands you at Palm Beach International Airport, and then it’s only a 20-minute drive to the property. The hotel is also within 30 minutes of many Palm Beach attractions that are great for families, including the South Florida Science Museum, Palm Beach Zoo, Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse and Museum, Lion Country Safari, and Rapids Water Park.

Healthy kids’ menu options

A new Ritz-Carlton-wide initiative adds healthy alternatives alongside the kids’ menu’s traditional favorites of mac’ and cheese, chicken fingers, grilled cheese, and sliders. There are even gluten-free options, and the opportunity to have the chef create custom-pureed baby foods to your specifications. Upgrade to a Club Level room, and you and your family will be treated to food and snacks virtually all day long.

Morning continental breakfast and lunch, plus appetizers and dessert in the evening, are augmented by anytime drinks and snacks available at the newly renovated Club Lounge. Snacks include healthy choices, such as apples, bananas, and yogurt. Don’t see what you want? The concierge will do his best to find it within the hotel to keep Junior happy.

Eau Spa

With the kids having fun at AquaNuts or Coast, mom and dad can enjoy their own little private adults-only haven. The pampering begins with complimentary champagne and miniature cupcakes while enjoying the Self-Centered Garden, an open-air sanctuary with relaxing lounges and swaying swing chairs, or you can soak in the indoor, oversized jacuzzi while the center water column flows down from the ceiling and onto your back. Then, request one of the Couple’s Villas for side-by-side massages, and your own private garden with an oversized tub and outdoor rainfall shower. After all, happy and relaxed parents create the best family vacations for their kids.

The Ritz-Carlton, Palm Beach [100 S. Ocean Blvd near E. Ocean Avenue in Manalapan, Fla., (800) 542–8680, ritzcarlton.com]. Nightly rates for guest rooms start at $199.

Stacey Zable is an award-winning, veteran travel writer and family travel expert who has written about destinations, resorts, and cruise lines around the world. Her favorite trips are those that she shares with her husband and two daughters. Send travel questions and comments to info@familytraveltrails.com.