Discovering the world together can provide parents and children with memories to cherish, strengthening the bonds of love and respect—or not. Here, Hemispheres contributors share tales of family trips that didn’t quite follow the script, along with tips to help others avoid familial woes in far-off lands.
THE BALMORAL, EDINBURGH
For them: J.K. Rowling is said to have finished writing the Harry Potter series here; also, the hotel’s “A Mythical Family Affair” package includes fast-track entrance to Edinburgh Castle.
For you: A Scottish foraging experience with executive chef Jeff Bland is just the right amount of “roughing it” for a five-star landmark in the city center.
LE BRISTOL, PARIS
For them: Tykes can treasure-hunt around the grounds, accompanied by the hotel’s resident bunny (Hippolyte, stuffed) and possibly the hotel’s resident cat (Fa-raon, real).
For you: A kids’ club—specifically, a kids’ club located in the Spa Le Bristol—allows adults to enjoy their hot stones and bundles of birch twigs in peace.
GRACE CLUB BAY, TURKS AND CAICOS
For them: The Kids Town day camp offers afternoon excursions including cave safaris and trips to North Caicos to see flamingos.
For you: All the villas at this 11-acre resort boast ocean views and come with the services of a personal concierge.
LAS ALAMANDAS, COSTALEGRE, MEXICO
For them: Frolicking on a remote eco-preserve entails such activities as bonfires, whale watching, sea turtle spotting and picnicking.
For you: You’re more likely to spot a sea turtle here than another guest (which is a shame considering the A-listers who come here, probably for that very reason).
VISION QUEST RANCH, SALINAS, CALIF.
For them: At this home for Hollywood animal performers, an elephant might deliver breakfast to your room.
For you: See above.