Beachfront outpost to Waldorf Astoria's historic Boca Raton Resort & Club, the "barefoot elegance"-branded Boca Beach Club—set in chichi Boca Raton, Florida—is making a playtime-fueled power play for the family market. A bevy of new kid-friendly amenities have rolled out this year, with their most recently announced "kite concierge" and partnership with Random House Children's Books, the latest in a steady stream of family-minded initiatives.
On weekends, Boca Beach Club's littlest guests can sign up to fly a selection of hand-crafted kites (free) along the resort's private half-mile Atlantic-fronted beach, under the direction of Randy Lowe, Boca Beach club's official "kite concierge." Other new beach- and pool-side offerings include evening stargazing, hair braiding, and souvenir "Sandbox Creations" sessions, along with usage of "water walkers"—air-filled balls designed for walking on water (on offer at the zero-entry Cabana Pool). (Note, some offerings come with an extra fee.)
Plus, on select holiday weekends (next up are Memorial Day and Independence Day), pro sand-sculpture artists from Team SandTastic team up with resort guests to create masterpieces in the sand and offer complimentary sand-sculpting classes. Also look for free-of-charge Friday-night "dive-in" movies under the stars, and fun- and water balloon-fueled slingshot competitions.
These options join the Club's standby water sports (jet skis, ocean kayaks, boogie boards—fees apply) and outdoor pools. Plus, in turtle nesting season (May to October), kids are sure to be awed by the turtle preservation program on the resort's beaches, administered in conjunction with the nearby Gumbo Limbo Nature Center.
Come meal time, order the wee ones one of the "Boca Pail Meals" from the beachfront snack bar, featuring kid-friendly lunches served in a beach pail, complete with shovel (perfectly convertible for some after-lunch playtime on the beach). Round it out with a frosty treat from the new poolside Hawaiian ice cart, or hop aboard the free water or bus shuttle to the main resort, where an outpost of NYC's legendary Serendipity dessert temple tempts sweet tooths.
Indoors, children's activity center Camp Boca offers supervised age-specific programming for kids ages 3 to 12 (open for half- or full-day sessions daily; $35/$65), along with select family activities (golf and tennis clinics, beach volleyball, sandcastle-building contests). The newly launched partnership with Random House Children's Books, a division of Random House, Inc. (full disclosure: they're Fodor's parent company, too), saw the installation of a mini-library featuring nearly 100 Random House titles—including books from the Dr. Seuss and Stepping Stones series. The books will be incorporated into special weekend and holiday story hours, as well as author and character appearances (free for all resort guests).
The cheerfully staffed, well-designed 212-room hotel emerged from a near-gut renovation in '09, and provides guests access to all of the amenities of Boca Raton Resort & Club (set 10 minutes away), including the stunning 50,000-square-foot Spa Palazzo, an 18-hole golf course, and 30 tennis courts. Families looking to comfortably bunk down can opt to book two adjoining guest rooms, which share a common foyer area. Or, kids 16 and under can stay free on the sleeper sofa in king-bedded rooms. Rooms come awash in soothing ocean hues (grays, blues, and whites), and boast floor-to-ceiling windows, deep-soaking tubs, iPod docks, and free Wi-Fi. Room rates start from $219/night; www.bocabeachclub.com.
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Photo Credit: courtesy Boca Beach Club