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Vacation Inspiration: 6 Family Golf Destinations That Go Beyond the Clubs

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La Quinta Resort and Club

Going golfing this summer? What about during your family vacation?

You may not have thought about combining the two, but these days it’s more possible than ever to create a trip that includes a lot more than golf –thanks to a growing list of fitness and wellness amenities and adventures meant to please choosy travelers at or near their resorts.

It adds up to a hole-in-one for novice players, more experienced golfers, and their family and friends who may not be keen on the sport.

The key to achieving the dream family vacation while hitting the links? It’s all about location, location, location – whether it’s at a U.S. property or a hotel in one of the other 200-plus countries where golf is played.

In the U.S., last summer, one in six vacations included golf, according to a National Golf Foundation survey. But those trips included a whole lot more at a time when the number of beginning golfers has reached an all-time high, according to the Foundation’s data.  Travelers can have their pick of scenic tours through ancient ruins, hot air balloon rides, jogging and walking trails, organic spa treatments, fitness classes such as yoga, paddle boarding lessons and more.

Hilton Sedona Resort at Bell Rock – Sedona, AZ

As Mike Lowe, vice president and general manager of golf course reviewer Golf Advisor has said: “Today’s golf traveler has higher expectations about the destinations they seek, the level of service they receive and the experiences they may not be able to find through typical travel services.”

The idea is to find something for everyone, filling vacations with new experiences on and off the course. According to the Golf Travel Guru, one latest trend is merging fitness and golf in ways that can improve physical or mental health beyond the fairway.

Hilton offers plenty of destinations around the world – from beaches and mountains to deserts – where families can relax, get fit or try activities like horseback riding or Jeep adventure tours while (or after) the golfer among them plays a round.

Consider surfing lessons. In Boca Raton, Florida, families can test out the FlowRider, a dual-sided wave simulator, at the Boca Beach Club Waldorf Astoria Resort, known as South Florida’s main golfing and watersport destination with jet skiing and parasailing nearby. Need some pampering? Condé Nast Traveler has rated the Waldorf Astoria Spa one of 25 Top Spas in the World and Top 100 Resort Spas in the U.S.

Dog lovers can treat Fido to a getaway at the pet-friendly La Quinta Resort and Club, a Waldorf Astoria Resort in California. It was awarded North America’s Golf Resort of the Year by the International Association of Golf Tour Operators and has an award-winning spa that offers advanced skin care science and therapeutic treatments. When golf is done for the day, the family can take a collective dip in one of many pools or sign up for tennis lessons taught by professionals.

Boulders Resort & Spa, Curio Collection by Hilton – Scottsdale, AZ

For couples or families who enjoy different sports, such as golf and tennis, try a resort with world class facilities for both, like Boulders Resort & Spa, Curio Collection by Hilton. It’s been ranked one of the best golf resorts in the Southwest by Golf Digest and one of the “Top 50 Tennis Resorts in America” by TENNIS Magazine.

Outside the U.S., Conrad Cartagena in northern Colombia features a scenic 18-hole TPC golf course designed by Jack Nicklaus that overlooks the Caribbean Sea. It includes four beachfront swimming pools, seven on-property restaurants and lounges, state-of-the-art fitness facilities with tournament-level tennis courts, an expansive spa, and special activities for kids.

Conrad Cartagena – Cartagena, Colombia

Those looking for a golf/foodie getaway can head to the Tuscan Hills in Italy to the La Bagnaia Golf & Spa Resort Siena, Curio Collection by Hilton. Once a medieval village, the resort is now a sprawling retreat complete with an 18-hole golf course designed by architect Robert Trent Jones Jr., an exclusive spa, and modern accommodations. The city of Siena — one of Italy’s most popular tourist destinations — is just a short journey away where guests can immerse themselves in the history and culture of the area, including through exquisite Italian cuisine and world-famous vineyards.

Hilton Vilamoura As Cascatas Golf Resort & Spa – Vilamoura, Portugal

Or, head to Portugal for the Hilton Vilamoura As Cascatas Golf Resort & Spa, which boasts the country’s largest spa, perfect for relaxing after a round of golf under the Algarve Sun. Fitness buffs can try a rigorous workout in the 24-hour fitness center. There are also six pools with cascading waterfalls. Or, travel a short distance to the beautiful Falésia beach. The entire family can explore the Algarvian Coastline with a day snorkeling, diving, or deep-sea fishing.

If they’re lucky, golf enthusiasts may be able to entice their family to join them on the green. Back in the U.S., the National Golf Foundation says the number of non-golfers who are interested in playing has doubled over the last five years, which means there’s a good chance of creating new memories for the entire family. That’s certainly worth a shot!

Destinations

Destination Langkawi: Beyond the Beaches

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With 550-million years of geological history and generations of mythical folklore, there is always something new for guests of Four Seasons Resort Langkawi to uncover on the island.

A paradise of panoramas, the Langkawi archipelago is an amalgam of mangroves and mountains, rainforests and rivers, wildlife and waterfalls, legends and local charm, tidal flats and coral reefs, cliffs and caves. Whether appreciated from the vantage point of a bike, kayak, boat, cable car, sky-bridge or simply on foot, the islands’ thrilling topography ensures a truly breathtaking backdrop for myriad magical and memorable encounters.

Water Worlds

Beyond the beaches, water sports and diving, Langkawi offers visitors rainforests, mangrove “sea forests,” cascading waterfalls, hidden lakes and glistening paddy fields to explore.

Outdoor enthusiasts will be spoiled for choice.  The uninhabited islet of Pulau Langgun offers an exhilarating rainforest immersion and lush wilderness trek to the hidden sanctuary of Tasik Langgun, a large freshwater lake.  Build an appetite biking through paddy fields to Durian Perangin Waterfall – 14-tiers of clear cascading water – perfect for a refreshing dip and picnic.  Or visit the island’s tallest waterfall, Temurun (30 metres or 98 feet), for another scenic natural swimming pool.

A mangrove kayak get guests unobtrusively close to the magic and mystery of forests that straddle land and sea. Traverse small, dense tributaries and follow the natural ebb and flow of this fascinating ecosystem to uncover hidden delights behind each corner. Alternatively, take a coastal kayak along the emerald seascapes of Langkawi’s less explored eastern rim, and paddle through a 15 metre (49 foot) cave tunnel for an unforgettable swim in a salt-water lake.

Mineral and Mystical  

Steeped in geological heritage, Langkawi has some of the world’s oldest and most intriguing naturally formed gems.  Shaped by plate tectonics, volcanic activity, ocean submersion and erosion, Langkawi’s many rock formations have evolved over millennia into exciting natural habitats, many animated by fantastical folklores and legends.

Adrenalin seekers can heed the call of the ancient limestone cliffs for an afternoon of rock-climbing and abseiling within the Resort’s grounds. Just a short distance away, the Langkawi Sky Bridge – suspended 700 metres (2,300 feet) above sea level and accessed via the world’s steepest cable car – offers an up close experience of Malaysia’s oldest rocks (the Machinchang Formation), not to mention far-reaching views extending to southern Thailand.

Fuel for the imagination, Langkawi’s craggy coastline of hidden coves, sunken caves and majestic peaks is straight out of a fairytale and sets the scene for a magical adventure. The intriguing Gua Cerita (Cave of Legends) is the mythical home of a giant phoenix, a captive princess and a deadly giantess. Tasik Dayang Bunting (Lake of the Pregnant Lady) was formed when a huge limestone cave collapsed, resulting in a figure resembling a pregnant woman lying on her back. Locals believe that the lake, famed for the legend of celestial princess Mambang Sari, possesses mystical powers.

Back at the Resort, Spa devotees will be entranced by the element-based offerings at the Geo Spa, where the ancient healing energies of the Geopark meet bespoke natural treatments by ila.

Wildlife and Local Life

A bird watcher’s paradise – the open rainforest corridor, mist-covered Gunung Raya peak, and local village ponds provide the opportunity for ornithologists to tick a fair few flying friends off their must see list. Langkawi is home to approximately 200 species including: flower peckers, hills mynas, dollar birds, sun birds, eagles, woodpeckers, lesser whistling-ducks, little egrets, Chinese pond herons, striated swallows and the largest of them all, the great hornbill, measuring in at 1.3 metres (more than 4 feet).

Animal lovers will not want to miss the mangrove boat safari into the Kilim Karst Geoforest Park and its maze of meandering mangroves for exciting up-close encounters with majestic eagles and kites, mischievous macaques, fish that walk (mudskippers), colourful fiddler crabs, shy otters and sleeping bats.

Cultural connoisseurs will be enthralled by the Malaysian book village of Kampung Buku and the bucolic beauty of stilted wooden houses in local villages. A visit to the fishermen’s village of Kuala Teriang enables visitors to quietly observe fisherfolk return with their day’s catch, or sample delicious deep-fried banana fritters with local milk tea at wooden roadside stalls. Back at the Resort, relish local spices and ingredients during a Malay-cuisine cooking class – available as both adult and child-size experiences.

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Green Bay’s Titletown is a travel touchdown

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Some travel trends come and go, but others have staying power. Sports-themed travel is gaining momentum, and experts predict that it’s only going to get bigger. If you like the thrill of competition, the history of the game and the joy of being a fan, consider sports-themed destinations for your next vacation.

Location

A prime example of sports-themed travel is Green Bay, Wisconsin. Whether you are a Packers fan or a football fanatic, this distinctive area is ideal for couples or family getaways. The city’s new Titletown development offers travelers an array of sports-themed activities to explore, with something to tempt all of the senses.

A 45-acre development adjacent to Lambeau Field, Titletown boasts a variety of amenities, a brewery and an outdoor park experience with year-round programming. Check out a concert or start a pickup game of football on the artificial turf.

Accommodations

Located just yards from Lambeau Field, Lodge Kohler gives you a home field advantage in the heart of the action. The hotel design is rugged yet refined, and it commemorates the game with historic Biever family photos of the Green Bay Packers throughout the timeless brick building. You’ll find dining, a spa, pool and fitness center.

Attractions

The draw of Green Bay has been and always will be Lambeau Field — one of the most storied stadiums in the United States. At the Packers Hall of Fame in the Lambeau Field Atrium, visitors can discover interactive displays, guided tours and the seasonal Packers Training Camp.

Explore more of the sports team’s past on the Oneida Nation Walk of Legends or the Packers Heritage Trail, which pays homage to the buildings, businesses and people that have historical significance to the team. Team history abounds around every corner of Green Bay’s scenic urban trail and may be traveled by foot, Segway or trolley.

Celebrations

There’s even more worth celebrating over the next year in Green Bay: The Packers have spent a century on the gridiron. The 100 Seasons celebration will feature events in Titletown and throughout Green Bay, culminating with a 100th birthday party on Aug. 11, 2019.

Want more than football? Neighboring Lambeau Field, the Resch Center — home of the Green Bay Phoenix men’s college basketball team and USHL Green Bay Gamblers hockey team — offers year-round entertainment, as it hosts national touring artists and family entertainment on and off the ice.

Eats and sweets

Hunger will lead you to Lodge Kohler for memorable dining. Meet at Leaps & Bounds Cafe for a quaint breakfast, lunch or coffee perk-up. Revel in the sweeping views of the stadium from the outdoor terrace and panoramic windows at Taverne in the Sky, which features modern rotisserie cuisine for lunch and dinner. For dessert or a sweet treat, get a taste of Kohler Original Recipe Chocolates.

Learn more about crafting the perfect sports-themed travel experience at https://www.lodgekohler.com.

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Destinations

Langkawi: Mile-Long Beach Blessings and Other Shoreline Secrets

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When it comes to defining a great beach resort, some people rate looks and location, others service and style. For those who want it all, there’s Four Seasons Resort Langkawi.

The Resort spans its own vast swathe of Tanjung Rhu (meaning cape or promontory, and casuarina tree) – undoubtedly one of the finest beaches in Malaysia: remote, expansive and tree-fringed, with beckoning waters and views that stretch towards mainland Thailand.

A mile (1.6 kilometres) in length, the beach lends the Resort an endless sense of space and privacy. Forty-eight acres (20 hectares) of botanical gardens lie parallel to the sands – punctuated with 91 beach villas and pavilions that echo the awe-inspiring drama of the surrounding UNESCO Geopark.

Testament to the beach itself, the island’s best water sports facilities can be found on-site – including Malaysia’s first and only high-tech X-Jetblades.

Complimentary use of kayaks, windsurfs and catamarans makes the water accessible to all, while complimentary hourly beach amenities keep sun-seekers happy and hydrated.

The Olympic-length Adult Quiet Pool also lies parallel to the water. Its 8 walled cabanas offer privacy from adjacent couples and frame a view that’s entirely one’s own.

Three restaurants flank the beach, while the Rhu Bar offers optimum beachside sunset viewing and swinging seats for two to make the most of the experience.

At every turn, stunning spaces and hideaway places beneath trees and towering cliffs make picture-postcard backdrops for beach weddings and events.

Private dining is no less impressive: under a cabana on the sands or a beach barbecue with your own private che.

Kids’ Club and the four-in-one family pool (complete with waterfalls, lounge areas, jets and shallow pools) are just a hop, step and a jump from the sand – where young ones (and young at heart) can also play beach football and volleyball, or fly handmade Malaysian kites.

And last but by no means least, the beach is the gateway to a host of adrenalin-fuelled adventures. Wander through the rainforest at the northern tip of the beach to the Resort’s rock-climbing wall and archery range. Or cruise directly into the Kilim Karst Geoforest Park for a naturalist-led, National Geographic-style encounter with eagles, monitor lizards, walking fish and even elusive otters.

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