Katie Mcelveen 2017-09-06 01:12:49
Enjoy diverse dining options, activities for every age and impeccable service with a family reunion at Montage Hotels & Resorts. For some, the idea of a family reunion can be daunting—an experience that might bring to mind stressful planning or complicated arrangements. But putting together a vacation with relatives near and far is much less intimidating when working with a venue that offers diverse activities, dining and accommodations for everyone to enjoy. Enter: Montage Hotels & Resorts. “The Montage properties are fantastic, with lots of options for lodging and activities,” says Eli Ashear, the director of Ovation Celebrations (the event planning arm of Ovation Vacations). The New York City-based Virtuoso-member agency has planned a bevy of multigenerational events and finds that Montage properties are particularly adept at making families feel welcome. “What really stands out, though, is the service,” Ashear. says. “They handle everything seamlessly so all that the families have to think about is having fun.” Whether planning an annual reunion or organizing an inaugural family celebration, Montage properties around the country offer countless ways to enjoy your relatives as well as some coveted rest and relaxation. ROOM TO ROAM Set in South Carolina’s atmospheric coastal Carolina—think southern architecture and majestic live oaks—Montage Palmetto Bluff has emerged as a popular destination for families in search of charm, sophistication and a wide array of activities. “Palmetto Bluff is a fantastic multigenerational property,” says public relations and marketing manager Christine Wrobel. “The cycling paths are flat and safe, you can kayak with dolphins in the river and there are miles and miles of hiking trails.” Family groups at Palmetto Bluff can also charter the resort’s restored historic yacht for a cruise on the May River. Other amenities include several pools, a pampering spa and a sporting clays course. Lodging options abound on the expansive property. Beyond private rooms within the inn, families can rent guest houses with a shared common area or book large, multi-bedroom village homes with yards and designer kitchens that make a perfect setup for a catered dinner. There are eight dining options on property as well, including Cole’s, a restaurant located at Moreland with views of the May River, a game room, and bowling alley to enjoy before or after dinner. “Montage Palmetto Bluff is huge but safe so kids can explore it on their own,” Wrobel says. “You’ll end up with tired kids, lots of great memories and a million wonderful photos.” MOUNTAIN MEMORIES Located near Park City, Utah, Montage Deer Valley appeals to outdoorsy families all year long. “Some families think of Montage Deer Valley as primarily a resort for skiing and other winter sports, but you’d be amazed at all the things you can do during the summer and fall,” says Sarah Aures, the resort’s senior sales manager for catering. “Although the resort is surrounded by DIY activities like hiking, biking and skiing, staff members are keen to plan one-of-a-kind experiences for families like dog sledding expeditions, snow shoe tours, sleigh rides and a special program that includes private flight transportation from the resort to nearby national parks including Arches, Canyonlands, Zion, Bryce Canyon and Yellowstone in Wyoming. “During the winter, you can ski one day and, the next, take the jet to Zion for mountain biking or hiking,” Aures says. “We’ve also held casual cooking classes, family yoga and horseback riding tours.” Aures says that since many family reunions at the resort center around an event such as a birthday or anniversary, the culinary team goes out of their way to prepare special meals that sometimes include preparing family recipes. “For many families, certain dishes are synonymous with getting together,” Aures says. “We love being able to recreate those special meals.” BEACHY BLISS At Montage Laguna Beach, summer rules as the top season for reunions; Kaileen Meltzer, the resort’s executive meeting coordinator, believes nostalgia has a lot to do with it. “A lot of guests come to Montage Laguna Beach wanting to give their kids and grandkids the same kind of summer vacation experiences they had when they were kids,” she explains. “This property has all the amenities that adults want, but in an environment that’s completely family and child-friendly, so everyone can have fun. Plus, the high level of service takes the pressure off so everyone can relax.” Although families do plan a few group events— favorites include private boat charters for whale watching or touring, team building activities and day trips to Catalina Island for guided hikes— most favor a more comfortable approach with lawn games, beach time and hours relaxing by the pool. “When family members get together for dinner they have a day’s worth of fun to talk about,” Meltzer says. Dinners can take place at a number of venues including the private dining room at Studio, the resort’s fine dining restaurant and the Founder’s Suite, where dinner is often served alfresco on the lawn. On Maui, at Montage Kapalua Bay, family members also gravitate to the beach and pool, where canopied beds can be reserved to serve as a sort of outdoor home base. “As family members head out for activities—we book a lot of private snorkel and helicopter tours, and there are hiking trails nearby—or when they return, they know they can check in at the pool,” says Justin Simpson, the resort’s front office manager. Family reunions at Montage Kapalua Bay have become so popular that the resort recently launched Welcome ’Ohana, a special package developed specifically for multigenerational travelers that offers exclusive value on multibedroom residences and special pricing for events at Cliff House, the resort’s historic private beachfront dining venue. Families can rent the venue for a day of chef-prepared meals on the balcony overlooking the ocean and access to a secluded bay for snorkeling, swimming and stand-up paddleboarding. THINKING ABOUT PLANNING A REUNION AT MONTAGE? Consider these expert tips: Book a space within the resort to serve as family headquarters. “Having a home base makes it easy for everyone to see each other throughout the day,” says Kaileen Meltzer, Montage Laguna Beach’s executive meeting coordinator. Welcome bags and other gifts make a difference. “We’ve organized everything from matching beach totes filled with an itinerary, maps and custom flip-flops to matching pajamas,” says Julie Danziger, director of luxury travel services for the Virtuoso-member agency Ovation Vacations. Send ahead. “Ship luggage, games, gifts and even infant items ahead of time” Danziger says. Help elderly family members navigate the airport by hiring a greeter. “Airports can feel like a maze,” Danziger says. “Having someone meet them will make them feel taken care of.” Don’t overplan. “Families often tell me that their favorite days were the ones where they just hung out,” says Christine Wrobel, Montage Palmetto Bluff’s public relations and marketing manager. Hire a photographer to shoot a family portrait or create a multimedia show. “You can show it at the final dinner, then give everyone a copy,” Danziger says. Pre-organize check-in. “We recently had a family group of about 22 check in all at one time,” says Justin Simpson, front office manager at Montage Kapalua Bay. “Since we already knew what time they’d be arriving, check-in was so speedy and smooth that they actually commented on it.”
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