Recommend September 2010 - (Page 14)
Ritz-Carlton offers Ambassadors of the Environment programs at several of its properties.
ThE RITz KIDS
Kids can do, learn, experience, and enjoy the darndest things at RitzCarlton. At The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park, for example, at noon daily children (accompanied by a hotel staff member) step out to feed the horses parked with their carriages along Central Park South, while at The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach, teens are invited to join in a 5-hour lady-in-training program at Charm Camp. The hotel company takes its youngest guests seriously with an extensive Ritz Kids program that is available in different formats throughout the collection, including recreational, artistic and educational experiences. But the piece de resistance is its Ambassadors of the Environment program. The brainchild of environmentalist Jean-Michel Cousteau and his non-profit organization Ocean Futures Society, the Ambassadors of the Environment program made its debut at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, offering youngsters a whole new roster of eco-tour adventures under a program called 7 Wonders on 7 Mile Beach. Cousteau’s concept introduces Ritz-Carlton guests to the natural wonders and rich cultural traditions of Grand Cayman. It uses the island as a natural classroom, in which kids, families and adults learn while having an amazing amount of new-found fun. Eco-tours are designed to offer meaningful experiences that imbue Ambassadors with a deep appreciation for nature, as well as an understanding of how to live more environmentally responsibly back home. Denise Naguib, now corporate director for environmental programs for Marriott International, came to The Ritz Carlton, Grand Cayman from the Cousteau organization and was the key player in developing the program for the resort. “Ambassadors of the Environment caters to our guests who value the education segment of vacations,” Naguib explains. “Two years after Grand Cayman, Ritz-Carlton signed a 10-year partnership with Jean-Michel to expand Ambassadors to other properties, and those now in place—each special to its particular environment—are The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua, Maui and The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel.” According to Naguib, “For the future, Ritz-Carlton is looking at opportunities at existing and future hotels, even at tailoring Ambassadors for city hotels.” Take a brief look at a sampling of what’s on tap for Ambassadors: v At The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, the 15 Ambassador Kids (ages 4-9) activities range from Life’s a Beach and Discovering Sea Turtles to The Case of the Missing Sting Ray. Ambassadors Youth (ages 8-15) have nine choices, including A Snorkel Odyssey and Mangrove Kayak. Adults and families join in the Blue Iguana Recovery Program,
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as well as naturalist-led snorkel and kayak excursions, not to mention photography and coral reef studies. v At The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua, 16 adventures are available for Ambassadors Kids and Youth (ages 5-18), ranging from Gentle Giants to In the Kitchen. Adult and family programs include Cities Under the Sea (underwater photography) and Malama Ke Kai (“Caring for the Ocean”). v Each day, The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel dedicates itself to different aspects of Southern California’s natural wonders—the sandy beach, terrestrial ecology, culture and sustainable living. Eco-Excursions for Kids of All Ages range from The Biggest Show on Earth (studying whales) to Acjachemen Arts (the Native American way). While all Ritz-Carlton hotels and resorts have some variation of Ritz Kids features, Florida properties provide a good sampling of the variety that’s available. For instance, The Ritz-Carlton, Key Biscayne keeps an eye on its younger guests (ages 5 to 12) with activities that range from tennis and basketball sports clinics, to fishing and treasure hunts. Full- and half-day sessions are available daily, and Saturdays it’s Ritz Kids Night Out (from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.) And come next summer (JuneAugust), it’s Adventure Camp for young explorers (ages 5-12). Families with young children (age 5+) staying at The Ritz-Carlton, Naples will enjoy an enriching program at its eco-themed Nature’s Wonders Center, a sanctuary fitted out with 11 aquariums hosting numerous fish, crabs, mollusks, jellyfish, alligators and an eel. There is also a kid-size lab filled with microscopes, slides and Petri dishes, and a Nature Vision Theater where National Geographic specials, Discovery programs and Disney movies are shown. Daily, environmentally focused activities are also included. The Ritz-Carlton, Orlando offers a Family Package that includes accommodations in two connecting rooms (king and double/double), with lake view; meals for jr. guests (up to 12 years old) in all restaurants (except Norman’s) with every adult entree purchased; choice of Ritz Kids day for two children or breakfast buffet for two adults and two children at The Vineyard Grill; photo album and disposable camera; ice cream passport for up to two children; and transportation to SeaWorld, Aquatica, Universal Orlando and Wet ‘n Wild. Priced from $598 per night, the package is valid through Dec. 31. n
Ritz-Carlton: (800) 241-3333; ritzcarlton.com
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Recommend September 2010
Editor's Notes/Agent Speak
Holland America's Nieuw Amsterdam
Ocean Club Resorts, Turks & Caicos
10 Great Family Resort Stays
Saint Lucia Travel Agent Specialist Program
Stay Awhile: Great Family Escapes
Touring Latin America: Calling All Explorers!
Montreal—"Oh, the Places You'll Go!"
Hawaii: Mahalo to Condo-Hotels
The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
The Wonders of China
Recommend September 2010