Image: African penguins, Cape Town, South Africa
© Alamy
While parents visit sights like Robben Island and the vineyards of Constantia, the The Mount Nelson hotel, which has nine acres of gardens, will keep your kids occupied with activities like cricket matches, treasure hunts, face painting and storytelling. Families can visit nearby Table Mountain National Park to view African penguins or swim at Clifton Beach, which is less than 10 minutes away.
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updated 8/15/2007 3:04:30 PM ET 2007-08-15T19:04:30

Outside the ranks of perverts, it's hard to find adults whose idea of a good time is watching some guy bend balloons into animals or dress up as a mouse. Yet there are plenty of vacationing moms or dads who have had to forgo the adult pleasure of getting, say, a full-body massage so junior could enjoy kiddie entertainment.

We have good news for such parents: You need suffer no more. New vacation options let you combine the pleasures of the Amalfi coast (figuratively speaking) with those of Disney World. These are trips where both child and parent come back happy.

Such trips start with your selecting the right kind of lodging, then staying put. To move around much or to change hotels, experts say, can be fatal.

"The last thing you want to do in a family trip is to visit a bunch of different destinations and stay in a lot of different hotels, because you lose time getting settled," says Joan Weber, who plans luxury family trips as co-owner of Journeys International in Ann Arbor, Mich. "It's important to get comfortable in one spot and get into a rhythm."

Martha Gaughen, a consultant at Sterling Travel in Atlanta who has more then 20 years of experience in planning family trips, agrees. For an adult-friendly family vacation, the hotel matters more than the destination. "You can go almost anywhere as long as the hotel you're staying in is child-friendly," she says, "and has a kids program or good baby-sitting services."

South of France spree
Provence, France, probably isn't the first place you'd think of for a family vacation, but the Four Seasons Resort Provence at Terre Blanche caters successfully to both kids and adults. Its roomy villas (the smallest is 675 square feet) give families plenty of space to spread out. As at all Four Seasons properties, kids here get special toiletries and child-size bathrobes. In this location they will keep busy with daily Discovery Workshops, where they learn about fauna or flora in the area or discover local art. The resort also organizes art classes and events like boat racing in the swimming pool.

Image: Park Hyatt Beaver Creek, Colorado
© Park Hyatt
Activities for kids and adults are plentiful at the Park Hyatt in Beaver Creek, Colo. There is outdoor family yoga during warmer months, ice skating on a year-round rink, an on-site ski school with lessons for children and grown-ups and an outdoor fire pit to make smores. Camp Hyatt has activities just for kids and adults can take whitewater rafting excursions or dine on local game at the resort's restaurant.
While a hotel counselor engages your children in these activities or a hotel baby sitter watches them, you can enjoy more adult forms of whoopee in the nearby towns of Cannes, St. Tropez and Monaco. Or you can remain at the hotel spa and enjoy an undistracted lavender honey wrap.

Island getaway
If you want an adult-pleasing South Seas family trip, head to Bora Bora and the St. Regis resort. The smallest villa here is 1,500 square feet, so even larger families won't have any space constraints. Some of the villas even have over-water pools.

The resort's Kids Creativity Club has daily activities inspired by Polynesian traditions like pandanus weaving, outrigger canoing and coconut painting. Parents, meanwhile, can indulge in a Polynesian Taurumi Massage at the spa or enjoy some private romantic time alone (even possibly with one another) on their villa's terrace with a glass of champagne. The resort can arrange for lessons in Tahitian dance, snorkeling trips and shark feeding. Nothing brings a family together like shark feeding.

Rustic retreat
If you're set on stateside for your holiday, head to Beaver Creek in Colorado and check into the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek, where the rooms have marble baths and mountain views and there is an abundance of activities for children and adults. Camp Hyatt is just for kids and has daily events like scavenger hunts, carnivals, arts and crafts, and storytelling. Adults can take whitewater rafting excursions or dine on bison and other local game at Bivan's, the resort's restaurant.

As a group, you can take outdoor family yoga during warmer months or visit the on-site ski school, with lessons for children and grown-ups during winter. All year round, there is an ice-skating rink, and the resort provides you with a kit to make s'mores on the outdoor fire pit.

It's not all dire straits to plan a perfect family getaway. There are vacations out there that will keep your kids talking for months and also have the adult seal of approval.

© 2012 Forbes.com

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