EDITOR NOTE: School has become a matter of creativity most recently and combining the desperate need to get out of the house with schooling is the next best option. Finding ways to entertain the kids has become a full time job. What better way than to go on vacation to learn?
AS WITH MANY parents this school year, mother-of-two Shannon Baker Meyer is constantly juggling work and distance-learning for her two kids. Through an online happy hour with girlfriends, Ms. Baker Meyer, the president of a communications agency in Pittsburgh, heard about Kimpton Hotel Monaco Pittsburgh’s virtual learning package for parents and booked a one-night staycation to test it out.
She and her 7-year-old daughter, Harper, had adjoining rooms (day use of an extra room starts at $75), each with their own desk setup. Greg Goffin, the hotel’s newly appointed Chief Virtual Learning Officer (he doubles as the hotel’s director of sales and marketing), helped Harper set up the Zoom call with her classroom on the hotel computer, supplied Animal Crackers and organic juice boxes and fetched colored paper and crayons for an art project when she realized she’d forgotten hers—freeing up Ms. Baker-Meyer to focus on her own work.
The still-struggling hotel industry is trying all manner of enticement to lure back travelers. One recent trend, touted as a “school-cation,” is aimed squarely at parents of children who are taking part in distance-learning using online resources, a group that currently numbers more than 30 million. As traveler confidence slowly rises, hotels across the U.S. and the Caribbean are promising to make sure all runs smoothly with your child’s schooling and entertain them at “recess.” The offerings vary, from fairly basic babysitting and kid-focused outdoor activities to more intensive instruction with credentialed private tutors.
But how much schooling can really be done in places designed for leisure, not long division? One teacher cautions against getting too comfortable: “A change of scenery can be valuable for some learners, but a distraction for others,” said Sarah Brown Wessling, a high-school English teacher in Johnston, Iowa. “You need to determine your child’s learning style and whether it will actually benefit him/her to do this.” For parents curious to try these unusually hospitable schoolrooms-cum-offices, here are a few options:
Auberge Resorts Collection
For the kids: Partnering with New York private tutoring service Advantage Testing, Auberge Resorts offers both in-person and virtual tutoring starting at $195 per 50 minutes. Programs are customized to support the child’s current curriculum or to take advantage of the local surroundings: Think Spanish classes at Chileno Bay Resort in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, or a geocaching excursion for kids ages 4-12 to learn about mining at the Lodge at Blue Sky in Park City, Utah.
For the parents: Get in-room office setup at any of Auberge’s 19 properties, including whiteboards and charging stations.aubergeresorts.com
After-School Special: Merengue
Eden Roc Cap Cana, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
For the kids: Families staying a minimum of 15 nights get their own in-suite classroom, which includes a desk, notebooks, printers and computers. Three bilingual “children concierges,” certified in working with kids, help with homework and oversee extracurriculars like Merengue dance lessons—part of the all-inclusive rate of $27,000 (for 15 nights).
For the parents: An extended stay package (from about $36,000 for 20 nights) for the property’s 34 stand-alone villas—equipped with kitchens and private pools—includes a butler, private chef and on-demand workspaces with computers and office supplies.
Field Trip to Mexico
Conrad Punta de Mita, Punta de Mita, Mexico
For the kids: Opened Sept. 1 on Mexico’s Pacific Coast, the resort can connect parents to English-speaking tutors available for one-on-one support for about $24 an hour. There’s also a series of interactive cultural experiences for kids, such as art classes based on ancestral traditions of the native Huichol tribe.
For the parents: The spacious library provides ample room for parents and kids to sit side-by-side for virtual schooling, which may be preferable to crowding around your dining room table at home. conradpuntademita.com
The Classiest P.E. Class
For the kids: At Montage resorts in Deer Valley, Utah; Laguna Beach, Calif.; Los Cabos, Mexico; and Palmetto Bluff, S.C., Montage Academy runs programs at $175 a day or $725 per school week. Students have access to an all-day monitored study hall and physical education “electives,” like fly-fishing classes in Deer Valley. The program also includes virtual tutoring with instructors from the Princeton Review.
For the parents: The brand’s partnership with One Medical offers guests a month-long membership with round-the-clock health service. montagehotels.com
Rosewood Miramar Beach, Montecito, Calif.
For the kids: The cabana classroom, set up by one of the resort swimming pools, is equipped with an Apple TV, iPad, ear buds and assorted school supplies. The rental fee is from $195 a day, which includes a $50 credit to order up lunch or an ice cream cone from the poolside Scoop Shop. Butterfly strokes in the pool in lieu of gym class are optional.
For the parents: The hotel offers swish office setups in your room replete with printers, wireless keyboards and large monitors that hook up to your puny, eyestrain-inducing laptop. rosewoodhotels.com
Originally posted on WSJ