It can be difficult for families to unplug and spend time together in today’s world, and vacations are often the perfect opportunity to do so. Hospitality companies have recognized this in the past several years and responded by rolling out programs that encourage parents and kids to bond, share unique experiences, and try something new together. For example, Wyndham Grand Hotels offers a Reconnected package, providing a backpack filled with a flashlight, instant film, a shadow-puppet book, coloring tools, and more (including a lockbox with a timer for parents to drop their phones), so that families can build forts, read books, and share some time together. And IHG has created a family-friendly Chocolate Milk Happy Hour—complete with cookies—for its Holiday Inn brand.
The latest such announcement is JW Marriott’s ‘Family by JW’ program, a global initiative that underscores the importance of families spending quality time together. Through partnerships and non-profit collaborations, Family by JW offers a variety of enriching experiences to family travelers, from customized stretching activities with The Joffrey Ballet and hands-on cooking experiences with JW Marriott chefs to opportunities to explore and think about architecture with educational activities suggested by The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.
“Family by JW will bring an exciting dynamic to all JW Marriott properties across the world through the key principals of balance, togetherness, and human enrichment,” says Mitzi Gaskins, global brand leader, JW Marriott. “Our new program has been created specifically to cater to today’s family travelers who are seeking more collaborative experiences than ever before. By engaging children and parents through meaningful activities that are interesting for all parties involved, Family by JW will allow each family to create and cherish the most memorable experiences at whichever JW Marriott property they check into.”
Intended for children ages 5 to 12, Family by JW consists of curated adventures designed to leave all families feeling inspired and connected throughout their journey. Each activity has been created to promote quality time that is both engaging and enriching, in order to benefit travelers of all ages well after their stay. Inspired by the legacy of JW Marriott founders, J. Willard and Alice Marriott, and the brand’s three core pillars of culinary, culture, and well-being, the program has been tailored in keeping with this philosophy to include three kid-friendly themes–creativity, activeness, and culture. These pillars incorporate specialized programming with cultural icons like the Guggenheim Museum and The Joffrey Ballet.
With the theme of creativity being a major focus for the Family by JW program, JW Marriott has collaborated with the Guggenheim Museum to engage the brand’s youngest guests through content that inspires them to explore a world of art, architecture, and culture. JW Marriott and the Guggenheim have created a special activity guide amenity that children will receive upon check-in. The activity guides include self-guided architectural-focused exercises where children are encouraged to design their own building and think about spatial perceptions. In addition to creative activities, these guides also motivate children to stay active throughout their adventures with pages dedicated to movement and stretching breaks during the course of their museum tours. The guides are customized for each JW Marriott property and allow children to broaden their perspective of the world while becoming deeply immersed in their city’s surroundings.
The activeness pillar of Family by JW echoes JW Marriott’s passion for wellbeing and their belief that all guests, including children, should incorporate healthy practices into their daily life in a way that is beneficial for both mind and body. JW Marriott and The Joffrey Ballet have unveiled ‘Wind Down and Get Up,’ a series of stretches designed for families to practice together in the comfort of their rooms. Children can start their morning on the right foot and end each day relaxed and ready for a good night’s sleep with stretches that can easily be replicated beyond their stay with JW Marriott. The brand’s collaboration with The Joffrey Ballet also incorporates an exclusive turndown service, inclusive of special cards designed by The Joffrey Ballet experts that are available in each family’s guestroom. The cards feature stretching techniques that promote well-being and can be performed in-room, providing an opportunity for families to spend more value-added time together.
In an effort to inspire children from a young age to understand the importance of nutrition, try new things, and learn more about cultural diversity, JW Marriott offers interactive cooking classes led by property culinary experts and chefs at select JW Marriott properties. Budding foodies will enjoy introductions to delicious and nutritious cuisines that reflect the culture of the surrounding destination, allowing them to learn more about where their food comes from. Additionally, JW Marriott’s in-room family dining concept brings sharable dishes to the comfort of each family’s hotel room. Cuisines are rich in vitamins and minerals to invigorate the bodies and minds of each family keeping them fueled throughout the day. Protein-packed and high-fiber menu highlights include Oven Roasted Organic Chicken accompanied with Rainbow Vegetables and Turkey Bolognese Whole Wheat Spaghetti served with Baby Lettuce Salad with Yogurt Ranch. This special in-room program reiterates the importance of time spent together.