Of the five family resorts I visit, most prioritize kids at the expense of adults. At the Reserve, I find balance. The family concierge service comes with an upcharge of $50 a night and offers a personal butler/nanny for the whole stay. And space? Put it this way: When my husband-to-be and I spread out our two weeks’ worth of luggage, our suite felt like it needed something: more people. When we came back to our room after dinner, yes, the bed was turned down, but next to it were nuances that helped make this my top family pick: milk, cookies and a pint-size bathrobe (made me wish I were 10 again). But despite all the youngster-approved goodies, I never felt like I was in a day care. With in-pool massage loungers and craft cocktails, the Reserve is grown up enough for the grown-ups. And oddly quiet—the kids-only pool keeps screams and splashes at bay. Forget Wally World; this is a family vacation. From $207 per person per night.
Active families with little ones will love the never-ending adventure and a laid-back vibe. Think of it as Caribbean summer camp, where activities range from windsurfing to yoga to trapeze lessons. I loved the 5-Trident Tiara rooms that have access to a private beach and infinity pool with a bar. That’s the way to go for a multi-generational vacay since the Family Suites offer two bedrooms with plenty of space right at the ocean’s doorstep. Yep, that’s right, Club Med is all about family these days: Little ones (childcare is provided for as young as 4 months!) are off making friends at the playground, big sister is practicing pilates, Mom is getting pampered at the newly-renovated L’Occitane spa, and Dad is off at sailing school. And Grandma? She’s at that picture-perfect beach. From $150 per person per night.
Yes, it’s home of Punta Cana's largest free-flowing pool (options include sharks and minnows or saddling up to the swim-up bar), but the beach here is a big draw, thanks to your own comfy cabana that might just make nap time cool again. Back in the room, ample closet space means you can throw everything in — sand toys, clothes, floats, and all — and shut the door. Now, who’s up for a snooze? From $112 per person per night.
Let’s start with Barcelo Bavaro's pool: Yes, it really is that good. Wrapping throughout the entire property, the sheer size alone grants your fam their own swim spot — a definite perk. Add in two water parks, a kids-only bar with alcohol-free concoctions, 24/7 babysitting, and you’ve got a family vacation already planned for you. Bonus: Nine restaurants satisfy even the pickiest eaters (there’s even a sports bar for dad), and a luxe 2-bedroom suite with a spa-inspired bathroom and a private hot tub on the deck offer up relaxation without even leaving the room. From $215 per person per night.
Sirenus Punta Cana
The hour-long taxi from the airport puts you right on the edge of the cluster of resorts, resulting in a less chaotic beach and more scenic atmosphere on an easy-to-manuever property. Plus, little to no waves mean prime swimming conditions for kids ready to dive in. Let your little ones work up an appetite by bouncing between the waterpark, calm ocean and multiple kids pools. They’ll need it when you end your night with a family dinner, hibachi-style. From $60 per person per night.