When’s the last time you had your entire family — grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins included — all together? When planning an extended family reunion that will make everyone happy, one of the very first crucial steps is finding the right venue. When a hotel won’t foster togetherness and a resort can’t offer privacy, a vacation home is the perfect solution. Here are eight to host a memorable trip — and have everyone begging you to start planning for next year.
Hawaii Sweet for Big Families
Oahu Lani, Oahu: Sure, your relatives missed you, but instead, they’ll be hugging and kissing you for bringing them to Oahu Lani. Beachfront to Kailua Bay on the east side of Oahu, this 25-person vacation rental feels like a resort made just for your family. With four swimming pools — including one that actually stretches inside the house — everyone can take a dip simultaneously. And because beating your family members in a friendly game never gets old, the villa’s Ping-pong table, just steps from the pool, is almost certain to prompt a tournament.
Each bedroom is its own piece of paradise within the home, with a lounge area for some quiet relaxation and its own private bathroom. The kids will love the KeiKei Room, equipped with a double bed, two twin bunk beds, two toddler beds, and a play area where cousins can race toy cars and bond over board games. For Grandma and Grandpa, the Hawaii Suite is one of Oahu’s premier master bedrooms. Two comfortable armchairs face the Pacific Ocean, and the bedroom has access to a private outdoor hot tub.
Amazing Grace Bay Beachfront Home
Awa, Turks and Caicos: For families that only want the best, Awa is one of Turks and Caicos’ top luxury villas, thanks in part to its location right on the sands of the world’s very best beach, Grace Bay Beach. The world-class staff attending to you and your family are another huge part of what makes a stay here special. A private chef is on-hand to prepare local dishes that rival (and even surpass) many of the island’s high-end restaurants, while a butler answers all your requests — and, in fact, fulfills some of them before you even know you want them.
While you and your siblings and cousins may turn back time by fighting (just liked you used to) over who gets which room, you’ll all end up with a great one. Each of the six rooms has an ensuite bathroom, but the four second-level rooms open to a terrace with ocean views over Grace Bay. Since the villa has kayaks, paddleboards, bicycles, and snorkeling gear for guest use, you can go exploring like you’re a kid again — and bring the children along to show them your chops. At night, recount childhood memories sitting around the sunken fire pit with wraparound seating.
Ski Break in Breck
Alpine Majesty, Breckenridge: Some families are just ski families. Is yours one of them? Take it to Breckenridge this winter for a family retreat spent on the hill. Alpine Majesty is just 10 minutes from the town center, and included shuttle service takes guests to and from the ski resort during the season. This five-bedroom chalet is drawn into the mountains, enjoying natural surroundings and stunning views from all four stories. It accommodates 14 people with plenty of space to mingle. The basement’s recreational room has a pool table, bar, and kitchenette that make it a great place to spend evenings celebrating family occasions. And the chalet is equipped for winter: A heated pad under the driveway keeps it free of ice and excess snow, while three heated garages keep your cars and ski gear stored away. But don’t let the name fool you — Alpine Majesty is a hot spot for summer too. The deck has a hot tub and barbecue grill to inspire a cookout, and its cigar porch is the perfect place to share a smoke.
Remote Retreat on the Yucatan Peninsula
Mukan, Riviera Maya: If you’ve ever stayed at a private resort, you know there are many pros (attentive staff, on-site activities, and world-class food), but there are also some cons (unwelcome neighbors and crowded living spaces). What if there were a place that had all the positives, but none of the negatives? That place is the off-the-beaten-path Mukan, a private resort-style destination that groups can book in full on Mexico’s east coast. It is separated into detached bungalows — a perfect perk for a large extended family — and is serviced by a private chef, caretaker, and on-site concierge. “Whether you stay in the private garden bungalow or the master beachfront suite, it really feels like you and your guests are in your own private paradise,” says Luxury Retreats Villa Specialist Michael Rassy. As host of The Villa Life Mexico, Rassy got a taste of Mukan’s beautiful surroundings, neighboring more than 200 meters of beach, plus mangroves, jungle, and the World Heritage Site eco-reserve Sian Ka’an Biosphere nearby. “When you’re out on the water, you feel like you have the ocean all to yourself,” Rassy says.
A Breezy Stay in Punta Cana
Villa Las Brisas, Punta Cana: When your family wants all the amenities and services that come along with a resort, Villa Las Brisas is one of Puntacana Resort & Club’s luxury home rentals in its private residential community. Guests have access to the club’s spa, tennis courts, and seven world-class restaurants, and they have the added conveniences of a private pool, their own lawn space, and an in-home staff that includes a chef, butler, driver, and two waiters.
The property enjoys plenty of lawn space surrounding the pool, and a soccer pitch could be the site of a family vs. family game. Group meals can be enjoyed alfresco — the outdoor dining table seats 14 adults, and a round table is perfect for younger kids. As the Las Brisas staff prepares and serves, you’re left to spend more time catching up with relatives and enjoying the unobstructed view from the villa’s charming sea-facing location. And just as this home is built to foster close relationships, it also provides opportunity for escape when all the day’s energy has been exhausted: The home’s nine bedrooms are split between the main house and two guest houses, with no more than two rooms on any floor.
La Residence Paris, Paris: Here’s one for a smaller family getaway — say the kids are away at college or have started families in a new city, where better to take a trip to reconnect than Paris? Treat your family to an elegant Parisian abode in Neuilly-Sur-Seine, a sophisticated suburb considered Paris’ wealthiest residential neighborhood. La Residence Paris has four large bedrooms, plus an additional children’s room connected to the Family Suite. Guests can stick to their fitness routine since the home has an exercise room with equipment, and an indoor swimming pool.
The property is gated and quiet, the perfect setting for an afternoon glass of wine in the garden or an intimate conversation over lunch at the al fresco dining table. Aside from chic, high-end homes, Neuilly-Sur-Seine is also host to the corporate headquarters for fashion and beauty companies Chanel, Sephora, and Parfums Christian Dior. La Residence is less than a mile from the Eiffel Tower, and just 10 minutes by car from the Champs-Elysées.
For Family, by Family
Sky Ridge Retreat, Deer Crest: This home was made for a family reunion, literally. Just ask its owners, the Bindrup family. Ann and Jed have eight kids between the ages of 12 and 27, and each winter, the whole family gathers at Sky Ridge Retreat for a ski trip. “That was part of our vision when we bought it,” recalls Ann Bindrup. “We wanted a great big kitchen and dining area. We also wanted each bedroom to have its own bathroom, and not all of them did so we built them. The home had a small balcony, but we expanded that too to accommodate our big family.”
When the Bindrups aren’t commuting from their home in nearby Draper for their own family reunion, they make the home available for other families to rent as a seven-bedroom vacation home. One of the first homes built in the Deer Valley community in 2000, the chalet was constructed on sought-after land. Since the builder had his pick of location, he chose one that offered direct access to a private ski trail on Deer Valley Resort, and enjoyed undisturbed views that to this day, guests enjoy from every single room at Sky Ridge and its wraparound balcony.
Avant et Après
The Lodge Mont-Tremblant, Mont-Tremblant: Don’t let the word “lodge” fool you. This rustic Canadian chalet in Mont-Tremblant has 10,000 square feet of living space, six bedrooms, and nine and a half bathrooms. It’s plenty big for several families to join up under one roof, and yet it retains its cozy ski lodge charm. Four wood-burning fireplaces and heated floors are sure to keep everyone warm, while a ski room with boot heaters can do the same for your gear. (If you still have a chill, hit the sauna to sweat it out.)
Just a mile and a half from three ski lifts at the base of Mont-Tremblant, The Lodge is a welcoming retreat both avant and après ski. In the summer, family-friendly outdoor areas are at your disposal. The swimming pool is surrounded by forest for an extra-secluded feel, and the pool house actually has its own living and dining areas. The two gas barbecues are convenient for cooking a big meal, and the fire pit will be the prime gathering spot during cooler summer evenings.