London, January 2020 | With Gen Z tipped to become the world’s most powerful consumer group (Globetrender, 2019) and children swaying their parents’ purchasing power more than ever before (Cassandra Modern Parents Report, 2019), catering for hard-to-please teenagers has never been more important for travel brands.
With this in mind, 2020 will see hotels and lodges around the world create unique and unforgettable experiences bound to delight even the trickiest of teens.
Become a Marine Biologist at Gili Lankanfushi, Maldives
This summer, much-loved Maldivian eco-resort Gili Lankanfushi will launch a five-night educational escape package. Budding biologists will have the opportunity to dive into Maldivian marine wonders with three days’ work experience on the pioneering Coral Lines Project, where they will assist resident marine biologists on coral reef recovery and seagrass monitoring, and report their findings on the Marine Biology Blog. Teens will also be able to join the team on fish ID excursions, learning about fish behaviour and movement patterns, and how to identify some of the most commonly found species around the resort.
Once back together, teens and parents can partake in a healthy cooking lesson with the on-site chef, using fresh produce from the Organic Garden and learning about the nutritional benefits in each dish. Gili Lankanfushi will also offer one-to-one Dhivehi language lessons, meaning teenagers can memorise the native names of the natural wonders they’ve discovered. Parents can also rest assured that during exam periods, teenagers will have access to a secluded ‘Revise and Snack’ zone, complete with nutritious homemade snacks, fresh smoothies and classical music.
To book: The Educational Escape programme at Gili Lankanfushi starts from $15,325 (approx. £11,775) for five nights’ accommodation for a family of four on a full board basis, including aforementioned activities and speedboat transfers. Package available between 1st May and 30th September 2020.
Boost confidence with Oppidan Education at Cape Weligama, Sri Lanka
This May Half Term, trailblazing education consultants Oppidan Education will bring their expertise to the Sri Lankan south coast, taking up residency at leading luxury family resort Cape Weligama from 23 – 31 May 2020. Every morning, Oppidan’s knowledgeable mentors will host complimentary two-hour camps for teens and children aged 8 – 16, with a focus on personal development, skills building and inspiring a love of learning. Teens will learn to hone their presentation skills with a ‘Dragon’s Den Business Pitch’; enter into lively conversation with the ‘Debate Your Mate’ sessions; or develop imagination with creative writing and poetry workshops. Every afternoon, mentors will be available for private one-to-one sessions, and are able to assist on everything from study skills and confidence work to specific subject revision or interview preparation, with a full range of subjects covered up to GCSE level. Certain higher-level education provision is also available on request.
Elsewhere at the resort, a range of fun-filled family activities promise to introduce teens and their parents to Sri Lankan culture, cuisine and marine life, including whale watching, surfing and Sri Lankan cookery lessons.
To book: A week-long stay at Cape Weligama in May Half Term starts from £2,910 for a family of four on a bed and breakfast basis.
Inspire next-generation conservation leaders at Arijiju, Kenya
Renowned worldwide for its successful conservation of black rhino, the Borana Conservancy is a haven for Kenyan wildlife. At the forefront of the reserve’s conservation initiatives is Arijiju, and this year the private home will launch a new experience exclusively for budding wildlife enthusiasts. The experience will see teenagers set out on a guided hike with expert rangers to learn how to track different animals via droppings and tracks, understanding more about the importance of rhino conservation and the initiatives in place across the reserve. Once familiarised with their surroundings, teens will have the opportunity to join rangers on a practice anti-poaching exercise, a high-octane and exhilarating experience in a safe and controlled environment that will open their eyes to the modern threats facing wild animals around the world.
Teenagers will also have the opportunity to head out into the bush on quad bikes with a team of guides, before setting up camp a short distance away from the main house, where they can learn the art of bush craft, from lighting a fire to erecting their own tent. Recognising the meditative powers of the African bush and importance of nurturing positive mental health in teenagers, each evening guests will also be invited to take part in an under the stars meditation session.
To book: Rates at Arijiju start from $9,000 (approx.. £6,915) per night for up to six guests, with additional adults charged at $800 per night and children (5 – 15) at $300 per night. This includes all meals, beverages and aforementioned activities.
Wildlife up-close in Ecuador & Galapagos
Located in Ecuador’s Mashpi Reserve, Mashpi Lodge provides the perfect opportunity for families to re-connect and bring teenagers back down to earth. Families can spend days soaring above the treetops on the Sky Bike and Canopy Gondola, an innovative and immersive way to experience the 2,500 hectares of cloud forest in which Mashpi Lodge resides. Led by Mashpi’s team of local naturalist guides, teens will learn advanced techniques for safely navigating the forest by foot, exploring the area via day hikes and observing the Lodge’s resident scientists at work in the Lab and at the Mashpi Life Centre. Teens can broaden their culinary palette by tasting dishes based on local ingredients found in the forest and in nearby local communities, and at the end of their stay, will be given the honour of becoming part of the ‘Young Mashpi Rangers’, aiming to encourage a deeper awareness for the conservation and sustainability initiatives underway at the Lodge.
Over in the Galapagos islands, budding Darwinites can immerse themselves in wildlife up-close on Metropolitan Touring’s island hopping safari. A perfect alternative for keen naturalists eager to shy away from traditional cruise itineraries, the trip begins with a flight from Baltra to Isabela Island soaring over active volcanoes where families will stay at Scalesia Lodge. From here, families can set off on day trips with expert guides, including traversing the rim of the active Sierra Negra Volcano, and spotting white tipped reef sharks. After three nights’ exploration, a second short flight takes guests to Santa Cruz Island to stay at the island’s only beachfront property, the Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel. Active exploration experiences include day trips on board the hotel’s Sea Lion Yacht; snorkelling, scuba diving, surfing and kayaking on nearby beaches and observing researchers at the hotel’s pioneering organic vegetable garden known as the Chakrita Lab. For those with inquisitive minds, day trips to El Manzanillo – where teens can get up close to the Galapagos’ most famous inhabitant, the Giant Tortoise – as well as visits to the Charles Darwin Research Centre will help round off a trip of a lifetime.
To book: Rates at Mashpi Lodge start from $1,340 (approx. £1,030) per room per night including shared transfers from main hotels in Quito, all meals, all guided activities and excursions within the reserve. Rates for the 6-day/ 5-night Island-2-Island itinerary starts from $3,554 (approx. £2,730) per person based on a double occupancy basis including all accommodation, return inter-island flights, tours and excursions and meals.