FAM­ILY HOL­I­DAYS

M Style - - Contents - Text: ED­I­TO­RIAL DE­PART­MENT

Kat­mandu Ad­ven­tures, a new en­ter­tain­ment pro­gramme for kids.

The Sol ho­tels’ new en­ter tain­ment pro­gramme, Kat­mandu Ad­ven­tures, has been launched in ten of the brand’s ho­tels this year. It em­pha­sises the im­por tance of imag­i­na­tion, fun and val­ues to chil­dren through the myth­i­cal leg­end of ‘De­sir­ata’, a jewel that al­lows who­ever pos­sesses it to travel through space and time, and its eter­nal guardian, Boro, who’s in­spired by the Yeti.

It's 10 a.m. and the guests fill­ing the break­fast area at Sol Bar­ba­dos, in Mal­lorca, are in high spir­its. Sev­eral fam­i­lies with chil­dren of all ages are gear­ing up for a day full of fun. They ’ll head to the beach, the wa­ter­slides, the wa­ter­falls and the ho­tel’s chil­dren's clubs, where the Kat­mandu Ad­ven­tures pro­gramme comes alive in a mag­i­cal place called the En­chanted For­est.

Sud­denly, two adorable char­ac­ters, Boro’s niece and nephew, make their en­trance in the break­fast area. Ex­cited chil­dren run to take pho­tos with them. Laugh­ter, ap­plause, nerves... Boro’s teen Yeti nephew, Ku­mar, and young Yeti niece, Maya, who live in the En­chanted For­est, are af­fec­tion­ate and at­ten­tive. They smile as they greet ev­ery­one: ‘Koko!’ say the char­ac­ters. ‘Koko!’ scream the chil­dren, who have been learn­ing ba­sic words in the Yeti lan­guage, Katlingo, since their first day. These small Yetis are the stars of 80% of the ac­tiv­i­ties at the mini clubs (for chil­dren from 8 months to 10 years old), so this sur­prise is a de­light­ful re­u­nion. Giant muffins are served along­side fresh juices and toast, and break­fast be­comes a true fam­ily af­fair.

That’s how the day be­gins at the ten Sol ho­tels where Kat­mandu Ad­ven­tures has al­ready been in­tro­duced: Sol Bar­ba­dos, Sol Al­cu­dia, Sol Calas Mal­lorca, Sol Príncipe, Sol Pelí­canos, Sol Pal­manova, Sol Lan­zarote, Sol Falcó and Sol Mi­lanos Pingüi­nos. ‘This year we’ve adapted the ages of the clubs to the men­tal ages of chil­dren to­day ’, says Is­abel González, Global En­ter­tain­ment Direc­tor of the Meliá group. These are just some of the ad­just­ments made after a year of test­ing in three pilot ho­tels.

FOR THE CHIL­DREN OF TO­DAY

‘Un­til last year, the age limit for the chil­dren’s clubs was 12. But, given the feed­back from pilot ho­tels, and con­sid­er­ing that chil­dren to­day ma­ture early—by age 11 or 12 they ’re es­sen­tially pre-teens—we have read­justed. Now, there are three mini clubs: the Dream­ers, for chil­dren from 8 months to 4 years old; the Ex­plor­ers, for chil­dren from 5 to 7; and the Rangers, for chil­dren from 8 to 10. Each age group has dif­fer­ent ac­tiv­i­ties based on the same top­ics: work­shops, daily shows, sur­prises... all in­spired by the mythol­ogy of

De­sir­ata and based on the use of imag­i­na­tion. Ev­ery event is su­per­vised and guided by pro­fes­sion­als in child­care, ped­a­gogy, ed­u­ca­tion and the arts.

‘For pre-teens, from ages 11 to 15, we’ve cre­ated the Teen Kave, a space spe­cially tai­lored to their in­ter­ests. Its fo­cus and ac­tiv­i­ties are based on the steampunk aes­thetic, a style that has made its way from lit­er­a­ture and cinema to to­day's pop­u­lar cul­ture, en­com­pass­ing a wide va­ri­ety of artis­tic ar­eas. The style and decor are full of watches and Vic­to­rian arte­facts, typ­i­cal of the clas­sic Jules Verne-style ad­ven­tur­ers’, says Mar­ian Val­lés, Mar­ket­ing Man­ager of Meliá Ho­tels In­ter­na­tional’s Mediter­ranean re­gion.

‘The premise of the de­sign of this new en­ter­tain­ment pro­gramme is that chil­dren, above all, should have fun. How­ever, safety and the dis­sem­i­na­tion of the Meliá group’s uni­ver­sal val­ues are equally im­por­tant to us’, adds Is­abel González.

‘The idea is based on the Sol Kat­mandu Park & Re­sort, a suc­cess­ful fam­ily re­sort lo­cated in Mal­lorca with a per­fectly in­te­grated theme park’, ex­plains Val­lés. ‘The ex­pe­ri­ence of work­ing side by side with Kat­mandu Park was so pos­i­tive that it in­flu­enced the ac­tiv­ity sched­ule and chil­dren's en­ter­tain­ment pro­gramme in our Sol ho­tels, which have more of a fam­ily fo­cus.

AC­TIV­I­TIES FOR THE WHOLE FAM­ILY

This year, with the pro­gramme al­ready es­tab­lished in the brand’s ten ho­tels, there are some changes. ‘We’ve re­lied on re­cent stud­ies that cor­rob­o­rate what we’ve ob­served, which is that the way fam­i­lies want to ex­pe­ri­ence their hol­i­days has rad­i­cally changed. Be­fore, par­ents wanted to rest while their chil­dren were en­ter­tained. Par­ents to­day, how­ever, want to re­lax but also to spend time en­joy­ing their hol­i­days with their chil­dren’, ex­plains Is­abel González.

‘To im­ple­ment this idea, we’ve cre­ated fam­ily time at the ho­tels; ev­ery day there are one or two ac­tiv­i­ties where fam­i­lies can have fun to­gether ’. Even though par­ents may not know what to do with their chil­dren, the ho­tels or­gan­ise daily fam­ily ac­tiv­i­ties in great de­tail, cre­at­ing mo­ments that are not only pos­i­tive for the chil­dren, but also help par­ents feel closer to them.

Among the nu­mer­ous ben­e­fits cited in the most re­cent stud­ies on this sub­ject are: pro­mot­ing chil­dren’s self-es­teem, se­cu­rity and peace­ful­ness; fa­cil­i­tat­ing the ex­change of ex­pe­ri­ences; stim­u­lat­ing so­cial and emo­tional skills and much more. Ev­ery­thing is based on the im­por­tance of the fam­ily, which is the first en­vi­ron­ment in which chil­dren de­velop ideas about them­selves and the world.

‘Let kids be kids, use their imag­i­na­tion, think, dream... feel free... al­ways in a safe en­vi­ron­ment with pro­fes­sional su­per­vi­sion’, says Is­abel González. ‘These are the cri­te­ria that have fun­da­men­tally guided us in the de­sign of Kat­mandu Ad­ven­tures, and they ’re prov­ing to be a suc­cess’.

Be­low, the play area and su­per vi­sors in the chil­dren’s club at theSol Falcó ho­tel in Menorca.To the right, a staff mem­bertells the leg­end of Kat­mandu at the Sol Bar­ba­dos. Above and to the right, Boro the Yeti and games atthe Sol Al­cu­dia.

Above, a char­ac­ter en­joys the pool with guests. Be­low, themedac­tiv­i­ties in the chil­dren’s club at theSol Pal­manova.

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