Playful Stays: Five Fun Hotels

Treasure hunts, life-sized chess, oversized LEGO stations? These aren’t your average all-inclusive amenities. Or are they? Over the past decade, hotels around the globe have been taking a turn to the playful side, offering more than just a place to settle in and go to sleep.

And we’ve collected five of the most fun!

Sea Island, Georgia

play chess


From salt marsh exploration and kayaking to an after-dark survival course, this coastal Georgia resort is the nature-lover’s paradise. And if you’re up for a slightly more civilized sort of adventure, try out life-sized chess on the front lawn or some formal Bingo; it requires men over the age of 12 to don a jacket.

Hotel Zetta, San Francisco, California

play zetta


This Union Square property was meant to attract business travelers – of the work-hard-play-hard variety. Guests are greeted by a massive Plinko wall in the lobby, and a carefully curated Playroom featuring Wii consoles, ping pong and pool tables, a huge selection of board games, and oh, life-sized Jenga of course.

Martinhal Resort, Sagres, Portugal

play martinhal


This family-friendly resort features all the favorites of the Portuguese fishing town in which it takes up residence. From paddle-boarding and kayaking to jeep safaris, Martinhal has something for everyone. For the adventurous soul, the resort offers lessons in the popular Latin/Iberian sport, Padel, a cross between tennis and racquetball.

Primland Resort, Meadows of Dan, Virginia

play treehouse


This Blue Ridge resort sits on a piece of land roughly the size of Bermuda, so obviously it’s all decked out with an overabundance of activities. The most unique (and most fun) is a spirited game of geocaching – a high-tech treasure hunt based on a GPS system, leading guests to hidden canisters revealing pieces of history and stories about the surroundings. Not to mention, they’ve got a pretty awesome treehouse.

Yotel, New York, New York

play lego


The pod-shaped hotel next door to the Lincoln Tunnel offers quite a few playful perks, not the least of which is a luggage robot, programmed to collect suitcases and backpacks. But Yotel’s ultimate claim-to-fame is the 30-foot-long LEGO wall in the lobby with thousands of pieces, ready for guests to build their next colorful masterpiece.

About the Author: Elsie Sing


Elsie is originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; her writing has appeared in a few university publications, under tables and on the sides of trains. She likes taking Polaroid pictures and planning rooftop picnics.