Learning the local language is a great way to get a sense of place, and some hotels today have programs for their guests to do just that. And these aren’t your high-school foreign language classes: Travelers can immerse themselves in the dialect of their destination in fun and engaging ways.
There’s no better way to learn a new language than in a relaxed vacation setting, according to Kristen Korey Pike, a travel adviser and owner of KK Travels Worldwide in Atlanta. “It’s a hands-on way to get to know the place you’re visiting, and it’s such a cool thing to do,” she said.
>> Nayara Springs and Nayara Hotel, Spa &Gardens in Costa Rica have a new Spanish immersion package for $300: Guests who sign up receive a selection of Spanish books upon check-in, along with a Spanish/English dictionary, a private bird-watching tour in Spanish, a one-hour Spanish lesson focusing on Costa Rican culture and a Spanish lunch with a resort host. In addition, the staff at the properties communicates with these guests only in Spanish.
>> Guests at the Belmond Maroma Resort &Spa in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, can brush up on their Spanish or learn it anew: Those interested are given a bracelet ($65); the resort staff knows that anyone wearing it wishes to communicate in Spanish. The property also offers a tequila tasting ($65) in Spanish.
>> Majestic Hotel and Spa in Barcelona, Spain, has scooter tours of the city led by iPad guides in Spanish on a variety of themes, including culinary, art and history (about $60 per day per family).
>> Children staying at AndBeyond Kichwa Tembo Tented Camp in Kenya can pick up some Swahili through the property’s WildChild program, in which guides can help little ones track animals in this local language (free with a stay).
>> Hotel Royal, in Evian, France, has a French immersion program for children (about $82.50) that includes a 2 1/2-hour lesson with a French tutor, a screening of a children’s film in French and a selection of French children’s books.
>> At Royal Mansour in Marrakech, Morocco, children can partake in free treasure hunts and chocolate-making classes in Arabic, while adults can take an Arabic tour of the property’s gardens.