Ritz-Carlton offers a teen-sanctuary from parents in Florida

Ritzcarlton_palm_beach_teen_lounge What's the trickiest age group for family travel?

Experienced parents will tell you it's teens.

Younger kids will hang out with their parents, but older ones are eager � desperate! � to get away from those boring, embarrassing people they happen to be related to.

Several Ritz-Carlton hotels in Florida are trying to ease families' way through those tricky years. They've opened teen lounges where parents and younger kids are not allowed.

The lounges, at the hotels in Palm Beach, Naples, and Amelia Island, sound like onshore versions of cruise ship teen clubs. But the challenge is that teens are allergic to organized group activities. The Ritz-Carlton says its programs are "subtly" supervised and based on focus groups with teenagers.

Apparently, teens seem to crave technology more than anything else.

For example, the Amelia Island "Our Space" lounge includes flat screen televisions, Wii, X-Box and Playstation game systems, laptop computers for Internet access, iPods and docking stations, along with air hockey, foosball and pool tables. The other clubs also resemble tricked out Best Buys

In addition, the lounges include interactive gaming areas, and are staffed with counselors organizing water sports, beach games, pizza and movie nights and more.

Sounds like fun. But don't for a second expect a teen to admit it.

Have you had luck with special teen programs while traveling? Let us know in the comments below.


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