Most of us travel to explore parts of the world unknown to us, to relax, to be with friends and family, and to learn new things. Let's focus on the latter for a moment: Learning new things while traveling. I'm not just talking about when you learn a new city's subway system after spending a day there, or where you can find the best cappuccino on your hotel's block; I'm talking about learning different skills unique to the place you're visiting. On this note, travelers can even take classes at hotels they're staying at. While the idea of taking a literal class while on vacation might seem a little strange considering vacationing is about relaxing, trust me: these classes aren't like the ones you took in high school. The surprising classes offered at hotels located all over the world are super low-stress and fun — and they can range from things like archery, to calligraphy, to cooking, to even slime-making (yep, seriously).
Not sure where to start? These 25 hotels around the world make it easy to get creative by learning some unique new skills while you're vacationing there. Hey, you never know — you could surprise yourself with how good you are at something like slime-making, shoe cobbling, or archery.
Dromoland Castle — Country Clare, Ireland
Learn how to master the art of falconry at Dromoland Castle in County Clare, Ireland. The resident falconer leads guests on expeditions around the property’s manicured grounds, and guests can learn about a variety of birds and animals that live on the property. And yes, guests get to hold the falcon — and even feed it! — before snapping a photo.
Baglioni Hotel Carlton — Milan, Italy
As part of the Assoluto Signature program from Baglioni Hotels, guests can participate in a variety of bespoke classes from designing your own wardrobe with a fashion expert at the Baglioni Hotel Carlton in Milan to creating your own fragrance at Aquaflor (which is steps from the Relais Santa Croce in Florence).
Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas — The Maldives
Say hello to the Sky Guru at the Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas, who shares his passion for astronomy through regular classes after sunset. Trained in Pune, India at Milky Way Citizen by Dr. Parag Mahajani, he is an expert at spotting famous and hidden constellations that are ideal to see in the dark night skies of paradise.
The Temple House — Chengdu, China
Brush up on your Chinese calligraphy with weekly, free Nüshu calligraphy classes at The Temple House in Chengdu, China. These classes give guests the opportunity to learn the brushstroke technique while creating artwork that they can take home. Previously, Nüshu calligraphy was reserved for women as a skill passed down from mother to daughter; it was even once used as a form of communication between women centuries ago.
Gangtey Lodge Bhutan — Bhutan
Test your archery skills at Gangtey Lodge Bhutan, where regular classes give guests a break from high-altitude touring and allow them hone their aim and precision at this sport. It’s quite fitting to try your hand at archery, since Bhutan's national sport is Dha (archery). Together with Khuru (darts), both are exceptionally popular among locals, and accomplished archers can teach you the basics before challenging you to a match.
Villa d'Este — Lake Como, Italy
At the annual Villa d'Este Wine Symposium in Lake Como, Italy, guests can participate in prestigious wine tastings before delving into educational seminars about the industry and how best to appreciate wine.
W Punta de Mita — Punta de Mita, Nayarit, Mexico
W Punta de Mita in Mexico along the Riviera Nayarit coast teaches guests how to surf with either private or group classes. The most unique part of the class is the stash of personal GoPro photos provided to students when they make it back to land!
The Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club — Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S.
Every Friday is “Aloha Friday” at The Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club in Honolulu where guests can enjoy the do-it-yourself lei flower-making classes. Plant experts teach guests the ideal way to pair and thread the flowers together to create their own Hawaiian souvenir.
Grand Hyatt Baha Mar — Nassau, Bahamas
Grand Hyatt Baha Mar in the Bahamas has its own art studio where painting, drawing, ceramics, and photography classes are open to guests and locals alike. They are taught by Bahamanian artists and craftsmen giving guests a unique look into the local culture.
Palace Hotel Tokyo — Tokyo, Japan
Learn to make origami at the Palace Hotel Tokyo, where guests can take part in a weekly class that teaches this ancient Japanese art form. Each participant gets their own set of origami and chiyogami paper (colorful paper printed with distinctive Japanese imagery) to make paper crane, jumping frog, and flower creations.
Rome Cavalieri, A Waldorf Astoria Resort — Rome, Italy
At Rome Cavalieri, A Waldorf Astoria Resort, the hotel offers an Italian Craftsmanship Experience where guests can make their own shoes or sandals during a workshop led by Le Mastro, an Italian shoemaker. Guests work with skilled shoemakers who help them to design and create their own pair to take home.
Grand Hotel Tremezzo — Lake Como, Italy
Kids (and adults, let's be real) will love the pizza-making classes at Grand Hotel Tremezzo on Lake Como. The wood-burning oven at T Pizza, by one of the hotel’s many pools, is the ideal setting for learning how to make dozens of different recipes. The experience is finished off with a tasting session, of course!
Iberostar Paraiso Lindo — Riviera Maya, Mexico
At the Iberostar Paraiso Lindo in Riviera Maya, Mexico, circus classes teach kids and adults how to juggle, balance on slack lines, and make balloon-shape creations.
JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa — San Antonio, Texas, U.S.
Learn how to make slime at the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa. Bet you’ve never stayed at a hotel that has slime-making classes before, huh? Participants can spice up their creations with glitter, confetti, and other artistic ingredients.
Sumaq Hotel — Machu Picchu, Peru
If you’re a fan of ceviche, there is no better place to learn how to make it than Peru! At the Sumaq Hotel (a short drive from Machu Picchu), guests are treated to classes on how to make from-scratch ceviche with the hotel’s chef. They can also learn to make the traditional Peruvian pisco sour to pair with it.
Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach — Huntington Beach, California, U.S.
Learn to swim like a mermaid in the pool at the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach in California. Young swimmers are outfitted with a mermaid tail and taught all the basics as part of a weekly group activity.
Wild Dunes Resort — Isle Of Palms, South Carolina, U.S.
Guests can bone up on how to dye indigo fabric at the Wild Dunes Resort within driving distance of Charleston, South Carolina. This historic art form dates back to 1740 and is part of the activity program available to both adults and children at the property.
The St. Regis Bora Bora Resort — Bora Bora, French Polynesia
Learn to crack a coconut for fresh coconut water and maybe even a survival skill down the road at the St. Regis Bora Bora in French Polynesia. The free, daily “coco show” classes conducted by the beach staff also show guests how to make coconut shavings and fresh coconut milk.
Westin Cape Coral Resort at Marina Village — Cape Coral, Florida, U.S.
Practice self-care with a watercolor painting class at the Westin Cape Coral Resort at Marina Village in Cape Coral, Florida. The hotel has partnered with a local artist to teach guests the ins and outs of watercoloring on the hotel’s event lawn. Participants can channel their inner Bob Ross while overlooking the Gulf of Mexico and create a painted memory to take home.
The Broadmoor — Colorado Springs, Colorado, U.S.
Fly fishing classes at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs are a signature experience thanks to the hotel’s own school, which offers classes to guests and locals alike. Professional guides and instructors teach fly casting, rigging, and water safety among other important features of the sport.
BodyHoliday — West Indies, St. Lucia
At the BodyHoliday Wellness Resort in St. Lucia, guests can help tend the organic garden with a local couple who's in charge of harvesting the crops for the property’s fruit, vegetable, and herb needs. Guests assist in making a 100 percent plant-based meal while learning about organic agriculture, West Indian plants, and modern sustainable farming.
Banjaar Tola, Kanha National Park — Balaghat, India
The junior naturalist program at the Banjaar Tola, Kanha National Park (part of Taj Hotels and Resorts) gives young guests the chance to explore the flora and fauna of the surrounding area. The interactive curriculum usually spans a few days and includes early morning nature walks and safaris or late evening ‘frogging’ and star gazing sessions.
The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto — Kyoto, Japan
Learn how to roll the perfect sushi roll at The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto in Japan. The hotel’s resident sushi master teaches the classes at the resort’s Edo-style Japanese restaurant. Of course, no cooking class would be complete without a tasting session at the end!
Casa Marina Key West, A Waldorf Astoria Resort — Key West, Florida, U.S.
Polish your sandcastle building skills at the regular workshop at Casa Marina, A Waldorf Astoria Resort, on the edge of Key West’s largest private beach.
The Hideout Lodge and Guest Ranch — Shell, Wyoming, U.S.
Learn to herd cattle in a class in Shell, Wyoming’s popular The Hideout Lodge and Guest Ranch. Other popular classes include wrangling and horsemanship clinics where guests can ride trained Mustang horses.