Travelling abroad with young children can be a challenge at times, but after you’ve arrived at your chosen destination, memories of the journey just fade away as the safe sandy beaches, supervised kids’ clubs, boredom-busting family-friendly activities, children’s menus, interconnecting accommodation and babysitting services become the focus of your attention. Whether you wish to go short-haul and travel to Europe, or venture further afield to South Africa, Asia, the Arabian Gulf, Caribbean or North America, we have a super selection of family-focussed destinations and luxurious hotels, villas and resorts to tempt you with...
In Europe, you can’t get much more family-orientated than Greece. The super-friendly, kind-natured Greeks just love children, and families with young ones are always made to feel very welcome. Particularly on the beautiful Greek islands, the laid-back atmosphere is conducive to a relaxing family holiday and a luxurious private villa can offer a wonderful escape. If Crete takes your fancy, the family-owned Elounda Gulf Villas & Suites is a great option and has the Cool Crèche and Cool Kids’ Club to entertain little ones from 4 months old, a wealth of land and water-based activities and guided speedboat excursions to nearby Turtle Island to see the Caretta-Caretta Turtles, while the gorgeous Porto Zante Villas resort in Zakynthos is an intimate enclave of just eight villas, situated down on the resort’s private beach, and boasting a playground and organised children’s activities.
Africa, Asia and the Arabian Gulf offer diverse cultural enlightenment and are wonderful destinations in which children can learn, play and be entertained. In South Africa’s glorious Western Cape, discover the splendid Cape Floral Kingdom while staying at the Garden Lodge at Grootbos, a beautiful eco reserve near Hermanus. Guests can enjoy complimentary guided nature walks and bird-watching, land-based whale-watching and cave tours, while back at Grootbos, there’s a children’s entertainment room, stables and an outdoor play area with rabbits and ducks to delight inquisitive young animal-lovers. In Indonesia, cultural experiences await young travellers at the beautiful Mandapa, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve. Situated amongst the rolling lush countryside of Ubud, the resort offers a super Mini Explorers programme that children will adore, bursting with exciting opportunity for fun and learning, including half- and full-day programmes focusing on healing, cultural traditions and eco-nature discovery. In addition, there’s Balinese kite-making, kids’ yoga, organic gardening and scavenger hunts to delight. Meanwhile, in Thailand, families can enjoy a luxury beach holiday at Trisara in Phuket. This hillside, all-pool villa resort nestles into a lush green hillside and boasts a private white-sand beach. Its supervised Trisara Kids’ club is located in a peaceful area and offers a range of indoor and outdoor activities for children from 4 years old, allowing grown-ups to enjoy golf at the nearby course, couple’s spa treatments, a private thirty-minute flight over gorgeous, World Heritage-listed Phang Nha Bay, a Sunday Jazz Brunch or hire a yacht to explore the stunning islands surrounding Phuket. In bling-laden Dubai, there’s an overwhelming number of activities for families to experience, including Ski Dubai (an indoor ski resort), KidZania, horse-riding in the desert, Wild Wadi waterpark, Bounce trampolining and an ice rink. Many of the luxury resorts are really family-friendly, with excellent, dedicated children’s facilities and huge waterparks, including Aquaventure at Atlantis, The Palm, with Splashers children’s play area boasting slides, climbing frames and thrilling water cannons. Entertaining children can be difficult on holiday, but at this resort, there’s absolutely no danger of boredom for youngsters or parents. New for 2016, there are daily evening adventures to enjoy from (5.30pm to 8.30pm) for children from 3 years old, with themes such as Mad Scientists Monday, Willy Wonka Wednesday and Superhero Saturday! And with the promise of a pizza dinner to tempt them, too, what’s not to like, especially as it means that mums and dads can enjoy a romantic dinner while the kids are enjoying themselves!
On the other side of the world, the Caribbean and North America offer entirely different vibes. Barbados is one of the showpiece islands of the Caribbean and is a very appealing option for families with young children in search of a luxury beach holiday in a tropical setting. Warm, crystal-clear turquoise water, gently shelving white-sand beaches, family-friendly restaurants and a laid-back ambience – created in no small part by the friendly locals – ensure a happy, fun experience for all. Adventures beyond the luxurious hotels and resorts include horse-riding on special trails taking in the Bajan countryside and pretty beaches, a thrilling underwater submarine tour that is perfect for all the family to discover the colourful underwater world to be found in the Caribbean Sea and swimming with turtles. One of the friendliest family-friendly resorts on Barbados’ Platinum Coast is Tamarind by Elegant Hotels. Guaranteed interconnecting guest rooms, the complimentary Flying Fish Kids’ Club for little ones from three years of age, a family lounge, complimentary Aqua School, weekly family activities, family-sized daybeds near the swimming pool, menus of healthy children’s cuisine and trained nannies on hand to dispense good humour and fun when required are just a few of the reasons why this luxury property is a safe bet for families of all ages – and even the tiniest tots and infants are treated as VIPs! Saint Peter’s Bay is another option for families wishing to take a holiday in Barbados. Located in a protected bay, the villa resort is the home of cute baby Hawksbill and Green Turtles, which lay their eggs on its private beach. Another showpiece Caribbean island is beautiful Antigua, where swathes of palm tree-fringed, white-sand beaches, lush hills and clusters of candy-coloured houses are a feast for the eyes. The island has a strong Anglophile flavour, particularly because of its links with British naval history and Admiral Nelson, and with the frisson of historic picturebook pirates and classic tall ships, it has a cool, home-from-home, feeling for visiting Brits, particularly for families that love sailing. The private island paradise, Jumby Bay, A Rosewood Resort is the perfect tropical getaway for discerning families. Discovered in 1493 by Christopher Columbus, no less, this isolated island, just off the Antiguan coast, provides an idyllic, luxurious backdrop for relaxation, with the promise of historical naval culture less than ten minutes away by boat on the mainland. Shirley Heights is a must-visit location, offering incredible panoramic views of the luxury yacht-strewn inlets and English Harbour’s Georgian docks. Elsewhere, there’s rainforest canopy zip-lining, a Frigate Bird Sanctuary and kiteboarding at Jabberwock Bay, whose warm trade winds, dramatic turquoise bays and side-on winds make it one of the premier places in the Caribbean to try (or observe) kiteboarding. Back at the resort, there’s a plethora of activities to enjoy if you wish to stay cosseted on the island, including tennis, sailing, watersports and eco tours to see the colony of thirty Southern Stingrays at Mercers Creek Bay. A perfect, stimulating experience for children, the safe environment allows little ones to get up close to the majestic sea creatures, as well as colourful tropical fish, in shallow water that they can stand up in. Families are so well catered for here, with the Rosebuds Children’s programme, children’s menus in the restaurants, nannies and babysitting services, junior spa treatments, amenities especially for children, such as mini bathrobes and slippers, toiletries, in-room baby proofing and equipment that you just can’t imagine taking with you on your holiday, such as baby baths, changing tables and bottle warmers. Alternatively, there’s the option of a stay at award-winning Blue Waters on the Antigua mainland. As a family-owned and run luxury hotel, it is well placed to cater for families and offers private beaches, a family-friendly beachfront pool, complimentary kids’ club, crèche and babysitting – handy for mums and dads who require a little ‘me’ time, whether that be at the nearby golf course or the resort’s Elemis Spa, tennis courts and fitness centre, or by enjoying a romantic candlelit dinner at Bartley’s Restaurant. Choose to stay in the main hotel or take one of the, more private, luxury villas for the duration.
Last, but not least by any means, is amazing North America and two destinations with two contrasting personas. Mexico is all about the Aztec culture, cuisine as vibrant as its brightly coloured handicrafts, Spanish Colonial architecture and glorious white-sand beaches. We offer a collection of wonderful beachfront resorts on the Yucatan and Riviera Maya coasts and one of the best for families is Fairmont Mayakoba on Riviera Maya. The resort has a great kids’ club (for children from 4 to 12 years), offering a range of complimentary activities and amenities, babysitting by certified nannies, children’s menus, a children’s pool and connecting guest accommodation, if required. And for the grown-ups to escape to when the little ones have been dropped off at the kids’ club, there’s a championship golf course to play, a spa to indulge in and an adults-only, swim-up pool lounge to chill out at – all within forty-five pristine beachfront acres. In the USA, Orlando, Florida is a perennially popular destination for fun-loving families because of its rich tapestry of exciting attractions and theme parks, plus the iconic Everglades National Park. Stay at and you are perfectly placed to enjoy easy access to Walt Disney World Resort, SeaWorld and Universal Orlando® Resort (all within ten miles and accessible by complimentary shuttle from the hotel). Privately guided eco tours are available, while at the hotel itself, there are myriad activities for youngsters and teens to enjoy, a collection of eleven restaurants with menus to tempt the tastebuds of even the fussiest junior eaters, tennis lessons and an 18-hole golf course. On the southwest coast of Florida, Naples offers calm seas, white-sand beaches, world-class shopping and a host of challenging golf courses – it is also within close proximity to The Everglades. A perfect destination for families who enjoy beach holidays and nature, there are opportunities to go bird-watching, visit Florida Aquarium and take boat trips to see the curious-looking, yet gentle, Manatees in the Gulf of Mexico. The Ritz-Carlton, Naples is a super bolthole in which families can base themselves. Children of all ages will really enjoy time spent at the beachfront resort and will delight in the activities available at Ritz Kids Club, while the luxe, super-cool, Vue entertainment lounge is manned by experienced gamers and contains a great selection of consoles, flat-screen televisions, DVD and Blu-ray players, iPod docking stations and two sleek, private lounging areas (Vue hosts children from 5 years of age, at a charge – currently $15 per day). Grown-ups are not overlooked, with watersports, golf, a spa and a tennis centre on offer. Families who wish to laze around a swimming pool all day may do so, and with poolside cabanas located by the resort’s family pool, little ones can easy be protected from the sun and enjoy a nap in the shade, if they wish.
For further information about any of the resorts or destinations featured above, to obtain a quote or to make a booking, please call our team of expert Travel Consultants on 01244 897 505.