There’s an art to the perfect family holiday and it’s all in the balance: making sure it’s well-tailored to suit parents and their child’s age group.
As parents know well, what makes a great trip with a tiny toddler is different to what suits an older child – and these requirements continually change as families grow and expand. From luxury hotels that meet and cater to all your baby’s needs, to resorts and travel operators that have perfected the art of keeping teenagers entertained, these are some of the best family-getaways for children of all age groups.
Eden Roc Cap Cana: ages 0 to 3
Eden Roc Cap Cana, a Relais & Chateaux hotel in the Caribbean, offers an ultra-luxe family holiday experience and is focussed on making sure even their tiniest guests have a wonderful stay. The hotel’s VIBabies Package offers essentials from brands such as 4Moms and Baby Einstein meaning that family villas are equipped with bottle warmers, baby bathtubs, toys, wipes, and a playpen as well as a pool alarm, child-friendly menus and sun-proof accessories (sun cream, aloe vera gel, sunglasses and hats). Parents can enjoy two hours of babysitting included within the package too; the hotel is completely geared towards helping the whole family relax. Guests are assigned a lifestyle concierge to ensure the perfect stay, whether organising spa treatments (including specialist treatments for new mums), bespoke exercise classes, or day trips in and around the beautiful island. Plus the dining – for all ages – is world class.
Caserío del Mirador, Spain: ages 0-3
A holiday with very young children can feel overwhelming; packing the baby kit alone can be mind-boggling. But there are some places where it’s entirely possible to travel light with a small child in tow, and a trip to Caserío del Mirador is one of them. Located in the beautiful hills of Alicante, with coastal Costa Blanca views, the hotel is run by Brits, Sarah and Johnny Robinson, who have over 20 years of experience in holidays for young families. One and two-bedroom luxury air-conditioned apartments are dotted around the grounds and offer everything you could possibly need for a stay with a baby or pre-school child – think cots, highchairs, toys and books. You’ll find a pretty, gated pool complete with shaded cabanas, sandpit, play areas and a trampoline. This is a chilled-out spot that encourages parents to kick back. Cook in your own kitchen or enjoy the onsite restaurant; a nutritious kids’ tea is served early in the evening and an adult-friendly option later, which can be enjoyed on your own terrace if you prefer. Babysitters can be organised too, so mum and dad can take time out to explore the local area.
Parklane, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, Cyprus: ages 0-12
Set on the stunning Blue Flag beach of Aoratoi, just outside Limassol, Parklane, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, is an ideal European hotel to visit with young children. It has a crèche which accepts babies from six months offering 1:1 care from highly qualified staff; a dedicated kids’ play area, Park Kidz, with a 400 square metre themed castle, treehouse, multi-activity pool, pirate’s ship and water slide; and a range of daily activities including arts and crafts, storytime, football matches and games for children up to 12 years. Toddlers under three also eat for free during their stay, and during school holidays it plays host to Football Escapes – a football coaching programme in partnership with Rio Ferdinand which sees children aged five to 15 coached by former Premier League favourites. The range of activities and facilities means this is a resort ideal for those looking to entertain both a baby and a toddler or older children, and one that gives peace of mind to parents, allowing them to relax and enjoy time to themselves knowing their little ones are well looked after.
Cretan Malia Park, Crete: ages 3 to 17
Cretan Malia Park in Crete ticks many boxes: spacious family villas, a stunning beach setting and a great deal of clever attention to detail make this five-star property perfect for all the family. Opening this summer, you’ll also find the Little Explorers Kids’ Club: a beautifully-designed, thoughtful and inspiring place for kids to learn and play, complete with playground, outdoor games area, baking, crafting and gardening. A nearby hut provides a space for children or teenagers who want some time out – perhaps to read – and older kids will love the sophisticated teen-only hangout zone, The Place, with hammocks, table-tennis, darts and billiards. This space is extra-special come evening when low-lighting illuminates an outdoor cinema. Children can also benefit from educational activities via the hotel’s youth programme which dedicates time to teaching first-aid and lifeguard skills as well as engineering via LEGO Robotics lessons. If you have a special celebration while here, ask about the bespoke parties.
Four Seasons Hotel, Megève: ages 3 to 17
Whether for a sunny summer holiday or a winter break on the slopes, Four Seasons Megève is perfectly kitted out to keep both young children and teens entertained. Children aged three to 12 can hang out in the Kids’ Club equipped with peddled cars to whizz around in and mini kitchens to play chef in, as well as enjoy a fantastic programme of activities including cookery classes, wellness treatments and trips to the small onsite farm to meet ponies, rabbits and hens. Teenagers will love the club-like atmosphere at The Teen Zone. Ideal for ages 11 – 17 the space includes a DJ booth, juke box, life-size Mario Kart game, table-football and a cinema. It’s open until 11 pm (music to parents’ ears). This hotel is as enticing in the summer as it is under three-foot of snow, with adrenaline-filled alpine adventures for teens including hikes, canyoning, mountain biking and sailing on nearby Lake Annecy.
Ritz Carlton Grande Lakes, Orlando: ages 5 - 12
A trip to Orlando’s theme parks is the stuff of dreams for children, but often less so for parents who would rather not stay in a hotel on site. Thankfully, a visit to the American capital of fun doesn’t have to mean compromising on comfort or luxury: book into the Ritz Carlton Grande Lakes and you’ll have the best of both worlds. Close to all the big theme parks, including Disney World and Universal, this five-star hotel is perfectly located within five-hundred lush acres and wetlands at the headwaters of the Everglades, but just minutes away from all the action. The concierge can arrange tickets and transport to and from the parks, but also provide other options for family fun including fly-fishing, eco-tours and kayaking. There’s a fantastic spa, an eighteen-hole championship golf course, and tennis courts onsite too. Family suites are spacious and there’s a great kid’s menu as well as fine dining for adults.
Six Senses, Worldwide: ages 5 to 12
There comes an age where children are less interested in building sandcastles and are instead keen to discover the world around them. Enter the Six Senses Eco Warrior Programme – designed to teach young minds about the simple, tangible things they can do to help combat climate change and to play a positive role in their environments. Launched by the sustainably-minded hotel group for Earth Day last April, the scheme has been expanded to 10 of its global properties. Activities vary property to property, focussing on the needs of their specific eco-system and communities. At Six Senses Ninh Van Bay children can learn how to protect the coral reef, while Six Senses Qing Cheng Mountain helps them create DIY projects via waste up-cycling. At each, activities revolve around three key pillars: learning about the world at the resort’s Earth Lab; finding out how Six Senses supports sustainability; and teaching solutions, showing children how they can shape the future as climate advocates. Set within the backdrop of the Six Senses hotels – offering five-star luxury to guests of all ages – this makes an ideal holiday for youngsters with inquisitive minds, and an idyllic getaway for the adult’s accompanying them.
Stubborn Mule Travel, Worldwide: ages 10 to 18
It can seem a long way off when you’re up to your eyes in bottle warms and buggies, but as children grow up, parents can return to the kind of holidays they enjoyed pre-kids – sans travel cot. If you want to really embrace adventure as a family, Stubborn Mule Travel are ideal, creating trips that families will reminisce about forever. From lion-tracking in Tanzania to jungle zip lining in Costa Rica or glacier hiking in Iceland, they tailor every aspect of your itinerary to meet each member of the groups’ needs and interests. Responsible travel is a cornerstone of their philosophy and they actively seek out local partners making for a truly authentic experience. With a huge choice of locations, a seemingly endless list of places to explore, and the ability to cater for all ages, they can create a wonderful holiday for those with young children too – but it’s the options available for older kids and teens that really appeal to parents who are ready to show their children the world.
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