Whether you prefer sunny breaks or snowy slopes, these are the family escapes to book this winter.
Including picture-perfect ski trips in the French or Swiss Alps, beach breaks on tropical islands, and safaris in southern Africa, these eight destinations are ideal for a fun family holiday this season.
Those who want a truly five-star family ski holiday – without having to think about the details – need look no further than Powder Byrne. Since 1985 they’ve been arranging dream trips to the slopes for families in some of the best resorts in Europe, from The Chedi in uber-stylish Andermatt, to up-market Hotel Arlberg in Lech and Hotel Rosa Alpina in chic San Cassiano. With a choice of family suites, catered chalets and self-catered accommodation, they’ll arrange everything from private chefs to guided mountain tours, but it’s their award-winning kids’ programme that parents really love. With excellent childcare and super ski instruction for tots-to-teens (plus plenty of activities for non-skiers), a fun snowy holiday is pretty much guaranteed. All the little details are thought of – from shuttles to and from the slopes, to complimentary ski sessions, private lessons and babysitting. The team will even sort out delicious mountain lunches and relaxing spa visits, meaning it can be a great break for all the family.
2. F&P Travel, The French Alps
Want a hotel with a bowling alley, swimming pool and a kids’ club – as well as easy access to the slopes? Or how about a catered chalet with personal chef and a hot tub? Then chat to the experts at F&P Travel, who specialise in first-class, bespoke family ski holidays. With ski-in, ski-out accommodation in some of the prettiest and most child-friendly French resorts (properties include the wonderful La Portetta in Courchevel with luxe duplex lofts and roaring fires – and there’s a reason it made our list of best ski hotels). For more privacy book an Alpine-chic catered chalet in glamorous Meribel, with everything from cots to highchairs, soft toys to sledges and sterilisers provided. Call beforehand and the team will even buy nappies, wipes and anything else you may need. But it doesn’t stop there: your chef will call you before you arrive in order to rustle up freshly-cooked nutritious meals for all the family; babysitting and childcare can be arranged with qualified nannies (who will do all your ski-school pick ups); and ski instructors, tobogganing sessions and a host of other fun snowy activities can be arranged too. And, if you’re staying for Christmas then presents can magically appear as well.
3. Kulm Hotel, Switzerland
Skiing in Switzerland is always wonderful: beautiful scenery, perfectly-groomed pistes, Swiss service and hospitality – and the world-famous Kulm Hotel in St. Moritz is one of the best places to stay. Incredibly welcoming of children, this glamorous property has created a special programme for younger guests; run by a team of professional nannies, daily activities include pizza-making, science experiments and treasure hunts for younger children, while for teenagers they offer a separate room with Playstation, video games and table football. Children’s ski lessons are organised with the best local instructors and, post-ski, there’s a swimming pool to enjoy, a spa complete with sauna and whirlpool, or well-appointed luxe suites to relax in (where just one call to housekeeping will see cots, bottle warmers and high chairs arriving at your room). Come evening, babysitting can be arranged, there’s a supervised children’s dinner served, older kids will love the cinema nights, or enjoy dinner as a family in one of the hotel’s restaurants serving everything from pizza to fondue Chinoise. Having hosted the Winter Olympics twice and created the infamous Cresta Run, 165 year-old Hotel Kulm is iconic. But, while steeped in history, it is equally keen to welcome the next generation of skiers through its doors.
4. Family Ski, France
There’s a reason guests re-book with Family Ski before they’ve even finished their holiday: few companies make skiing with small children as hassle free. For 26 years this incredibly popular, British-run business has been ensuring that families make the most of their time on the slopes with wonderful, homely, catered chalets as well as a flexible programme of childcare. Allowing parents to ski safe in the knowledge that their children are having a fun-yet-safe time with qualified nannies and first-class instructors, Family Ski offer fantastic accommodation in two French resorts: Ardent in Les Port Du Soleil and Reberty in the Three Valleys. Both have plenty of green and blue slopes for beginners, as well as challenging reds and blacks for more advanced skiers, spread over hundreds of miles of pistes. While very young ones (aged three months to four years) can spend their time playing in the crèche, there are excellent group and private ski lessons catering to first-time child skiers through to experienced teens. Families who want to ski together can dip in and out of the childcare options, and ski guides can be arranged along with passes, ski hire and all the other elements you need for a week on the slopes.
1. The Ocean Club, The Bahamas
The Bahamas is one of the chicest destinations for winter sun and the The Ocean Club, with a prime beach-front position on Paradise Island, Nassau, is an ideal place to stay. This charming property has been welcoming guests since 1962 and has a glamorous, old-school feel (it had a cameo in the James Bond film Casino Royale) but despite being one of the most stylish and exclusive hotels in the Bahamas, is definitely not just for grown-ups. The three-bedroom beachfront cottages are perfect for families and the complimentary kids’ club – with an arts and crafts room and Xbox – welcomes guests aged four to 12. All the kit you need for little ones – such as cots and high chairs – are provided; babysitting can be booked; and every restaurant has a great kids’ menu. The hotel’s 35 acres of gardens are among the prettiest on the island, plus there’s a wonderful hotel spa and an adult-only pool for a little slice of ‘me time’. But it’s the beach that families really love: set on a picture-perfect stretch of powder-soft sand, the warm, shallow ocean is ideal for kids to play in and comes with an extensive watersports programme, offering everything from snorkelling to kayaking.
2. Ozen Reserve Bolifushi, The Maldives
There are so many wonderful family spots in the Maldives that it can be hard to know which to choose. For a resort that consistently wins awards for its excellent children’s facilities, check out Ozen Reserve Bolifushi. With a variety of villa sizes (some with wonderful slides straight into the sea!) this is a magical place for families. Just a short boat transfer from Malé International Airport, this dreamy island is packed with fun for youngsters. The resort has one of the largest kids’ clubs in the Maldives, where little ones can splash around in the huge pool or head off on a treasure hunt, while older kids will love chilling out in the dedicated Teen Lounge, with cinema room and computer games. Babysitting can also be arranged and complimentary water sports are included, such as kayaking, paddleboarding and windsurfing. Each guest is given a snorkel and flippers on arrival so they can dive into the water to see the abundant colourful fish. For parents, there is a wonderful spa and fitness suite – and the selection of dining options ranges from fine to dining with your toes in the sand.
3. Wilderness Safaris, Across Southern Africa
Our cold winter months are the perfect time to head south, to Africa, for the adventure of a lifetime. For 40 years Wilderness Safaris have been taking families to see some of the continent’s most spectacular scenery and animals. With exclusive luxury properties in Zambia, Botswana, Namibia and South Africa, all of their child-friendly camps accommodate children from six years, and families can stay in spacious suites overlooking the stunning landscape. Wilderness love welcoming children and offer a superb ‘Bush Buddy’ programme where a dedicated staff member is paired to every child; trained in childcare they’ll be a mentor and friend to your children during their stay, helping them to experience the excitement of safari to its fullest. As well as the wildlife, Wilderness plan lots of extras for youngsters: upon arrival children and teens choose from a wide range of exciting experiences including treasure hunts, scrapbook making, and tracking. In Zimbabwe’s Mana Pools, kids can make casts of animal spoor, in Hwange National Park they’ll learn to identify the wonderful wildlife, and in Botswana’s Okavango Delta, children from 12 can learn how to pole a mokoro (traditional dugout canoe). Adventure-packed days end with evening activities including drumming, stargazing and storytelling.
4. The Oberoi, MauritiusThe Oberoi is synonymous with understated-luxury and their property in Mauritius is the epitome of this. Overlooking the white beach of Turtle Bay, a natural marine park, this five-star hotel ticks all the boxes for families. The enormous villas come with private pools and are packed with parent-friendly equipment. There are five restaurants (each with a kids’ menu), and an expert team plan every detail of your stay – from snorkelling trips and dolphin watching to golf, watersports and cultural island excursions. There’s a huge spa; plenty of poolside loungers; and a beautiful sandy beach. The kids’ club offers a shady sanctuary and is complimentary for kids aged four to 12, has its own children’s swimming pool, table-top football, table tennis, Wii, Playstation and board games. There’s also an outdoor play area with a mini bowling alley, slides, a swing, and a tree house – while daily activities include taking a glass-bottom boat ride, snorkelling and banana-boat riding. Spread over almost 81,000 square-metres of lush, sub tropical gardens, this hotel has plenty of space for children – and adults – to roam free.
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