Sun, sea, sand – and kids. Pack up your brood and kick back with one of these family-friendly escapes
As any parent will tell you, travelling en-famille can be a little traumatising – or at the very least, a stressful affair. The difference between vacationing as a couple and going away as a group of three-plus is substantial, especially if any member of the party is under 18 years old. Once you’ve reached your destination, you’ll want some grown-up time to relax, activities to keep the kids busy and a hotel that won’t raise an eyebrow at any of those requests for heating up milk bottles, highchairs, night lights, baby monitors – the list goes on… So, with this in mind, we’ve selected three hotels that have ranked high with both kids and adults for thinking of all those little extras – and they’re stylish to boot. For a break close to home, The Idle Rocks in St Mawes will be action-packed, no matter what the Great British weather throws at you. For sunshine with child supervision thrown in, the Sani Asterias Suites in Halkidiki has got it covered. And for families who want to embark on an adventure, Le Jardin des Douars in Morocco will inspire little explorers and give everyone a break from the trappings of modern life. Whichever you choose, these three getaways are guaranteed to make your family holiday one to remember – for all the right reasons.
SANI ASTERIAS SUITES
The lowdown: A laid-back but seriously elegant beach-front boutique hotel.
Best for: Crèches and kids’ clubs for all ages.
Part of the Sani Resort, the Sani Asterias Suites has long been a favourite of families in-the-know. After an extensive refurbishment, it’s now set up to cater to groups of all sizes, thanks to the introduction of six types of spacious suite, three of which are designed specifically for families.
One of the resort’s main draws is its Babewatch – no, not a swimsuit pageant, but a complimentary childcare service on the beach, which allows parents to escape for a dip or stroll for up to 30 minutes a day, while staff take charge of the little ones. There’s no danger of anyone being bored thanks to Sani’s crèches and kids’ clubs, which entertain four-month-olds to 17-year-olds with an impressive repertoire of indoor and outdoor classes, from DJ-ing and volleyball to mini-Olympics and archery – no adults allowed, unfortunately.
Book it Family suites from approx £370.
THE IDLE ROCKS
The lowdown: A super-relaxing beach-side retreat.
Best for: Families shattered by the work-life/school-life balance.
The Idle Rocks is one of the grandes dames of the British seaside, having been in business since 1913. But its relaunch in 2013, following a total revamp by its savvy new owners, brought it to the attention of the boutique-hotel-hopping crowd.
And while it’s now a must-visit for cool couples, how about this for a recipe for the perfect family holiday? Twenty coastal-inspired bedrooms decked out in an ocean of blues and soft creams and nearly all with amazing water views, a magical kids’ playroom, children’s high tea at the ‘chef’s table’, plus a baby-listening service.
Food-wise, think local, seasonal fare such as pan-seared sea bream and yummy puds like baked Alaska. Max out on the fun by booking interconnecting rooms – you can always lock the door! After a few days of this relaxed bliss, the school run will be a breeze.
LE JARDIN DES DOUARS
The lowdown: A sun-filled paradise hidden among luscious gardens.
Best for: Rustic relaxation and pampering for every age.
Sitting in the Essaouira hills and surrounded by botanical gardens, Le Jardin des Douars is dedicated to simple yet luxurious pleasures. Families can choose from accommodation in the main house with separate bunk-bed rooms, or self-contained domed houses or villas with plenty of space for larger clans.
Younger family members will love the Moroccan pancakes at breakfast – fuel for a day of swimming in the deep blue (heated) pool, mastering the art of pétanque (a form of French boules) and exploring the grounds.
Take advantage of the hotel’s babysitting service and head to the adult-only infinity pool with day beds and rustic straw parasols. The spa welcomes all ages, offering 30-minute mini massages, manis and pedis for the under-12s – plus the kids can end the day with a mocktail or sweet sirop from the pool bar.
Book it From approx £120 for a family room.