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 holidaying as a couple and going away as a group of three-plus is substantial, especially ifany member of the party is under 18 years old.
Once you’ve reached your destination, you’ll want some grown-uptime 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...
So, with this in mind, we’ve selected four hotels that have ranked high with both kids and adults for thinking of all those little extras – and they’re stylish to boot.
Whichever you choose, these getaways are guaranteed to make your family holiday one to remember – for all the right reasons.
The lowdown A stylish country retreat a croissant's throw from Paris
Best for Getting back to nature Gallic-style
Hop in a car in central Paris, head southwest and in under an hour you’ll find yourself approaching the Rambouillet forest, a deeply wooded region home to deer, wild boar and, curiously, wallabies.
It’s also the setting for Le Barn, a rambling countrysideestate and France’s answer to Soho Farmhouse, which since opening last summer has been charming urbane Parisians into giving the whole welly boots thing a go.
Guests flock to the rustic retreat for its experiential activities. Go riding in the woods, take guided cycling expeditions, indulge in the outdoor Nordic baths, or even try your hand at a spot of horse whispering.
Once the family’s fully worn out, head back to one of the smart barn-conversion bedrooms to relax.
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 grande dames of the British seaside, having beenin 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 schoolrun 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.