Add to the family photo album with these amazing destinations that’ll have you and the kids discovering new cultures and sampling exotic foods. Who knows, maybe your little ones will become keen archers in Bhutan or befriend monkeys at a nature reserve in Vietnam! There’s plenty to satisfy all ages at this tempting trio of Smith & Family hotels…
Best for: Beachy families
Style: Exotic waterside resort styled by Bill Bensley
Setting: Vivid natural tapestry
Set on the water’s edge, InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort near Hoi An has spectacular views of the Son Tra Peninsula in Vietnam. Styled by Bill Bensley, each room pays homage to traditional Vietnamese décor, with pops of colour adding a fresh, modern feel. Drop the kids off at Planet Trekkers, InterContinental’s free kids club, before heading to Harnn Heritage Spa for a treatment with natural active ingredients. You’ll feel replenished and the kids will be tuckered out by the day’s end. The hotel has plenty of toys on loan for all, so no need to pack any more than the favourites. Villas are ideal for travelling families, since the day beds can comfortably accommodate little ones and they’re within easy reach of the beach, pool and hotel restaurants. Famous Danang beach is just a 10-minute drive from the resort and boasts 94km of beautiful white, sandy coastline. Kids will have a wild time meeting the monkeys at Son Tra Nature Reserve. Take a short walk from the resort’s lobby and you’ll find yourself in a rainforest full of macaques and pygmy lorises performing acrobatics above your head. Keep your eyes peeled for the rare red-shanked douc langur, which you can spot from its golden face and scarlet legs.
Cultural kicks: To learn about Hoi An heritage, visit the Handicraft Workshop, in a centuries-old-Chinese merchant’s house on Nguyen Thai Hoc Street. The workshop offers family-friendly demonstrations of traditional skills such as lantern-making, embroidery and soap-stone sculpture. There’s also a performance of folk music and dancing twice a day (except Mondays). Back at the hotel, learn how to sail a basket boat, sign up for beach football or go shore fishing.
Mandarin Oriental Barcelona, Spain
Best for: City-seeking families
Style: Catalan luxe
Setting: Chic boutiques and Gaudí facades
Contemporary Catalan luxury abounds at the Mandarin Oriental Barcelona, with golden opulence welcoming you on arrival at the original art deco entrance. Some of Gaudí’s most impressive architectural feats, La Sagrada Família and Casa Batlló, are sitting pretty on the hotel’s doorstep. Children are more than welcome; they’ll love the menu of personalised cookies and the on-loan toys and games. Each chic, contemporary room at the hotel is large enough to accommodate an extra bed and suites have a separate living room for added privacy. The informal Blanc restaurant serves up brasserie-style dishes all day, beneath its ornate white origami-style ceiling sculpture and hanging plants. Kids can tuck into dishes from their own menu (such as hot dogs, pastas and a range of bite-size croquettes) in Blanc, and restaurant staff can provide highchairs on request.
Cultural kicks: Borrow a bike from the hotel and take the family on a cycling tour of Barcelona, stopping off in the famous Park Güell for a sun-kissed picnic with some fresh produce from La Boqueria.
Uma by Como, Paro, Bhutan
Best for: Active families
Style: Mod-con mountain lodge
Setting: Lush Himalayan forest
Uma by Como, Paro is perched atop a hill overlooking the rolling hills of Paro Valley. The traditional dzong fortress architecture will have the kids thinking they’re in the middle of a Kung Fu Panda movie, which can only add to the fun. Under-12s stay for free and extra beds can easily be added to rooms ($388 a night). Uma means ‘living house’ and is traditionally inspired by the landscape, spirituality and culture of the region. This is more than evident when you step inside Uma by Como’s rooms. Timber features heavily in the design, paired with fresh white linen and intricately painted floral artworks. The hotel’s restaurant offers Bhutan dishes with a twist, championing the produce of neighbouring organic farms and gardens (there’s also a menu tailored to tots).
Cultural kicks: For an unforgettable taste of Bhutan Buddhist culture, visit the magnificent Paro Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest) Monastery carved into a rocky mountainside. Its imposing presence shouldn’t fool you – the inside is said to be truly soul-stirring. Kids will love trying their hand at some archery, Bhutan’s favourite sport, in the hotel’s verdant grounds. Hitting the target is trickier than it looks, but staff will patiently talk you through the technique. Younger ones might just enjoy roasting marshmallows by the fire amongst the Himalayan pines.
Top image sourced via Shutterstock