Dive into an underwater world…
The travel experts at Mr & Mrs Smith have hand-picked the best family snorkelling spots on offer – all you have to do is grab a snorkel, mask and fins to feast your eyes on the fanciest fish. Check out their top picks around the region for a weekend (or more!) of underwater fun with the gang.
This hidden haven, overlooking the shimmering turquoise ocean of Lombok’s beautiful Medana Bay, is the perfect fusion of contemporary design and sheer natural beauty, and a stonking spot for snorkellers. Instagram-worthy ocean views augment the hotel’s glittering infinity pool, gardens and beach. And, from its private jetty, a motorised boat will transport you to the secluded white-sand beaches of the Gili islands, just 10 mins away, themselves another snorkelling hotspot.
Smith Extra: A candlelit beachside dinner for two.
With its powdery white beach, rainforest backdrop and endless ocean views, it’s incredible to think this boutique hotel and spa is a mere half-hour from the airport. Snorkelers can island-hop around the Tunku Abdul Rahman marine park, or have the hotel charter a private boat for picnicking, swimming and snorkelling trips, as seahorses and giant clams can be spotted here. Talking of clams, the nearby Marine Ecology Research Centre (MERC) has won accolades for its work on coral restoration and the propagation of giant clams. It has an excellent education programme that allows you to see or participate in coral planting – snorkelling with a conscience.
Smith Extra: For BlackSmiths, a 45-minute Bunga Raya trail trek, SilverSmiths get a cooking class, and GoldSmiths get a 45-minute aromatic or traditional spa treatment for two (GoldSmith room upgrades only apply up to the Plunge Pool Villa, subject to availability).
Isolated in a crescent-shaped bay and accessible only by boat sits these rustic yet undeniably luxurious villas with sea-straddling decks. The setting is impressive, but if you’re a family, so is its kids’ club, with organised activities throughout the day and located conveniently near the bar (we’re just sayin’!). Oh, and for lodgings with a quite-literal marine connection, Water Villa no.5 is the pick, with its private plunge pool set among boulders and a ladder leading to the sea. The resort’s excursion centre will help plan trips to local windsurfing, water skiing, snorkelling or diving waters. Further afield there are fishing opportunities, and island-hopping will land you at a lobster farm.
Smith Extra: A 30-minute foot massage or body scrub for two people.
Resembling a traditional Thai village, this beachfront resort is at first glance little more than a scattering of dinky wooden huts. However, it has been cleverly designed to mask its undoubted luxury with a veneer of rustic island charm. Don’t bother with shoes or sandals – the whole of Zeavola is set on sand and you can saunter everywhere barefoot. Diving and snorkel excursions operate from the hotel’s activity centre, Zann Zanook, which also runs speedboat sightseeing trips to the other islands. For families, the resort is best suited for children aged six and up.
Smith Extra: Chocolates in a traditional Thai box and a 25% discount on spa treatments.
Your only concern at this shack-style, luxury hotel-on-stilts is whether or not the dolphins show up. Just remember to say hello to the resident octopus lurking in the lagoon by the over-water bar (he seems to be most sociable around 10am).
The exquisitely-designed Gili Lankanfushi offers a holiday’s worth of free activities. Staff can arrange day trips and excursions including: sunset or sunrise dhoni cruises; sandbank picnics; dolphin cruises; trips to Malé and other local islands; and private movie screenings at the Jungle Cinema (or a location of your choice). Your little Smiths will be made very welcome.
Smith Extra: A Meera Spa gift or a private chocolate, cheese and wine experience with Gili’s sommelier.
Mr & Mrs Smith gets you the best rates, guaranteed, as well as a little something extra on arrival at every hotel. To book, call 800 905 326 toll-free, or visit mrandmrssmith.com.