A family getaway can be just about anywhere, but we’ve decided that the best ones involve sandy beaches, some form of aquatics, plenty of activities for you (and the kids), sunshine in generous measures, clever chefs and a big dollop of time-for-two. The boutique hotel experts at Smith & Family have chosen five hotels that will give you playtime and time off, with two nights’ free babysitting when you book seven nights or more. You’ll be able to enjoy a Michelin-starred meal and a bottle of wine or languidly toast the sunset with a cocktail by the pool at these stylish family-friendly stays.
Pine Cliffs Resort, Algarve, Portugal
Best for: Seaside leisure
Just for them: Children’s village, mini golf and aquatics galore
Just for you: Golf course, spa services, hidden infinity pool
The Algarve offers Mediterranean warmth and beautiful beach vistas, both of which abound at Pine Cliffs Resort. Although there are five pools located throughout the grounds, the clear winner for bathing belles is the golden, sandy beach with its aqua waters. Thanks to the Porta Pirata kids club’s treasure hunts and water games, you’ll have plenty of time to take to the waters or book in that massage you’ve needed for weeks. The whole family can enjoy the 18-hole mini-golf course and all eight restaurants are kid-friendly, so you’ll be spoilt for choice. Both the Pine Cliff Residences and two-storey Pine Cliffs Terraces are fab family friendly options, thanks to their kitchens and laundries; interconnecting rooms are perfect for those with older children.
Anantara Phuket Villas, Phuket, Thailand
Best for: Tropical adventures
Just for them: The fun, young Turtle Club
Just for you: Treatments at the spa; mojitos and margaritas at the swim-up bar
There’s water everywhere, which is sure to keep your brood amused at Anantara Phuket Villas. The resort winds around a waterlily-topped lagoon, each villa has a generous pool, there’s a huge main pool and to top it off you’re near Phuket’s longest beach, where you can splash, catch a few rays or borrow a windsurfer to test your balance and commitment to activity on a tropical holiday. Best of all, though, this is a gorgeous yet relaxed spot. The villas have everything you could need, but are in no way pretentious – you’ll feel as if you’re somewhere special but it’s not as if you’ll worry if your little angels track sand across the floor or spill some juice. And there are plenty of free activities too, including kayaking, tennis and bikes to borrow. Usher the kids off to the Turtle Club during the day or book a babysitter at night, and spend some quality alone time at the spa or the gloriously romantic Tasting Room wine cellar.
Hostellerie de l’Abbaye de la Celle, Provence, France
Best for: Greener pastures
Just for them: Outdoor pool, green gardens, activities and more activities
Just for you: Michelin-star dining, local vineyards and cookery classes
A little hideaway among the rolling green hills of Provence, Hostellerie de l’Abbaye de la Celle is beautifully restored and steeped in local history. You’ll fall in love with the hotel’s natural surroundings (especially the vineyards) and you won’t pass up on a cookery class with an Alain Ducasse protégé, Benoit Witz. This place is so magical and perfect for adults and children, you’ll want to ask for a permanent room. There’s an outdoor pool for lazing in the sun and an equestrian centre just a 10-minute drive away. For interconnecting rooms, ask for the Lucrèce de Barras and Garcende de Sabran suites on the first floor.
Karma Kandara, Bali
Best for: Monkeying around
Just for them: Beach toys, romping room, cheeky resident monkeys
Just for you: Hip beach club and bar, sea views from the spa
Designed to evoke a Mediterranean village with white-washed stone walls and snaking passageways, this exclusive, cliff-top, coast-hugging collection of 46 family-friendly villas distinguishes itself from Bali’s five-star pack from the very first impression. Families staying at the Karma Kandara get three, four or even five-high ceilinged bedrooms to room around in, and each villa has a private plunge pool that spies on the gorge or ocean. For mum and dad, there’s a fine dining restaurant, brilliant wine bar and the holistic Karma Spa, which has a private outdoor Jacuzzi and view-boasting treatment pavilions; Junior Smiths can spend hours playing on the beach, snorkelling the reef, kayaking in the shallows, splashing in the pool or being entertained at the free Three Monkeys Kids Club, plus there’s a great kids’ menu and dedicated children’s pool to keep them happy. We defy you not to love every second.
Amirandes, Crete, Greece
Best for: Greek treats
Just for them: Swimming lessons, Grecoland kids club, kids’ spa treatments
Just for you: Spa services, ancient ruins, wine coolers in villas and a fully serviced beach
Amirandes resort is not your average beachside retreat; it’s a place where anything is possible. With three sandy beaches and the same amount of pools, budding mermaids and mermen (plus water babies) have an aquatic paradise to splash around in. With eight restaurants to choose from and an array of activities on offer, you get to decide how busy – or not so busy – your holiday is. Parents will also be grateful for the Grecoland kids club, which guarantees them extra free time. If there are four of you or more, book a Family Bungalow; if you’re a fitness fanatic, you’ll be keen on the Deluxe Bungalow, which has its very own fitness room. All bungalows have a pool and private beach access, so you’ll never have to fret about getting a lounger by the communal watering hole.