The extra-long weekend during Lunar New Year is just the excuse to take the family on a short and sweet holiday. Boutique travel experts Mr & Mrs Smith have checked the flight schedules to some not-too-far-flung destinations and uncovered three wow-worthy boutique breaks you and your littlies won’t be able to resist.
Capella Singapore, Singapore
Style Clash of the centuries
Setting Southern Sentosa Island
Set on 30 acres of lush lawns with roaming peacocks and artfully appointed sculptures, boutique hotel Capella Singapore blends old-world colonial charm with contemporary chic thanks to the inimitable Foster + Partners. For family breaks, though, one of the major attractions is Sentosa Island itself, with its host of kid-friendly attractions.
Sleeping Of the 112 smart, fuss-free rooms, some of the larger two-bedroom villas and three-bedroom manors – these digs also have private plunge or lap pools – are best suited to a tribe. Some of the rooms – the one-bedroom Sentosa suites, boasting vistas of the South China Sea, and neighbouring Premier rooms – can also be connected.
Activities On the Capella grounds you’ll find a swimming pool and tennis court. Guests have priority access to bookings at the Sentosa Golf Club and mums might want to take some time out to enjoy the award-winning Auriga Spa. Luckily, the hotel can organise babysitting (SG$25 an hour for a minimum of four hours, plus an additional SG$40 transportation charge), so you can completely relax. Nearby on Sentosa Island, there’s so much to do – Butterfly Park & Insect Kingdom, MegaZip Adventure Park, the Cable Car, Underwater World, Universal Studios and a string of beaches, just to name a few – you’ll never get to them all in one long weekend.
Feasting There are two restaurants at Capella: Cassia is a chic, fine-dining Chinese restaurant serving Cantonese and fusion dishes; the Knolls is an all-day diner with an East-meets-West menu. Both have high chairs and kids’ options.
Sassy savings Get in quick, because if you book 14 days before travelling you can take advantage of the Advance Purchase deal with Mr & Mrs Smith saving 10 per cent on the best available rate.
The Siam, Bangkok, Thailand
Style Thai art deco allure
Setting Right on the river
Fancy a swelligent break in a dandy affair inspired by the jazzy art deco era? Bangkok boutique hotel The Siam, poised on the banks of the Chao Phraya River in the exclusive Dusit royal district, is peppered with vintage posters, gramophones and travel trunks. Perhaps not the place if you’ve got curious tots, but great for city-savvy teens. Plus, The Siam boasts Bangkok’s only pool villas.
Sleeping All of the 39 rooms can accommodate either a cot for a baby or an extra bed for an older child. Want your privacy? Older kids will enjoy their own room and the Siam Suites, Courtyard Pool Villas and Mae Nam Suites can all be configured with twin beds.
Activities The generous infinity pool beside the river has beautiful views, plus there’s a screening room, Thai cooking lessons and a gym that offers t’ai chi, yoga and, for the very active, muay Thai boxing classes. The Siam is just five minutes from the Dusit Zoo and 15 minutes from the National Museum and Grand Palace. Exploring the river and smaller canals in a longtail boat is always a great adventure and, of course, Bangkok is a retail paradise, whether you prefer multilevel malls or the floating markets.
Feasting Deco Bar & Bistro is The Siam’s all-day restaurant housed in a converted Jim Thompson teak building and serving a range of tasty international dishes, from lobster salad to goats’ cheese soufflé. For more authentic local tastes, there’s riverfront Chon Thai Restaurant.
Sassy savings Book your stay at The Siam through Mr & Mrs Smith and you’ll receive the best possible rate as well as the Smith extra of a Thai cooking class for two, including market tour and three-course lunch or dinner (excluding drinks) that you help prepare. Just remember to book it in advance.
Karma Kandara, Bali, Indonesia
Style Supersized villas
Setting Dramatic cliffhanger
With vast villas hidden in lush gardens, each with a private plunge pool, clifftop Balinese retreat Karma Kandara is a great solution for family groups. Mum can relax at the calming Karma Spa, while Dad shuffles the kids from the multilevel pool down to the beach club for splashing and sand castles. Plus, there’s a big family of monkeys, often spotted scampering by the pool and restaurant, that is sure to entertain.
Sleeping Each of the 46 villas has its own pool and fully equipped kitchen (you can ask for the fridge to be pre-stocked before you arrive), so the kids can run rampant without fear of upsetting neighbours. The villas range in size from two bedrooms to five, too, so everyone can stake out their own patch.
Activities There’s a huge pool, with a lower level that is shallow and suitable for the smalls, as well as the all-day Karma Kids Club offering treasure hunts, dress-ups, beach larks and junior cooking classes for two to 12-year-olds. Children will love the open-air inclinator that takes guests down the cliff to the private beach. If you want to explore further afield, hire a car for a half-day and take them to local surf beaches such as laid-back Padang Padang and one of Bali’s most revered temples, Pura Luhur Uluwatu, which is just 10 minutes’ drive away and has nightly kecak dance performances at sunset and cheeky wild monkeys.
Feasting Both the food and the views are stunning at di Mare, the airy, whitewashed Mediterranean eaterie. Down on the sand, Nammos Beach Club does a delicious line in grilled seafood and pizzas. Kids are more than welcome at both and di Mare has a children’s menu that includes standard kiddie fare as well as junior versions of Indonesian staples mee and nasi goreng.
Sassy savings Until 28 February, book a minimum two-night stay at Karma Kandara through Mr & Mrs Smith and you’ll receive an exclusive 30 per cent off the best available rates, including breakfast, a selection of fresh fruit (replenished daily) and return airport transfers. You’ll also enjoy free WiFi, and free access to the kids’ club and Nammos Beach Club.
Want other great family breaks? Simply visit www.mrandmrssmith.com or call the expert Travel Team on 800 905 236. What’s more, BlackSmith membership is now free for life, so book through Smith to receive life-enhancing extras and exclusive offers at 1,000 hotels and holiday houses around the world.