If you haven’t quite had your fill of feasting, fireworks and festivities, you’re in luck: it’s time to saddle up and celebrate Chinese New Year. To usher in a new calendar’s worth of good luck, happiness and prosperity, boutique hotel-hunters Mr & Mrs Smith have three wow-worthy retreats, laden with more luxuries than a dragon puppet has legs. Flanked by lagoon-toting villas and crystalline waters, these digs have the flair to welcome in the Year of the Horse with serious style!
One&Only Reethi Rah
Style Maldives to the max
Setting Atoll utopia
A stay at One&Only Reethi Rah begins with a yacht ride through the eye-bogglingly beautiful North Male Atoll, continues on to moments of holiday magic and ends with you booking your return before you’ve even checked out.
Occupying their own stretch of sugar-sand shore, Beach Villas have direct ocean views and access to a private beach. With plenty of room for a cot (available upon request and free for children under three), these rooms have no stairs, perfect for parents with wander-happy toddlers. Families with older children can request a Beach Villa with queen-size beds to sleep four. If you fancy following in the well-heeled steps of the Beckham brood, opt for the Grand Beach Villa 142, where the Brit pack likes to celebrate Christmas.
With everything a Little Smith could want, KidsOnly is a dream for children. The indoor clubhouse is stocked with toys and games, a shaded sandy garden with swings and slides; a ball pool, toddler pool and a giant elephant. A daily schedule of activities is organised according to three age groups: 4–5s, 6–8s and 9–11s. Teens have their own slice of paradise, with a dedicated area for older kids that’s kitted out with a juice bar and games. Children under four are welcome at KidsOnly, provided they are supervised by either a parent or babysitter. Adventurous ankle-biters can tackle the climbing wall, dabble in watersports or scramble up water toys at the resort’s beach club, ClubOne – leaving parents who fancy themselves a budding PGA-master to seek out the golf simulator or indulge in a guilt-free treatment at the spa.
Reethi Restaurant has a distinctive fusion menu, with dishes boasting flavours from Asia Pacific and the Mediterranean. Watch through the floor-to-ceiling glass screens as chefs prepare your meal in the ‘open-concept’ show kitchen. The restaurant is situated close to the pool and has plenty of space for little legs to run about in. Tapasake is the resort’s Japanese eatery and has a special menu for fussy palates, and teppanyaki tables that will wow juniors and adults alike – bibs are a must. After a meal at Fanditha, an Aladdin’s cave-style dining den, your tots may want to continue the trend of cushioned floor-seating. There are highchairs in all the resort’s restaurants and toddler and child-friendly snacks are available upon request.
Anantara Phuket Villas
Style Refined, rustic and romantic
Setting Blue lagoon
Behind the fortress-like façade ofAnantara Phuket Villas is an interior that reveals itself like a grand cinematic opening sequence: a large waterlily-covered pond plays hosts to schools of fish, paddling ducks and hovering dragonflies and is fringed by lush flower-dotted foliage. Feeling giddy already? We thought so.
All rooms offer a stylish snooze, with dark teak and white linen interiors, and some boast private salas standing in the lagoon. Most rooms have the space for extra beds, which can be provided for an additional charge. The Two Bedroom Family Pool Villa is nestled on the edge of the resort’s picturesque lagoon, with a pool for a private family paddle and an expansive sun deck.
Perfect for splash-happy tots, active young’uns and snooze-seeking parents, Anantara has a crèche, the Turtle Club, for over-3s, as well as activities aplenty for bigger kids. Inside the Turtle Club (open 8am–6pm), mini Smiths can take part in glass painting, candle making and batik classes, as well as playing computer games and sports. Windsurfing, sailing and kayaking are available at the beach, and island excursions include snorkelling, elephant trekking and nature hikes in the forested Sirinath National Park. Little monkeys can interact with a real monkey by observing a gibbon being prepared for release as part of the Gibbon Rehabilitation Project – just ask the cool-title-toting Director of Discovery.
All the hotel’s restaurants welcome children and can supply kids’ menus and high chairs; staff are happy to warm up milk for babies. Begin days by grazing at the spectacular spread at La Sala, where the buffet breakfast includes live cooking stations and a host of Asian and Western morning favourites. Open all day, La Sala dishes up a rustic Italian menu for lunch and dinner, as well as Phuket specialties unique to the island. During sun-kissed days, the Tree House is a lofty perch serving gourmet coffees and sorbet teas; for a relaxed evening affair, ascend the spiral staircase for Thai fusion tapas, comfy oversized chairs, mojitos and margaritas. Seafood-seekers should make for Sea.Fire.Salt to enjoy a beachside barbecue feast and oenophile-pleasing bouquets selected by the tableside sommelier.
InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort
Style By Bill Bensley
Setting Secluded Son Tra Peninsula
Arrive at InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort and you’ll be greeted by glorious jungle gardens, dramatic temple-inspired architecture and horizons of cloud-topped peaks. If you start to bruise from too many ‘pinch me, am I dreaming?’ moments, don’t fret; the spa therapists have hands that work wonders.
Only a few barefoot steps away from the hotel’s beach, restaurants, pool and bar, the villas are smack-bang in the heart of the resort. Villas can comfortably sleep more than one child on the huge day bed set in the alcove, which is otherwise used as a TV den. The sprawling Two Bedroom Seaside Villa on the Rocks has a private pool, a sundeck with outdoor swing, a king-size bed and two queens.
There’s no need to pack a hoard of toys and games to keep Little Smiths smiling: the free kids club, Planet Trekkers, has everything-and-the-kitchen-sink-types covered. There’s a slide, a TV and games pod, mini chairs and tables and shelves groaning with books, board games and toys. Planet Trekkers is open daily between 9am and 8pm, welcomes tots aged between three and 12, and is always supervised. The hotel organises a bucketload of daily activities, including beach volleyball, trekking trips and kayaking. What can parents do while mini Smiths have a ball? There’s a cooking school, wow-worthy spa, Jacuzzi and a private beach shaded by towering palms and manned by a lifeguard.
Taking an interior design cue from its name, Citron is decked out with mango-yellow and lime-bright furnishings. The most coveted seats in the house are the private dining booths, which float over the hillside, 100m above sea level. Go back for seconds (and thirds or fourths) from the never-ending buffet and watch the chefs work culinary magic in the show kitchen. If you’re after a more grown-up evening, book a babysitter and prepare for fine-dining at La Maison 1888, which serves elegant French offerings crafted by Michel Roux. The Barefoot Café does what is says on the tin: expect toe-curling golden sand, pretty sea vistas and a menu of fuss-free beach grub.
For more family-friendly escapes head to Mr & Mrs Smith. Smith guests enjoy exclusive extras on all stays.