The best of big, busy city breaks…
Travelling as a family can be tricky even without the big cities thrown in the mix. It helps when you’ve got easy access to the best attractions and a comfortable base where everything is taken care of. Claire, a travel expert from Mr & Mrs Smith has personally handpicked five luxury urban boltholes from around the world that are perfect for a fun-packed family city break…
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Flanked by serene parkland, Oriental Residence boutique hotel is a family-friendly retreat in the heart of Bangkok. Chic apartment-style suites have enough room for your whole clan. The young ones will love the kids’ pool and games room, and parents will fall for the great location and impressive skyline views. Set out on foot to explore the area, a laid-back neighbourhood of leafy boulevards, open spaces and roadside stalls that belie Oriental Residence’s busier surroundings. And, after the days out, retire to bright and airy Café Claire to sample the menu of gourmet comfort food.
As a special bonus, we’ve lined up complementary daily breakfast for two at Café Claire!
How to get there: Many direct flights, taking just under three hours, are available daily. The hotel can organise transfers to and from the airport – one way costs THB3,500 per car.
Family attractions in the area: Have fun at cooking classes run by the hotel or head out into the peaceful locale. The delightful Lumphini Park is a 10-15 minute walk away, with playgrounds, gardens, boat rides… and keep an eye out for monitor lizards. The impressive Sea Life Ocean World is always a hit with young ones, as are riverboat trips that offer unrivalled views of some of the city’s most magical architecture.
Refusing to be outdone by its Upper East Side setting, The Surrey hotel is grand, elegant and surprisingly child-friendly. Its Michelin-starred Daniel Boulud restaurant, sultry bar and acclaimed Cornelia Spa all hold their own among New York City’s finest. From the glamorous rooftop bar to the spacious and well-appointed rooms, the hotel has cultivated a grown-up sensibility for the whole family. Ensconced in the Upper East Side, the Surrey is a fountain of family entertainment by virtue of its proximity to the famed Museum Mile, Central Park and other local attractions.
A bottle of wine on arrival? Yes please!
How to get there: Cathay Pacific fly direct to JFK or EWR daily from Hong Kong, with flights taking 16 hours. If you have younger kids in tow, opt for a one-stop transfer flight – Cathay Pacific has a route via Vancouver and United Airlines flies via Chicago, both of which would make for a suitable stopover. When you reach New York City airport, hop into a prearranged private car (remember to book this with the hotel prior to departure) or take an iconic yellow taxi (which has a set fare).
Family attractions in the area: Central Park is a coin toss from the hotel – and its zoo is well worth a visit with the kids. Boats are for hire on the lake from the Loab Boathouse and an ice rink opens in the winter months. Alternatively, go shopping along the avenues and stop for an ascent of the Rockefeller Centre or Empire State Building. Live baseball or basketball should be popular with your brood, too!
Read more: Why Our Family Put Hong Kong on Hold to Travel the World
Perched near Plaça de Catalunya, the self-catering apartments of DestinationBCN are a perfect base for exploring the Catalan capital with children. Gaudí’s near Disney-esque townhouses, the mind-boggling Sagrada Familia and the enchanting Turó Parc are all within easy reach, and the hotel’s various apartment sizes, with their sleek style and superbly equipped kitchens make staying here a pleasure. The hotel’s concierge has a full arsenal of family-friendly activities up their sleeve. Everything from picnics in Park Güell, gastronomy tours sampling Barcelona’s sweetest treats and kayaking can be arranged.
As a special treat for visiting families, you get a plate of crunchy chocolate-covered galettes, seasonal fruit and a bottle of water on arrival.
How to get there: Cathay Pacific offers direct flights from Hong Kong to Barcelona four times a week (Sun, Mon, Wed and Fri), taking 13 hours. Otherwise, there are connecting flights through other parts of Europe (London, Rome, Paris, Madrid), recommended if you’re travelling on a longer European itinerary.
Family attractions in the area: Visit Park Güell, a colourful public space designed by the city’s most famous architect, Gaudí. It has great views over the city! The awesome Tibidabo amusement park is an option further in-land, and there’s Barcelona’s strip of iconic city beaches which keep kids of every age entertained.
A resort that blends old-world colonial charm with contemporary chic, all with the turquoise backdrop of the South China Sea? Enter Capella Singapore. With 30 acres of lush lawns dotted with age-old trees, roaming peacocks and artfully appointed sculpture, this family-friendly spot is a parent’s dream. With Palawan Beach close by, as well as Universal Studios Singapore. it all adds up to a relaxing tropical-meets-city getaway. Indulge at the award-winning Auriga spa – on the doorstep of one of Asia’s best cities for shopping and eating. The hotel team can organise everything from signature yachting cruises to cycling excursions, gourmet experiences, shopping trips, or nature and cultural tours.
Nothing says treat yourself like a fancy afternoon with your S.O. so we’ve set you up with English high tea for two at the Knolls!
How to get there: Many direct flights available daily. The flight duration is four hours so it’s idea for toddlers.
Family attractions in the area: Sentosa is home to some of the best beaches in Singapore: Siloso, Palawan, and Tanjong are all excellent. For fun-packed days out, you’ll find Universal Studios Singapore and the SEA Aquarium both within walking distance of the hotel.
London’s most glamorous grande dame pulls out all the stops for parents: it wows with its art deco decor and fashionable air, but a child-friendly attitude and miracle-performing staff are what really impress. There’s no such thing as a bad room at Claridge’s – they’re the biggest in central London, which makes them very family-friendly. The hotel is also a stone’s throw from some of London’s most family-friendly attractions. There’s the timeless draw of Hamley’s, of course, or you could stroll a few minutes west or south for running and playing in Hyde Park or Green Park respectively. Luxury picnics for family days out can be whipped up on demand!
Cause for celebration? As a special perk, you get a chilled bottle of champagne in your room on arrival! We’ll cheers to that!
How to get there: Direct flights are available via British Airways, Cathay Pacific or Virgin Airline, taking roughly 13 hours. There are also flights via Bangkok or other European hubs.
Family attractions in the area: Buckingham Palace, the London Eye, the London Dungeon, ‘duck boat’ tours on the River Thames – you’re spoilt for choice.
With Mr & Mrs Smith you’ll enjoy our best-price guarantee, as well as a little something extra on arrival at every hotel. To book, call toll free at 800 905 326 or visit mrandmrssmith.com.
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All images via Mr & Mrs Smith