Getting away for the weekend is guaranteed to put a spring back into your step—but I’m a firm believer that just because I’m a mum, it doesn’t mean I have to resign myself to ditching the luxe. I mean, clearly there’s always a time and a place for cheap and cheerful, but for me, a weekend break should be about relaxation, family time, and a bit of pampering.
Brilliantly, there are lots of luxury hotels that offer exactly this for the modern parent. They seamlessly pair family fun with uber glam or boutique-chic living.
Here are my 8 favourite kid-friendly European luxury hotels:
This place is basically the dream British countryside hotel. Think low, beamed ceilings, roaring fires, children playing board games while grownups sip tea and eat scones. If that’s not enough to convince you, there’s a gorgeous spa which overlooks the vegetable patch where ducks waddle around. Keep walking and you’ll reach a children’s play area with a tractor to climb on and play houses with cute bunting strung up (there were chickens making themselves at home when we looked in!). Come the evening, you can dine as a family or tuck the kiddos up and use the hotel listening service to keep an eye on them while you eat.
Brand new for 2015, Ikos Oceania is fast becoming a firm favourite for families looking for a luxury holiday. It’s set on the magnificent Halkidiki peninsula, where you can enjoy the beach with the kids or make use of the innovative beachside childcare service, allowing you to relax in the sun, knowing your little ones are safe nearby (so important!). Run to strict Ofsted standards, the kids’ club offers DJ classes, baking, face painting, and pyjama parties. Oh, and I haven’t even mentioned the Anne Semonin spa and Michelin starred chefs…
Surf vibes mix with serious five-degree chic here at Martinhal. While you relax with a mojito in the bar, your kids can play in the VW camper van or play outside in the Village Square children’s play area. If that’s not enough fun, there are three pools to choose from (I liked the beach pool best), and when you’re not splashing around, you can dry off on one of the giant Fatboy beanbags. Supervised sessions at dinner mean you can eat as a couple, and the kids’ club is brilliant for allowing you to visit the Finisterra Spa. Bliss.
At first glance, you’d be forgiven for thinking this is the least child-friendly hotel in London. But look more closely and you’ll see they offer a family package which gives you adjoining rooms, complete with a pop-up den, milk and cookies, and mini bathrobes for your children. Chuck in a babysitter and the fact that one of the city’s top restaurants—The Berner’s Tavern—is on the ground floor, and you’ve got yourself the dream family weekend away. We didn’t want to leave!
Putting the fun factor into luxury family travel, this Mark Warner resort is second to none. I actually stayed without my four-year-old daughter in tow, but had a full tour of the childcare facilities and knew she’d love it. The beachside resort offers everything from watersports tuition (for all ages) and tennis to bike rides and spa treatments. In a genius move, the hotel has an over-eighteens pool, meaning if you drop your little ones off at the kids’ club (all trained to UK standards) you can relax with a book, in peace.
Cornwall is awash with family-friendly hotels, but few do it as stylishly as The Rosevine. Because it’s split into mini “apartments,” you can stay as a family without being crammed into the same room. You can also order meals from the on-site deli to enjoy in your room of an evening. With an indoor swimming pool and play room, your family will be kept entertained, whatever the weather, and rest assured, The Rosevine is as much about style as it is about substance. Rooms are filled with a mix of old and restored painted French pieces of furniture, which nestle up against more modern finds. You’ll love it.
It’s impossible to stay at Pine Cliffs and get bored. As well as the nine-hole golf course, there’s the children’s village with mini-golf, basketball, volleyball, and bouncy castles, swimming pools, gym, and tennis courts. The Pine Cliffs kids’ club is a whopping 7,000 square metres and even has its own pool! Despite your kids bouncing around giddily, you’ll feel calm as you walk around thanks to the contemporary palette of neutrals and clean-lined furniture. Thanks to the kitchens in the Pine Cliffs Residences and Pine Cliffs Terraces, you can pop your children to bed and create a romantic supper for two to enjoy on your balcony.
The ultimate luxury hangout for families in the UK (a friend of mine stayed recently and brushed shoulders with a very famous film actor and his kids), Babington might be heavy on style, but they know how to look after their smallest guests too. The stable block rooms are ideal for families—they have a separate bedroom with bunk beds downstairs and a master bedroom upstairs, plus games consoles and board games too. With the Teeny House creche and The Loft for teens, your kids will have plenty to do. And don’t leave without visiting the Cowshed spa or taking a stroll around the walled garden.
What’s your favourite luxury family hotel?
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