Maybe you are super-organised and maybe you are already thinking ahead to where you’ll be heading in your half-term break (or even, gasp, summer 2015). Or maybe you have left it all to the last minute, and are looking to get away this summer. However you book your holidays, put these family-friendly hotels in your Little Black Book for fail-safe options for all ages.
The Spanish hotel group Barceló Hotels & Resorts are well regarded for their family-friendly properties, based all over the world. Their properties in the Canary Islands are currently offering 15% off bookings until October – perfect for half term or last-minute deals. Highlights include the recently refurbished Barceló Santiago found on the southwest of Tenerife. It has its own beach, sea views, three swimming pools and spa. Its kids club caters for 4-12 year olds and offers a range of activities and sports for all to partake in. www.barcelo.com
Offering an authentic Swiss experience with a child-friendly focus is the luxurious Beau-Rivage Palace. Hidden away in 10 acres of private gardens with spectacular views of Lake Geneva and the Swiss Alps, it features three restaurants, two bars and terraces, two tennis courts, two swimming pools and special programmes for children (as well as a playground). The impressive hotel comes into its own in the summer months with its bicycles for hire and its own seven-seater electric boat that guests can hire to navigate Lake Leman. Furthermore, it offers a host of inspiring activities for children including the new pastry lessons and cooking classes with the hotel’s chef, flower arranging for both adults and young ones, treasure hunts and tennis camps. www.brp.ch
It may not be an obvious choice for families, but for the adventurous few Vietnam has become a real option of late. Direct flights from the UK mean getting there is easier and new family-friendly hotel openings mean that a stress-free time can be had by all when you arrive. Take The Nam Hai in Hoi An, for instance. It has launched a ‘Kids Activity Villa’ and special summer activity schedule for ages up to 12 years. Lantern making, coconut leaf art, excursions and gardening lessons are just a few of the activities on offer. The villa-based property is situated on its own beach and is just a 15-minute drive outside the UNESCO town of Hoi An. It has its own cookery school, tennis courts and a nearby 18-hole golf course designed by Colin Montgomerie. www.thenamhaihoian.com
Ideal for those wanting to stay put in the UK this year, is the charming South Sands Hotel found on three-time Blue Flag winner South Sands Beach in South Devon. The perfect family summer holiday base, the hotel is surrounded by rolling hills, sandy beaches and a never-ending coastal playground. Delightful. In addition to the hotel’s 22 bedrooms, it also has five Beach Suites which are self-contained two-bedroom apartments – so ideal for those wanting a little more flexibility. New for this summer is its I-Spy children’s photography course. Teaming up with the innovative photographic venue in nearby Salcombe, the course gives kids up to the age of 12 an introduction to photography, allowing the children themselves to create and produce the images. The hotel also has a rolling roster of activities for all ages, including sand castle competitions, crabbing, sailing, hot air balloon riding and horse riding along the beach. www.southsands.com
Taking the notion of keeping the children happy to a new level is the tropical resort Anahita in Mauritius. It has opened a dedicated Kids Adventure Park offering a host of activities for pre-schoolers through to teenagers. There are mini jet skis, quad bikes and zip wires as well as pedal karting, trampolines and a giant inflatable castle. There is even a mini town with specially designed traffic signals and mini electrical cars. The hotel also has specific age-related kids clubs while parents can kick back in the five-star surrounds in a choice of suites or villas. The resort is found on the secluded east coast and has spectacular views of the mountains and Indian Ocean. www.anahita.mu