Best Family Hotel
A truly family-friendly hotel or resort rolls out the red carpet for even the youngest of guests – without compromising on style, space, or quality time for grown-ups.
The winner of the Best Family Hotel award has everyone's best interests at heart. It knows how precious family holidays are and makes room for relaxation with thoughtful restaurant timings, fantastic facilities and plenty of parent-pleasing extras: evening crèche sessions, fun activities, and dedicated spaces where kids and adults can share time together – and apart.
Founder of Australia’s travel-inspired family fashion destination, Captain and the Gypsy Kid
Co-founder of West London’s most renowned family-focused private member’s club, Maggie & Rose
Doctor, co-founder of skincare brand Kevin Chua aesthetics, jewellery designer, Tatler contributor and mother of two
Local Hotel Hero
Above & Beyond
Best Family Hotel winners...
‘If you are an adventure family that loves the outdoors but wants to experience a holiday where you also feel looked after, treated and the workload is non existent, this is the place. An incredible location this is truly the perfect scenario for the whole family to connect to each other and the unparalleled landscape that is Colorado.’
– Sheree Commerford Founder, Captain and the Gypsy Kid
RUNNER-UP: SONEVA FUSHI, MALDIVES
A clownfish-shaped pool, pirate ship, ping-pong hut, trampolines, mocktail bar, lego room, dress-up area, zip line and a water slide from the main building – there’s every chance this is the greatest kids’ club in the world. But we should also mention the on-island chocolatier, telescope-equipped observatory, enlightening eco centre and on-site reef for all ages, too. With all those distractions, us grown-ups will be in the life-affirming spa…
RUNNER-UP: VERDURA RESORT, SICILY, ITALY
This Rocco Forte-designed hideaway features an entirely separate world of fun for children. At Verdùland, hotel mascot Verdù the hedgehog hosts lively themed activities focused on education (Sicilian history, mythology, gardening), arts and crafts (painting, pottery, dance, short-film making, a Verdura's Got Talent competition), and food (learning to cook a range of globally inspired dishes in a tot-tailored kitchen), with beach trips in between. In short, it's bliss for mini-Smiths.
Lang Walker named Kokomo after his childhood dingy, which says something about the family-friendly mindset at this private-island idyll. The Australian billionaire spent years developing his slice of Fijian heaven – but having opened it up to guests, he hasn’t forgotten about the little ones. Hermit-crab hunts, dolphin-spotting safaris, manta-rays swims… if it slipped your mind you brought them, we wouldn’t hold it against you.
You might balk at the idea of sticky fingers in Sublime Comporta's pristine villas. But children (if slightly older ones) are warmly welcomed here. Family days out run to gentle beach picnics, kayaking in the Açude, surfing and biking. Thrilling gallops (or lazy lollops) on horseback take in verdant farmland. All that, and it's so close to Lisbon, you'll barely hear the 'are-we-there-yets'.
What child wouldn’t want to go coconut bowling amid the Nemo-like landscape of the eastern Caribbean? The kids’ club here hosts this and more: from board games and craft sessions to family-friendly movie nights. We’re guessing The Little Mermaid features highly, as aspiring Aerials can also learn how to swim like real-life merfolk – complete with requisite tails. It’s enough to make you shake a maraca, which you can also do.
In Tennyson’s famous poem, the eagle was ‘ring’d with the azure world’ – and so it is at Eagles Villas, where the Aegean Sea takes centre stage for aquatic adventures, from snorkeling and sailing to scuba diving. There’s plenty for land-loving littl’uns, too: tennis courts and an excellent kids’ club will free you up to be buffed and scrubbed at the spa, or to clink glasses at the mellow beach bar.
Set up base in your thatched, over-water villa and send your budding Crusoes on tropical adventures along jungle-fringed beaches lapped by current-free waters – perfect for early-years snorkelers and kayakers. Kids’ club staff encourage independence – children get bracelets they can exchange for smoothies or pancakes – and will arrange trips to Casela Wildlife Park for walks among lions and tigers (and their expert handlers, of course).
This designer Cotswolds estate has a series of very big houses in the country – even one styled by Kate Moss. Kids can run wild and free, with bushcraft and fire-lighting lessons devised by adventurer Ben Fogle, fishing, archery and kayaking sessions. They'll leave with the survival instincts of Bear Grylls. Thrills (ziplining, biking, swimming) and chills (puppetry, pizza-making, animal-petting) are spread over three clubs for different ages.
Foot-stomping children seeking the proverbial pony will have no complaints here. With an on-site equestrian centre, Lucknam runs daily pony trots around the estate for little princesses (and princes). Duck herding, falconry displays, adult-and-child cookery courses – if the Cotswolds set revamped Center Parcs it would look a little like this. When it comes to prising them away from the ponies, there are even ‘Little Miss’ spa treatments.
Best Family Hotel award criteria
A WARM WELCOME
Do staff make families feel truly welcome? Can children stay free in parents' rooms, are they greeted by name? The best child-friendly hotels cater for kids as well as they do their parents.
FUN FOR KIDS…
Keeping them occupied requires more than a few PlayStations. Are there lots of opportunity for play, supervised activities or bikes to borrow? Is the pool family-friendly, the beach perfect for paddling? We love a kids' club that embraces local culture, with educational pizza-making, bug safaris or language lessons.
PLENTY OF KIT
As well as cots, can the hotel help lighten your luggage by providing some of the paraphernalia, from bottle-warmers to buggies? Maybe there's a playground, a well-stocked games room or watersports centre, or a welcome basket of toys in your room.
Is there a bullet-proof baby-listening system? Is babysitting available day and night? Is there a fantastic crèche that nurtures and inspires? Qualified staff? Your peace of mind – and their wellbeing – is paramount.
…AND FOR GROWN-UPS
Here's the crucial bit: parents must feel they're on holiday, too. Adults-only spa time, a romantic meal for two and decor that doesn't scream 'Wipe me!' or 'Don't touch!' all play a part in making the perfect family hotel.
Mealtimes can be stressful with little ones – especially in a hotel where you're always on show. Is there a stash of highchairs? Some crayons to keep them occupied? Does the kids' menu exceed expectations? Is it available via room service? Are staff happy to help?