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Family-friendly holidays for babies, teens and big kids

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Family-friendly holidays for babies, teens and big kids

Child-friendly hotels around the world to suit every age group, in crowd-pleasing destinations from Cornwall to the Caribbean

Kate Weir

BY Kate Weir1 July 2024

Parents, here’s our foolproof guide to family holidays for every age group, whether you’re toting a newborn, trying to keep junior entertained, or travelling with tweens and teens. These child-friendly hotels and school-holiday heroes are for the whole family, where ages, fun factors and the length of parental tethers have been taken firmly into consideration.

FOR BABIES

La Zambra Resort, Malaga

The sleep deprivation, tiny-voiced demands and being on-demand 24/7 is worth it, because now you have a reason to hop over to Málaga for a well-deserved rest at La Zambra Resort. New parents rejoice, for its dedicated summer baby club (free for guests) takes infants from six months for soft play and games to build their psychomotor skills, while you collapse into a sunlounger, complete the spa circuit, or do sweet, sweet nada.

Ekies All Senses Resort, Halkidiki

Headier than a shot of ouzo, Greek chill-out retreat Ekies All Senses Resort has pattern-zhuzhed rooms with quirky murals and a breezy, beachy feel. Book the Family Suite with a private pool for gentle afternoons of paddling and swaying in a hammock with your wee one. Or find a shaded sandy spot at the talc-soft private beach, which has plentiful sunloungers and shallow waters for little waders.

Fowey Hall, Cornwall

Fowey Hall is so nurturing of new families that it’s practically a doula in hotel form. The Ofsted-registered Four Bears Den club admits little ones from three months old for crafty play days; milk can be heated and food puréed; and there are listening devices in rooms and free-to-borrow baby monitors, so you can enjoy sea-inspired spa treatments or board-game battling in the library while still keeping close tabs on your brood.

FOR TODDLERS

No.15 by Guesthouse, Bath

No.15 by Guesthouse might have 18th-century looks, but it’s not too genteel for families. They know what pint-sized people want: a mini tipi in their room, a Yoto Player to keep them entertained, Polaroid camera to tinker with and more candy than they can possibly eat in a stay – although, in reality, all ages will be swiping treats from the help-yourself pantry. Should you want a dalliance à deux, a Mary Poppins-esque Norland Nanny can be secured.

Rosewood Cape Kidnappers, New Zealand

Experience all the fun of this vast, 6,000-acre working sheep and cattle farm. At Rosewood Cape Kidnappers there’s a special children’s menu, bags of baby kit and plenty to do: nighttime safaris, Can-Am tours, forest-bird feeding sessions, quad-biking and peaceful picnics.

Almyra, Cyprus

God bless the hotel pool for kids: alongside Almyra’s cool, clean, modern sensibility, it has space for all to swim, including a shallow spot for armband-toting tots. Its stylish kids’ club has bespoke activities and a dedicated sleep room; and the ‘baby-go-lightly’ service significantly frees up suitcase space, allowing you to order all manner of kit — be it swim nappies, baby baths, bouncy chairs, play mats juices or purées — in advance of your stay.

Chewton Glen, Hampshire

Classic English stately home Chewton Glen has all the airs and graces: a long winding approach through the grounds, ever-so-charming staff, a croquet green… But it’s not too lah-di-dah for kids, who can enjoy walking sheep, learning how to forage, meeting the farm animals, spying New Forest ponies (and go for rides) and toddle down to the peaceful beach nearby. For a windfall of Brownie points, book one of the tiny-mind-blowing Treehouse Suites.

FOR JUNIORS

Lime Wood, Hampshire

Yet another esteemed Brit country estate with serious gourmet clout (the restaurant by top chefs Angela Hartnett and Luke Holder is a true destination diner), Lime Wood also packs a superlative spa. As parents are being coddled in Bamford balms, kids can run carefree, bombing over the grounds on a bike, scooter or Hunter wellies (all available to borrow).

Amanyara, Turks and Caicos

When you have greens on greens, endless blues and pearlescent stretches of sand, the whole family will want to make the most of it. Turks and Caicos stay Amanyara immerses kids in this tropical paradise with its Nature Discovery Centre, where they’ll seek critters on mini safaris, learn to swim and sail and partake in scavenger hunts. At the Clubhouse they’ll burn energy playing sports (soccer, volleyball, tennis…) then unwind watching a film with popcorn; and they’ll even benefit from Aman’s spa soothing, with specially designed yoga and meditation sessions.

Marbella Club, Spain

Glamorous historic hotel Marbella Club has welcomed Golden Age A-listers and royalty, but it extends its impeccable hospitality to little ones, too. Its beautiful kids’ club (for four to 14 year olds) has its own perfumery, kitchen, garden, crafts corner, music room, small pool and more, where fun and learning play on the same turf. The beach club is sociable for parents and progeny, and parents have a selection of bars to prop up, as the kids are entertained.

FOR TEENS

Bovey Castle, Devon

Hear ye, hear ye – your little lords’ and ladies’ presence is requested at Dartmoor-set manse Bovey Castle. But ready them for rough-and-tumble times, because this isn’t for Fauntleroys. Teens can run riot in the grounds and National Park wilds for archery, air-rifle and clay-pigeon shooting, off-roading, bee-keeping, fly-fishing, riding around in Land Rovers and more. And those not quite ready to lock and load can find gentler fun in the KidsZone.

Borgo Egnazia, Puglia

As the site of Justin Timberlake’s nuptials, bellissima Italian stay Borgo Egnazia will impress former teens, but there’s plenty to make today’s youngsters look up from their phones. The family-sized pool villas will be a hit with all, the (two) beach clubs are glamorous yet laidback for sophomore socialites and the games room will hit all the right buttons, while the Tarantari Teen Club encourages bonding with a like-minded international set over traditional dance, cooking classes and more. It’s another hotel with a very special spa, where treatments borrow from traditional Puglian practice.

Summercamp, Martha’s Vineyard

Summercamp’s name nods to its carefree seasonal spoils; its Martha’s Vineyard setting offers idyllic family-holiday fodder (think fewer screens, more biking, beaching and communal barbecuing). And this coastal bed and breakfast has a playful spirit, with nautical-themed bunk-beds, Twister and ping-pong for passing the time and a Camp Canteen open 24/7 for classic US sweets. And if that’s not cute enough, you get homemade cookies on arrival too.

FOR BIG KIDS

Gorah Elephant Camp, South Africa

Come say hi to the loveable Heffalumps who lumber into high-end Gorah Elephant Camp on a fairly frequent basis. If you want a bit more biodiversity, well, there’s plenty to be had – kids at heart (and actual kids over 12 years old) will be thrilled at the chance to view the Big Five on game drives. And there’s the option to up the ante, with mountain-bike rides, horse treks and even a spot of sand-boarding.

Les Roches Rouges, France

The retro Fifties beach chic is so strong at French seaside stay Les Roches Rouges, you half expect sunbathers to start go-go-ing. But non, this is a stay that accentuates the titular red rocks surrounding it and made a feature of its bedrock, by carving a swimming pool into the coast. When not swimming (or go-go-ing) adventurous teens can snorkel, kite-surf, go pedal-boating and play pétanque.

Estelle Manor, Oxfordshire

Despite a stiff-upper-lip exterior, Estelle Manor is a listed country manor where you can let your hair down whatever age you are. Smalls can roam the estate on mini Land Rovers, navigating gentle obstacle courses. Older kids can learn how to shoot arrows and air rifles; you can forage and handle falcons as a family; and there are kids’ clubs for juniors to teens. Parents will find spaces especially for them, too: Eynsham Baths spa is a Roman-style temple to wellness and an adults-only eatery facilitates date nights.

FAMILY ALL STARS

Esperanza, Los Cabos

Cabo resort Esperanza offers the kind of experience you’d usually give your first-born for, but here you can bring them – and the whole gang – along. In prime paradisiacal position by the Sea of Cortez, you’ll find expansive villas, clubs for juniors and teens, chefs catering to picky eaters, film screenings in the pool with floaties and activities from Mexican cookery to piñata making, bocce ball and paddle-boarding. While the young ’uns are away, it’s mezcal tastings, cacao facials and romantic full moon dinners for grown-ups.

One&Only Reethi Rah, Maldives

The Maldives isn’t remixed at One&Only Reethi Rah: powder-soft beaches, swaying palms, lavish shoreside and outlying villas are all present and correct. We’re sure you can handle it. But it does have an appealing youthful vitality to it too. Fun comes in the form of dolphin cruises and whale-shark spotting, tennis courts, a National Geographic-approved dive centre and the Maldives’ first climbing wall. Kids’ clubs for a wide span of ages keep ankle-biters busy, whether they’re cooking or learning Maldivian drumming, plus there’s a pool with a slide and multiple eateries around the island, so even the pickiest eaters will be appeased.

Beaverbrook, Surrey Hills

Lordly manor Beaverbrook ticks all our clan-cosseting boxes. Not content with being a wedding cake of a home that has hosted Elizabeth Taylor, Rudyard Kipling and Ian Fleming, it’s roped in children’s entertainers Sharky and George to lead tot-to-teen distractions in its kids’ club. Den building, bug hunting, water fights, woodland-creature crafting and film screenings are up for grabs, plus the glorious grounds are safe to roam. For grown-ups, there’s fun to be had in the spa and bar, and on the tennis and pickleball courts and croquet lawn.

Daios Cove Luxury Resort, Crete

Enjoy a classic sea-and-sand combo at this Greek retreat, plus roomy clifftop luxury villas with views that deserve an intake of breath. There’s a gentle private beach to paddle in, many private pools with on-high views, and enough restaurants for mixing up mealtimes till the end of your stay, plus a spa to feather Daios Cove‘s cap. For kids, there’s fun from crèche to kids’ club and beyond, with childcare from four months all the way to 12 years.

For more crowd-pleasing pads, take a peek at our luxury family hotels and villas.