Beach; jungle cinema; spa; wine cellar; ice-cream and chocolate studio; library; free WiFi throughout. In rooms: TV, CD/DVD player, iPod dock, minibar, bathrobes, slippers.
If having a private pool to splash around in is a non-negotiable, opt for a Lagoon Beach Villa, which has two bedrooms and the all important private pool. All the villas share the same styling and set-up; what differentiates them is location: Lagoon Beach Villas look onto the lagoon; Ocean Beach Villas are on the other side of the island, with uninterrupted ocean views; Lagoon Water Villas are along the three jetties, offering the most privacy and best views.
The huge free-form, unheated pool (open from 10am to 8pm) winds around Sip Sip restaurant. There are secluded spaces with pairs of sunloungers and two sunken decks with sofas to flop on to. Otherwise, hop in that turquoise lagoon and dry off on white sand.
Remind yourself where you are in the world (as if you could forget) with a tropical treatment at the spa: opt for the exfoliating massage with sand, or the Kurumbaa Kaashi coconut rub. Free yoga and aerobics classes are on offer, along with holistic extras for an additional cost: de-stress workshops (not that you should be frowning here), acupressure sessions and so on.
Mrs Smith: nail clippers and jewel-bright polish to maintain your shiny holiday pedicure despite all the barefoot beaching (shoes are confiscated on arrival, to fast forward your Crusoe mindset). Mr Smiths: linens and lemony cologne. Both Mr & Mrs: something to impress the deck-spinning DJ (and dance in) at Chill Bar.
Very welcome, though the hotel reckons it’s best for 12-year-olds and over. Extra beds and baby cots can be added to rooms; these are free for under-12s and $100 a night for ages 12-16. Babysitting is available ($15 an hour); book at least day ahead.
The hotel reckons it’s best for children aged 12 and over – perhaps because older ones can maximise the watersports on offer. That said, the Den kids club is for three to 11-year-olds, so little Smiths will be well looked after…
The Beach Villas are great for families, thanks to their direct beach access and big sandy private garden, just in front of each villa, for little ones to play in. These villas also have a shaded dining area out on the deck. Ocean Beach Villa 95 is ace.
No crèche, just the Den, the kids club.
At Den, young ’uns can choose from indoor or outdoor activities: the highlight of the club is definitely the outdoor sandy area which has climbing ropes and swings suspended between the trees, but there’s also a stash of toys and games for wet days. Daily activities include hide and seek, sand art, dodgeball, water relay, pasta art and face-painting. A fleet of bicycles is also on loan to guests.
Instead of a communal pool, there’s the beach. There’s no lifeguard, so you’ll need to keep an eye on tottering tots, but the water is pretty calm and flat.
All rooms have an in-villa menu for infants, featuring dishes created without salt, sugar, spice or additives. Example dishes include: boiled vegetables with cream-cheese sauce; cream of organic vegetable purée, and banana mash. Children are welcome in the main restaurant at all times; there’s even a kiddies menu.
Babysitting is available for US$15 an hour; just book at least day ahead.
No need to pack
The hotel can lend you bottle sterilising equipment, high chairs, playmats, books, puzzles and baby towels.
Extra beds in rooms can each accommodate up to two children under 12 for free. For children aged 13-16, the cost is $100 a night and it’s only one child a bed. All extra beds need to be requested on booking.