With a lovely new year stretching ahead of us, it’s time to add some exciting travel trips to the diary! If you’ve got kids – little or big – these holiday destinations offer easy accessibility, great facilities for children and plenty of activities for all ages. Heck, even if you’re not travelling on holiday with kids, these are all excellent options for escape, relaxation and a slice of well-deserved paradise. Enjoy!
Avani + Phuket Suites & Villas
Good for: Easy escapist fun
Phuket has come a long way since its sleazy-party reputation of the 1990s, and nothing proves this point more than Avani+ Mai Khao Phuket. Just a 15 minute drive from the island’s international airport, a Thai paradise awaits on a refreshingly underdeveloped sweep of golden shoreline. This is a spot where families enjoy burying Dad neck-deep into the sand and schedule sunset dips in the sea.
The hotel is based around natural local beauty, a feeling of space and slowing down, and total convenience. The inviting turquoise lagoon-style swimming pool marks the centrepiece of the property. Parents can kick back on the loungers while children head to the AvaniKids Club, located right next to the water, where staff engage little ones in pizza-making, tree planting and visits to a turtle sanctuary. There’s also a climbing wall, kids yoga and Muay Thai sessions. Babysitting services are available.
The rooms, with their soaring high ceilings, will blow your mind. At 115 sqm the two bedroom suites are beyond huge and the facilities seem supersized: the bed, roll top bath, outdoor shower, TVs and wardrobes. There’s even a fully equipped kitchenette complete with microwave, stovetop, Nespresso machine, washer/dryer, full-size fridge and shelves of snacks and drinks. Outside, your own private pool and sala, a traditional Thai outdoor pavilion, is ideal for mini-dips and me-time when the kids are sleeping/fighting/watching Kung Fu Panda again.
If dining in is not your thing, onsite eateries include a seafood shack, open-all-day Talad, and Chop Chop, Mai Khao’s first and only Asia-style beer garden. Right across from Avani+ Mai Khao Phuket Suites & Villas is sister resort, Anantara Mai Khao Phuket Villas, of which Avani guests can access the restaurants, sprawling lawn, and tennis courts, Muay Thai boxing ring and Anantara Spa. Meanwhile, the surrounding area comes in the shape of Turtle Village, offering boutique shops, restaurants, cafés, a pharmacy, supermarket, moneychanger, and ATMs – all you need for an easy, breezy, family holiday of dreams.
One & Only Reethi Rah, Maldives
Good for: Endless activities
Children of all ages are beyond catered for at One & Only Reethi Rah, Maldives. Those aged four to nine can play by the pool lined with child-sized sun loungers; ages nine to 11 have their very own ‘chillout zone’ including PlayStations and movie nights; and teens can choose from sushi cookery lessons, pottery classes and banana boat rides. There are even organised get-togethers for teenagers to hang out away from Mum and Dad. Meanwhile, parents can check out the tennis, rock climbing, FIFA-certified football pitch, art classes and the 12 surrounding beaches.
Batu Batu, Malaysia
Good for: Water babies
Take your brood to Batu Batu in Malaysia, a private eco resort that’s home to coconut groves, white sandy beaches and Hawksbill turtles. Children and adults can snorkel the coral reef and those aged five and older can have a first taste of scuba diving with the Supplied Air Snorkelling programme. Older kids can also get scuba-certified at the dive centre on the island. From March until December, all members of the family can sign up as a volunteer at TWC and become fully immersed in the conservation process – from checking the hatchery at night to helping with underwater clean ups and data collection.
Rocco Forte Verdura Resort, Italy
Good for: Sport-mad little (and big) ones
Rocco Forte Verdura Resort in Sicily comes with one of the best kids’ clubs around. Purpose-built Verduland features a science lab, cooking school, an arts and crafts zone, heated outdoor pool and a video games room. The club is open to children up to 12 years old and babies (newborns to toddlers) even have their own nap zone and dedicated playroom. On top of this, there’s a multitude of sport-based academies for both children and adults of all abilities, ranging from padel, tennis, golf and swimming. Mega-popular is the Juventus Academy where those aged five to 16 can meet new friends and enjoy football lessons run by professional coaches.
Song Saa, Cambodia
Good for: Eco warriors
The private island of Song Saa in Koh Rong, Cambodia is a lovely eco resort dedicated to creating a better planet. As a bid to educate children about the environment, it offers unique ecological projects for guests of every age to get stuck into, such as recycling programmes and workshops with the local community. Snorkel coral reefs in search of seahorses, kayak through mangroves with marine biologists, or embark on a fascinating rainforest expedition.
Paws Up, USA
Good for: Action & adventure
This luxury ranch is just one huge playground. The site features two kids’ clubs – Little Discoverers (age three to five) and Adventure Club (age six to 12) – and both offer a whole lotta fun. Located in the wilderness of Montana, horse riding, fitness trails and zip-line rides are all the rage during the summer months, while the winter months are about ice skating and luge-style sledding. Book your family into one of the lodges or go all-out with a glamorous tent.
Zarafa Camp, Botswana
Good for: Animal lovers
Nature-loving children aged eight to 15 will have the time of their life on the Great Plains Young Explorers Programme at Zarafa Camp. Kids can combine lessons in wildlife awareness and conservation with hands-on experiences such as bush tracking, treasure hunting and cooking in the great outdoors. As the Selinda Reserve is home to leopards, lions, cheetahs, elephants, buffalo, zebras and giraffes, there’ll be plenty to see.