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With the chances of a long, hot UK summer looking slim, the hip hideaways booking experts at i-escape.com have put together a range of short-haul favourites for super-easy getaways.
The selection brings together family-friendly options from i-escape’s 850-strong Kids Collection, including an indulgent retreat in France’s Languedoc region and a value villa holiday on the Greek island of Skiathos, as well as stylish couples’ escapes in sun-drenched destinations such as Croatia and Sardinia.
Prices start at just £57 per night for a family of 4 in Greece and £65 per night for a couple in Sardinia.
Skiathos Holidays, Greece - great value on Skiathos’ upmarket Kalamaki Peninsula
Set in serene gardens on Skiathos’ secluded Kalamaki Peninsula, this collection of self-catering villas, studios and apartments (each sleeping 2-6) is sure to become a favourite with i-escape families. There are sofabeds, baby cots, highchairs and lots of outdoor space, and the child-friendly tavernas nearby will suit parents who don’t want to cook; breakfast can even be rustled up at the cabana-chic bar for an additional charge. Best of all, the beach is on the doorstep, so you can roll the kids out of bed and straight onto the sand. There’s plenty to explore nearby, too - hillside monasteries, wild coves, forest hiking trails and tiny, uninhabited islets.
The Junior Suite (sleeping 2 adults and 2 children) is available from £57 per night (accommodation only).
Country Kids, France - luxury apartments on a converted Languedoc farm
These 7 apartments (each sleeping 4-12) offer hassle-free family holidays that combine childcare with an endless list of activities. While the kids climb trees, bounce on trampolines, go on treasure hunts, head off on tractor rides and make new friends, parents can unwind with wine-tasting sessions, tennis coaching, massages in the spa, and canoeing on nearby lakes. Babysitting is provided twice a week so grown-ups can enjoy date nights at local restaurants, and on Fridays the littl’uns are treated to a breakfast pyjama party while parents have a much-needed lie-in. Everything is covered when it comes to food, too - summer rates are all-inclusive; at other times you self-cater in the fully equipped kitchens. There’s even a bar plus a shop selling homemade ready meals, and welcome hampers are provided on arrival.
Apartments are available from £381 per night, based on 4 sharing on an accommodation-only basis. All-inclusive summer rates start at £1,034 per night, also based on 4 sharing.
Finca Naranja, Spain - self-catering cottages in flower-filled fields
Architect Conchita Kien has designed 4 stand-alone cottages at her Andalucian finca, which sits in the mountains near Ronda. All are spacious, airy and clean-cut, with a unique fusion of Southeast Asian and Spanish décor. Two have mezzanine sleeping areas for up to 3 kids, while the others can fit an extra bed or baby cot. The ethos here is easy living from the word ‘go’ - fridges come stocked with ingredients for making delicious breakfasts, and at dinnertime guests can cook in their kitchenette or drive 15 minutes up the road to the restaurants of Ronda. There’s heaps of outdoor space, too, with a lovely pool, hammocks strung from trees, a chill-out area and honesty bar in a meadow, and a play area and trampoline for the children.
A Deluxe Suite is available from £155 per night, based on 2 adults and 2 children sharing (breakfast ingredients included).
Domu Antiga - stylish new B&B in Sardinia’s mellow interior
Hidden in the tiny village of Gergei in the heart of Sardinia is Domu Antiga, a serene B&B which opened in 2013. This restored 19th-century farmhouse has just 3 bedrooms, all with beautiful rustic-chic touches such as embroidered linens, chunky rafters and turquoise shutters. It’s the perfect rural escape - wake to bountiful breakfasts served in the garden or in front of the kitchen fire, then head out to explore the island’s breath-taking interior - a sparsely populated wilderness of olive groves, gorges and megalithic ruins. Guests can even learn the secrets behind local cuisine through cookery courses and bread-making classes, available on request.
Rooms are available from £65 per night, based on 2 people sharing (breakfast included).
Likya Gardens Hotel, Turkey - uber-romantic retreat on the Turquoise Coast
This adults-only hotel on the edge of pretty Kalkan has just 7 slick suites, each with a private plunge pool, a sun-trap deck and a seafront cabana with butler service and an iPod dock. Sip cocktails while listening to your favourite playlist, then climb down the ladder for a dip in the sparkling Mediterranean below. Private gulet cruises around hidden coves can be arranged on request, and there are plenty of stunning beaches nearby. Come evening, tuck into a delicious Turkish dinner delivered straight to your terrace, or walk into the village for fresh fish and a friendly buzz.
Suites are available from £270 per night, based on 2 people sharing (breakfast included).
Divota Apartment Hotel, Croatia - contemporary apartments in historic Split
Spread across converted stone buildings in the charming neighbourhood of Veli Varoš, this collection of rooms and studio apartments achieves a rare blend of authentic and modern. The interiors are sleek and contemporary, with white furniture and colourful artwork; some have terraces or balconies, too. Self-cater or head out to one of the bars and cafés on Split’s pretty waterfront; if you’re feeling lazy, breakfast can be delivered to your door for an additional charge. It’s perfect for couples seeking a ‘let your hair down’ holiday, but also caters for groups (some rooms and apartments interconnect, and there’s a 3-bedroom house for 6-7).
Rooms are available from £92 per night and studio apartments from £121 per night, based on 2 sharing (accommodation only).