We love a family-friendly haven that really welcomes kids: think kids’ menus, pools with shallow ends, family suites, imaginative kids’ clubs. But we especially love those forward-thinking properties which host children at no additional cost. Here are 10 delightful places where kids stay free.
Where: Oman’s Musandam Peninsula, which has been dubbed the ‘Norway of the Middle East’ for its dramatic cliffs plunging to turquoise fjords.
Kidsgofree: The Chaica Club for 4-10-year-olds is complimentary and offers activities like seashell collecting, rock painting, making smoothies and feeding the goats. Kids over 11 also get a free club which takes them hiking, wadi swimming, kayaking, raft building and abseiling, and teaches photography skills. Extra beds and cots are free for kids up to 12 years old, and kids under 6 eat for free when dining with their parents. Available kit to borrow includes baby monitors, stair gates and kids’ cutlery.
2 Whitepod, West Switzerland
What: A magical eco-camp of cosy igloo-shaped pods clustered around a restaurant and Pod House, immersed in pristine nature. There are private slopes for skiing and snow-shoeing in winter and hiking in summer.
Where: At an altitude of 1400m on a mountainside near the village of Les Cerniers, in the Chablais Valaisan region.
Kidsgofree: All ages stay for free in the pods. The Family Pods sleep an additional two children on a mezzanine floor, the Pod House has sledges and board games to help yourself to, and ski equipment is included in the rates, as are the logs for the in-pod wood-burner.
3 Polurrian on the Lizard, Cornwall, UK
What: A handsome clifftop mansion reinvigorated as a boutique hotel with a games room, huge gardens with a playground, two pools and a cinema above a lovely golden sandy beach.
Where: On the west side (amazing sunsets!) of the Lizard peninsula in southern Cornwall.
Kidsgofree: All on-site activities – including wood-fired cookery, outdoor arts, tennis, rounders, football, the Cornish Piskie trail and the summer activity programme – are complimentary. There’s also no charge for extra beds or baby cots for children up to 15 years of age, and there’s a vast array of baby and toddler equipment to borrow – from pushchairs to baby carriers to sterilisers.
4 Cabanas La Luna, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico
What:Wooden rustic-chic palapas sharing a lovely swimming pool on a powdery white beach facing turquoise seas, with family cabanas and villas, one of which has a private pool.
Where: Near Tulum, on the Caribbean Sea, with the famous ruins nearby.
Kidsgofree: There are boogie boards to borrow, adults and kids stay for free in extra beds, purified water is supplied in the room.
5 Haus Hirt, Austria
What: An Alpine boutique spa hotel with spectacular views and mountain pursuits galore, with a knock-out spa and a sociable vibe.
Where: Under two hours from Salzburg, in the spa town of Bad Gastein in the Austrian Alps.
Kidsgofree: Great value full-board rates include the Kids’ Club, which has a free supervised programme for 3-12-year-olds daily and includes Splash Time in the pool, games and crafts such as jewellery making. There’s also regular disco, bonfire and movie nights, table football, and a comprehensive array of baby and toddler equipment to borrow – from buggies to sleighs to night lights.
6 Cavallo Point Lodge, San Francisco, California
What: A former army base turned upscale lodge with incredible views over the Golden Gate and San Francisco Bay.
Where: On the Sausalito side of the Bay, next door to the Bay Area Discovery Museum, which is terrific for under 10s.
Kidsgofree: Children of all ages stay for free in extra beds and baby cots when sharing their parents’ room. There’s a large parade ground out front for running around, complimentary walks and guided hikes around the Marin Headlands, plus daily yoga sessions (older kids can join in) – over 16s can visit the acclaimed healing centre.
7 Mousses Villas, Ionian Islands, Greece
What: A family-focused resort of just 12 2-3-bedroom villas with a huge gated pool plus a separate kids’pool, lovely lawns, and stellar kid-friendly staff.
Where: In a quiet, rural spot just inland from the coast in the north of Lefkas, one of the Greek Ionian islands.
Kidsgofree: For those travelling with small ones you get a complimentary infant pack on arrival. Each villa comes with kids’ toy boxes, changing mats, kids’ crockery and cutlery, and stair gates in the two-storey villas. Extra beds and cots are free for babies and children up to 12 years old. There’s a multitude of baby and toddler gear to borrow, from baby baths to potties. The pool comes with inflatables and there are DVDs to borrow.
8 Trisara, Phuket, Thailand
What: A luxury once-in-a-lifetime hotel with stunning villas, private pools and sensational views, plus excellent food, a 45m saltwater pool with a shallow end, a games room, cookery classes and watersports.
Where: Nestled in steep, jungly hillside above a private cove on the northwest of Phuket (even better sunsets!).
Kidsgofree: Trisara Kids has inspiring activities, such as umbrella painting, coconut bowling, kite-flying, snorkelling and daily beach volleyball, and is free for ages 4-16. There are bikes, kids DVDs and mini iPods to borrow, and table tennis too; available baby and toddler kit includes baths, blackout blinds, crockery and cutlery.
9 La Darbia, Italian Lakes
What: 20 stylish 1-2-bed apartments, each with a private terrace or garden, sharing a heated fenced salt-water infinity pool and a phenomenal lake view.
Where: Close to the medieval village Orta San Giulio on a hillside overlooking Lake Orta, a lesser-known and under-visited gem in the Italian Lakes in Northern Italy.
Kidsgofree: Additional children stay for free up to 17 years of age. Rates include daily breakfast baskets and shopping delivery services; high chairs available to borrow. There’s a concierge service, e-bikes with pre-programmed GPS routes to borrow, plus a zipline and small playground too.
10 Le Jardin des Douars, Essaouira, Morocco
What: A laid-back countryside estate immersed in a delightful mature Mediterranean garden, with a dedicated heated kids pool plus a toddler paddling pool, restaurant and spa.
Where: Just 10 minutes’ drive from Essaouira, on Morocco’s famous surfing Atlantic coast.
Kidsgofree: Extra beds and cots are free for kids of all ages. High chairs, baby baths, bottle warmers and potties can be borrowed. Boules, ping pong and board games available too.