We know many parents consider a kids’ club to be an essential element when seeking the perfect retreat for all the family. And these days, hotel kids’ clubs come in many guises and are no longer solely the preserve of the all-inclusive resort. Read on to discover a variety of fun childcare options and imaginative activities worldwide…
Your classic all-singing and all-dancing family resort, albeit a cut above the competition in the style stakes. Every box is ticked: 4 swimming pools, 4 Asian-Med restaurants (with kids’ menus), an acclaimed Eauzone spa with no end of treatments and classes, and a Baby-Go-Lightly pre-order service allowing you to travel light. The all-ages kids’ clubs cater for children from 4 months, and operate 6 or 7 days a week depending on the season (note the teens’ club is only in the school holidays). Their daily-changing activities include the likes of treasure hunts, snorkelling, tennis coaching, swimming lessons, Cypriot dancing, designing mosaics and a plethora of watersports.
This is one of the new breed of small-scale retreats, where you get all the advantages of a family-friendly resort (a drop-in kids’ club included in the rates, plus all manner of baby and toddler kit, toys and games ) but with an intimate feel. There are only 4 self-catering villas/apartments (each sleeping up to 5), along with 2 heated pools, a gated garden, a games barn, a sandpit and trampolines. Rates also include bi-weekly dinners in the school holidays, a pizza and wine night, bikes for all the family, and babysitting 2 evenings a week so parents can dine out.
Kids + safari = the most memorable holiday of all time, right? Well yes, but only if the safari experience is pitched properly for children (littlies are not allowed on game drives at many places, meaning you pay a lot of money for bored kids). This safari lodge has thought of everything: large family rooms, kids’ menus, a supervised pool, plunge pools with safety covers, and free stays for children up to 5. You get daily family safari drives for over 2s in your own dedicated vehicle, in addition to morning and evening drives which older kids can enjoy. The free daily kids’ club includes baking and crafts, bush orientation, dung tracking (always a winner!) and bug hunting, as well as making moulds of animal tracks.
You don’t often associate kids’ clubs with an urban environment, but family-friendly Martinhal have opened a stylish and vibrant hotel in downtown Lisbon with superlative childcare. The kids’ club space is light and airy, and has everything children could wish for – from playmats to PlayStations, and even an indoor climbing wall! There’s also a family cafe, and every studio and apartment has a well-equipped kitchen. The staff are unfailingly lovely and provide complimentary supervised fun for children over 6 months in the afternoons, as well as running an evening pyjama party in a big tent so parents can have a night out. Brilliant!
One of the finest resorts in the country, the Nam Hai is set on a superb beach and has family-sized villas complete with gardens and gorgeous swimming pools. The hotel’s kids’ club offers wonderfully inventive activities with a local twist: painting conical hats, making lanterns and silk flowers, buffalo cart tours, kite-making, sand painting, and Vietnamese language lessons and cooking classes. There’s also a games room, a sports complex with various ball courts, and a complimentary teens’ club with table football and basketball.
This flawless resort was conceived as a picture-postcard village, complete with piazza, cafe, bell tower and narrow alleys. There are family-friendly townhouses and 3-bed villas with private pools and gardens, and the well-equipped kids’ club is free (unless your child is under 3, in which case qualified nannies are in charge). It has soft play, crafts and an excellent playground for younger fry, plus cooking, ceramic painting and tennis coaching for older kids (who also get a teens’ games room). All ages love the enormous kids’ pool, the pizzeria and the nearby beach clubs (a shuttle is laid on). And all this only 35 minutes from the airport, in one of Italy’s most delightful and unspoiled regions.
A true one-off, Fellah is a tranquil hotel, a cultural centre, a wellness retreat and a colourful haven for children, only 17km from the hustle of Marrakech. During school holidays uniquely creative activities are arranged in the kids’ club (aimed at 4-11 year-olds): Moroccan cooking classes, working with the artists in residence, milking goats, grooming donkeys, listening to African tales by the campfire, and decorating huge blackboards with art and literature. Kids also get a petting zoo, 21 acres of gardens, a yellow Mercedes and treehouse to play in, a library of books and films, table tennis and volleyball, and a superb swimming pool.
You get a delightful Caribbean vibe at Round Hill: lush gardens cascade down to a secluded beach, parents are greeted with rum punch, Monday dinners are accompanied by a steel band, and themed buffet nights include Jamaican and Caribbean curries. What’s more, the welcome for families is exceptionally friendly. The Pineapple Kids’ Club (3-6 years) and 7-Up Club (7+ years) will keep your offspring entertained with reggae lessons, basket weaving, nature walks, talent shows and watersports; they’ll probably be too engaged to bother with the games room, which has Wii, Xbox and Rock Band among other attractions. Take a glass-bottomed boat tour, or head inland for river-rafting.
There’s a full range of experiences for families at this luxury resort in Halkidiki: a special watersports programme, a great kids’ splash pool and playground, a sheltered garden, even a beach shack playroom for kids aged 5-13. The well-stocked kids’ clubs have a varied activity schedule and cater for 4 different age groups (4 months – 2 years, 3-4 years, 5-7 years and 8-13 years); you can book full or half days 6 days a week from April to October. Don’t miss out on the family spa treatment menu, movie nights or tennis, either. Paradise!
A cracking year-round option, with sunshine and steady temperatures almost guaranteed, the Canaries are a long-established family favourite. Head to the south-west corner of Tenerife for this sleek new resort, which is best for primary-school kids and younger. It has a super sandy playground, a choice of pools and even baby yoga, and there’s a water park nearby. The Saplings Kids’ Club is free for 4-12 years; a bright and light space with hammocks, scooters and play houses. During school holidays additional activities are laid on, including handicrafts, talent contests and cooking classes. For an extra charge, put your child into the evening session (supper and a movie) so you get a night out.