As the new school year gets underway, we’ve gathered a selection of great hotels where kids can learn something fun yet fascinating while on holiday. Travel is educational!
Soak up the culture
High in the lush mountains of Bali, Sarinbuana Eco Lodge is the ultimate adventure playground. You get natural water pools and waterfalls, plus the chance to stay in a treehouse overlooking the rainforest canopy. Yet it’s the cultural activities which make it such a draw: kids can find out all about traditional dress, take Balinese dance classes, learn the language, go on a permaculture tour, join their parents for cooking or craft workshops, and sit with local kids in their English classes.
Learn how to sail
Kids can learn the sailing ropes at this New England-styled hotel slap bang on a golden beach in the picturesque Salcombe estuary on Devon’s south coast. There’s a sailing school next door to South Sands Boutique Hotel, which also offers kayaking and surfing lessons and you can take a powerboat out, too. Parents can enjoy long lazy lunches at its expansive restaurant while keeping an eye on the kids playing on the sands.
Enjoy a farm-to-table journey
Food and nutrition education is arguably one of the most important lessons for children because their future has to be about sustainability as well as health. And what better place to be schooled than at this tranquil self-catering farm retreat in the wilds of Tuscany. Fattoria Barbialla Nuova offers blackberry picking, foraging for herbs, guided truffle hunting, wildlife tracking, beekeeping, bread baking, pasta-making, cooking classes, and fly-fishing. There’s an organic shop on-site and they have an organic farm-to-table restaurant in Florence.
Experience scuba diving
The best way to teach kids how to dive is to choose a hotel with a top-notch dive centre, a swimming pool for basic instruction, a safe shallow sea for snorkelling, and a house reef nearby for those who attain the competent (and confident) standard. Unguja Lodge on Zanzibar’s south coast has all the above and much more. Take a dolphin tour, join a forest excursion to find colobus monkeys, or just relax on its private sandy beach. Kids under 12 are half-price, too!
Learn to make Vietnamese food
Vietnamese design hotel Four Seasons The Nam Hai has wonderfully luxurious villas and a superb provision for kids, including a terrific ‘junior cooking academy’ where children are taught rice paper rolling, and biscuit and chocolate making. There’s a lovely nod to the location outside Hoi An, as kids can paint conical hats, have a go at kite-making, learn basic Vietnamese, enjoy a buffalo cart tour, and make iconic local lanterns and silk flowers. More conventional activities include a games room, three swimming pools, a sports complex, cycling and watersports.
Take a tennis class
Set on beautiful Latchi Bay on the north west of Cyprus, majestic Anassaresort boasts a dazzling beach location, plentiful dining options, a destination spa and several excellent kids clubs with endless activities for all ages. There are two synthetic grass tennis courts with floodlights, and coaches from the Sunball Academy will teach children the basics while helping parents improve their game.
Join a horse-riding rodeo
You’d expect family adventures in Costa Rica to include volcanoes and amazing wildlife in a tropical rainforest. Friendly working farm Leaves and Lizards, just outside La Fortuna, has phenomenal views of Arenal Volcano from its hilltop cabins (and its infinity pool!) plus excellent horse-riding packages which include a Costa Rican rodeo, and being a cowboy for the day.
Learn to surf in Sri Lanka
One of the best places in Sri Lanka for surfing is wide, sandy Weligama Bay on the south coast. Atop a beach-fringed headland overlooking the bay is classy resort Cape Weligama, which has great family facilities including a crescent-shaped kids swimming pool (served by an ice-cream trolley!) and easily arranged surfing lessons. There’s also an excellent dive and snorkelling centre, plus the opportunity to try out paddle-boarding and windsurfing. You can take dolphin tours and whale-watching cruises in season.
Get them kayaking
Kayaking is one of many outdoor pursuits the whole family can try while staying at Another Place – The Lake, a glorious boutique hotel with indoor pool and spa on the shores of Ullswater in the Lake District. Other waterborne activities include sailing, paddle-boarding and even raft building. There’s also rock climbing, archery and horse-riding tuitions on offer.
Take a calming yoga class
More parents are discovering the benefits of yoga for kids, not least its excellent calming effects and its many health advantages, including better flexibility. Restorative eco-retreat Desa Seni in the village of Canggu on Bali’s southwest coast specialises in yoga. Pleasingly, rates include a vast array of yoga and meditation classes, including yoga sessions for kids and special spa treatments. Later, you can enjoy their heritage houses set within peaceful tropical gardens, or splash about in the saltwater pool. Head to the coast if you fancy a surf.
Looking for more learning journeys? Explore over 900 stylish family hideaways in our Kids Collection