You know the drill: put off the heated debate about where and when to go for that precious summer holiday, then lose weeks deciding whether to invite another family or the grandparents along, and bingo! Your idyllic villa, dream hotel or perfect resort is already booked up. So for summer 2015, don’t delay!
We’ve picked out some popular family-friendly boltholes that fill up fast – book now to bag yourself a holiday that the whole family will be excited about. As an added bonus, we’re offering one of 2 free gifts worth £100 for all 2015 bookings of 7 nights or more made before the end of December.
Holidays here are what childhood summers should be like. You get a large 19th-century Normandy chateau to romp around, and the weekly all-inclusive rates include breakfast, dinner, drinks and, best of all, up to 4 hours of childcare a day for over 3s. There’s also a programme of activities, along with a splash pool, all-day food, a woodland den, swings and a sandpit, croquet, and a marquee in the grounds that’s stuffed full of toys and games. Bliss!
This unique hideaway, set amongst wooded terraces and fruit trees on 40 acres of rich black earth that slopes up towards Mount Etna, has a welcoming, back-to-the-land vibe. There’s a pool, a box of toys and swings for little ones, and you’re a short drive from the coast and Etna National Park. It’s only 40 minutes to Catania airport, too. The retreat also works perfectly for discerning adults (the food! the wine! the handsome interiors!), so all ages will love it. There’s a 3-night minimum stay in July and August, and a 2-night minimum in May and June.
This is a sure winner with families – a funky seaside hotel set on a safe, sandy beach, with not one but two swimming pools. Parents will appreciate the bistro-restaurant and spa, as will their offspring (there’s a kids’ menus, and tailored treatments such as mani-pedis are on offer). You can catch the tram into Soller for an ice-cream, enjoy a picnic in the mountains, take a boat trip, or relax on your sea-view terrace and admire the vista across the bay.
It’s no surprise that these four 1- and 2-bedroom stone cottages are popular for relaxed family holidays. They’re well-priced and have a delightful pool area surrounded by palms and bougainvillea, plus a kids’ splash pool. The beach is just 10km away, too. The owners are knowledgeable and welcoming, and can provide oodles of kit for smaller fry, including beach toys. You can self-cater or arrange for breakfast hampers and lunch platters. There’s a 7-night minimum stay all year.
The winner of the ‘Best Value’ category in our 2013 Best for Kids Awards, Azur Hotel ticks all the boxes for a splendid family vacation. It’s set by the beach, with fabulous gardens, a small playground and a super pool. The staff couldn’t be nicer and half-portions are available in the restaurant. We recommend the stone bungalows for families as they’re a bit larger and closer to the restaurant for monitors to work. Note there’s a minimum stay of 1 week in the summer months.
West Country properties always book up fast in the summer, and this smart 3-bedroom Grade II-listed holiday house is no exception. With a contemporary makeover, an excellent kitchen and lots of thoughtful details (especially for younger kids), families adore staying here. There are swashbuckling activities aplenty on your doorstep (the house is set on a historic quay and tall ships are moored in the harbour), and the Eden Project is just a 10-minute drive. Note there’s a 7-night minimum stay in July and August.
We think this is a perfect family escape: rural bliss in a national park, just a short distance from the Atlantic coast and its beaches. There’s a choice of contemporary-styled apartments and studios with snazzy kitchens, yet a substantial buffet breakfast is included in the rates. Kids will be in their element with a playground, a playroom, a pool, mountain bikes, a rope walkway, toys and an enchanted valley on offer. There’s a 7-night minimum stay from mid-June to August.
Just 15 minutes outside Chania is this Scandi-chic seaside hotel, which delivers both style and service in spades. Younger folk will appreciate the shallow sandy beach, the kids’ pool and the toy-filled playroom, as well as local boat cruises. And all the studios and suites have kitchenettes for those evenings when the kids won’t sit quietly in the restaurant.
This tranquil, welcoming finca is one of the most popular places to stay on i-escape. Set inland, away from the bustle yet within easy reach of the coast, the former farmhouse comes with a 25m heated pool with a shallow end, plus bikes to ride and a huge garden to play in. There are comfy white-on-white Family Suites and Deluxe Rooms with terraces to choose from, and local produce is deployed expertly in the kitchen. There’s a 4-night minimum stay, and summer bookings open in January.
Created from a former barn, with big picture windows and sleek décor, are these four cottages, all of which can host families. This is a super spot for children to frolic: there’s a pirate-ship sandpit, a slide and a grassy picnic area, and in the summer there are rabbits, guinea pigs and donkeys to pet. Parents are handed a useful welcome pack listing kid-friendly restaurants and sights, as well as local babysitters. Only breaks of 3, 4 or 7 nights are permitted.
Here are a few top tips from our bookings team to help you secure a reservation at your chosen property:
– When enquiring state the ages of your children and provide as much information as possible such as your preference for how you need the room/s set up, ask about any particular requirements for example a half-board option.
– Don’t forget to mention that you are bringing your family – a surprising number of people do!
– Every review on i-escape has a dedicated kids section so you know exactly what facilities and extras are available – be sure to take a look.