When you’re in the baby, toddler or pre-school zone, your holiday needs become both more complicated and simpler. There’s a long list of essentials which require servicing but you’re also more likely to stay in one spot for a week, rather than travelling around. And you’ve a glorious window of not having to pay more for less available accommodation as you can travel outside the dreaded school holidays.
Consider voyaging to the perennially sunny and constantly warm and dry Canary Islands, which only get truly hot in the summer months. Distances on the islands are short so you’re invariably close to the airport, and any other sights you care to add to the schedule.
Lanzarote, for example, is a mere 60km tip to toe and 25km wide, so it’s easy to travel around and hard to get lost. The airport is just 15 minutes away from Casa Tomaren, a tranquil cluster of 8 boho-rustic houses. Two of the stone cottages are perfect for a small family, with a double bedroom, a separate living room, a private terrace and a walled garden with hammocks. Another two cottages have a second bedroom, great if you’re coming with two children. The focal point for all is a magnificent heated swimming pool in a volcanic sinkhole surrounded by exotic trees and plants. There are also lush gardens to explore.
On-site creature comforts include a playground, and the pool has a shallow end. The sheltered sunken garden is a great spot for playing with little ones. Breakfast is served daily, for other meals you self-cater or request a meal service (takeaways and supermarkets are nearby). You can book a babysitter, and can also request stair gates, baby cots and high chairs.
Alternatively, if you don’t fancy sharing facilities with other families, preferring to bask in splendid isolation, former farmhouse Villa Guatiza may suit very well. It has two spacious bedrooms (and a sofabed), eclectic decor collected on the owners’ travels, plenty of natural light, a gadget-kitted kitchen and generous living areas, plus a walled swimming pool and tropical garden. The airport is a 25-minute drive away; you’re very close to the coast (check out the local village’s great sea-view fish restaurants).
Mod cons supplied include a sauna, gym and log-burning stove. You’ll also receive an ample welcome hamper – perfect for those not planning to get out much. Bikes are available to borrow, as are buckets and spades, a surfboard and a body board. For babies and toddlers, you get cots, high chairs, bedding, a baby bath, a potty and a bouncer supplied.
Tenerife is the largest and most populous Canary Island, and thus has the most flights. There are delightful pockets of seclusion, as well as busier resorts on the coast. For frazzled first-time parents, why not fly and flop at minimalist apart-sea-view hotel Baobab Suites, just 20 minutes from the main international airport. You’ll get the best of both worlds: the independence of an apartment (each suite has a well-equipped kitchen) and the amenities of a hotel. Baobab Suites has a playground and sports centre, two on-site restaurants serving kids menus and the option to have a breakfast hamper delivered to your door.
The impeccably designed and supremely comfortable suites come in different configurations from 1-4 bedrooms (baby cots and high chairs are available); some have private pools, Jacuzzis or sunken sandpits for toddlers on their decked balconies. The 2 heated swimming pools have a sandy play area plus splash pools beside. Baby yoga and paddle tennis are both on offer. The nearest beach is a 15-minute walk or a short taxi ride away. Best of all, the free Saplings indoor kids club is superbly provisioned with play structures, scooters, handicrafts and lovely staff (note that parents need to stay with under 4s).