We welcome numerous slices of heaven to the i-escape roster every year, but they don’t always boast the child-friendly credentials of beautiful Culloden Cove. In fact, this staffed villa and cottage for 4-12, complete with a private beach and gorgeous gardens, is so well equipped for families that it won the title of ‘Best Newcomer’ in our 2014 Kids Awards.
It’s easy to see what makes Culloden Cove so special. There are ample provisions for smaller children and babies, while older kids will love the sea-view pool, Eden-like gardens and private beach with its shallow water. The accommodation, split between the villa and adjacent cottage, also offers the opportunity for teenagers or grandparents to stay nearby while enjoying some privacy. On top of all that, rates include a private chef to remove some of the burden from mum and dad!
Rooms: There are 5 bedrooms (3 doubles and 2 twins), split between the large villa and the single-storey cottage (with reduced rates for those booking 2, 3 or 4 rooms only). All are spacious and simply designed, with mahogany bedside tables and terracotta floor tiles. Small touches include black and white photographs, driftwood arranged on a bookshelf, and bunches of flowers picked fresh from the garden. The twin rooms are ideal for kids, and the 2 bedrooms in the cottage are perfect for grandparents or teenagers who prefer their own space. Altogether the villa and cottage sleep 10, with the option of adding 2 floor mattresses for additional guests (free for under 12s).
The villa has a large sitting-cum-dining room with comfy wicker sofas arranged around a coffee table and TV, while the cottage has a kitchenette and its own small terrace looking over the garden’s lush vegetation.
Food: The villa was previously a restaurant, and not only comes with the original well-equipped kitchen but also the chefs, whose services are included in the rates. You’ll be presented with a choice of menus, and dishes can be adapted to suit you and your children’s preferences. Whatever you pick, you’ll eat like kings. The meals are huge and delicious (we loved the range of local fish and exotic fruits), and there’s no better place to enjoy them than the candlelit alfresco table or the terrace overlooking the sea at the bottom of the garden.
If you decide you want to eat out, just let the staff know and they’ll direct you to local restaurants. Nearby Whitehouse is the island’s main fishing port – a sure bet for fantastic seafood.
Kids activities: Much of the magic of Culloden Cove is contained within the hummingbird-filled grounds, and the hosts have made sure you have everything you need to make the most of them. Snorkelling and kayaking equipment is available to use on the beach, and a paddling pool can be set up in the garden. There’s also a small but perfectly positioned infinity pool overlooking the sea, plus wicker baskets full of toys, board games and DVDs.
The local area is stunning, with bird sanctuaries, waterfalls and boat trips in search of crocodiles. We’d also recommend visiting the numerous long sandy beaches nearby.
Baby equipment: There are plenty of provisions, including cots, baby bedding, nightlights, potties, highchairs, bottle warmers and even car seats (a rear-facing one for babies and a front-facing one for infants).