Here at i-escape HQ, we’ve noticed that savvy families are already getting their travel plans together for 2018. So that got us thinking, which of our stylish family hideaways tend to get booked up first? Now, we can advise that if you’d like to stay at one of the following gorgeous properties, you’d better confirm your stay soon…
The Holy Grail for many families is a beach-adjacent kid-friendly hotel with a swimming pool. Just 15 minutes outside Crete’s lovely harbour town of Chania is welcoming Ammos Hotel. Set on a shallow sandy beach (safe for pre-schoolers), with thoughtful staff, a kids menu, a playroom and a separate kids pool, this hotel is perennially popular with families. Interiors are light and airy, the food is delicious, and rooms are impeccably designed.
For the more budget conscious, Azur Hotel, on Turkey’s Mediterranean Coast, has 20 comfy wooden cabins and a small restaurant enveloped in idyllic flowering gardens. Enjoy hammocks and a small playground, as well as a large swimming pool. The staff are utterly charming and it’s a short meander to stunning Cirali Beach, framed by majestic mountains. And if you book 3+ days, you’ll get a 10% discount, too.
Many prefer to stay a bit further inland to escape the crowds but remain within striking distance of the beach. For your chance to experience the other side of Ibiza – tranquil, rural and stunning – book a Family Suite at 200-year-old finca Agro Can Gall. Here kids will love playing in beautiful grounds, splashing in the large heated infinity pool (which has a shallow end), and sampling the lovely locally sourced food. To maintain the delightful ambiance, only a few families are allowed at a time. Glorious beaches are a short drive away.
The Algarve is another popular family destination; to avoid the bustle, head an hour west from Faro airport, to a rural retreat in a leafy valley close to some of Europe’s finest surfing beaches. Monte da Vilarinha has a circular swimming pool, an adventure playground, a small playroom, and 32 acres of woodland to explore. You also get the best of both worlds: the option of self-catering in your kitchen or eating at the poolside diner.
Some parents love the convenience of a full service hotel, with everything on site. In the Cotswolds, the stellar Calcot Manor Hotel provides family suites, 220 acres of grounds, a pub-style brasserie for family meals, a pampering spa, fine dining, tennis courts, an indoor and outdoor pool, and electric bikes to borrow. There’s also a Playzone for pre-schoolers, plus the ‘Mez’ for older kids (a mezzanine level with Wii, Playstations and cinema).
Or head to on-trend Puglia to fantastic family resort Borgo Egnazia, which delivers style (flawlessly designed creamy marbled rooms) and substance (magnificent pools, fantastic service, superlative spa). The kids clubs cover all ages – from 8 months to teens – and include a games room and playground. There’s no end of activities, from making pasta to treasure hunts, ceramics to water sports. And, there are two beach clubs within a short drive or a 10-minute walk.
In contrast, those who prefer more intimate and great value stays with a good helping of Bohemian chic would like Languedoc Hideaways: converted barns half-an-hour south of Carcassonne. Three of the self-catering units are for families; children will have great fun collecting eggs from the chickens, falling out of hammocks, swimming in the infinity pool and playing ping-pong or table football in the sociable Barn Bar. New for 2018, there will be dinners three times a week, along with communal barbecues. There are castles, caves, waterparks, tennis and a bison farm nearby.
Rustic eco-retreat Palmizana is on the tiny car-free island of Sveti Klement, in the Hvar archipelago, off Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast. Although there is no pool, you’re beside a crystal clear cove with shallow beach, and boat trips and water sports can be easily arranged. The exotic gardens are spectacular, the vibe laid-back, and there’s a choice of restaurants serving fresh seafood and local produce. Families are housed in stone bungalows and villas sleeping 4-6.
Of course, there are times when the lure of an exotic paradise beckons. The back-to-nature ethos of tropical Nikoi Island, about 2 hours from Singapore, attracts adventurous families, who sleep in shipwreck-chic stilted wooden houses. The informal kids club brings children to rock pools and nature trails, there are two swimming pools, a dressing up box, jungles to explore and snorkelling above coral reefs.
In contrast Yab Yum Resort has unique grass-roofed domes and simple cottages a stone’s throw from Goa’s white-sand Ashvem Beach. This is a magical place for children over 3, with shallow paddling pools and a sand garden to play in – the whole property is fenced and secure. The resort serves a kids menu and organic food all day.